Conceived while in residency at the library of the Goethe-Institut New York, this issue of Bulletins of The Serving Library used the context of the hosting institution as a thematic starting point. Germany, and often the author’s specific relationship to the German language, is the unifying thread that unites these diverse pieces.
Contemplating this theme as both foreigners and German citizens, many of the contributors present theses that reach deep into the realm of the personal. Jan Verwoert, for example, discusses the communication within his family as a lexicon “somewhere between speech and speechlessness”; while Leila Peacock, as a native English speaker learning German, explores the liminal space between language and translation. Diedrich Diederichsen, together with a list of editors and translators, co-translates his essay “Hören, Wiederhören, Zitieren,” published in the 1997 January issue of Spex. Diederichsen’s discussion of the pop quotation in music highlights the genre’s proximity to language, as the pop quotation “refers to what is absent in the present, and therefore points towards the semiotic nature of any music.”
Bulletins of The Serving Library is an eclectic cultural journal of primarily newly commissioned writing produced biannually in distinct online and print formats. Each new issue of Bulletins is conceived as a bundle of reading material organized around a theme for the ongoing self-education of an international audience of designers, artists, writers, and researchers whose interests span many disciplines.