Bulletins of The Serving Library #10:
Issue #10 of Bulletins of The Serving Library is a *TEST,* containing one choice bulletin from each of the previous nine issues. It is a compendium of sorts, a best-of double-album printed at 50% scale, a sample for what’s next. This issue also includes 140-character summaries of every bulletin we have published previously in the printed journal and online and so serves as a retroactive portrait of the library we are busy assembling. From now on, Bulletins of The Serving Library will proceed in full color and at half its former size—but will be twice as good.
To mark this change, 100 complete sets of the previous nine printed journals plus this one are available at a special price of 200 USD / 200 EU / 140 GBP, including free postage anywhere in the world. Order online at servinglibrary.org/archive. But act fast, this offer is valid only as long as the shortest month of the year (that’s February).
Issue 10 features Bruce Sterling’s “The Life And Death Of Media,” a proposal for a list of outdated formats delivered emphatically via flying floppy disk; Angie Keefer’s “Why Bother,” an analytic philosopher analyzed by an irrational reader; Bruno Latour’s “How To Do Words With Things,” two-sided keys that open one-way doors & other linguistic quagmires drained; Rob Giampietro’s “L, I, F, E,” molecular poetry from ABC to IBM to 123 to DNA to ETA to GOD; Isla Leaver-Yap’s “We Have a Topic!”—how high-minded TV talk show “Ende Offen” became open-ended; Stuart Bailey’s “Hardy Perennials” on an arrogant pair compared (The New Yorker & J.D. Salinger); David Reinfurt’s “c. 1962,” regarding Bruno Munari, Olivetti, and the birth of Programmed Art; Paul Elliman’s “Detroit As Refrain,” an account of an unrealized meeting to discuss unrealized possibilities with the daughter of the father of synthesized speech; and Leila Peacock’s “Quiet Eyes, Magic Guts,” starring The Viking, The Dazzler and other darts players thrown by bad gags from a legendary commentator.
The Serving Library was established as a nonprofit organization in 2011, when we began publishing Bulletins as our house journal, continuing in the spirit of our forerunner Dot Dot Dot (2000–10) while departing from it in structure and form. We expanded our editorial domain from design and literature to the more accessible ends of science, mathematics and philosophy, stretched from a print-only publication to include an online format, and multiplied our editorship to three people.
Today, the Serving Library diagrams a reversible, looping principle: it is an archive that publishes and a publisher that archives. It consists of: 1. an ambitious public website; 2. a collection of books and objects in an itinerant physical space; 3. a publishing program that runs through #1 and #2. Publishing and archiving have traditionally existed at opposite ends of the trajectory of knowledge production. Now, in accord with the cheap and easy distribution afforded by an electronic network, they coalesce into a single process. Similarly, the first libraries were premised on an archive model, eventually supplemented by a circulating model. The ecology portrayed by The Serving Library amounts to a further development, the distributing model, which combines and extends the first two.