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A Flibbertigibbet, a Will-o’-the-wisp, a Clown (Or 10 Reasons Why Graphic Design Is Not the Issue)

Anthony Elms discusses Dexter Sinister’s publishing concerns — from type to distribution and back again — to suggest their work as deliberately poised in the distance between writing and reading. Dexter Sinister are a publishing concern. Dexter Sinister (Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt) are not artists, authors, critics, designers, editors, impresarios, journalists, philosophers, printers, publishers or snake-oil salesmen — unless they are all of the above at once: a publishing concern. That is, they are focused on publishing, as in the craft and manufacture and management of published pages, from writing to typeface to design to printing to publication to release to distribution to library deposit to mood to retrieval to use to archiving. Dexter Sinister make you note details. Their website is plain and text-heavy, with seemingly endless diversionary links taking you to other pages with more links. The now retired journal Dot Dot Dot entailed words aplenty, often words republished in slightly varied form. The advantage to being a publishing concern that works at every level of the process is that specifics are emphasised: how one issue has been designed; how one text has been generated, edited and distributed; how this one text has been edited and distributed the second time; how this one text slightly differs from its last publishing.