Postgraduate Research: Dexter Sinister


Afterall issue 27, Summer 2011, themed around notions of mapping and territory, and how they might be used as constructive methodologies.

The work of New York-based duo Dexter Sinister (Stuart Bailey, University of Reading) may not immediately be considered as territorial or even spatial. However, as demonstrated by their piece A Note on the Type included in the journal, the terrain of Dexter Sinister’s work is the field of criticality and (therefore) of the printed word itself. Writer Saul Anton places their approach within a historical spectrum of criticality and progression; while Anthony Elms provides a ten-point legend towards navigating the ‘space’ between reading and writing in the artists’ work.

Dieter Roelstraate considers the strategy of artist Jef Geys, whose practice attempts an institutional critique from a prosaic and hyper-local perspective. Chris Sharp attempts to deduct an objectifying logic within Geys’s work, explaining his remarkable methodological integrity.

Francis McKee and Jean Fisher look at Mexican artist Minerva Cuevas, whose work ranges from entomological observation to social and political emancipation in provocative arcs.

Andrea Zittel’s designs for living use a specific geographical location as a testing site for her living experiments. Steve Rowell discusses the particularities of inhabiting the Southern Californian landscape, and collaborators Lisa Anne Auerbach and Robby Herbst take a road trip, mapping the vernacular architecture of playgrounds as an homage to Zittel’s models for improved—or improvised—living.

Increasingly in the context of exhibitions, publications and collections, methodologies of mapping have emerged as a means of deducting logic from a spatial or ideological terrain. Stephanie Smith’s reassessment of Suzanne Lacy’s 1995 book Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art discusses an overlooked history of participatory practices, while Stephanie Jeanjean’s piece on 1970s French feminist video collectives describes how the spatiality of information exchange became crucial in disseminating new video art. Information exchange, and the validity thereof is unpicked in a historical sense by Michèle Faguet, who considers the fate of East German Marxist-Leninist educators within Phil Collins’s video project marxism today.

Issue 27 can be purchased in bookshops across the UK, Europe and America; find a stockist near you here. For more information on Afterall or to subscribe, visit our website:

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