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About SHIFT! RE-APPROPRIATED

“Every object conceals another…” – Luis Buñuel

SHIFT! RE-APPROPRIATED makes us think about giving material which is deemed no longer useful a renewed meaningfulness, about breathing new life into what has been relegated as unusuable. And this in turn makes us question what exactly it is that makes something no longer meaningful or useful. What (if any) thought goes into this delineation, into this judgment of what is useful or not? SHIFT! RE-APPROPRIATED also raises another interesting point: by asking contributors to re-claim and reappropriate, does the project end up actually fetishising the Shift! material? Does the material start to feel almost too precious because it has been assigned a new kind of “meaning”? Or more importantly, does this fetishising take anything away from, or devalue the re-appropriation of the original publications themselves? Or perhaps, on the contrary, it makes us think about how objects contain meaning, how they contain (hi)stories of what came before. And how these (hi)stories very much inform and inject (new) meaning into the re-appropriated material.

The project also has socio-cultural repercussions: SHIFT! RE-APPROPRIATED asks us to call into question the current market saturation of printed matter. When walking into any bookstore we ask ourselves : how necessary are most of these publications? We judge and we select and we prioritise according to substance, worth, necessity. Taking this one step further, SHIFT! RE-APPROPRIATED not only encourages us to ask ourselves these questions about “other” printed matter, but ultimately Shift! questions its own relevance, meaning and substance. And this in turn begs the question: is there an underlying paradox in the fact that SHIFT! RE-APPROPRIATED is actually adding more, contributing to this saturation of printed matter, albeit by re-using and re-inventing existing material? Or instead: we can see this project as Shift!‘s way of furthering its own tradition of probing and questioning the publication in and of itself – as well as publishing at large. Or in the words of the slogan-style spread in the centre of the catalogue : „Challenge the increasing saturation of printed matter. What do you plan to do with this when you‘re done with it?” SHIFT! RE-APPROPRIATED is a way for the publication to question its own existence, as well as its place in the current market and cultural climate by re-appropriating itself, reclaiming itself and re-inventing itself.

SHIFT! RE-APPROPRIATED: a concept developed by Anja Lutz and Anna Gerber.

Anja Lutz is a graphic designer based in Berlin. In 1995 she initiated the project Shift! as an experimental platform to push and question publishing. She is editor and art director of Shift!, comprising 15 publications thus far. She was visiting professor at the American University of Beirut and is currently artist in residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart.

Anna Gerber is a designer and writer based in London. Her fi rst book, All Messed Up: Unpredictable Graphics is published by Laurence King Publishing in the UK and Harper Design in the US. She teaches on the MA Communication Course at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London.

Contributing artists and designers:
Ingrid Arnell, Sophie Beard [thereadersbeforeus.co.uk], Sara De Bondt [frankandeunice.com], Fernando Cornejo [blockmachine.net], Anna Gerber, Claudia Hardi, Valeria Hasse [totareciclados.com.ar], Elizabeth Haven [empress-design.co.uk], CX Huth, i-dbuero [i-dbuero.de], Elle Janssen [hit-in.tv], Silvia Kopp-Salvador [potipoti.com], I-Chun Liu [cotton-works.com], Anja Lutz [shift.de], Dorothee Mahnkopf [d-mahnkopf.de], Susanne Olsson, Jo Posselt, Laercio Redondo, Lizzie Ridout [empress-design.co.uk], Ellen Roth [rosaroth.net], Markus Scheef, Katarina Sonnewend [ksonnewend.de], Anne Sřrensen [theimagesurgery.com], Lilly Tomec [tomec.de], Sibyl Trigg, Allyson Waller [thereadersbeforeus.co.uk], Welikenicethings [welikenicethings.com], Bianca Wendt & Jessie Whipple [kunstkraft.com], Micky Zhe Wang