Previous page: Diane Borsato, Skyline (2006-2009)
A compendium of th e Blackwood Galleryâ€™s exhibitions & project s in 2009
Edited by Christof Migone
Instead of (an introduction)
By Christof Migone
p.010 p.020 p.024
2 Radio Solos List of Works
Opening the Install (30 days in the life of an exhibition)
By Christof Migone
What Comes Out in the Wash
By Alison Syme
for bodies near the surface of the earth project descriptions
p.054 p.066 p.076
Artificial Respiration: On Life, Environment and Machine By Shannon Hoff
p.088 p.100 p.104 p.112
Cry School Yearbook F Papers project descriptions
By Sunny Kerr
The Seven Inch Fall
By Alison S.m. Kobayashi
By Johnson Ngo
THE PROJECTS: PORT CREDIT project descriptions
By John Armstrong
THE WAY I ARE
list of works
THE WAY I ARE
By Katie Bethune-Leamen
by christof migone
Adams, Kim – 129, 134, 146, 174 Ader, Bas Jan – 89, 93, 112, 174 Anwar, Faisal – 127, 174 Armstrong, John – 5, 148, 174, 180, 181 Bethune-Leamen, Katie – 5, 155, 167, 173, 174, 180 Blass, Valerie – 155, 158, 166, 169, 174 Borsato, Diane – 1, 2, 129, 132, 146, 174, 184 Brown, Trisha – 89, 96, 112, 174 Burnham, Anthony – 155, 159, 166, 169, 174 Campbell, Jennifer – 89, 99, 112, 175, 180 Castellanos, Ulysses – 89, 98, 112, 127, 175, 178 Cheung, Annie Onyi – 55, 58, 76, 80, 175, 180 Clément, Sophie Bélair – 55, 64, 76, 175 Collyer, Gillian – 55, 56, 76, 82, 175 Cumming, Robyn – 39, 40, 42, 52, 56, 81, 82, 85, 175 Farber, Zev – 55, 65, 76, 81, 175 Fones, Robert – 155, 159, 166, 169, 175, 181 Food Jammers – 89, 90, 112, 175 Fortier, Louis – 10, 11, 18, 22, 26, 30 32, 176 Goldsmith, Kenneth – 89, 98, 104, 112, 176 Golland, Martin – 155, 160, 166, 169, 176 Gove, Emily – 89, 100, 113, 176, 180 Hirsch, Antonia – 10, 11, 12, 15, 22, 25, 27, 28, 176, 180 Hoff, Shannon – 4, 78, 176, 180 Hutton, Jen – 155, 156, 166, 170, 176 Jazvac, Kelly – 155, 163, 166, 170, 176 Jones, Simone – 38, 39, 46, 48, 52, 83, 84, 176 Kempinas, Zilvinas – 38, 39, 41, 52, 58, 77, 86, 176 Kerr, Sunny – 5, 114, 177, 180 Kierulf, Erika – 38, 39, 45, 53, 86, 89, 93, 113, 177 Kim, Young-Sup – 10, 11, 13, 16, 22, 25, 27, 29, 30, 32, 177 Kobayashi, Alison S. M. – 5, 55, 59, 76, 85, 89, 100, 113, 118, 119, 177, 180
Koroshegyi, Arnold – 10, 11, 17, 22, 26, 32, 177, 180 Krepakevich, Shane – 129, 142, 146, 177 Lahde, Kristiina – 39, 40, 53, 76, 83, 177 Landry, Diane – 10, 11, 19, 22, 26, 29, 30, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 177, 180 Lichty, Gareth – 129, 130, 146, 177 Litherland, Paul – 38, 39, 40, 43, 53, 59, 76, 79, 83, 89, 92, 113, 177, 180 Maly, Valerian – 38, 39, 49, 53, 79, 89, 113, 177, 180 Massey, John – 155, 163, 166, 177, 170 McIntosh, Elizabeth – 155, 161, 166, 171, 178 Migone, Christof – 3, 4, 5, 11, 23, 39, 55, 89, 119, 125, 129, 173, 178, 180, 181 Ngo, Johnson – 5, 122, 123, 125, 178, 180 Nurse, Lauren – 129, 136, 147, 178 Pada, Lata – 127, 178 Park, Ryan – 55, 66, 76, 80, 178 Partheniou, Roula – 55, 61, 77, 84, 178, 180 Pivato, Juliana – 89, 94, 113, 178 Planningtorock – 155, 164, 166, 171, 179 Quadrasonic – 127, 178 Rechico, Sandra – 129, 144, 147, 178 Reid, Kerri – 129, 140, 147, 178 Richardson, Kelly – 89, 96, 113, 178 Romano, Tony – 155, 165, 166, 171, 179 Sampradaya Dance Creations – 127, 178 Sasaki, Jon – 129, 138, 147, 179 Schwebel, Joshua – 55, 56, 62, 77, 85, 179 Sherman, Tom – 39, 41, 51, 53, 64, 76, 79, 83, 89, 96, 113, 179 Simmons, Don – 39, 42, 53, 60, 77, 84, 86, 179 Snow, Michael – 10, 11, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 179 Suddick, Jennie – 89, 100, 113, 179, 180 Syme, Alison – 4, 32, 34, 179, 180 Thorpe, Josh – 55, 60, 77, 86, 179 Wood, Kelly – 10, 11, 13, 14, 22, 25, 30, 32, 179, 180
(AN IN TRO DUCT I ON )
PART-CATALOG, PART-MAGAZINE, PART-ANNUAL REPORT, MANY PARTS IN ONE WHOLE. PUTTING ALL OF YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET. BANKING ON TRIGGERING TANGENTIAL THREADS RATHER THAN FOCUSSING ON A SINGLE TIGHTLY WOUND THEMATIC. INSTEAD OF SLIM PUBLICATIONS DISTILLING A SINGLE EXHIBIT, WOOD IS ADAMANTLY MAXIMALIST. WOOD FEATURES SIXTY-FOUR ARTISTS AND WRITERS FROM FIVE EXHIBITIONS AND TWO PROJECTS PRESENTED IN CHRONOLOGICAL DISORDER. ARTISTS FROM EMERGING TO ESTABLISHED, LOCAL TO INTERNATIONAL, OF VARIED DISCIPLINES, A L L PARTICIPATING GENEROUSLY IN THE VARIOUS DEVISED CURATORIAL CONCOCTIONS. IT ALL STARTS WITH THEM AND THEIR ART WORKS. IT CONTINUES WITH YOU AS VISITORS TO THE EXHIBITIONS AND READERS OF WOOD. INSTEAD OF CLOSING THE BOOK, WOOD SUGGESTS YOU KEEP IT OPEN, LINGERING, SPLAYED OUT FOR CASUAL PERUSAL AS WELL AS CAREFUL CONSIDERATION. WOOD IS TWO THOUSAND AND NINE IN A CRACKED NUTSHELL. A YEAR AT THE BLACKWOOD GALLERY COMMITTED TO PAPER FOR FARTHER REACH. WOOD LOOKS BACK TOWARDS THE FUTURE. wood was. NOW WOOD IS. WOULD A WOOD 2010 BE FAR BEHIND? THE VAGARIES OF FUNDING IMPEDE ANY ANSWER BEYOND THE SPECULATIVE. BUT STEPS BACK ARE NOT AS COMPELLING AS LEAPS FORWARD.
We imagine that the object of our desire is a being that can be laid down before us, enclosed within a body. Alas! it is the extension of that being to all the points of space and time that it has occupied and will occupy. Marcel Proust
awashawave, with the alliterative title that slips by, was a group exhibition investigating figurative and literal interpretations of inundation and the resulting perceptual tensions and shifts of being one amongst many. In his study on Proust, Beckett stated that â€œthe only fertile research is excavatory, immersive, a contraction of the spirit, a descent. The artist is active, but negatively, shrinking from the nullity of extracircumferential phenomena, drawn in to the core of the eddy.â€? This exhibition resisted such categorical declaration and opted to pay attention to the inherent fluidity of the eddy. awashawave epitomized the blur, and wallowed in the mud of perception. Examining the shift from the single image to the series, from the fixed to the unmoored, from a discernable point to a dense mass. Examining various facets of the concept of being flooded, awashawave presented a heterogeneous series of works: from a washing machine turned into a praxinoscope (Landry), to an audio work utilizing shortwave radio signals (Snow), to delicate ceramic objects made out of white speaker wire and diffusing sounds of washing (Kim), to images produced by a home-built scanner-camera that fuses digital technology and 19th century photographic techniques (Koroshegyi), to audio tracks converted into dense black and white sonic images (Wood), to a video projection of someone doing the wave in an empty stadium (Hirsch), to a series of abject self-portraits rendered in wax (Fortier).
Marcel Proust in Samuel Beckett, Proust (London: John Calder, 1999), 58. Samuel Beckett, Proust, 65.
a washa wave
Louis Fortier Antonia Hirsch Young-Sup Kim Arnold Koroshegyi Diane Landry Michael Snow Kelly Wood
Curated by Christof Migone April 9 - May 31, 2009
Antonia Hirsch, Vox Pop
Kelly Wood, John Oswald-Bellspeeds and Nihilist Spasm Band-An Appeal to Reason
Young-Sup Kim, Co-existence_Cable Porcelain & Sound
Kelly Wood, Nihilist Spasm Band-An Appeal to Reason and John Oswald-Bellspeeds
Antonia Hirsch, Vox Pop
Young-Sup Kim, Co-existence_Cable Porcelain & Sound
Arnold Koroshegyi, Rupture
Louis Fortier, TOP: Le SĂŠnat (variante #7) bottom: Le SĂŠnat (variante #6)
Diane Landry, Madonnas
IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE AWASHAWAVE EXHIBITION, THE BLACKWOOD GALLERY PUBLISHED THE AUDIO CD RE-MASTERED VERSION OF TWO RADIO SOLOS BY MICHÆL SNOW (ORIGINALLY RELEASED AS A CASSETTE IN 1988). A LAUNCH OF THE CD TOOK PLACE AT ART METROPOLE IN TORONTO ON APRIL 11 AND AT PRINTED MATTER IN NEW YORK ON MAY 23, 2009.
Louis Fortier - Le Sénat (variante #7) and Le Sénat (variante #6) (2009) Wax, 15 x 18 x 2.5”, 14 x 19 x 2.5”.
Antonia Hirsch - Vox Pop (2008) 2-channel video, 1min.
Young-Sup Kim - Co-existence_Cable Porcelain & Sound (2006) Audio 9min. 35sec, Acoustic objects made with speaker cable.
Arnold Koroshegyi - Rupture (2009) Video, 6min.
Diane Landry - Madonnas (2007-2008) Washing machine, photographs on acrylic, mirror, lighting and motion sensor, 29 x 55 x 30” each.
Michael Snow - Two Radio Solos (1988) Audio, 1hr. 17min. 54sec.
Kelly Wood - Nihilist Spasm Band-An Appeal to Reason and John Oswald-Bellspeeds (2008) C-prints, 72 x 85 ¼” each.
March 17, 2009
It’s about inundation as opposed to distillation. ------------------------------------------------March 18, 2009
The expectation of a thematic exhibition is to present a distilled, filtered view, one that synthesizes research and arranges the selected works in a manner that generates sense.The curatorial essay in particular is expected to coalesce and cohere, to untangle the theme so as to provide a guide which will facilitate the viewer’s ability to read and comprehend the thrust of the exhibition in its components and as a whole. Such a prescriptive and predetermined outcome seems ill-suited for an exhibition on inundation. And even the phrasing here should be amended:‘on inundation’ impedes the inundation from occurring, it erects a dam (the stuttering alliteration ‘in inundation’ would be more apt, or simply: an inundated exhibition). Akin to the immersive properties of an installation but more ambivalent and subtle, awashawave is the mess that washes up on the shore.And as the tide rises the flotsam gets swallowed again by the relentless waves. Refuse and refuse, both verb and noun hereby activated.What I am inferring here is that at play is a resistance to the funnel of precision and accuracy in favor of the blur (see the brief curatorial statement on page 12 which hints at the direction I am delving in here but also counters it by its concision). One of the manners to enact inundation to its fullest extent in a curatorial essay would be to provide the unexpurgated narrative of an exhibition. Especially one that recounts the minutiae of the days immediately prior to the opening, the inevitably hectic install. This entails revealing such mundane details as travel and shipping arrangements as well as the musings of the curator—exposed in their inchoate state, prior to the crystallization of cogency. How all of these intertwine constitutes the reality of an exhibition, but rarely is that reality itself exhibited. The merit of that reveal and the success of its translation to text is debatable. The import is not to let expected failure of this enterprise hamper the exploratory process. Whether this log will fulfill the promise of an all-inclusive behind-the-scenes accounting of the exhibition install is questionable. What is more certain is that in comparison to a standard curatorial essay, it is woefully incomplete. Some works are barely discussed, others not at all. No hierarchy of preference is inferred or implied by these omissions, just the unfettered logic of inconclusiveness at work in these daily scatterings. Circumstantial evidence herein.
(30 days in the life of an exhibition)
by Christof migone
(2) Gaston Bachelard, L’eau et les rêves Essai sur l’imagination de la matière (Paris: Librairie José Corti, 1942), 211. (3) Bachelard, 210. (4) Gilles Deleuze, & Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia, vol.2, trans. Brian Massumi (University of Minnesota Press, 1983), 164. (5) Walter Benjamin, The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin 1910-1940, eds. Gershom Scholem and Theodor W. Adorno, trans. Manfred R. Jacobson and Evelyn M. Jacobson (University of Chicago Press, 1994), 335.
March 19, 2009
How to unravel through writing when writing inherently constitutes? How to unwrite a text, how to unlearn language? Three possibilities: 1. By typographical intervention, erasure or negation. 2. By inserting incongruous remarks, non sequiturs that combat the pull of disambiguation. Kafka’s diary entry of March 29, 1912 is remarkable in this regard: “Delighted with the bathroom. Gradual understanding. The afternoons I spent on my hair.”(1) The domestic bliss mixed with the introspective insight and the uncharacteristic vanity leaves the reader unhinged. 3. By staging the present series of concurrently reticent and unabashed reflections, annotations, transcriptions, deferrals, citations. A heterogeneous mix undoing the knot it just concocted—an apposite tactic for a submersion themed exhibition.
-------------------------------------------------------March 21, 2009
The epigrammatic image in Georges Perec’s Species of Spaces is an empty frame identified as a “Map of the Ocean” by Lewis Carroll.(6) Carroll’s conceptual navigational tool maps a void, a bearingless species of space. The engulfing properties of the ocean mapped and rendered as a realm of possibility. A gallery space could be viewed as the embodied form of such an oceanic expanse. A porous container leaking its perennial reimaginings and recontextualizations. The degree zero of a volume, a sign effusing potentiality with its empty status temporary. It is that potentiality that sometimes affronts and threatens; the public realm is replete with guides and markers and is therefore not equipped to venture without buoys. The gallery is the stationary version of Foucault’s boat as he defines it in the “Of Other Spaces” essay:“the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea and that [...] has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination. The ship is the heterotopia par excellence.”(7) My addendum would be that, paradoxically, the only way the boat can float is if it sinks. In other words, the gallery must be porous, must be in conversation with the surrounding. That is what Foucault infers by ‘given over’, it has a self-awareness of its alien status—a stranger amongst predetermined spaces. I am purposefully conflating boat and ocean here, the two components that constitute the condition of possibility of the voyage of an exhibition—in other words, the thin and frail thread of the known as it makes its way across the expanse of the unknown.
(1) Franz Kafka, Diaries (New York: Shocken, 1976), 200.
-------------------------------------------------------March 20, 2009
awashawave, with the awkward alliterative title that slips by, but that also arrests with its self-conscious typography and word play, contains a fortuitous abundance of the letter ‘a,’ which Bachelard identifies as the vowel of water.(2) He precedes this by stating that “liquidity is the very desire of language. Language seeks to sink.”(3) The lack of specificity of the indefinite article (as opposed to ‘the’) points to a sunken language. How is this peculiar language, steeped in wallow and swallow, to be considered in relation to modes of communication predicated on dehydration (i.e. an axiomatic system, positivism or the language of predetermined answers)? Deleuze & Guattari depict the indefinite article as “the conductor of desire,” as an article that is “not indeterminate or undifferentiated, but expresses the pure determination of intensity, intensive difference.”(4) Their intent is to keep their disorganized body indistinguishable from desire, keep the fluidity that bathes viscera active and productive. There is a connection to the tensions between the one and the many (the self amidst the collective) to be made here, but I would like to defer it for now. Instead, I would like to dwell on the impasse my thinking has reached at this early stage of the essay. Keep in mind that the essay form is based on the notion of an attempt, a test. While I am veering away from certain formal conventions of the genre, this text remains in that tradition, a proto-essay perhaps. Or a Benjaminian convolute:“The work on the Paris Arcades is taking on an ever more mysterious and insistent mien and howls into my nights like a small beast if I have failed to water it at the most distant springs during the day. God knows what it will do when, one of these days, I set it free.”(5) Text irrigation.
(6) Lewis Carroll in Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (New York: Penguin, 2008 ), 2. (7) Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces,” trans. Jay Miskowiec, diacritics 16:1 (Spring 1986), 27.
-------------------------------------------------------March 22, 2009
James Joyce responds to the question of Bloom’s fascination with water with a remarkable enumeration that focuses on its geophysical attributes. But there is a tinge of metaphysics at work here as well (not to mention the deluge of the list itself): What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier, returning to the range, admire? Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own
level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator’s projection: its unplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including millions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and islands, its persistent formation of homothetic islands, peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents, gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, Artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve:
its secrecy in springs and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the well by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe), numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90 percent of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.(8) (8) James Joyce, Ulysses (New York: Random House, 1990), 671-2.
-------------------------------------------------------March 23, 2009
An imaginary map of awashawave. At this stage, the gallery spaces are empty, the placement of the works is merely hypothetical. A transcription of the ad lib narration on the videos:“We are entering the Blackwood Gallery, in the entrance area we will be hearing Michael Snow’s audio piece; at least one track from the 2 Radio Solos.Then as we enter the gallery on this wall there will be two freestanding billboards. One over here, the other one probably over there. They will display the video projection diptych Vox Pop by Antonia Hirsch. The screens will be fairly high up. On the opposite wall, the longest continuous wall in the gallery, there will be two large works, black and white photographic prints by Kelly Wood, at both ends of this wall. The pieces are translations of sound into image so the placement is meant to invoke where two speakers would normally be placed. And on the floor in several little islands, in locations that haven’t been precisely determined yet will be Young-Sup Kim’s faux ceramic objects.They’re made of white speaker wire and each of them contains a sound-emitting speaker. The sound from this piece will blend with Michael Snow’s piece that you will hear coming from the entrance area.”
Now moving to the e|gallery. The transcription continues:“One half of the e|gallery is painted entirely in black. Over here you’ll have one of Diane Landry’s washing machines, titled Madonnas, and at the entrance, one of Louis Fortier’s pieces. This is the other half of the gallery and it will be all white. Here you’ll have the other washing machine of Diane Landry’s, and again right in the front as you enter into the space the other in a series of Louis Fortier’s Le Sénat. The other piece that will permeate both spaces is the second track of Michael Snow’s 2 Radio Solos. Finally, on the video wall, located in the atrium the CCT building, will be Arnold Koroshegyi’s work.” -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------March 24, 2009
Arnold Koroshegyi’s artist statement about Rupture, his piece featured on the video wall of the CCT building: Rupture (6 minutes, looped DVD) is a video piece exploring the association of the photographic blur with the invisible blur of wireless information. Bringing together information aesthetics, locative media and digital photography, Rupture features an unpredictable, aleatory camera that moves across lush, tableau-like photographs of artificial foliage developed from a home-built digital scanner camera (where the focal plane is ‘exposed’ in a series of linear motions, over short intervals of time). At a distance, the resulting colour-saturated almost hyperreal images appear painting-like, as in a pre-Raphaelite tableau. Zoomed in, however, the streaking artifacts and the pixilated blurs ensuing from a digital camera registering motion (what the computer considers visible defects or loss of information), steer the viewer from any kind of romantic interpretation. Here, the tension between the painterly quality and the digital technological imprint questions the conceptual basis of how we read the out-of-focus in photographic images. Moreover, the subversive integration of FBI developed surveillance
software is what dictates the erratic, arbitrary movements of the video camera through the still photographs: local wireless Internet traffic on a laptop was recorded, then processed and translated it into a visual language which prescribed the trajectory of the video camera movements over the photographs. Rupture, through the interplay of the moving and static image, unsettles the focus: no longer can the eye contemplate the depth of the painterly photographs or try to discern the shapes beneath the pixilated blurs. Instead, the invisible blur of information is made visible through volatile camera movements that force the viewer’s eye to shift strangely across the screen: perception flounders, inundated by technology and artifice.”
conjured up. That’s to be expected, visualizing with a floor plan is no match for having the objects occupying the space. The phenomenology of the install would be a shorthand way to begin to theorize based on that experience. Pursuing the debates on theatricality would be the discursive course to take here but now the screens have found their final position and this tangential discussion has been preempted (Michael Fried grieves). ------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------March 25, 2009
(soon) --------------------------------------------March 26, 2009
(at some point) --------------------------------------------March 27, 2009
(in progress) --------------------------------------------March 28, 2009
(...) (why retain these bracketed placeholders?) (do these euphemisms of deferral exasperate and possibly even exacerbate your reading?)(pathetic parenthetical)(days pass blank)( )(some days pass, filled but blank) (install and reflect and write)(incompatible simultaneously)( )(mark the failure) (nonetheless)(.) ---------------------------------------------
March 31, 2009
Antonia speaking on video:“A lot of the work I do deals with how individual experience interfaces with a wider social matrix. So, with Vox Pop, produced in 2008, I became quite interested in the individual within a crowd and I think everybody is familiar with the audience wave at sports events where you have a crowd
March 29, 2009
awashawave, an unwieldy but mellifluous word to match the Blackwood Gallery’s location: Mississauga. Image grid of highway signs provided to mark the imminent arrival of two of the out-of-town artists, starting tomorrow with Antonia Hirsch from Vancouver and Young-Sup Kim from Seoul. --------------------------------------------March 30, 2009
Install views of the billboard-type screens for Antonia Hirsch’s video diptych Vox Pop. They are not quite as high in the space as I had imagined them, and their relative position also has shifted from the version I had
of people moving almost as if they were one body and one mind. But if you’ve ever tried to actually initiate a wave or stop it, it’s practically impossible. It’s sort of this weird thing were there seems to be a sort of groupthink and at the same time you can’t really locate the power that actually triggers and controls it. So I did some research on audience waves and there has actually been a lot of research done, particularly in the context of crowd control. For example, scientists have tried to figure out how crowds move in emergency situations and how they react to obstacles. In these studies I was able to find out about the speed with which the average audience wave moves, it’s about 12 feet a second. Curiously, I also learnt that apparently in the northern hemisphere audience waves usually move clockwise and in the southern hemisphere counterclockwise. That’s just a bit of trivia. Now, this piece is a two channel video piece where on one channel you see a camera doing a panoptic tracking shot of a stadium, a 360 degree tracking shot and what happens is that the camera moves at that average speed of an audience wave. The stadium is completely empty but the wave is evoked through the eye of the camera. On the other channel you see a single audience member —looking very forlorn in a sea of empty chairs—get up and do the gestural movement that’s associated with the wave. He does it once per 360 degree cycle on the other screen. Depending on how you look at it, it either looks really funny and pathetic, or some people also find it quite eerie because it raises associations with gestures of political or religious salutes. The other thing I should say is that I originally conceived of the piece for a dual outdoor video screen, one of those huge advertising screens. It takes the camera or an audience wave about a minute to get around the 360 degrees of the stadium and so the loop of the piece is one minute long. However, on these video billboards advertising is usually only about 10 seconds long, so 60 seconds is epic by comparison, and in addition, there’s not that much happening in the piece. So while I was really interested in the spectacular nature of these mass events, I was also interested in interrupting the spectacle of advertising by really slowing down the pace and when you see the work outdoors there’s nothing to indicate that this is art or what this is all about. It’s just this very odd moment within the fast-paced stream of advertising. In the gallery it’s quite different and here at the Blackwood it is the first time that I’ve installed the work in a gallery setting; we have decided to emulate this idea of advertising or the form of spectacular address by creating these projection screens that reference billboards a little bit.”
-------------------------------------------------------April 1, 2009
On one screen, a full circle pan, like a spinning wheel or record on a turntable. On the other screen, a lone scratch causing a skip, a lone body in an invisible crowd, standing up and raising his arms to catch the wave. Does he succeed in sharing the synchrony of the gesture with the invisible crowd or is he confirming the 360 degrees of separation? In Crowds and Power Elias Canetti speculates that “religions [may] begin with these invisible crowds”, there is an inherent spectrality in Antonia Hirsch’s Vox Pop that would suggest that the force and scope of totality (hinting at the totalitarian impulse but not wanting to pin it down) is critically addressed here through the solo gesture.(9) Not just solo but solitary, Georges Didi-Huberman offers a proviso for such gestures:“He seemed to be dancing with his solitude, as if it was fundamentally a ‘partnered solitude’, which is to say, a complex solitude populated by images, dreams and memory. Thus, he danced his solitudes, thereby creating a multiplicity.”(10) The staging of the individual’s action should also be examined sonically, the muteness of the stadium is deafening. Ralph Ellison poses the question in Invisible Man: “What about those fellows waiting still and silent there on the platform, so still and silent that they clash with the crowd in their very immobility; standing noisy in their very silence; harsh as a cry of terror in their quietness?”(11). The vox populi is loud and clear through an alternate amplification system (also concretely evoked by the billboards), one economical and reductive, evoking foreboding and pathos. In Vox Pop, the constitutive unit of the wave is isolated and itemized; its agency is under question.The sole power of the gesture is in its undermining commentary on power, it’s a lowercase power, it’s a transient skip on the inexorable progress of the wave on its way to submersion. One minute later the next wave breaks. And so on. (9) Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power, trans. Carol Stewart (New York: Continuum, 1981 ), 45, emphasis in text. (10) Georges Didi-Huberman, Le danseur des solitudes (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 2006), 15, Translation mine. (11) Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (New York: Vintage 1995 ), 440, emphasis added.
---------------------------------------------April 2, 2009
Antonia Hirsch’s Vox Pop itemized the wave to an absurdist level, emulating Italo Calvino’s Mr. Palomar who attempts to read a wave by isolating a single instance of one:“it could perhaps be the key to mastering the world’s complexity by reducing it to its simplest mechanism.”(12) Michael Snow also shortens the wave but in the opposite direction and in an altogether different medium. One might say that in 2 Radio Solos
Snow does not resort to a reduction but instead dwells on the world’s complexity. As manifested in the radio signals of shortwave frequencies featured, there is a veritable cornucopian palette of sounds in these lengthy tracks (titled Short Wavelength and The Papaya Plantations): pulses, beats, hisses, tones, cracklings, a Babelian assortment of voices, music of various genres, and noises of all stripes. Their complexity and countless number are foregrounded by Snow’s acute listening and fine tuned improvising. He animates these densely populated frequencies from an isolated location—the solitary player in a cabin tuning in the multitude (he echoes the lonely waver in the empty stadium of Vox Pop after all). In The Practice of Everyday Life de Certeau presents a body that is heard but not seen, one that haunts the everyday, a sonic body who emits a spectral presence. And “these are the reminiscences of bodies lodged in ordinary language and marking its path, like white pebbles dropped through the forest of signs.”(13) 2 Radio Solos inverses that equation, they present a forest of unintelligible sounds with brief moments of recognition, the signs are sporadic amidst the awashed soundscape. But the link is apt nonetheless, and especially given de Certeau’s astounding addendum:“An amorous experience, ultimately.”(14) de Certeau is portraying the body’s persistent presence in language (a thread that Barthes fully mined as well), but one could also readily describe the relationship of the improviser and his instrument as such. The love implied in the act of tuning in, in receiving. The multi-band chaotic orchestra played (and listened to) by Snow in 2 Radio Solos are presented as sonic envelopes in both gallery spaces. In one, blending in with the sound of Young-Sup Kim’s work, and in the other, with Diane Landry’s washing machines. In both instances they are located high on the wall or on the ceiling so that the visitor hears them coming from above, as both ethereal emanations and saturated groundswells. (There is a link here to the Sirens—in Homer, Kafka, Joyce, Blanchot—that should eventually be made and followed up). (12) Italo Calvino, Mr. Palomar (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1985), 6. (13) Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 163. (14) Ibid.
The prints were produced by the deceptively (and refreshingly) simple procedure of opening up a sound Kelly Wood’s two colourgenic prints culled from her file in Photoshop. The size of the file (i.e. the length Binary Sound Series (2008) foreground works by key of the track) automatically determined the size of Canadian figures in experimental music and sound art: the image; no resizing was done by the artist. Duration diThe Nihilist Spasm Band – An Appeal To Reason rectly translated to area.Time to space. Correlates emerge (1984)Formed in 1965, and based out of London, amongst seemingly disparate and incompatible forms. Ontario, the Nihilist Spasm Band continue to produce a unique form of free improvised noise using a variety Sound art, on the wall, as an image, at last. of specially made electric and acoustic instruments. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Members include artists Greg Curnoe (1936-1992), April 4, 2009 John Boyle (1941-), and Murray Favro (1940-). An A sample of Young-Sup Kim’s objects, made solely out of Appeal To Reason was recorded live at the Forest speaker wire.The speaker wire is functional and will feed City Gallery in London, Ontario, an artist-run centre the sound to the bare speakers that will be inserted inside that has hosted many of the band’s performances each of the twenty objects that will be spread throughout which have happened nearly every Monday night the floor of the Blackwood Gallery. Objects with diverted for more than three decades. functionality but still containing and shaping and finally, pouring out. John Oswald – Bell Speeds (1983-90) April 3, 2009
John Oswald, born in Kitchener, Ontario in 1953, is a composer, musician, dance choreographer and visual artist best known for his “plunderphonic” recordings which he assembles using freely appropriated samples of popular music. After the release of the full-length album Plunderphonic (1989), Oswald faced legal action for alleged copyright infringement by lawyers representing Michael Jackson, and was forced to destroy existing copies of the CD. Bell Speeds is composed of the sound of a bell electronically processed to produce a range of tones in multiple layers.
April 5, 2009
Sunday is the day for to-do lists.Today: send personal email invites.Tomorrow: install Kelly Wood piece, connect audio for Michael Snow piece in both galleries, continue to install Young-Sup Kim in Blackwood Gallery, install Louis Fortier pieces in the e|gallery, order vinyl lettering.Tuesday: Diane Landry’s talk.Wednesday: Diane installs her washing machines in e|gallery, work on maps for the spaces,Arnold sets up his piece on video wall.Thursday: The Opening. Friday: closed (Good Friday). Saturday: 2 Radio Solos CD launch with Michael Snow at Art Metropole.
April 6, 2009
April 9, 2009
I forgot to add one thing to the above list: exhausted.
The Opening.“A sail! A veil awave upon the waves.” (17)
(17) James Joyce, Ulysses (New York: Random House, 1990), 256. The surrounding section is fantastically sonorous as well: “Boomed crashing chords. When love absorbs. War! War! The tympanum. A sail! A veil awave upon the waves. Lost. Throstle fluted. All is lost now.”
April 7, 2009
Views of Diane Landry’s Madonnas being installed in the e|gallery. Alison Syme was commissioned to write an essay specifically focusing on this piece.“What Comes Out in the Wash” (see pages 36-39) provides a historical background to the technical development of the praxinoscope, the 19th-century optical device that Landry is utilizing in Madonnas. Syme also deftly articulates the correlations between the praxinoscope and the washing machine in the context of the transformations of labour and commodity in the late 19th century—a foundational period for modernity. Consequently, the issues raised by these transformations ineluctably remain present-day concerns.
-------------------------------------------------------April 10, 2009
awashawave is both the first show (a naive melody) and the last (a considered culmination). It is both the only show (complete focus and attention) and only a show (part of a continuity). -------------------------------------------------------April 11, 2009
-------------------------------------------------------April 8, 2009
Louis Fortier made some variations of his Le Sénat series especially for this exhibition. These are comparatively more compressed, condensed, collapsed. They accentuate even further the deformation and the merging of the variations—no longer a series of faces but a single face in motion.Writing on ‘pulsation’ in Formless: A User’s Guide,Yve-Alain Bois wrote that it “involves an endless beat that punctures the disembodied selfclosure of pure visuality and incites an irruption of the carnal.”(15) The carnal is preeminent in these portraits, they forego depiction in favor of a distortion close afield from the disgust associated with abject flesh. Kristeva paraphrased in an entry by Rosalind Krauss in the aforementioned guide:“The abject-as-intermediary [i.e. between subject and object, but neither of the two] is thus a matter of both uncrossable boundaries and undifferentiable substances, which is to say a subject position that seems to cancel the very subject it is operating to locate, and an object relation from which the definability of the object (and thus its objecthood) disappears.”(16) These wax ‘pulsed’ portraits embody precisely this, Fortier’s face disappears in its repetition, representation is swallowed up by an undeniable mass. (15) Yve-Alain Bois & Rosalind E. Krauss, Formless: A User’s Guide (New York: Zone, 1997), 32. (16) Ibid., 237-8.
In reference to the imaginary map of awashawave in the form of a set of impromptu video clips transcribed above (see March 23 entry) here are the same spaces with the works installed, the actualized map of the exhibition:“Entering the Blackwood now. It might be a little bit difficult to hear my voice because of the sound of Short Wavelength, first track from Michael Snow’s 2 Radio Solos playing on the speaker you see near the ceiling. The other sound source in the gallery emanates from Young-Sup Kim’s twenty faux ceramics made of speaker wire and they playback a 90 minute piece on five distinct channels. In front of the curved wall is Antonia’s Vox Pop featuring a continuous wide shot of a stadium, circling, and a close up of a solitary viewer who, once a minute, performs a wave. Kelly Wood’s photo prints are arranged on the opposite wall in a way to resemble two speakers given the fact that they’re two translations of sound data into image data. The one you’re looking at now is a track from the Nihilist Spasm Band, An Appeal to Reason. They are a legendary noise band from London, Ontario, who’ve been around since 1965. The second piece is Torontobased composer John Oswald’s Bell Speeds.You can try it yourself by bringing a sound file straight into Photoshop and you will get similar results.Turning now to the black half of the e|gallery where you can hear The Papaya Plantations, the second track from Michael Snow’s CD. And this is one of two of Diane Landry’s washing machines and Louis Fortier, Le Sénat. Switching to the other half of the e|gallery and again you can hear Michael snow’s piece and this is the second washing machine and the second variation of Louis Fortier, Le Sénat. Finally, on the video wall we have Arnold Koroshegyi’s piece, Rupture.
-------------------------------------------------------April 12, 2009
I have a predilection for the diaristic genre, it is a narrative form that tends to reveal and as such appeals to the confessional impulse and thereby the voyeuristic and exhibitionist binary.That dynamic can be titillating, but my interest lies more in the torrent of words the format is prone to produce. My attempts to emulate this mode here have not really proved successful. I am realizing the difficulty in breaking ingrained habits. My writing veers toward the elliptical, it has a propensity for condensed kernels (of dubious merit sometimes). Verbosity seemed to be the way to counter my inclination for elliptical writing. This strategic constraint aimed to loosen the hold of the rational and to free the form of the curatorial essay from its role as road map to the exhibition. awashawave wants you to get lost. The first entry stated:“It’s about inundation as opposed to distillation” and I am prone to distill as opposed to inundate. Counter-currents. I maintain, however, that there is an immersive property to be gleaned from reductive tendencies. I think that it is all in the wavering, the fluctuating. The ambivalence caused by lack does not differ much from the one caused by excess. awashawave offers both extremes as ends that meet. Does stubborn ambivalence and ambiguity have a political dimension? Is the calculated apositioning equatable with standing on the sidelines and acquiescing? The politics of awashawave are left to you.
in leaving this unfinished, it is difficult to reconcile however with one’s own expectations for a definite statement, an encapsulating summary. A significant strain of thought treads on a similar path of skirting around resolution (surfacing particularly from the 19th century onwards). Blanchot defined writing as the act of “trac[ing] a circle within which the outside of any circle would inscribe itself.”(18) To be inside the outside, to be outside the inside. A container that leaks. Some writers nod in this directionless direction but cannot resist the pull and resulting comfort of a teleological assertion. Authority and power invariably come into play as one negotiates the stakes involved, to undermine them in a meaningful and structural manner is a difficult task. There is a distinct possibility that my position as curator does not allow me to even invoke such a strategy. Nevertheless, here we are both, in a provisional here and now. Let’s leave it at that. (18) Maurice Blanchot, L’entretien infini (Paris: Paris: Gallimard, 1969), 111. Translation mine.
----------------------------------------April 14, 2009
Loose beginnings, loose ends.
April 13, 2009
April 15, 2009
This hybrid text is close to its end, but (unlike print publication)(and now contradicted but further amplified by the fact that it sits on a page) the advantage of online publishing is that this doesn’t necessarily entail closure. Nor print evidently. No seal, no binding, no finishing.The text stays open—vulnerable (pokable). Many more threads need to be explored (I have left some hints along the way). Several of the works have not yet been properly discussed. They all merit attention and consideration. There is a certain freedom
“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”(19) (19) Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or The Whale (New York: Penguin, 1992), 62. The reference is to Queequeg’s native home, a far way island called Kokovoko. The plethora of alliteration in the island’s name is quite fitting for a clump of land awashawaved by three hundred and sixty degrees of sea.
what Comes Out in the wash by Alison Syme
Diane Landry’s Madonnas (2007) revive a 19th-century optical device: the praxinoscope. From the Greek praxis (action), a praxinoscope is an instrument for viewing action or motion. Invented in 1876 and patented in 1877 by a French science teacher, Charles-Émile Reynaud, the praxinoscope was one of many 19th-century optical devices that exploited retinal after-images to create an illusion. The thaumatrope or ‘wonder-turner,’ which became a popular household toy in the 1820s, was the simplest and earliest of these devices. It consisted of a circular or square piece of card with different images painted on each side. Strings attached to the edges allowed the viewer to twirl the card; when spun, the images optically combined.Visual perception is not instantaneous: if it were we’d be able to isolate every spoke in a spinning bicycle wheel. Optical impressions linger, so the spokes of a moving wheel blur together.The thaumatrope made this physiological phenomenon plain, as erstwhile isolated birds and cages, hats and heads, horses and riders, dancing partners, and the like came together in the observing eye. Dr. John Paris, a British physician, used this simple apparatus to demonstrate the persistence of vision to his medical peers at the Royal College of Physicians in 1824. Optical devices developed in the decades after the thaumatrope often used image sequences— of figures dancing, animals jumping, etc.—to create the illusion of continuous motion. The phenakistoscope or ‘trick-viewer,’ invented by the Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau in 1833, consisted of a perforated, spinnable disc attached to a handle. Drawn or printed images depicting the successive positions of figures and objects in motion decorated the outer half of the disc while vertical slits fanned out from the centre to the middle of the circle. The viewer held the device in front of the mirror, looked through one of the slits at the reflected image in the mirror, then spun the disc. The regular interruption of the image flow created by the slit structure prevented the images from blurring into one another and allowed for the proto-cinematic illusion of continuous action. The zoetrope or ‘life-turner’ also made use of slits to punctuate the flow of images, but it was no
longer a hand-held device. Shaped rather like a table lamp, the zoetrope was a cylindrical drum with a solid bottom and no top that rested and spun above a wooden base and column. Twelve or more successive images printed on an insertable band decorated the bottom half of the interior wall of the drum while an equal number of regularly spaced slits perforated the drum above, in between the images.When spun, a number of viewers stationed at different points around the circumference could experience the illusion. Reynaud added two features to the basic design of the zoetrope to create the praxinoscope. He placed a cylinder made up of vertical, rectangular pieces of mirror at the centre of the drum, and a lamp above it to illuminate the interior of the device. The viewer no longer peered through slits to see the illusion, but looked from above at the mirrored cylinder, which reflected the images lining the drum–like those for the zoetrope, printed on insertable bands.When the drum was spun, figures danced and moved in the mirror. The overall effect was brighter and more colourful than that created by the zoetrope or phenakistoscope, and Reynaud’s invention was a popular success: over 100,000 were sold in the first year.(1) His subsequent alterations to the device (discussed below) transformed it into an image projector, a forerunner of Thomas Edison’s kinetoscopes, developed in the 1890s, and the first silent films. Landry’s Madonnas are modified praxinoscopes. Instead of drums with central cylinders of mirrors, Landry’s versions consist of flat, horizontal discs of 12 images that are reflected in 12 mirrors, angled up and out from the centre of the discs, that form upside-down conical frustums. The discs and mirror frustums sit above lidless, white, top-loading washing machines on columnar extensions of the agitators. White fluorescent lights inside the tubs illuminate the translucent discs and mirror images from below. The photographic images on each disc consist of the head and shoulders of a middle-aged white woman in different positions; when one of the washing machines is started the woman appears to nod or bow up and down in the mirrored frustum. The familiar, rhythmic chug of the washing machine as the agitator spins the basket back and forth in the wash cycle accompanies her repeated movement.
The washing machine and praxinoscope form a curious but compatible couple. Jonathan Crary has argued that 19th-century optical devices helped shape the modern subject. Developed by scientists to help demonstrate or study the physiology of vision, or to help visualize phenomena the unaided human eye found difficult to discern, these instruments quickly became staples of middleclass entertainment and patterns of consumption.Tools of science and engaging toys, they assisted the bourgeois subject’s pursuit of both knowledge and pleasure. At the same time, though, they subjected the viewer’s body to a kind of mechanistic control. As Crary puts it, in using these optical instruments the viewer’s body was “aligned with and operating an assemblage of turning and regularly moving wheeled parts.”(2) Science, entertainment, and the proliferation of commodities were inseparable from the rationalization of time and bodies in modern culture. Marshalling attention and disciplining the body (which, through repeated use became comfortable with proximity to and physical integration with machinery), optical devices like the praxinoscope produced a new kind of modern observer—one literally geared toward a new type of visual consumption, of mobile and endlessly exchangeable images. Like 19th-century optical instruments, the washing machine was both a technological triumph and an essential commodity for the middle-class household. Rotary washers were invented in the 1850s, but the first successful manufacturing and marketing of domestic washing machines occurred in the 1870s, the same decade as the praxinoscope.(3) Beyond this historical coincidence, washing machines and optical devices were also linked by a material connection, though admittedly a fragile, tenuous, and ephemeral one. Many of the optical devices invented in the 19th century were designed by scientists who studied the washing machine’s most essential component: soapy water. To be precise, they studied the physics of soap bubbles and films. John Paris, popularizer of the thaumatrope, discussed the physics and optics of soap bubbles in his Philosophy in Sport Made Science in Earnest;(4) Joseph Plateau, inventor of the phenakistoscope,
used bubbles to theorize capillarity, surface tension, and minimal surface problems; and the first series of praxinoscope bands issued by Reynaud included a strip of soap bubbles. The historian of science Simon Schaffer has even argued that it was the desire to capture “the playful kinematics of drops and films” that led to the design of apparatuses capable of reproducing transient phenomena, that is, to the development of the optical devices discussed here.(5) Paradoxically, these machines capable of mastering transience assisted in the commodification of images and the creation of a constantly shifting visual field flooded with ephemera. Similarly, the washing machine that harnessed the cleansing power of soap bubbles and promised freedom from labour and industry was itself part of a system of fetishized commodities that mechanized and isolated producers and consumers.
praxinoscope and partially laying bare the apparatus by which her moving pictures are made (the electricity cords are hidden beneath carpets), Landry also exposes the way mothers—household madonnas—are products of industrial capitalism’s most basic tenets: private property and the division of labour. What is it about commodities, though, that gives rise to mystification? A commodity, Marx tells us,“appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.” He illustrates his point with an example: a table. The wood it is made of is not mysterious, nor is the table’s function. The table itself, though,“so soon as it steps forth as a commodity […] is changed into something transcendent.” More animate and imaginate than the workers who made it, the table “not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than ‘table-turning’ ever was.”(8) Table-turning ostensibly occurs when spirits invoked at a séance spin—literally animate—the tabletop. In Marx’s image, commodities give rise to phantasms that, grotesquely, supersede human interactions: with commodity culture imaginary relations between things become more important than actual relations between persons.
Both the historical praxinoscope and Landry’s 21st-century versions exhibit an ambivalent relation to commodity phantasmagoria. As Crary points out, in the praxinoscope and earlier optical devices, the workings behind the production of the illusion were laid bare; viewers simultaneously enjoyed the fiction and the demonstration of its production. The praxinoscope was one of the last exemplars of such mechanism-exposing illusion devices: in 1879 Reynaud unveiled the ‘Théatre-Praxinoscope,’ a praxinoscope with a proscenium stage that hid the turning drum and mirrors; the phantasm, framed by curtains, was now only available from one point of view. Reynaud then developed a projecting praxinoscope in 1888, called the ‘Théatre Optique,’ which directed viewers’ attention away from the device itself, introducing an ever-widening gap between the means of production and the space of illusion. These increasingly phantasmagoric spectacles obscured “the form of subjection”(6) the devices themselves entailed. Placed on white pedestals and bathed in auratic light, Landry’s moving madonnas are illusionist spectacles, but they also foreground their mechanisms and, as the figures are literally incorporated into the machinery of domesticity, one form of subjection commodity culture entails. The artist has described her piece as an “homage and hymn to the work of women all over the world,”(7) to their patient performance of endless, repetitive, mechanical, domestic tasks. In reworking the
Landry’s spinning discs, like Marx’s hypothetical tabletop, create the illusion of animation and draw on Western religious mysteries. Her madonnas are spotless appliances, exactly what virgin mothers should be: obliging, pure vessels with wondrous stain-removing powers. Theological niceties indeed! Commodity and religious fetishes in one, these domestic goddesses, angels of the house, perform ritual motions, offering viewers absolution just as their hollow bodies promise cleansing through watery ablution. Crary discusses the modern observer as a subject in compliance as well as a viewer: aligned and allied with machinery, the observer, however unwittingly, observes (obeys) the rules of capitalist production. Landry brings the notion of religious observation into this constellation of meanings, as well as the supplicatory—not to say appealing—aspect of appliances.
As modified readymades, the Madonnas are kin to Duchamp’s urinal with its Marian silhouette; they belong to the world of plumbing, after all. They also reach back, though, to earlier arts. If Landry’s piece overtly employs the technology of the praxinoscope, it implicitly evokes an earlier animating and entertaining device: the marionette. The term “marionette” refers to puppets operated by strings or wires and persons who can be controlled or manipulated; etymologically it derives from images of the Virgin Mary and thus links to centuries-old forms of superstition and ritual. Landry’s washing machines are rotary votaries; the madonnas’ jerky head movements are puppet-like, as is their “acquiescence” (the artist’s term) to their “mind-numbing and poorly paid work.” If they are made puppet- or automaton-like, though, these woman-machines are something more monstrous too. Traditional praxinoscope image sequences separate the successive images by lines or blank space. In Landry’s piece, however, the still images are fused at the shoulders.When one of the washing machines is activated, the viewer sees three heads on a single torso nodding up and down in quick succession; the sheltering Madonna becomes a mutant trinity, twisting in agitation, churning at the observer’s approach. Or rather, the constantly scanning figure becomes a forbidding Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the river Styx separating the world of the living from that of the dead. Although waterless, the washing machine may still be a kind of whirlpool—a conduit to the underworld. It’s certainly a tide trap. Commodities, like table-turning, it would seem, can conjure up more than one bargained for. The lights in the machines cannot banish the shadows. Landry’s modified praxinoscopes, then, show us that not everything comes out in the wash. Her madonnas are a decidedly maculate conception: spectres of marks haunt this laundry, which calls attention to the human cost of amenities.
(1) JONATHAN CRARY, SUSPENSIONS OF PERCEPTION: ATTENTION, SPECTACLE, AND MODERN CULTURE (CAMBRIDGE, MA AND LONDON: MIT PRESS, 1999), 260. (2) JONATHAN CRARY, TECHNIQUES OF THE OBSERVER: ON VISION AND MODERNITY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY (CAMBRIDGE, MA AND LONDON: MIT PRESS, 1990), 112. (3) SIMON SCHAffER, “A SCIENCE WHOSE BUSINESS IS BURSTING: SOAP BUBBLES AS COMMODITIES IN CLASSICAL PHYSICS,” IN THINGS THAT TALK: OBJECT LESSONS FROM ART AND SCIENCE, ED. LORRAINE DASTON (NEW YORK: ZONE BOOKS, 2004), 147-192, 152. (4) JOHN PARIS, PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST (LONDON: LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN, 1827). (5) SCHAffER, “SOAP BUBBLES AS COMMODITIES,” 172. (6) CRARY, TECHNIQUES OF THE OBSERVER, 132. (7) ARTIST’S DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT. (8) KARL MARX, “THE FETISHISM OF COMMODITIES AND THE SECRET THEREOF” IN CAPITAL, ED. DAVID MCLELLAN (OXFORD: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1995), 42-50, 42.
Live the lives, live them all, Keep the dreams separate, See: I rise, See: I fall Am an other, am no other. Paul Celan
An exhibition bound by gravity. An exhibition where to be bound by gravity was considered, diverted, inverted. Some work defied gravity (Kempinas), others simultaneously defied and confirmed its inevitable pull (Litherland and his skydiving projects). Yet others will allude to the rise and fall in Celan’s epigraph and featured the ebb and flow of breathing (Kierulf) as well as his notion of the self as ‘other’ (Jones with her implicit reference to The Man Who Fell To Earth). Tactics involving wind and magnetism, amongst others, were recruited to counter the fated force of attraction which ties our feet to the ground and keeps the Earth spinning around the Sun. Orbits are relationships defined by thwarted falls, they dance the push and pull pairing of two bodies. The physiological and psychological impact of gravity warranted particular attention in this exhibition (with a special nod to Philippe Halsman’s Jumpology project). Fall Out was also a study of outcomes, epiphanies and consequences (Maly). It was an examination of remnants and how they act as triggers in perennial permutation —in other words, Fall Out dwelled on a fall out that never settles. Fall Out was followed by Fall In. Artists in the second exhibition responded to the works in the first exhibition. During Fall In both coexisted in the gallery.
Paul Celan, Threadsuns, trans. Pierre Joris (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 2000), 25.
FALL OUT IN
ROBYN CUMMING SIMONE JONES ŽILVINAS KEMPINAS ERIKA KIERULF KRISTIINA LAHDE PAUL LITHERLAND VALERIAN MALY TOM SHERMAN DON SIMMONS
CURATED BY CHRISTOF MIGONE SEPTEMBER 14 - DECEMBER 13, 2009
top: Kristiina Lahde, Delete; bottom left to right: Paul Litherland, Freefall Fighters; Robyn Cumming, My Heart Is Breaking and Untitled
Ĺ˝ilvinas Kempinas, O (Between Fans); Tom Sherman, Hyperventilation piece
TOP: Robyn Cumming, White Light and Many Shades of Pink BOTTOM: Don Simmons, Bachelor Forever
Paul Litherland, Force of Attraction and Freefall Fighters
Fall Out Fall In Fall Out Fall In Fall Through Fall Out Fall In Fall Through Fall From Fall Out Fall In Fall Through Fall From Fall To Fall Out Fall In Fall Through Fall From Fall To Fall With Fall Out Fall In Fall Through Fall From Fall To Fall With Fall Under
Erika Kierulf, Breathe
Simone Jones, Perfect Vehicle
Simone Jones, Perfect Vehicle
Valerian Maly, Apple (Windfall/Fallobst)
I was hanging around Ypsilanti, Michigan, having finished my BFA degree in sculpture at Eastern Michigan University. I was 23 years old, bean-pole thin and had shoulderlength straight dark brown hair and a full black beard. I had met John Orentlicher who had just joined the faculty. John said he heard I might be interested in working with video equipment. He told me he had booked some video gear for over the Christmas break, December 1970, and if I was interested, we could experiment with video.
I said I wanted to document a performance in which I would hyperventilate until I passed out. I had never hyperventilated until I blacked out but thought it was possible. We set up a camera on a tripod at chest height. I taped a line on the floor with its far end about ten feet from the camera. It formed a ‘runway’ toward the camera and had perpendicular strips of tape at one foot intervals. I stood at the far end of the line, facing the camera, and had John frame me so I was in the shot from the waist up. Then he started recording, I became still, concentrating while I looked directly into the camera, and then began to inhale and exhale the deepest breaths I could.
According to the plan, at one minute into the exercise John called out “one” and I took one step closer to the camera. After two minutes John called “two” and I advanced another foot closer. By about the four minute mark I was beginning to feel spasms rippling through my abdominal muscles and my arms and hands were curling in at my sides. By the fifth minute I was labouring hard and my breathing was a hoarse roar, and beside the contractions in my torso I was drooling thick strings of saliva. I was getting light headed but the burning intensity of the exertion was keeping me grounded. I just kept pushing hard to hyperventilate myself into oblivion and eventually found myself on the floor looking at the ceiling. I had fallen completely out of the frame at six minutes and forty seven seconds. My legs had buckled and I had hit my left hip and the back of my head on the floor before I had come to a rest.
Watching the playback of the recording, I was in a close-up by the time John had stopped counting at five minutes, as planned. I was heaving in and partially out of the frame with each convulsing breath. On the tape you could see my eyes roll back into my head as I spun out of the frame and went down. The camera showed only the wall behind me as the video camera’s microphone recorded the percussion of my collapse and continued to capture heavy breathing from the floor. There was some relief in the respiration as I was gasping for breath from outside the frame. John let me lie there for the couple of minutes before I pulled myself up.
I carried the ½ inch reel-to-reel video recording of my hyperventilation performance around with me for a couple of years and showed it to interested parties in private screenings here and there. It was lost shortly after I moved to Toronto in the fall of 1971.
I just kept pushing hard to hyperventilate myself into oblivion and eventually found myself on the floor looking at the ceiling.
Tom Sherman, Hyperventilation piece
Simone Jones - Perfect Vehicle (20032006) Video, 10min. 26sec. and custom-made vehicle. This was the premiere presentation of this installation which included vehicle and video projection. The video documents the workings of an 11 foot-long, three-wheeled vehicle that is propelled by breathing. In order to move, the vehicle harnesses the up and down motion of the rib cage as the ‘driver’ breathes. It was shot on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2006.
Robyn Cumming - From the Little Legs series (2006): Many Shades of Pink, White Light, Undone, My Heart is Breaking. From the Oh, Mother series (2007): Untitled.C-prints, variable dimensions. The photographic series Little Legs explores my fascination with human beings and our relationship to objects and environments. It explores the strangeness and absurdity one experiences in being human and embraces the performative nature of our everyday existence. The images present certain truths that can only be unearthed by photography’s capabilities to explore the virtual, to explore those things that often remain hidden. It is in these small ruptures—a gesture, an absurd moment, the texture of a certain fabric or a mesmerizing pattern—that one can connect to something very real and yet often manifest only in these fictions. The constructed image can act as a story that, though utterly fictitious in all respects, lends more insight than reality ever can. The images ultimately mine the allusive and intriguing nature of memory and trauma. In Oh, Mother, my interest is the strange space in which the entity of the mother exists. There is this tension that surrounds the mother— all at once sacred and exalted yet simultaneously hysteric. The mother is worshipped as an ideal that is holy, un-tainted, and wildly unrealistic, therefore, her mistakes, her simple flaws, make her fall from grace all the more tragic. The mother becomes this myth, a sort of exaggerated image of herself and of all the contradictory qualities that have come to define her. In essence, the mother is beautifully flawed because she is irrevocably human.
Žilvinas Kempinas - O (Between Fans) (2006) Magnetic tape, fans, dimensions variable. Two fans face each other and generate an air pocket that enables a loop of videotape to float and fly, dance and twirl. The fact that it stays up is magical, however there is no magic; all is apparent and undeceptively simple. The standard playback machine for videotape decodes images and sounds from within it, hidden inside a casing; now the machine is in the open, all too visible, and the content encoded on the tape remains dark and mute. This air machine activates the tape itself not along a particular path but in an aleatory mode within an invisible area of containment. The activated tape activates the space and moves the movie.
Erika Kierulf - Breathe (2007) 3-channel video installation, 27min. 56sec.
In this silent triptych video work, individuals walk from either the left or the right frame into the center one, stop, face the camera, and after several intimate moments, lean backwards and slowly fall out of the frame. The wait before the fall is a crucial moment, as viewers are witness to each subject’s moment of hesitation or doubt: eyes that blink or sometimes close, muscles that contract, empty gazes. Despite the repetitive falls, what remains unique in each portrait is the expression of the subject and their self-awareness as they gradually let go. Kristiina Lahde - Delete (2006) Printer paper, 5 x 5’ office partition.
Valerian Maly - Apple (Windfall/ Fallobst) (2003) Audio, 12sec. If one opens a German-English dictionary to the term ‘Fallobst,’ one finds a word that encompasses everything contained in this recording: ‘windfall.’ This word, in English, is not only used to denote ripe fruit that has fallen to the ground, it also describes ‘an unexpected stroke of luck.’ It was through a series of such serendipitous moments that from October 17 to 19, 2003, I traveled with my colleague and former student Oliver Friedli to the Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, Sir Isaac Newton’s place of birth, to record apples falling from the original tree where Newton had his epiphany on universal gravitation.
Delete equates the experience of data processing with that of hand crafting lace. The word ‘delete’ has been repeatedly punched into a continuous length of computer paper. This handmade process is precise and labour intensive. The result of this subtractive mark making process resembles a bolt of lace or data spewing from a computer.
Tom Sherman - Hyperventilation piece (1970) Vinyl lettering. The video recording of Sherman’s first performance of Hyperventilation piece (1970) was lost shortly after he moved to Toronto in 1971. For the Fall Out exhibition, Sherman presented a written account of various aspects of the work.
Paul Litherland - Force of Attraction (2003), Freefall Fighters (2009)
Don Simmons - Bachelor Forever (2001)
Video, 3min. 4sec., 1min. 50sec., Credits for Freefall Fighters: Performers: Bertrand Cloutier and Paul Litherland; Video: Yannick Langevin and Bertrand Cloutier; Video Editing: Monique Moumblow.
This is my 30th year of skydiving; the anniversary of my first jump is September 29. I made my first jump in Gananoque in 1979 while studying sciences at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. I was only 17 and lied about my age to sign the waiver so I could take my first jump course. As of July 21, 2009, I had 1688 jumps.
Magnet, iron filings, custom designed machine.
Based on Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare of her Bachelors, Even, this revisiting is another mystery machine that follows no logic. The viewer sees the iron filings moving up and down a wall, and can peak behind the wall to view the technological device that lies behind the surface. This artwork, like Duchamp’s work, is a masturbating machine.
The search for descent is not the erecting of foundations: on the contrary, it disturbs what was previously considered immobile; it fragments what was thought unified; it shows the heterogeneity of what was imagined consistent with itself. Michel Foucault
Fall In followed Fall Out, literally. For Fall In, nine artists were invited to produce works in response to the works presented in Fall Out. The works were featured alongside the ‘original’ works. The two exhibitions were thus entwined in a chain reaction. As the dominos fall, an immediate genealogy emerges. Causation is repeatedly retriggered and thus the components combine to form the basic ingredients of a history: a word is added to the preceding one and by cumulative inertia both soon become a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, a book. To fall, and then to fall farther. But also to fall in, as in inward, inside the Fall Out works. To actualize and further the linkages, the Fall In works employed a plethora of strategies, some subtle and delicate, others loud and invasive. They integrated the work by disintegrating its imagined consistency (Foucault). Thereby each of the works was forced to extend beyond itself. The exhibitions respond to each other and consequently aggregate. They suggested a conversation that will go on and on, Fall Out to Fall In to Fall Through to Fall From to Fall To to Fall With to Fall Under, and on.
Michel Foucault, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Cornell University Press, 1977), 147.
FALL IN OUT
ANNIE ONYI CHEUNG SOPHIE BéLAIR CLéMENT GILLIAN COLLYER ZEV FARBER ALISON S.M. KOBAYASHI RYAN PARK ROULA PARTHENIOU JOSHUA SCHWEBEL JOSH THORPE
CURATED BY CHRISTOF MIGONE OCTOBER 26 - DECEMBER 13, 2009
TOP: Joshua Schwebel, (Between the Deaths) Vertigo; Robyn Cumming, My Heart Is Breaking and Untitled BOTTOM: Gillian Collyer, Snowflake; Robyn Cumming, Untitled and Undone
top: Annie Onyi Cheung, _scape with 6 and 7 bottom: Ĺ˝ilvinas Kempinas, O (Between Fans)
Alison S.M. Kobayashi, Self-Made Parachute; Paul Litherland, Freefall Fighters
TOP: Josh Thorpe, Bachelor On and Off (Switch for Bachelor Forever); Don Simmons, Bachelor Forever BOTTOM left: Josh Thorpe, Bachelor Stick
Roula Partheniou, Caution Yellow
Joshua Schwebel, (Between the Deaths) Vertigo
top: Hypothetical view from Tom Sherman’s perspective as he laid on the floor. Location of the second performance of Hyperventilation piece, Eastern Michigan University, Sill Hall hallway, second floor. Photographed by Alex Mandrila, Fall 2009. Sophie Bélair Clément, Re: Spring 1971
TOP: Zev Farber, Middle-Child (Excerpted evidence from ongoing investigation)
for bodies near the surface of the earth (2009) RYAN PARK
Your chest, my stomach.
My throat, your ass. My shoulder, your nail.
My nail, your rib.
My head, your throat.
Your lip, my hand. Your nail, my hair.
Your tongue, my teeth.
My hip, your hair.
My shoulder, your teeth. My hand, your crotch.
Your knee, my nail.
My armpit, your mouth.
Your armpit, my lip. Your teeth, my face.
My head, your nail.
Your nose, my heel.
Your ear, my mouth. My face, your stomach.
Your neck, my tongue.
My shoulder, your nose.
My hip, your knuckle. Your thigh, my lip.
My head, your head.
Your thigh, my hand.
Your face, my foot. My stomach, your stomach.
Your wrist, my elbow.
My jaw, your shoulder. My jaw, your shin.
My shin, your finger. My armpit, your neck.
My shin, your crotch. My jaw, your ear.
Your throat, my mouth. Your waist, my tongue.
Your finger, my thigh. Your thumb, my thumb.
My eye, your elbow. Your neck, my shoulder.
My tongue, your thumb. Your thigh, my stomach.
My nail, your nose. Your jaw, my nose.
My chest, your foot. Your foot, my head.
Your finger, my nose. My face, your face.
My nail, your waist. My nail, your neck.
My heel, your shin. Your thumb, my hair.
My lip, your nail. My head, your teeth.
My knuckle, your shoulder. Your armpit, my hand.
My chin, your breath. Your rib, my shoulder.
Your stomach, my ear. Your eye, my hip.
Your knee, my mouth. Your face, my lip.
Your finger, my hand. My head, your rib.
Your elbow, my knuckle. Your thumb, my nail.
Your toe, my heel. My shoulder, your hair.
My head, your back. My breath, your jaw.
My hand, your mouth. My knee, your knee.
Your neck, my foot. My knee, your cheek.
My knuckle, your eye. Your foot, my nose.
My hand, your neck. My toe, your throat.
My cheek, your thigh. Your knuckle, my chest.
Your shin, my hair. Your back, my tongue.
My rib, your chin. My throat, your shin.
Your toe, my waist. Your hand, my throat.
My hip, your head.
Your back, my hand. 67
Your toe, my shin.
My tongue, your jaw. Your teeth, my wrist.
Your crotch, my elbow.
My wrist, your rib.
My chest, your elbow. My hand, your ass.
My teeth, your throat.
Your lip, my knuckle.
My breath, your ear. Your neck, my teeth.
My back, your finger.
Your wrist, my crotch.
My stomach, your rib. My ear, your toe.
Your lip, my chest.
My back, your toe.
My waist, your hair. Your ear, my throat.
My teeth, your shin.
My knee, your thumb.
Your waist, my hand. Your face, my jaw.
My thigh, your nose.
My ass, your waist.
Your thumb, my throat. My lip, your mouth.
My head, your neck.
My elbow, your elbow.
My ass, your lip. My shin, your knuckle.
Your mouth, my breath.
Your knuckle, my armpit.
Your finger, my finger. My eye, your breath.
My stomach, your thumb.
Your shoulder, my ear.
My back, your back. Your throat, my finger.
Your crotch, my waist.
Your hip, my heel.
Your lip, my waist. My finger, your nail.
Your shoulder, my back.
Your lip, my tongue.
My hand, your knee. My ass, your elbow.
My lip, your thumb.
Your tongue, my hip.
My jaw, your rib. Your hair, my nose.
Your nose, my nose.
Your tongue, my tongue.
My crotch, your cheek. Your finger, my foot.
My ass, your tongue.
My breath, your nail.
My hand, your hand. Your face, my hair.
Your foot, my armpit.
My armpit, your hip.
Your wrist, my mouth. My wrist, your nail.
My knuckle, your knuckle.
My teeth, your hair.
Your nose, my toe. My throat, your knuckle.
My face, your knee.
My mouth, your tongue.
My tongue, your hair. Your breath, my shin.
Your hip, my hip.
Your face, my rib.
Your throat, my nose. Your nail, my ass.
Your breath, my breath.
Your chin, my chest.
My wrist, your lip. Your thumb, my rib.
Your stomach, my teeth.
Your hair, my hand.
My thumb, your back. My shoulder, your breath.
My knuckle, your stomach.
My chin, your teeth.
Your mouth, my cheek. Your back, my nose.
Your thumb, my knuckle. 68
My shin, your face.
Your lip, my nose. Your chin, my wrist.
Your crotch, my nail.
My breath, your crotch. Your nail, my cheek.
Your back, my ear. Your wrist, my hair.
Your mouth, my ass. My hair, your chin.
Your stomach, my foot. Your head, my jaw.
My mouth, your finger. My cheek, your teeth.
Your knuckle, my tongue. Your nose, my stomach.
Your chin, my head. My hair, your stomach.
Your elbow, my waist. My shin, your elbow.
My wrist, your foot. Your toe, my hair.
My wrist, your heel. My heel, your teeth.
Your chest, my toe. Your elbow, my heel.
My nose, your crotch. My armpit, your breath.
My foot, your knuckle. Your ass, my shin.
Your shoulder, my knee. Your tongue, my head.
My face, your tongue. My chest, your chest.
Your nail, my nail. My hip, your shoulder.
My armpit, your chest. Your hand, my chin.
My tongue, your knee. Your nail, my stomach.
Your toe, my mouth. My hair, your ass.
Your teeth, my crotch. My waist, your foot.
My waist, your jaw. Your breath, my teeth.
Your jaw, my mouth. My mouth, your knuckle.
Your knee, my hair. My throat, your shoulder.
Your teeth, my mouth. Your ass, my finger.
Your knuckle, my finger. My heel, your hand.
My ass, your ass. My knee, your chin.
My waist, your eye. Your cheek, my elbow.
My eye, your ass. My teeth, your waist.
Your nose, my mouth. Your face, my nail.
My eye, your foot. My rib, your tongue.
Your hip, my ass. Your rib, my heel.
Your thigh, my mouth. Your thigh, my nail.
My shoulder, your stomach. Your back, my lip.
My elbow, your thigh. Your back, my chin.
Your stomach, my eye. My armpit, your heel.
Your crotch, my ass. My hip, your elbow.
Your foot, my mouth. Your face, my thigh.
My wrist, your ear. Your neck, my finger.
My nail, your heel. My toe, your jaw.
Your nail, my chest. My hair, your throat.
Your ear, my knuckle. My knee, your knuckle.
Your waist, my thigh.
Your mouth, my stomach. 69
My ear, your nail.
Your hip, my cheek.
My ear, your thigh.
Your tongue, my cheek. My knuckle, your crotch.
My wrist, your ass.
My cheek, your ass.
My eye, your knee. Your heel, my finger.
Your foot, my teeth.
Your head, my cheek.
Your wrist, my face. Your nail, my knuckle.
My ear, your ear.
My teeth, your hip.
Your tongue, my chest. My shoulder, your thumb.
Your thigh, my ass.
Your knuckle, my thigh.
Your face, my breath. My back, your chest.
My eye, your eye.
Your throat, my eye.
Your chest, my breath. My shoulder, your ass.
My shin, your eye.
My lip, your finger.
My crotch, your hip. Your thumb, my thigh.
My hair, your neck.
Your hip, my chin.
Your ear, my knee. My teeth, your back.
My throat, your throat.
Your thigh, my chest.
My shin, your knee. My finger, your hair.
My ear, your face.
My nail, your eye.
Your shin, my chest. My mouth, your thumb.
Your throat, my rib.
Your shin, my chin.
My hair, your lip. Your neck, my nose.
Your knee, my nose.
My nail, your toe.
Your throat, my crotch. My neck, your elbow.
Your knee, my wrist.
My stomach, your jaw.
Your thumb, my hand. My finger, your knee.
Your nail, my tongue.
Your wrist, my head.
Your shin, my thigh. Your stomach, my hand.
Your waist, my throat.
Your neck, my thumb.
My hip, your wrist. My back, your face.
Your eye, my toe.
My crotch, your knee.
My nail, your throat. My ear, your heel.
Your head, my waist.
My toe, your ass.
Your thigh, my eye. My knuckle, your heel.
My lip, your toe.
My head, your breath.
My shin, your foot. My mouth, your shin.
Your lip, my breath.
My lip, your neck.
My knee, your thigh. My rib, your shin.
My rib, your finger.
Your neck, my eye.
Your knuckle, my back. My elbow, your hair.
My elbow, your throat.
Your jaw, my cheek.
Your hand, my breath. Your foot, my rib.
Your hair, my knuckle.
Your chest, my wrist.
My knuckle, your breath. 70
My cheek, your toe.
My face, your finger. Your back, my knee.
Your knee, my head.
My shin, your back.
My lip, your knee. My chest, your ass.
Your tongue, my wrist.
My foot, your tongue.
My heel, your eye. Your finger, my head.
My back, your throat.
Your jaw, my heel.
Your stomach, my breath. Your chest, my heel.
Your cheek, my waist.
Your nose, my tongue.
My mouth, your eye. My knuckle, your waist.
My hair, your crotch.
Your heel, my thumb.
Your nose, my shin. My neck, your ass.
Your throat, my tongue.
Your crotch, my tongue.
My lip, your eye. Your thumb, my ear.
My elbow, your tongue.
Your stomach, my chin.
My heel, your stomach. My hip, your thigh.
My finger, your cheek.
Your armpit, my jaw.
Your thigh, my heel. My breath, your foot.
Your hip, my thumb.
Your head, my thumb.
Your face, my waist. My ass, your knee.
Your eye, my head.
Your thigh, my wrist.
My thigh, your toe. My rib, your rib.
My teeth, your jaw.
My elbow, your chin.
My wrist, your finger. Your neck, my face.
My teeth, your finger.
Your elbow, my teeth.
Your tongue, my eye. Your jaw, my hip.
Your finger, my chest.
Your finger, my elbow.
My eye, your rib. Your jaw, my hair.
Your chin, my armpit.
My nose, your face.
My foot, your nail. Your thumb, my waist.
Your knuckle, my ass.
Your jaw, my thigh.
My chin, your tongue. My waist, your nose.
Your thigh, my shoulder.
Your waist, my heel.
My foot, your lip. Your shoulder, my shoulder.
My elbow, your lip.
My stomach, your toe. My chest, your hair.
Your jaw, my knuckle. My foot, your ass.
My breath, your back. My mouth, your head.
My rib, your waist. Your breath, my cheek.
My chest, your mouth. My back, your heel.
Your lip, my ear. Your finger, my waist.
Your chin, my thumb. My eye, your chin.
Your teeth, my eye. My knee, your foot.
Your shoulder, my armpit. Your nose, my breath.
Your chin, my ear.
My crotch, your lip. 71
My eye, your thumb.
Your finger, my eye.
My face, your crotch.
My hair, your hair. Your crotch, my chin.
Your eye, my ear.
Your neck, my throat.
Your armpit, my shin. My hand, your nose.
My knuckle, your nose.
Your face, my throat.
My hip, your mouth. My nose, your armpit.
Your breath, my tongue.
Your knee, my teeth.
My ass, your thumb. My crotch, your heel.
My ear, your crotch.
My breath, your waist.
Your mouth, my hair. My wrist, your eye.
My back, your hip.
My teeth, your teeth.
My chin, your mouth. Your crotch, my thumb.
Your face, my mouth.
Your head, my lip.
Your hand, my cheek. My hair, your head.
Your jaw, my wrist.
My waist, your hip.
Your rib, my breath. My shin, your cheek.
Your teeth, my rib.
Your waist, my wrist.
My hip, your shin. My thigh, your back.
My back, your eye.
Your teeth, my hand.
My rib, your nose. My hand, your wrist.
My ear, your cheek.
Your breath, my ass.
Your shoulder, my chest. Your jaw, my crotch.
Your hand, my face.
Your ear, my rib.
My breath, your hair. Your heel, my ass.
Your head, my stomach.
My stomach, your back.
My cheek, your thumb. Your shoulder, my heel.
My throat, your cheek.
Your waist, my ear.
Your eye, my hand. Your ass, my teeth.
My head, your face.
My throat, your breath.
Your waist, my waist. Your breath, my toe.
My thumb, your jaw.
Your waist, my chin.
Your knuckle, my hand. My teeth, your thumb.
My head, your ass.
Your ear, my chest.
Your armpit, my thumb. My chin, your ass.
Your finger, my chin.
Your waist, my back.
My armpit, your armpit. My nose, your chin.
My heel, your mouth.
Your ear, my nose.
My jaw, your finger. My waist, your mouth.
Your wrist, my cheek.
My thigh, your neck.
My armpit, your throat. Your ass, my jaw.
My face, your chest.
My head, your knuckle.
My finger, your crotch. Your lip, my stomach.
My neck, your wrist.
Your heel, my neck.
My neck, your crotch. 72
My hip, your rib.
Your tongue, my toe. My jaw, your nail.
Your chest, my crotch.
Your knuckle, my teeth. My crotch, your back.
My knee, your jaw. Your lip, my throat.
My toe, your knee. My rib, your ass.
My knuckle, your rib. My tongue, your hand.
Your hand, my chest. Your stomach, my elbow.
My toe, your chin. Your hair, my ear.
Your shoulder, my head. Your throat, my knee.
Your knee, my waist. Your foot, my crotch.
My face, your armpit. My chest, your throat.
My elbow, your back. My neck, your neck.
My knee, your neck. My back, your ass.
Your ass, my armpit. My stomach, your shin.
Your jaw, my jaw. My heel, your heel.
Your thigh, my armpit. Your chest, my teeth.
Your wrist, my shin. My toe, your elbow.
My head, your ear. My heel, your breath.
My armpit, your back. My wrist, your wrist.
Your armpit, my ear. Your face, my heel.
My face, your elbow. My foot, your toe.
Your crotch, my eye. My throat, your heel.
My chin, your chin. Your hand, my ear.
Your waist, my armpit. Your elbow, my mouth.
Your stomach, my wrist. Your hand, my rib.
My toe, your thumb. Your shoulder, my elbow.
My crotch, your thigh. Your cheek, my neck.
My wrist, your throat. My hip, your ear.
My head, your chest. My back, your wrist.
Your hand, my hip. My thumb, your breath.
Your cheek, my eye. Your stomach, my armpit.
Your cheek, my cheek. My chest, your rib.
Your cheek, my chest. My neck, your knuckle.
Your cheek, my lip. My rib, your knee.
Your foot, my foot. Your knuckle, my face.
My shin, your ear. Your cheek, my armpit.
My finger, your toe. Your chin, my neck.
My face, your ass. My lip, your shoulder.
My chest, your knee. My thigh, your throat.
Your nose, my thumb. My thumb, your face.
My crotch, your rib. Your tongue, my armpit.
My elbow, your nail. Your knee, my elbow.
My foot, your cheek. My thigh, your thigh.
My jaw, your chin.
Your shin, my shin. 73
Your nail, my mouth.
Your ear, my ass. Your shoulder, my tongue.
Your foot, my chin.
Your back, my hair.
My rib, your hair. Your back, my mouth.
Your heel, my lip.
My stomach, your hip.
My elbow, your rib. My foot, your hair.
Your heel, my hair.
My shin, your thumb.
My teeth, your lip. Your shin, my head.
My hair, your thigh.
My shoulder, your eye.
My crotch, your toe. My shoulder, your mouth.
My toe, your armpit.
Your face, my eye.
My crotch, your head. My armpit, your knee.
Your toe, my face.
Your throat, my stomach.
Your back, my neck. My teeth, your thigh.
Your chin, my face.
My foot, your hand.
Your knee, my heel. My nose, your chest.
My chest, your neck.
My stomach, your ass.
My armpit, your nail. My thumb, your wrist.
My toe, your toe.
Your jaw, my back.
Your wrist, my knuckle. Your ear, my teeth.
Your head, my toe.
Your neck, my hip.
Your tongue, my finger. Your shin, my hand.
My wrist, your toe.
Your neck, my ear.
My armpit, your elbow. My waist, your stomach.
Your breath, my wrist.
Your heel, my tongue.
Your shin, my neck. Your foot, my thumb.
My cheek, your rib.
My knee, your hip.
My finger, your ear. Your chin, my nail.
Your hand, my elbow.
My lip, your lip.
Your shoulder, my wrist. Your chin, my heel.
My eye, your hair.
Your cheek, my nose.
Your back, my rib. Your neck, my mouth.
Your crotch, my crotch.
My foot, your throat.
My head, your armpit. My shin, your shoulder.
Your cheek, my shoulder.
My heel, your head.
My knuckle, your toe. My stomach, your finger.
My stomach, your crotch.
Your face, my shoulder.
Your rib, my thigh. Your elbow, my breath.
My armpit, your teeth.
Your hair, my armpit.
My jaw, your hand. My waist, your chest.
Your chin, my throat.
My shoulder, your finger.
Your neck, my waist. Your stomach, my knee.
Your eye, my jaw.
Your teeth, my toe.
My nail, your hip. My eye, your armpit.
Your jaw, my chest. 74
Your nail, my shin.
Your lip, my rib. Your shin, my waist.
Your back, my cheek. My elbow, your head.
Your hip, my lip. Your teeth, my nail.
Your shoulder, my waist. My shin, your lip.
My thigh, your head. My foot, your back.
Your hip, my throat. My toe, your hand.
Your nail, my hand. My heel, your foot.
Your crotch, my shoulder. My jaw, your neck.
Your face, my cheek. My hip, your chest.
Your cheek, my stomach. My cheek, your heel.
Your nose, my hip. Your toe, my rib.
Your foot, my hip. My finger, your hip.
Your jaw, my throat. My finger, your breath.
Your breath, my thigh. My shoulder, your hand.
Your jaw, my elbow. My hip, your breath.
My thumb, your finger. Your mouth, my mouth.
Your back, my nail. My nose, your ass.
My elbow, your ear. Your crotch, my armpit.
Your knuckle, my cheek. My hair, your cheek.
My chin, your thigh. Your chin, my cheek.
Your thigh, my foot. My mouth, your rib.
My elbow, your foot.
My chest, your thumb. My tongue, your shin.
Your chin, my shoulder.
Your nose, my elbow. My armpit, your rib.
My wrist, your nose.
My head, your hand. Your crotch, my mouth.
Your hip, my face.
Your eye, my chest. Your thigh, my tongue.
Your armpit, my finger.
Your ear, my tongue. Your lip, my chin.
My foot, your ear.
Your stomach, my tongue. Your breath, my knee.
Your thumb, my elbow.
My nose, your teeth. Your neck, my toe.
My stomach, your neck.
My shoulder, your toe. Your head, my nose.
My nose, your eye.
Your hip, my toe. Your armpit, my wrist.
Your shoulder, my foot.
My chin, your knuckle. Your jaw, my foot.
My neck, your rib.
My jaw, your lip. My breath, your neck. 75
Annie Onyi Cheung - _scape with 6 and 7 (2009) Video, 35min. 42sec. In this work the rise and fall of the human form is placed at a distance from the reality of anatomy and science. The rhythmic cycle of breathing is presented as an undulating sound and land-scape, exploring and exploiting each breath as a persistent yet variable force. The land here might seem at first to be composed of eerily rolling hills, but is constituted by human chests rising and falling through the seven performers’ breaths. Framed as an anonymous and surreal terrain in motion, the flesh can be perceived as both concrete and abstract. The image is saturated in a manner that is both soothing and overpowering. The meditative tone is coupled with a persevering intensity. The focused attention on the simplicity of breathing is amplified by the plural performance. Through this video we find that each of our breaths is not singular but shared by our neighbour. We are all part of a constantly changing breathscape. Standing next to you is a person breathing.
Zev Farber - Middle-Child (Excerpted evidence from ongoing investigation) (2009) Digital Prints, 13 x 19” each. Case #0223 Doc. 1a, 1b, 1c. Hire Date: 09.2008. Status: Ongoing
Findings to-date: So long and (no) thanks for all the math. It’s getting more and more difficult to find the information this client is seeking from these odd abstractions that keep floating to the surface. I have located the transcripts belonging to the middle-child, listing the courses in-progress up to the time of the family’s disappearance, and additional evidence thereafter in the form of these corrupted ‘cheat sheets’. However, I feel as if I’m just circling the drain, attempting to coax facts from what feels like a fiction... Alison S.M. Kobayashi - Self-Made Parachute (2009) Black nylon, thread, nylon string, rotating motor, 15’ x 30”.
Paul Litherland is not afraid of skydiving. His sense of confidence and humour is very clear despite the risks inherent in the situation. Watching Paul’s video Force of Attraction, I could not avoid thinking about what could have gone wrong. The Self-Made Parachute is a symbol of negative possibilities. It is a reminder of doubt, anxiety, contradiction, and fear in the face of risk. People asked, “You are not going to use it, are you?” The idea of a do-it-yourself parachute is unpopular.
Sophie Bélair Clément - Re: Spring 1971 (2009) 3 exhibition panels, 5 x 7” each. The artist would like to extend a special thanks to: Tom Sherman, Alex Mandrila, Alexandre Castonguay, David Tomas, Pavel Pavlov, Tom Adair, Andrea Joseph, Lynne Cohen, Jay Yager, John Orentlicher, Lucinda Devlin, Jennifer Locke, and Amy Sacksteder. Gillian Collyer - Snowflake (2009) 10’ in diameter, crochet.
Hierarchies exist in all realms of life. Within the art world there is a clear hierarchy of media, with painting at the pinnacle and craft-based media at the bottom. Within textiles, there could also be said to be a hierarchy, separating fine craft from low craft, with crochet at or near the bottom. Crochet is associated more with kitsch items like toilet roll covers and bad macrame wall hangings than with what one would see in a gallery. I have been interested in the history of needlework as a feminized, domestic activity since I began studying art in 1991. The crocheted snowflake— a reference to a Christmas tree ornament—is a whimsical response to Kristiina Lahde’s lace-like computer paper.
Ryan Park - for bodies near the surface of the earth (2009) Audio, 1h. 20min. A list of contact points (for bodies near the surface of the earth). Dependent on mass, energy, momentum, trajectory, pressure, tension. Some observed, some proposed. Oblique or direct. Sustained or momentary. One after the other. The piece is in response to the processes of apprehension between an individual and the world. In my work I attempt to give form to a state in which identity and function are constantly in flux, contingent on situation, private intentions, and social conventions.
Roula Partheniou - Caution Yellow (2009) Acrylic paint on Fimo.
From Charlie Chaplin to The Three Stooges to Woody Allen, the banana has been at the center of one joke after another, propelling comedians into head-over-heels antics. Slumped on the gallery floor, this to-scale replica of a banana peel implies a narrative or an imagined prat-fall, with a nod to Newton. Caution Yellow requires that the viewer negotiate it both as an art object and as a safety hazard. A response to Kempinas’s O (Between Fans), both pieces rely on a choreography, whether actual or imagined, and on the tension of an impending drop. Joshua Schwebel - (Between the Deaths) Vertigo (2009) Performance documentation (paperback novel). Realized in collaboration with Jesse Levine and Andy Snider.
Some words in anticipation of a fall not yet initiated, but already in motion. Will it be a disaster? I feel some trepidation, but the thrill pushes me beyond myself. A play of control, planning, acting, reacting, recording, forgetting… A machine or a monster that may kill its maker A rehearsal for a patricide by an imposter A speculation A set-up A made-to-order witness. Supplementing a fallen origin for a false one, I turned to Hitchcock’s Vertigo, hiring an actor to impersonate me and another to transform herself into a living mirror to the photograph in the gallery. The response, disguised as a dimestore detective novel, is my own translation of the french novel Hitchcock used for his film.
ent with an erasure or delay. I use the relationship between event and document to resist the spectator’s desire to verify the happening that is no longer or not yet present. The encounter with the event itself (if it occurs), takes place outside of the frame of art. In this case the event is inexplicable, unexpected and somewhat disturbing. I try to shift the expectation that things are as they seem. I love being able to cheat and to play with the immaterial aspects of what we take so seriously. Josh Thorpe - Bachelor On and Off (Switch for Bachelor Forever) (2009), Bachelor Stick (2009) Enamel and acrylic on plastic, electrical work. Enamel on balsa.
Bachelor On and Off responds to a curious situation centering around Don Simmons’s work, Bachelor Forever. Because this work’s motor is quite loud, the Blackwood decided that allowing it to run constantly was too much for docents, spectators, and neighbours. Docents were asked to turn the work on for a short time for each visitor. My switch simply takes it a step further, putting control in the spectator’s hands. The paint on the switch aestheticizes it, turning it into something of a minimalist sculpture, but also anthropomorphizes it, which makes it a little lewd. Bachelor Stick came after the switch. It connects more obviously with my previous work, which is often a kind of self-conscious interior decor. I have many times painted sticks to match or relate to their surroundings and leaned them against a wall. But this stick is fallen, a slapstick. It matches the switch’s shiny pink but contradicts the verticality of both the switch and the stripe of iron filings. It also falls outside of the conventional exhibition space, potentially leading the spectator behind the wall to inspect the guts of Bachelor Forever and Bachelor On and Off.
It’s too late now. I work between site-specific performance-intervention and documentation. I create objects that function as catalysts towards, or documents of, events. These can be exhibited in a gallery. However, these objects/documents do not concretely prove whether the event to which they refer has occurred, or if it will occur. Instead, I try to problematize the seeming direct relation between what is certain and what is uncertain in an event and its record. I am interested in creating absences, or generating situations that displace an expected physical presence or temporal pres-
BY SHANNON HOff
One of the epigraphs of the exhibits Fall Out and Fall In is a line from Paul Celan that reads,“See: I rise, see: I fall/Am an other, am no other.” Breath that comes in, that makes the chest rise, is foreign—is an other. Breath that goes out, that makes the chest fall, is no other, is me, or has been made over into me. In breathing we can see the ultimate symbiotic relationship between inside and outside, between foreign and self-same, between my given self and my constructed, accomplished self, the exchange that makes life possible, the human being’s reliance for itself on what is not itself, and its tendency to make what is not simply itself over into itself. The human being is more than just its simple self— it is the home it makes for itself in the world, the earth that sustains its life, the force of gravity that allows it to exist on a surface and to interact with other bodies, the technological prostheses by which it extends the scope of its activity, the other people who enable its development, the laws, customs, and regulations by which this life with others is organized. It extends beyond itself; it is not simply itself, not circumscribed by its own physical and psychological boundaries. Human life is environment and machine; they are fundamentally inseparable.The human being adds on to itself; it extends beyond the limits of immediacy, of natural givenness, in such a way that its extensions become virtually invisible to it. It extends the scope of its natural body, the scope of what is given. It supplements its functions as an individual body in various ways: through its environment, through technology, through social life, etc. It is both, and ambivalently, in conflicted ways, a natural and a technological being, a given being and a cultivated being. It is the given and the prosthetic extensions, the things it adds on to itself, which become invisible in its absorption of them.
In a way, though, this idea is already misleading—the prosthetic does not extend an already-existent entity; there is no fully-formed human being who simply adds to herself, taking the initiative to make her capacities more sophisticated, to supplement her already-formed functions. No—in fact it is mostly the opposite.Through the prosthesis, the bearer of the prosthesis comes into being. Human individuals are as if slowly carved out of their extensions in the world, and slowly develop more or less conscious and reflective extensions into it. These ways in which our bodies, agency, and identities are prosthetically extended into the world, the ways in which individuality is formed out of the plaster and fabric of homes, social interact i o n , t e c h n o l o g y, a n d l a n g u a g e, a r e also, however, ways in which that agency and individuality are made vulnerable, and so the relationship between the human being on the one hand and the environment and the machine on the other is decidedly ambivalent, conflicted. We thrust our bodies and desires out into a world that can trap us there, that can violate or amputate the parts and limbs we extend into it. We humanly extend ourselves only to find our humanity frustrated, unacknowledged, or amputated. The environments and tools we construct to house and cultivate our humanness are ambivalent: they are positive and negative; they both develop and inhibit its flourishing. By making them our agents and allies, by realizing ourselves through them, we give them power, and this power can then be wielded against us.
among artworks. Valerian Maly’s Windfall, which is a recording of an apple falling from the tree under which Newton purportedly sat, makes visible the way in which we are prosthetically extended by nature, here in the form of the natural force of gravity, which puts us into relation with other bodies. Gravity is an aspect of naturally given reality for which we are not responsible that makes all interaction and activity possible. Human beings extend beyond themselves into the natural world, and are dependent on continuous exchange with what is external to them in the form of nature. And there is no possibility of settling, of stabilizing, of resisting movement and interaction: I can never be finalized or finished; gravity continuously brings me into relation with other bodies, things, and a ground that are themselves dynamic, pulling and pushing me. In Paul Litherland’s Freefall Fighters we can also see the dependence of human activity on the ground and on its gravitational force. What each fighter needs in order to effectively carry out the activity of fighting is the assistance of solid ground. The absence of ground in this work undermines the activity, reveals it to be strange and to be essentially dependent on a ground that is external to it.
This dependence on an external natural world is also a vulnerability; it is ambivalent. Tom Sherman’s Hyperventilation Piece, which I saw as part of Drop Out at Hart House for Nuit Blanche and which is described in the Blackwood Gallery, thematizes breath, our dependence on breathing, the relationship between the body and breath—the internalization of air, of what is external. In it, the artist breathes We could say about art,and perhaps about in and out deeply, rhythmically, for the philosophy as well, that it is a prosthetic purpose of hyperventilating. Each minute extension, a technology, that makes visible a voice off screen counts off the minute, the invisible prostheses that have become as and each minute the artist takes one step though natural to us. I will at least use the art- forward. Sometime after the sixth minute, works to reveal these prostheses, and I will he falls to the floor. What is exposed here do so through a philosophical narrative, in is the precariousness of this relationship a way that tries to make visible the technology between body and breath, wherein only the of the exhibits, their organization around perfect amount of air is life-sustaining. Most a set of themes, the unconscious interaction of the time this relationship is carried out
easily, thoughtlessly, effortlessly, but this air that is life-sustaining can turn out to be the enemy of life, the means of its destruction; that which we rely upon for life can also bring about the end of life. The relationship we develop with nature is an enabling and sometimes threatening one, but it also develops beyond nature—both nature and the human being are transformed in the exchange, just like air is made into breath. _scape with 6 and 7, by Annie Onyi Cheung, is a landscape composed of breathing bodies, in which the breath is cyclical, rhythmic, reliable. Breath and the body are here presented as the terrain upon which things happen; the natural, in the form of bodies, is here literally the ground for all that is constructed upon it. But in this work we see the construction of something upon the natural that is irreducible to the natural; it shows up, in fact, in the form of a frame.The insertion of a frame makes it difficult to see that these are natural bodies; framing, art, human creativity transform the nature of the natural; natural bodies are the terrain of human creativity, which changes them. The human being in a sense adds air and gravity to itself in order to be itself; it absorbs them in order to be effectively human; they are its prostheses. But it makes them over into something more than natural.The bodies in _scape with 6 and 7 are making air into breath, and making the invisibility of air visible. Whereas air naturally defies gravity—it floats, so to speak—bodies gravitate air. Windfall is similar: it is not nature itself, not the tree, the ground, the now-bruised apple, but it is a recording of a natural event, the use of a technological device to re-present nature, no longer requiring it to be present. The human being exists in interaction with the air, with gravity, and with other gravitationally forced bodies, but it makes a home for itself in the context of this interaction. It cultivates this naturally given context, these naturally given elements, into a shelter for its human activity and agency.
So adding to oneself, adopting external prostheses by which one makes a home in the world, is not simply to link together already existing realities; it is, rather, to essentially transform and be transformed. We can see this mutual transformation especially in relations with other people. for bodies near the surface of the earth, a piece by Ryan Park, is a recording of a voice saying things like, “your chest, my stomach. My head, your throat… your waist, my tongue… my face, your face… your teeth, my face… my throat, your ass.Your lip, my hand.” The work calls dramatic attention to attraction, to the gravitational force between bodies, to the differences between my body and yours, to the possibility of different kinds of interaction between them. The voice stages different meetings, speaking of force between bodies, the vulnerability of bodies in relation to each other, the pleasure created between bodies. All of this experience happens in the “between,” in the tension and expectation, excitement and fear, involved in interaction—the work makes this “between” visible.The parts of the body are made meaningful only in the way in which they come into relation with the parts of another’s body; their meaning becomes apparent only in their interaction. This very structure of the dynamic power of interaction is itself thematized by the assertion-and-response structure, the communicative structure, of the exhibitions. They attest to the exchange that makes life possible, like breath: Fall In is a response to Fall Out, disrupting the presumed coherence and integrity of the Fall Out works; they do not exist on their own, but only in a context of communication. The artists of Fall In breathe in Fall Out and breathe out their own work for Fall In. And I, reflecting on both of them, participate also in disruptive communication—my thoughts about the exhibits are a further inhalation and exhalation. This interaction between inside and outside is a context of communication, of discourse, of language, through which we express ourselves and are responded to, through which we are constituted as a dynamic process of transformation in relation to others, both negative and positive, both violent and mutually sustaining—the artworks change me and I, in turn, inevitably change them, in a creative and disruptive exchange. The human being is these prostheses—its relationship to air, to gravity, to other bodies, to artwork—and it becomes itself by interacting with them; it sustains itself with breath. I want to speak now about specific kinds of prostheses and of their ambivalence, their potential to both enable and inhibit—of home, law and convention, technology, and language. First, human beings cultivate a naturally given context for the sake of shelter and to make a home. We work on the given, taking up an attitude of creative making with regard to nature so that it can be made over into
a better environment for us, better suited to the satisfaction of our desires and the limits and capacities of our physical bodies. In this way we both are, and are more than, our natural bodies in a natural context. We are the fabricated shelters that house and nourish these bodies; we are the produced environments that enable our creative activity and foster our desires; we are the relationships and the others that help us develop and flourish in these intimate contexts. We are not simply circumscribed by the limits of our natural bodies, but we extend into and absorb the immediate external world, making it into a prosthetic of our own bodies, activity, and identities. But Robyn Cumming’s photographs help us see the limits of home. We clothe our bodies, make a home for them in fabric and plaster, but these photographs are flooded with fabric. The interiors are cultivated and dressed to such an extent that they seem to suffocate—to take breath away from—the lives they contain. Home and the intimate relations that ordinarily populate it are supposed to inspire and sustain the development of free human subjectivity and creativity. A home should maintain a tenuous opening between inside and outside; it must have walls and doors, ceilings and windows; it must be the site of intimacy and security and the site of sending out, of making passage. It is the inhalation into home that precedes and prepares for the exhalation outside of home. But adding on to the human body and identity by making a shelter for it, by enclosing, regulating, and cultivating it, can damage, stifle, and amputate it. The activity of creatively making a shelter that is better suited to our humanity often becomes the stifling of creative making, of human innovation, expansion, and extension in the world. In Cumming’s Many Shades of Pink and My Heart is Breaking, from the Little Legs series, the fabric is overwhelmingly uniform; nothing in the photographs is free from the over-organization of interiority, including the interiority of the people involved. In My Heart is Breaking, we could imagine that
the heart is being broken, by a bad artificiality—not an artifice cultivated for the sake of the human, but one cultivated for the sake of a mechanical repetition of convention, propriety, and physical comfort. The home this woman has made for herself, or has had made for her, erases the specificity and multiplicity of her desire; it is a single, powerful whole without parts. In Many Shades of Pink, the interior in the form of a chandelier attacks, perhaps even to the point of death, the woman it houses. And propriety, also a product of this interior, cultivated life, demands that the other two women look away from the scene. In Untitled, a photograph from the Oh, Mother series, everything is fabricated; even the mascara that runs down the woman’s face is disconnected from the live crying that supposedly brought it about. The mother that makes a home for others can become like the over-cultivated interior of a house, stripped of life; she may mean to sustain the lives of others but may stifle them, and lose her own life as well.While home is supposed to initiate passage outside of home,the curtain shuts out the life of the outside world. The child in White Light, another from Cumming’s Little Legs series, has almost, it seems, made it to the door, and the title, instead of naming the interior, like her other titles do, is ambiguous—it could name the outside light that comes in, signifying the continued existence of an outside to which to make passage, an outside that has not been completely cut off. But the child no longer moves; its passage out has been arrested. Or at least, as far as we can tell—we as spectators do not know the narrative here or in Cumming’s other photographs; the home conceals it. People suffocate in privacy; their narratives are halted and concealed without a trace; they are prevented from extending out. The children figured in Zev Farber’s Middle-Child are also caught up in regulated practices, made to conform to particular kinds of activity and forms of appearance, and kept under the watchful eyes of all-powerful and conventional parents. Parents’ ideas about how to be an ordinary girl, a normal boy, can issue in the copying, categorizing, and formula-making that suffocate singularity and inhibit development. Homes become prisons of convention, and parents prison guards. But we can see something else in Zev Farber’s piece, about the nature and limits of home, about the promise of the world outside home, about, in fact, a further kind of prosthesis. The work is a pastiche of what looks like math and science homework, familial figures interacting in various ways, and words and phrases that seem related to the relationships represented. The school homework shown is (at least) two things: it is the site
of the negotiation of the parent/child relationship within the home, by which parental authority is established and expressed and the child’s identity is developed. But math, science, physics, and calculus also extend beyond the home, signifying the possibility of interaction beyond the intimacy of home, in the realm of the innumerable others who can also speak the language of universality represented by math and science. They suggest the possibility of freedom from the potentially constraining and suffocating, the breathless, space of the home—the possibility that my fate is more than that circumscribed by the specificity of home, the possibility that I could become breath, become passage, between home and world, equipped with the language of universality and the laws of social interaction. Math and science stand opposed, in a way, to the relationships represented in the piece, the meaning of which is virtually incomprehensible to outsiders since it is trapped in the mysterious intimate world of the family. Home is not the final prosthetic extension: in fact, homework—work inside the context of home—is preparation, a mini-laboratory, for what lies beyond the home, the arena of interaction with others who are not intimate and familiar, in the context of which we find another prosthetic aid to the development of our humanity. The relationships that determine and define us, and the shelters and environments that enable our activity and house our desire, are not limited to this intimate context. Robyn Cumming shows this as well, in exposing domestic interiors to the eyes of spectators of art, making them visible. In so doing she transforms the privacy of the home into a public matter, thrusting it outside of itself, demanding our interaction with it and the development of shared analyses of it. Gillian Collyer’s Snowflake also points to the emergence of domestic activity into an arena beyond the home. Snowflake shows the feminized activity of crocheting and the kitschy Christmas tree decoration writ large, in fact uncontainable within a home, the customary place of the craft of crochet and the practice of decorating Christmas trees. The snowflake is itself a clichéd symbol of uniqueness; as such, it both is and is not constrained by generic conventionality. It exceeds the parameters of home, of domestication—it makes its passage
to the outside, to the indeterminate world of art where what happens within enclosed, defined human spaces is made visible and reconfigured. Human beings construct different kinds of shared environments beyond home, and these shelters require political, legal, and economic articulation so that they can accommodate us and all others. Law and the institutions within which it is upheld house those aspects of our identity and agency that depend on interaction with others, enabling us to live together as though in a shared shelter. This so-called shelter is significantly different from the shelter that is the home—it houses others whom we don’t even know, the close and familiar and the alien and strange—and we can all be housed there because of its generality and formality. It brings us into a larger world, into interaction with whomever we might encounter; it is formed not in response to our particularity, but is impersonal, disengaged from that particularity. Housing multiple people requires that this shelter be indifferent to the idiosyncratic characteristics of any particular one person. It is impersonal and machine-like, alien to our particularity, the intimacy of our home, and the fundamental way to understand it is as a legal phenomenon—that is, as a universal, indifferent, and neutral force that, in eradicating privilege and preference, gives us all freedom and access to participation in shared experiences and social life. It is a reproducible, iterable code and structure that gives stability and security to human interaction, and thus that allows us to be human in a very particular and significant way. So this machine-like structure of law is significantly human, a legitimate and important extension of the human, one that has almost become invisible as such. But, like home, the power the human being wields through law and social convention is also ambivalent. Law, convention, and social norms are indifferent to particularity and idiosyncrasy so as to enable access to and participation in a shared social reality, a shared shelter. But human beings are fundamentally different, unique, and singular, and law and convention do not treat us that way. Our passion, creativity, and singularity are not simply subsumable into their machine-like reproducibility; we are not merely cogs of a machine that operates outside of and beyond our bodies, desires, personalities, passions, and relationships.The legal and social shelter we create for ourselves responds to something significant in us, yes, but it refuses shelter to these other things—to unreproducible, non-substitutable human life, to intimate, privileged,private relationships,to interaction among human beings that is different from and irreducible to formal legal interaction. We see in, Undone, another of Robyn Cumming’s photographs, a plethora of social rituals and convention—the fancy dresses speak of a reality organized in terms of very particular ideas about men and women and their relationships; the large blue eggs speak, perhaps, of the maternal fate of these young women; the water of baptism, of initiation into a particular kind
of community with others. But at the same time, no woman seems to be having the same experience; there is no evidence of a collective, shared attitude that would be represented by convention and law. While each looks initiated into this conventional feminine reality, each at the same time experiences it in a way that is unique and unspeakable in its terms. The water on the ground also seems to create a new space out of nowhere, within the crafted, fabricated, conventional, and stifling space of a high school gym—an impossible space, the space of a different reality. There are passages out, through which another reality is reflected. We can also look again at Hyperventilation in this context. Sherman breathes in and out deeply, rhythmically, and regularly, obeying a voice offstage that counts minutes; after each counted minute he takes one step forward. But life is not simply the regulated counting of minutes, obeying law in the form of a voice counting minutes off stage, the formulaic adding of one minute to another; it is not just the formal, repetitive, and identical—and if it is lived like this, we become unconscious or die. Every second is mediated by the meaning we give to it; air as breath is the measurement of time in particular bodies with particular needs and desires. The law in the form of regularity and repetition can mean the suffocation of life, the halting of breath, the demise of singularity. Technology, like law, is another indifferent, mechanical, and reproducible force that extends the human, that is a legitimate and important part, a prosthetic, of the human, but that is also significantly ambivalent. In Simone Jones’s Perfect Vehicle we see the humanity of the indifferent machine, just as in law we see the humanity of the indifferent formula that allows us to live together. Perfect Vehicle shows us a symbiotic relationship between life and machine: the movement of the vehicle is based on the breath and takes on its rhythm, and it is difficult to make out the human being at all. It has been absorbed into the machine, but the machine has also been absorbed into the human, in the sense that it functions on the basis of human breath. They are transformed in their exchange. Technology is thus not simply machine, not simply a mechanical, external, and alien force distinct from the human. It is, rather, the extension of the human body’s capabilities and powers, and it is given movement and existence by human desire—it is a physical and psychical extension of the human being in the world. The human breathes it in and makes it its own, exhaling a different self; it becomes a prosthesis by which we accomplish our human purposes and goals more easily. It is as though the body consumes technology, absorbs it, and self-assuredly takes up a new relation to the world through it, adapting to it to such an extent that it does not notice the insertion of a kind of alien thing into its body and its desire.The technological prosthesis becomes invisible. It forcefully transforms the nature of the human being into the kind of being that can, for instance, move the horizon of
the earth, as we see in Paul Litherland’s Force of Attraction when the parachute is pulled and the wobbling camera makes the earth and sky look as though they are moving. The human being is transformed by technology; when it adds technology onto itself it becomes a different kind of being, this time one who can move earth and sky, who can defy gravity. In Kristiina Lahde’s piece,called Delete, a repeated design on what looks like paper for old dotmatrix printers cascading from a makeshift office wall, we see the indifferent and impersonal character of technology: its replacement of the highly developed, unique skill of crafting lace, its accomplishment of things we no longer have to do on our own, and so its transformation of the nature of our identity, action, and interaction, since we are equally capable of carrying out the mechanized process; we all have the power to do this. Technology is similar to law in its machinic, indifferent character, and thus also meets our need to be able to interact on a general, formal level. It is indifferent to the idiosyncratic characteristics of any particular one person and indifferent also to the diverse skills and capacities we have as individuals. It is impersonal and accessible in principle by anyone; it changes the nature of our tasks and the scope and extent of our power, and it enables a different kind of interaction between us, often smoother and more mechanized. While showing the human and transformative aspects of technology, however, Delete also shows us the ambivalent nature of technology. The reproductive capacity of machines means that human commitment and attention are no longer required, that things can be done and undone, whatever the case may be—so the significance of the title. The pattern looks like old lace, the production of which requires great skill, meticulous attention, and human creativity, but the machine has transformed the nature of the human it replaces: there is no need for this commitment, attention, skill, and creativity for the production of things like lace, and so these particular human characteristics fall by the wayside. The machine, it turns out, fabricates the human, and in this way the human becomes an extension of the machine. The ambivalence of technology is like the ambivalence of law. While, like law, it is an extension
of human agency, of human bodies and human desire, and is thus fundamentally human in its own way—it acts as a shelter for various aspects of the human being—it is also alien to certain aspects of the human being in its automatic, indifferent, and mechanical character. The machine is disengaged from our particularity, impervious to our dynamic transformation and variability, and we become interchangeable under it. It can misrepresent the human in replacing its agency, in churning out copies and substitutable products, in mechanizing processes of interaction between humans. The human being can become absorbed into the machine. It can create technology for itself that in effect turns around and destroys it, that makes life resemble machine, controlled, shaped, and absorbed by the machine. The power the human being wields through technology—technology as extension of the human, as life— can be used against the human and against life, and Delete makes this visible. Simone Jones’s Perfect Vehicle also expresses this ambivalence: the body looks like the machine, and the environment shown is one that barely sustains life. The movement of the vehicle is barely perceptible; the landscape is mountains and salt flats, as dead a natural landscape as there could be. Don Simmons’s Bachelor Forever can also speak to the ambivalence of technology, with regard specifically to sexuality: in it, iron filings move up and down a wall, propelled to do so by a magnet behind the wall that moves up and down with the help of a drill. And the technology behind the artwork is also put on display, behind the wall—nothing is invisible; all mystery is removed. Everything is mechanical, explicable in its scientific and technological reality, as though there were no other reality. The title of the work suggests that the eternal bachelor can eternally stroke himself, that he needs no actual human contact, that the machine has irrevocably transformed the nature of human interaction to such an extent that it is no longer necessary. The mystique of sexuality is stripped by being rendered mechanical, requiring only machinery and a single, self-sufficient device, no other human beings, just as the mystique of the artwork is stripped by the exposure of the machine that operates it. Technology can become anti-human, reducing all of life to formality, generality, and indifference, reducing the relations between people to relations between things, or rendering them completely unnecessary. In Roula Partheniou’s Caution Yellow, a banana peel operates like a tool or a piece of technology as well, but as a tool in the domain of communication. It carries allusions to old films, shared social and cultural narratives, a shared realm of meaning and discourse, a communicative reality. For most, at least, the banana peel anticipates the fall of the comedic character, and thus points to a shared sense of the world. A simple thing like a banana peel can speak like this: it can be the carrier of sophisticated and highly mediated cultural experiences,
enabling sophisticated modes of interaction around those experiences. Discourse, language, communication: these are names for the last prosthetic tool I want to discuss, which human beings graft onto themselves in order to become human. Language is another learned, accomplished, and cultivated power that extends the human into the shared space of interaction, that gives human beings the capacity to extend their power, their effect, and their desires into the world. In language, I express what is internal to me, what is personal, in a way that communicates to and resonates with others; language signifies the possibility of a connection between what i s m i n e a n d wh at b e l o n g s t o a l l , wh at i s personal and what is universal. I can say something true, something that is weighty also for others, and thus extend myself into a shared world in recognized ways, while at the same time attaching myself in my expressive uniqueness to that truth. Language is, like law and technology, also a kind of prosthesis, a reproducible machine and universal system, whereby we achieve human purposes and goals more easily, especially those that attach to interaction. Language enables another kind of shared environment, and houses those aspects of our identity and agency that are accomplished through communication with others. It works, like law, because it is shared, because it, like technology, can be indifferent to the idiosyncratic character of any particular speaker. Like law and technology, the sharedness of language enables immeasurably sophisticated modes of interaction and cultural transmission—interaction in the present and interaction with the past and the future. It is perhaps here, with language, that the prosthetic nature of the human being is clearest. Language opens up a depth of interpersonal communication and intimacy. It is a shared, universal system that is mobilized for the sake of what is most intimate and personal in human beings: and here the machine enters into the heart of what is distinctively human. In language, we see the machine as the essential medium for our essential humanity, as the medium by which we express what is closest and most intimate to us and develop relationships of communication with others.The machine of language is an artificial prosthesis, useable by all, that is inserted into the most intimate, innermost core of the human being, through which the human being becomes human.
But language is ambivalent, just like law and technology. It too is in a sense alien to us as singular beings; it is a medium resistant to the expression of singularity. Whenever I use a word I am in a sense using a copy of that word, a cliché, a word that has been used innumerable times by innumerable people—for otherwise no one would understand me.The originality and uniqueness expressed in language can thus be unrecognizable— and this is why the words of unknown others are so easy to shrug off, to think insignificant. Words alone do not express singular meaning, do not give it passage. To communicate I have to adopt a public, neutral medium —I cannot have or use a private language, one that reflects only my innermost self. In speaking, then, I can become alien to myself, merely externalized. Home, law and society, technology, and language— all are fundamentally human, are prosthetic extensions of the human, but all threaten to alienate the human as well, in their reproducible, universal, and formal character. In various ways these artworks make these technologies visible; they bring them into light. In fact, that might be one of the ways to explain the nature of both art and philosophy—they prevent prostheses from being invisible, from becoming inert and inaccessible mysteries because of their invisibility, allowed to alienate us and to dissuade us from reflecting on them. What art and philosophy could be said to do, in making visible the invisible prosthesis, is to give us ways to conceive of the interaction they enable as the site not just of mechanical repetition but of a newness beyond repetition, beyond their constraint. We reveal the mystery of the prosthesis so as to not allow it to eliminate all mystery. While shaped by our various prosthetic extensions, our environment, our ways of living together, and our communicative relationships, we are also in a sense mysteriously beyond them and irreducible to them, in that in the interaction they enable we find ourselves dynamically responsive to other unique and unpredictable human beings with unique and unpredictable demands. In this responsiveness, represented in the very structure of Fall Out and Fall In, we can identify the force and power of the trajectory that extends us beyond the present, the formal, and the predictable, a trajectory represented by the fact that our interaction, while staged and organized, is interaction with unstaged and unorganized situations and others. Alison S. M. Kobayashi’s Self-Made Parachute is technology that is useless as technology, as a parachute; no one would test whether or not it works for fear that it will not. In its very uselessness it points to what falls outside of the technological; it points to the human
creator as the origin of technology, prior to its sleek, smooth, and colourful manifestation in which human particularity is blotted out. Like Delete, it showcases the original, creative, intricate, and non-utilitarian working of human creativity even in the context of a highly developed technological reality, the reality in which human beings can jump from planes. Joshua Schwebel’s (Between the Deaths) Vertigo is a complex series of imitations, copies, and reproductions, none of which are identical. All of these copies are situated in an insert into Schwebel’s translation of a book by Boileau-Narcejal, which, by virtue of being a translation, is itself a kind of copy of an absent original. In the insert it is explained that the artist was impersonated by Jesse Levine and that Jesse Levine took pictures of a woman, Andrea Snider, posing as the woman in the photo by Robyn Cumming called My Heart is Breaking, to which (Between the Deaths) Vertigo was intended as a response. We can see in this work both a claim about photography—that it is never merely repetition, never merely a copy—and a claim about things that, like photography, tend toward reproduction, reiterability, machine-like predictable systems of meaning —the conventional home, law, language, and technology, for instance. Each copy, each reiteration, is in a sense new—it does not simply imitate but shows the original where it might go, shows the surplus of meaning that the original could not have foreseen or contained, and thus undermines the authority of the original and its own status as copy. We are precariously situated between universal systems of meaning that make communication and interaction possible, and the unique situation of this communication and interaction. Even the artist is divided into pieces in this work; it is not simply Schwebel but also his imitators, his interlopers. Our own identities are wrapped up into the identities of others, and thus vulnerable to their singular and unpredictable actions and decisions, like Schwebel is vulnerable to his impersonating co-artist. We are copied or reflected in such a way that we are shown a surplus of meaning, by others, that we could not possibly have foreseen and that we cannot formalize.
Josh Thorpe’s Bachelor Stick and his Bachelor O n a n d O f f a l s o s h ow c a s e t h e powe r of response and the impossibility of ending the production and proliferation of meaning through stiff, mechanical repetition. They are a response to Don Simmons’s Bachelor Forever, and forcibly transform its meaning. Bachelor Forever made a lot of noise when it was turned on—when the drill was powered to move the filings up and down—and people working in the gallery had taken to only turning it on when spectators were present. For Bachelor On and Off, Thorpe installed what looks like a light switch that the spectator could flip on in order to power the drill himself. Suddenly the spectator gained control over the iron filings, over the self-absorbed, self-controlled, and masturbatory sexuality of Bachelor Forever; its solipsistic sexuality was exposed to and shared with the sexualized agency of the many spectators who went through the exhibit; it was brought into a relation with other bodies. The switch was painted pink on a black background, itself resembling a sexual object, a challenge to the authority of the first. Bachelor On and Off transforms Bachelor Forever, brings it into a new context, renders it accountable to new terms, and so destabilizes it, undermining its authority, becoming its interpretive key, taking it over. It is like a daughter or a son for whom the authority of the father is misplaced, belonging to a different set of terms, issues, and conditions, and thus in a way irrelevant. Bachelor Forever no longer means what it used to mean; it has been irreversibly transferred to a new context of meaning—just like the artworks I am discussing have been abruptly transferred into the unexpected context of a philosophical narrative that tries to reveal their invisible connections. Bachelor Stick does the same, taking attention away from the first phallic sign, participating in a multiplication of phallic signs—indeed, a phallic struggle—guiding the spectator, by virtue of its location behind the wall, to the secret of Bachelor Forever that lies in its machinery. In the structure of installation and response, assertion and rejoinder, we see the transformation of that which was responded to: it cannot simply be copied, or remain stable, but is swept up in the proliferation of meaning, in a communicative reality, that extends beyond it. In fact, it is always more than it thinks it is, or it means more than it could
ever contain, because of this necessary response—this response, which seems inherently external, is in fact internally at work in the artwork, transforming it. Universal systems of language, law, convention, and technology safeguard and shape a structure of responsiveness that always goes beyond them and their systematicity. Bachelor On and Off and Bachelor Stick restore the mystery emasculated by Bachelor Forever, suggesting that it is incapable of remaining outside of the realm of communication, enclosed in its solipsistic sexuality. But we could also say that Bachelor Forever, in exposing its technology, is making visible the invisible prosthesis and is also beyond the mechanical system of technology; art making technology visible is not the same as art submitting to the omnipotence and omnipresence of technology. In fact, the artist has subordinated technology to art, forcing it to participate in the making of the singular artwork—as the iron filings move up and down, they leave their dark trace on the wall. Bachelor Forever, then, takes us to the limit of technology, and we, at the limit, look out from it at something else. Žilvinas Kempinas’s O Between Fans also points to the mystery, the unshowable beyond formality, beyond structures of interaction like law, society, language, and technology. The work exposes a videotape, pulls it out of hiding, and subjects it to the work of machines (fans, here), but in so doing renders it invisible. We cannot see its contents when we subject it to our instrumental demands; we must let it show itself, in its own environment, on its own terms. We cannot predict and control what a thing, a person, a situation will say. While we may try to expose how things work, to penetrate them, to make them show themselves to us through systematic analysis and technology, they can resist, and in so doing they can show us that there are limits to control and knowledge, limits that represent the possibility of living beyond the present, the predictable, and the systematic. Erika Kierulf’s Breathe also shows the unshowable, what lies behind and beyond the work, beyond regulated structures of human activity. The work is constituted by three separate screens and the spaces between and around them. Every minute or so a new person walks to the centre screen from one or the other side, faces forward for several seconds, and falls back, out of the screen and out of view. Thus the figures inside the work point outside the work, to that which it cannot show; they lead the spectator’s attention to the spaces beside, below, and between the screens—to all the spaces it cannot directly put on display. But since those spaces are in a sense what the artwork seems to be
about, it speaks from and as them, from and as the unshowable, what is in fact beyond the artwork. Similarly, we are more than our environments, more than regularity, more than known, familiar, mapped-out realities, and we are now, in the present, structured by that possibility, that promise of what cannot be predicted, just like the artwork can in the present, here and now, point to what it is not and say that it is or could be that. I say all of these things in a language that on the one hand is more or less generally comprehensible for speakers of English, but that also tries to speak about things that are unique in a way that is responsive to them in that uniqueness. I communicate with language, and risk putting the artworks into a system of meaning that compromises that uniqueness, but what I also do is continue the process of respiration between us, contribute to the production of fresh air, the process of making visible, making into breath, what is invisible, what is merely air, not allowing our interaction to become mechanized, not construing my contributions as the last or final intake of air. In the experience of our interaction and communication, which our prosthetic extensions protect and enable, regularity, formality, and iterability are not the last word. We are still and always face-to-face with the promise of unpredictable claims, demands, and responses; and, indeed, we are called to open ourselves to that process of communication, the appearance of whatever and whomever might make itself vulnerable and open to us. We are always still faced with the question of what it is to be human because we always still have situations of interaction in front of us; we are called to be human, we will become human, only in our willingness to be responsive to the claim of the unpredictableâ€”to the unique world of the artwork, for one. The answer to the question of what is human is always still yet to be resolved; it is still a mystery, independent of our formulas and formulations. There will always be another breathâ€”another intake of the strange, the foreign, and the otherâ€”and we could not ever, and should not ever, predict what it will allow us to be after it has inserted itself into us.
This essay was presented as a public lecture on November 18, 2009, for the inaugural edition of The Blackwood Talks.
For art to succeed, its creator must fail. Morton Feldman
The carnivalesque context of Nuit Blanche offers an opportunity to investigate the potentially ominous and calamitous pairing of falling and failing with a light and irreverent touch. Drop Out hinted at the plight of the student, and the 1960s phrase â€˜turn on, tune in, drop outâ€™. The predominant culture of success streamlines achievement to a narrow array of scenarios. Alternative modes of accessing knowledge and assessing merit are consistently marginalized. To drop out is to fall out of the normative, and into an outside. The countercultural movements of then and now persistently work against the predominant grain to forcefully facilitate a distinction between an act of failure and a failure to act. As metaphorical illustrations of these societal conditions some of the works featured descended, while others stayed in seemingly perennial suspension. While works featured in Drop Out often seemed to dwell on the tangible and the concrete, they also functioned as acknowledgments that to dropout (however momentarily) can also be a momentous event leading to a perspectival shift or an epiphanic state. Or, invoking the aforementioned failure aesthetic, they might have merely aggregated into a series of futile attempts. The fact that to defy gravity confirms its vertiginous pull was the intrinsic paradox explored in Drop Out.
Morton Feldman, Give My Regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman (Cambridge: Exact Change, 2000), 26.
DropOut Bas Jan Ader Trisha Brown Jennifer Campbell Ulysses Castellanos Food Jammers Kenneth Goldsmith Emily Gove & Alison S. M. Kobayashi & Jennie Suddick Erika Kierulf Paul Litherland Valerian Maly Juliana Pivato Kelly Richardson Tom Sherman
Curated by Christof Migone Saturday October 3 - Sunday October 4, 2009 Part of SCOTIABANK NUIT BLANCHE at Hart House, University of Toronto
Food Jammers, 2x4 Ferris Wheel
Paul Litherland, Force of Attraction
LEFT: Bas Jan Ader, Nightfall RIGHT: Erika Kierulf, My Idiot
Juliana Pivato, Comfort Songs
TOP: Kelly Richardson, Wagons Roll; BOTTOM: Tom Sherman, Hyperventilation piece; Trisha Brown, Man Walking Down the Side of a Building
LEFT TOP & MIDDLE: Ulysses Castellanos, The Compulsion To Fill Space RIGHT: Kenny Goldsmith, The F Papers
Jennifer Campbell, Knock Out
Emily Gove & Alison S.M. Kobayashi & Jennie Suddick, Cry School Yearbook
Ulysses Castellanos - The Compulsion To Fill Space (2009) Logo projector. The Compulsion To Fill Space is a light installation consisting of a logo projection of the word STUPID. The aim is to reclaim the word ‘stupid’, so that STUPID becomes a positive affirmation. It is my intent to reclaim this reviled term into the realm of the positive. To look stupid is perfectly fine. In fact, it is a prerequisite for success in any undertaking. It is also an expression of the creative spirit, because creativity requires a leap of faith that could be a huge flop in the end. The title of the piece, The Compulsion To Fill Space, refers to the way in which logo projections take over the space in which they are shown. The title also references the fact that I am an artist of production; thus the constant creation of new works of art is my greatest concern, and it takes precedence over ideological or political concerns.
Bas Jan Ader - Fall 1, Los Angeles (1970), Fall 2, Amsterdam (1970), Broken Fall (geometric) (1971), Broken Fall (organic) (1971), Nightfall (1971) Video selection made by France Choinière for Dazibao (Montreal) on the occasion of the Gravity exhibition which presented a wide spectrum of works by Bas Jan Ader for the first time in Canada.
A selection of Ader’s videos. A brilliant aphorism by Maurice Blanchot from The Writing of the Disaster eerily encapsulates Ader’s entire oeuvre including his tragic demise: “To be lost, to capsize. Desire of the fall, desire which is the push and the pull of the fall. And whoever falls is not one, but several. Multiple fall. Each one restrains himself, clinging to an other, an other who is himself and is the dissolution—the dispersion —of the self, and the restraint is sheer haste, panicky flight, death outside death.”
Food Jammers - 2x4 Ferris Wheel (2009) Performance and installation.
2x4 Ferris Wheel consists of off the shelf standard-sized lumber turned into a makeshift fantastical apparatus by Food Jammers (Micah Donovan, Christopher Martin and Nobu Adilman). The Ferris wheel will be used as an absurd delivery system for food and drink—a kind of vending machine that is more dreamy than functional. The Hart House courtyard will temporarily resemble the backyard of mad garage scientists
Trisha Brown - Man Walking Down the Side of a Building (1970) 16mm film transferred to video (black and white, silent), 2min.
Mundane behavior shifted to the vertical axis. Walking as if not falling. This classic of what choreographer Trisha Brown has termed her ‘equipment pieces’ is more often seen only as a still photograph. Here the video of the original performance at 80 Wooster Street in NYC will be presented. Trisha Brown describes the piece as “a natural activity under the stress of an unnatural setting. Gravity reneged. Vast scale. Clear order. You start at the top, walk straight down, stop at the bottom.”
Kenneth Goldsmith - The F Papers (2009) Performance.
Jennifer Campbell - Knock Out (2008) Video, 1min. 17sec.
In the stop-motion video Knock Out, a woman awkwardly shadow boxes —as both recipient and perpetrator of fast-paced punches. The boxer’s opponent seems to remain ambiguous as she fights either the viewer, the camera, or the screen. A peculiarity emerges in the subject’s jerking and contorted motion due to the fact that the boxer is fighting with her feet rather then her fists.
The F Papers will consist of a continuous reading of school papers that have received an F. At least that was the original idea, but we quickly found that an F graded paper is a chimerical entity—often the grade is given to a paper that failed to be written. What quickly became more interesting to consider was how a teacher would write what they would assess to be an F paper. Thus, two teachers have been commissioned to write papers for Goldsmith’s project. Goldsmith is renowned for his controversial notion of uncreative writing as creative plagiarism—a position that provocatively prods the standard grading scheme of educational institutions. Appropriately, The F Papers questions and undermines the adulation for originality. The performance will simultaneously dismantle and praise the equations F is for Failure and F is for Fake
Valerian Maly - Apple (Windfall/Fallobst) (2003) Audio, 12sec. If one opens a German-English dictionary to the term ‘Fallobst’, one finds a word that encompasses everything contained in this recording: ‘windfall’. This word, in English, is not only used to denote ripe fruit that has fallen to the ground, it also describes ‘an unexpected stroke of luck’. It was through a series of such serendipitous moments that from October 17 to 19, 2003, I traveled with my colleague and former student Oliver Friedli to the Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, Newton’s place of birth, to record apples falling from the original tree where Sir Isaac Newton had his epiphany on universal gravitation.
Emily Gove & Alison S.M. Kobayashi & Jennie Suddick - Cry School Yearbook (2009) Performance. Cry School Yearbook is a collaborative project in which the artists provide goth, metalhead, and stoner makeovers to willing participants. This transformative process calls to mind the subcultural youth movements that run parallel to mainstream codes of dress and behaviour. The Yearbook itself exists as a faux document, recalling the naivety and self-consciousness of youth. Cringe-worthy photos now represent a nostalgic attempt at embracing our formative years through a temporary transformation. This re-creation of an institutional right of passage highlights both the nostalgia of looking back to one’s own self-conscious youth, while wryly presenting the now mainstream accessibility of once subcultural and side-lined groups of young people.
Juliana Pivato - Comfort Songs (2009) performance.
Erika Kierulf - My Idiot (2007) 2-channel video installation, 6min. 13sec.
My Idiot is a video performance in which two women each walk into a separate frame and repeatedly bang their heads onto the facing wall. The action continues for over six minutes. On the right side the performer’s gesture is mechanical and robotic. On the left she is exhausted and in agony. Inspired by the suicidal tendencies of the Philippine tarsier, a primate who (when in captivity, should they become depressed) ends its life in one of three ways: drowning itself in its water bowl, starving itself, or by banging its head on the wall until it drops dead. Paul Litherland - Force of Attraction (2003) Video, 3min. 4sec. This is my 30th year of skydiving; the anniversary of my first jump is September 29th. I made my first jump in Gananoque in 1979 while studying sciences at Queen’s University. I was only 17 and lied about my age to sign the waiver so I could take my first jump course. As of July 21, 2009, I had 1688 jumps.
How does one measure the value of a song when the singer sings it again and again in a presentation that might only be interpreted as selfcorrective—falling and failing the horizon of perfection? In this 12-hour a cappella performance of I Fall to Pieces, can the exquisite, melancholic hold of Patsy Cline’s iconic ballad be born again as something we hardly recognize but still want? Kelly Richardson - Wagons Roll (2007) Video, 24min.
A car hangs portentously in midair, arresting a clichéd mini-climax in an action movie. The viewer can only guess as to what events led to its peculiar suspension, likewise they have no idea if it will ever plummet to the earth below, but in this “in-between” state lies an uneasy calm. Tom Sherman - Hyperventilation piece (1970) Video, 7min. 20sec. Sherman’s video Hyperventilation piece (1970) was lost shortly after he moved to Toronto in 1971. Drop Out featured a video of Sherman reperforming Hyperventilation piece for Andrew Lugg’s 1972 film Trace.
Rochdale College: Failure Studies in Toronto By Sunny Kerr
Passing it today, one might never suspect that the unremarkable brutalist concrete tower looming over the corner of Bloor and Huron, converted to a senior’s residence in 1979, was once a counter-cultural beacon, home to student radicals and US draft resisters, red power advocates, women’s liberation groups, tenants’ rights organizations, and some of Canada’s foremost artists. For a brief passage of time, this tenacious experimental community was a renowned site of good-natured mischievousness where, for instance, student-teachers sold détourned university degrees.
began to develop a student-generated program of classes.Young English professor (later renowned poet and author of beloved children’s book, Alligator Pie) Dennis Lee joined the group that envisioned and built the school project that would become Rochdale College. Lee wrote that Rochdale could be “a place where people of a particular temperament could do the university’s work better than at the university.”(1) As David Sharpe explains in Rochdale: The Runaway College:
Opening its doors in 1968, Rochdale College was Toronto’s first large-scale experiment in co-operative living and alternative education. As North America’s largest co-operative residence, it was a morass of internal contradictions and democratic strife. Above all, the era’s mood of questioning and unrest shows through Rochdale’s kaleidoscope of anarchistic pedagogy, id-fuelled rebellion, tight-knit community, and visionary satire. By 1975, after police raids, political pressure, and financial hurdles, the last residents were forcibly carried out, and the doors welded shut.
Such a dream could be entertained in the prosperous times of the mid-sixties, and seemed to be the answer to a suspicion that was circulating among the most skeptical of academic minds: experience could be richer than study, the suspicion whispered; knowledge may not be wisdom.Teachers with the most suspicion decided that they were students as much as their students.To these newly humbled educators, education became a sharing of poverties, rigorously democratic, in which everyone was, in a relative sense, wealthy.(2)
Named after a 19th-century co-op, the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society, the college was made possible mainly due to entrepreneurial work from Howard Adelman, a student who was employed at University of Toronto’s Campus Co-op. Adelman and others, with some help from prominent families, convinced the federal government to chip in on a discounted mortgage for a new student co-op residence. Figuring they could avoid paying property tax by claiming to be an educational institution, the founders
Influenced by theorist, Paul Goodman and the new left, Rochdale became a radical youth-run college where students sprouted seminars on everything from Heidegger to lasers, life drawing to filmmaking. Beyond discussion groups and workshops, the experience of running Rochdale and its many programs was the real learning opportunity; Rochdale had a music school, a sculpture studio, and supported the pioneering Institute for Indian Studies. It housed a medical clinic, a daycare centre, an independent cinema, television
Rochdale College, an exhibition and free school project, opened in October of 2009 in the University of Toronto Art Centre’s art lounge. Graduate student, Rebecca Noone and I had originally undertaken it as a research project into utopian promise and conflict of Rochdale.We decided to playfully reactivate it as a way to look at our present situation as we continue to map the contextual meanings of this utopian reappearance.
and radio studios, and even launched an independent currency called roch-dollars. It fostered the seminal conceptual art collective General Idea, Theatre Passe Muraille, publishers Coach House Press and House of Anansi, This Magazine, the Spaced-out Library (now the Merril Collection of Science Fiction of the Toronto Public Library), the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, and the Alternative Press Centre. According to Brian Grieveson, Allen Ginsberg read poetry in a Buckminster Fuller dome on the roof and Jean Genet visited with a group of Black Panthers.(3) What had been a critique of the university system became a living experiment and an experiment in living.
It was Rochdale’s relevance to the life and activity of contemporary students that was our primary interest, more than determining exact reasons for its rise and downfall. We were interested, moreover, in sorting through the project’s timeliness amid a convergence of contemporary forces in art, education and politics, a convergence that it brought into strong relief. For example, the contemporary ‘pedagogical turn’ in art and curating can learn much from Rochdale’s attempts to resuscitate liberal studies outside of a traditional school environment; more specifically, the trend’s widespread interest in failure—as in the work of Irit Rogoff—is prefigured by Rochdale’s anarchic education program. Beyond the implications of the content of the show and its framing, we were interested in how the contemporary meanings of Rochdale primarily could be revealed by the way contemporary students responded to our invitation to teach ‘classes’ in the gallery lounge. How is the historical moment of Rochdale, a moment that stands so clearly for self-determination, translated and claimed by present-day students?
By 1969, already this utopian venture faced major security problems, financial setbacks, and its tight community began to struggle for control. Rochdale had almost instantly become a flophouse for the entire youth party scene, especially when the city government began containing and cornering youths, pushing hippies out of the gentrifying Yorkville neighborhood. But the middle class of Toronto did not kill Rochdale by itself; the plan to dodge taxes failed when the educational program did not look deserving to authorities, and, acting on a naïve egalitarianism, Rochdale’s early governing council opened the floodgates to a rootless party scene, undermining their own chances. While the population increased, collecting rent became increasingly difficult.“[F]reedom is not to be confused with license,” Howard Adelman remarked in his bitter critique of Rochdale’s carnivalesque politics.(4) The college had opened its doors to youths who didn’t necessarily share its original educational goals or co-operative spirit. Was the tension too great between the sixties’ inward journey of drug-fuelled and religious discovery and outward community-building? Realizing what was beginning to happen, the governing council cleared the building of hard drug dealing and tried to salvage what they could of the education programs. Around this time, the educational aspect veered toward desperation and artifice, since it was, despite its unconventional appearance, the sole legitimating force in the eyes of many outsiders.
The project was arranged around a fiction that Rochdale College continues to this day. A large sign saying ‘Rochdale College’ hung over two bulletin boards advertising activities scheduled in the gallery for the month.The fiction elides the apparent failure of Rochdale, skipping over the narrative of the drug-fuelled downward spiral, the evictions, betrayals and infighting. Our little story is superseded, still, by the way that Rochdale does indeed continue to circulate and inspire in culture despite (or because of) its incredible difficulties. The exhibition was testament to this inspiration by way of three different activities that gave it structure: art by contemporary students, alumni/archival materials, and a school project that saw a month of ‘classes’ run by students for students on their own subjects and in their own styles. We conceived of this exhibition as a collision of historical moments, gleefully mimicking Rochdale’s name and spirit, if only for a brief time.
The experiment required more nurturing; take the struggles of co-operative living and challenge them further with the questioning spirit of the times and then add the complications of educa-
tional dreams and you would begin to see what made Rochdale toil. Were the ideals too unrealistic to maintain without burnout? Dennis Lee, one of the original pedagogical reformers, gave up on Rochdale by the end of the sixties, saying it exposed him to too much “hassle and psychic bloodshed and people’s feelings of betrayal or disillusionment—enough of that comes to one in life, and right then there was more than I was able to handle.”(5) An increasingly urgent concern for Rochdale’s leaders was the embattled control of the building and its operations; increasingly, there grew a kind of safe haven mindset in which the idea of making a home with like-minded people became most important. While it was present from the beginning, this separatist attitude grew steadily and prevented the establishment of concrete alliances with other struggles happening at the same time. One of the early seventies governing council presidents, Peter Turner, recognized it:“The Community is not interested in the outside world and resents intrusions even from well-meaning sympathetic tourists.”(6) Residents began to refer to their home as “the Rock.”
Did Rochdale simply socialize outcasts? Did it merely teach people how to thrive within a system and nurture the capitalist baby boomers on whom we can blame today’s problems? While it did give people practise defining and exercising their personal rights within a capitalist system more broadly, it is the community spirit that is its lasting legacy. For example, it isn’t widely known that Rochdale played a role in enshrining dignity and respect for others in the law. According to tenants’ rights activist Walter Dmytrenko, the work on renter “security of tenure” by his Toad Lane Tenant’s Association (named for the lane in Rochdale, England, where the namesake co-operative was established) means that “Rochdale College was important to anyone who rents in Toronto.”(7) Past leaders, Alex MacDonald and Bob Nasmith claim that authentic community and financial stability did finally begin to emerge in the last years. (8) Science fiction writer Judith Merril recalled,“There was an enormous tolerance of people for their idiosyncrasies and foibles and carelessness and sloppiness. There was a great deal of honesty, but no sense—or almost no sense, ever—of maliciously motivated criticism. If you were being criticized, it was because somebody cared about you.” (9) MacDonald claims, furthermore, that Rochdale’s real transformative potential lay in the building’s co-operative ownership without property relations—which, because people derived benefit mainly from their participation in self-governance (rather than credit with the bank), led directly to a human-centred form of living.(10) Rochdale certainly taught people how to adapt and create autonomous systems. It took courage to do this work of wrestling with freedom and responsibility and doing it with a playful acceptance of failures. Past Rochdale president, Paul Evitts hit upon what Rochdale demanded of you in late 1968: “…a willingness to accept personal failure as inevitable sometimes and the ability to accept failure playfully and grow from its consequences.”(11)
(1) Quoted in David Sharpe, Rochdale: The Runaway College (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 1987), 17.
(6) Peter Turner, ed. There Can Be No Light Without Shadow (Toronto: Rochdale Press, 1971), 357.
(2) David Sharpe, Rochdale: The Runaway College (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 1987), 17.
(7) Email to the author. Tuesday, August 18th, 2009.
(3) Brian Grieveson. Rochdale: Myth and Reality, A Personal Experience (Toronto: Charasee Press, 1991), 44. (4) Howard Adelman, “Rochdale College: Power and Performance” Canadian Literature. Spring/Summer (1997): 70. (5) Henry Mietkiewicz and Bob Mackowycz, Dream Tower: The Life and Legacy of Rochdale College (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1988), 258.
(8) Alex MacDonald, October 30th, 2009. Lecture University of Toronto Art Centre. (9) Mietkiewicz and Mackowycz, 260. (10) Alex MacDonald, October 30th, 2009. Lecture University of Toronto Art Centre. (11) Paul Evitts, Rochdale Weekly (October 27th November 2nd, 1968).
Kobayashi is an identity contortionist. In her work, she incarnates a panoply of personas that are both studiously and playfully rendered. She strides a tense line between portraiture and caricature which presents a palpable commentary on the strictures our identities are continually subjected to. In each performance (usually made specifically for video), she synthesizes both the nuances as well as the stereotypes of each of the characters she embodies—back and forth from finesse to crudity. In The Seven Inch Fall, Kobayashi drew from the experience of her own recent graduation from the Art & Art History Program at UTM. To compose the image the artist referenced specific components of three films: Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Powell and Pressburger’s 1948 classic The Red Shoes. The latter is particularly germane as a latent theme of the film is the fraught relation between apprentice and mentor, novice and veteran, teacher and student. Kobayashi is also playfully addressing the recurring scenario found in romantic comedies where, in her words, “a character turns heads with confidence and sex appeal in her stride, but suddenly, heels wobble, balance is lost, and she comes tumbling down from the film’s pedestal of feminine perfection.” The provocative image stages a fall which derails the reception of her diploma. The diploma is held in suspense by an anonymous man, an abstracted personification of authority. The final act of graduation is put on hold. Will she ever graduate? Does she actually want to? Perhaps the answer to those questions lies in the incongruous elements of the image—the movement of the face versus the rigid pose of the legs embody the paradox of a still fall. The perplexing red shoes with their implausible angles further heighten the tone of ambiguity pervading the work. In other words, the image does not provide an answer, rather it poses a critical set of questions. Prominent amongst them is the specter of failure that is brought to the fore within an institution whose maxim espouses success. While accomplishments are undeniably laudable, the artist seems to unabashedly embrace an alternate scenario to the one where a diploma is the end goal. What could be the fallout from such a dissident position?
Every Fall the Blackwood Gallery commissions an artist to produce a work for the Bernie Miller Lightbox, a billboard sized (268.0 x 176.5cm, 108 x 72”) venue installed on the outside of South Building where the two wings of the building meet at the end of the “Five Minute Walk”. The commissioned work stays throughout the school year. In the summer, the Lightbox displays the original work by Bernie Miller, five Minute Mirror (2001), which inaugurated the site.
The Seven Inch Fall Alison S.M. Kobayashi
CURATED BY CHRISTOF MIGONE OCTOBER 1, 2009 - MAY 1, 2010 SOUTH BUILDING BERNIE MILLER BILLBOARD/LIGHTBOX UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA
B e N d Johnson Ngo
artist statement Bend shows the body’s capacity and limitations of propositioning oneself within a submissive role. Although apathetically, Johnson Ngo stares back at the dominating viewer, acknowledging the viewer as active. Subtle defiant glares underscore and problematize the established voyeuristic power relations. The fluidity of identity is arbitrary and perpetually in flux. Ngo investigates his identity and explores the physical differences of “Asian-ness”, to expose racial and cultural stereotypes and themes of sexuality based upon his observations and experiences. Video, photography, and language are used together in an interdisciplinary approach. Ngo calls to his “Asianness”, as a means of owning it—empowering himself. Thus, declaring his Asian-ness. He does this before others’ can offer their judgements; exposing identity as a fractured by misreading of the other.
johnson ngo, Bend (2008) 14min. 25sec., video Screened on the video wall of the CCiT building as part of Didactic, the Art & Art History Student Graduate Exhibition (March 4 – March 15, 2009)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR BY RUQAYYAH AHDAB PUBLISHED BY THE MEDIUM, THE UTM CAMPUS NEWSPAPER, ON MARCH 16, 2009 OUR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ARTICLE
â€œThe following piece contains explicit material. Viewer discretion is advised.â€? Unfortunately, I was afforded no such warning when I strolled into the CCIT building last week. Hurrying to print an overdue essay, I barely looked up in time to notice the CCIT Video Wall. I was entirely unprepared for the gigantic depiction of a semi-nude male, bent over on his hands and knees, looking over one shoulder at me with his pants lowered past his rear end. The offensive sight arrested my eyes and the image was then burned into my memory. I felt repulsed and disorientated in the few seconds that followed. While many may justify, and even laud, this display on the basis of freedom of expression, I, amongst others, feel that it is an infringement on our sense of security. I use the term security here to signify our basic Canadian legal and human right to be safeguarded from acts of indecency, as opposed to its antonym insecurity which could denote a twisted puritanical or antisexualist connotation. From a fundamental ethical precedent, such an exhibit forms the precipice of a dangerous slippery slope. It opens the door for a potential slew of offensive and distasteful elements on campus. If the artist chose to do that very scene as a form of live art, would it be equally acceptable for the Blackwood Gallery to host a seminude person posing on their hands and knees in one of the busiest buildings on campus? Where is the line drawn? Furthermore, what is the threshold of offensive nudity? From a legal standpoint which seeks to codify the minimums and maximums of offense: the fact that the nuances of offensive nudity are overtly detailed in two sections of the Canadian Criminal Code points to a defined threshold within Canadian society that is beyond moral relativism. Displaying a piece that has an element of nudity in it is then treading dangerous ground, certainly bound to offend others. For although the suggestive exhibition of a bare bottom does not constitute a violation to Section 173.2 or 174 of the Criminal Code, the fact that it lacks any form of warning certainly goes against the Canadian Association of Broadcasting Code of Ethics, if not Canadian legal ethics in general. According to the code, anything that comprises mature or offensive subject matter, nudity, sexually explicit material, or crude or offensive language, must be preceded by a viewer advisory. Not only is the viewer ensured this, but they are also given the choice of keeping that channel on. But of course, the CCIT Video Wall is not a television, and can not be controlled with a click of a button. We would not be self-respecting, intelligent Canadians, if we did not voice our contentions with dangerous absolutes like that of freedom of expression. If we adamantly uphold the freedom rights and ethical standards of Canadian society, it is just as much our duty to be passionately protective over those same standards so as not to exploit them. After all, no one likes a double-standard. I will not submit to a false conditioning that asks me to disregard my freedom of conscience. My spontaneous reaction demonstrated an automatic and reflexive aversion to the display; as did a significant population of the student body consider the display to be offensive. Moreover, if Campus Police amassed numerous complaints from students, then I ask of a prestigious Canadian university like UTM to uphold the sanctity of ethical judgement and of our sense of security when displaying pieces on the CCIT Video Wall. I would like the choice of observing an explicit piece or not, to be left to us: so that we can practice our freedom of expression.
RESPONSE LETTER BY CHRISTOF MIGONE PUBLISHED BY THE MEDIUM ON MARCH 23, 2009 IN RESPONSE TO ‘OUR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION’
In Response to the letter by Ruqayyah Ahdab, in last week’s Letter to the Editor, Ruqayyah Ahdab posed thoughtful and relevant questions regarding the legality of “offensive nudity” in relation to the controversy around the video Bend by Johnson Ngo’s the Blackwood Gallery presented on the video wall in the CCIT building from March 4 to 15. But the questioning ended there. As Director/Curator of the Blackwood Gallery, I thought I would offer my own set of questions which respond to Ahdab’s letter and also to a number of other complaints I received about the work: What if we viewed the video wall as a challenging and stimulating forum as opposed to an imposing and infringing television? What if the programming on the video wall you found offensive became the impetus to an educative search where you would inform yourself of the artist’s intent and examine your own preconceptions? What if the automatic reaction to “dangerous” material became this process of questioning, instead of a categorical definition (and implicit dismissal) of freedom of expression as a “dangerous absolute”? What if the contentious material provoked a generative debate in lieu of a retreat or coccooning? What if the debate addressed the difficult questions posed by the artist in his statement posted beside the video wall? Is his exploration of racial and cultural stereotypes not relevant to you? Should thorny subject matter be ignored in favor of only palatable pablum? Would you rather not to be confronted or provoked by anything at anytime in your daily routine? Does the non-gratuitous and well-articulated artist’s statement pose a threat to your notion of “security”? Is to “underscore and problematize the established voyeuristic power relations” (from Johnson Ngo’s artist statement) an endeavor dismissable by your disgust or is your disgust confirming the acuity of his gesture? It is always heartening to witness a passionate level of engagement and I sincerely thank everyone for voicing their opinion. However, as my questions above outline, I am perplexed by the tenor of the debate. That being said, I do acknowledge that work needs to be done with the video wall in order to better facilitate feedback. I believe this work begins with better signage and more visible forms of contextualizing the works that we program for this space. We are working on various manners to address this. This is not to say that material in the same vein as Bend will no longer find itself on the video wall, but that the Blackwood will endeavor to present the work in such a manner that complementary information will be more readily apparent.
ADDENDUM: THE VIDEO WALL WAS PERMANENTLY DISMANTLED IN THE FALL OF 2009 FOR REASONS ENTIRELY UNRELATED TO THIS CASE.
STIR FAISAL ANWAR BORIS CASTELLANOS ALVARO CASTELLANOS ULYSSES CASTELLANOS NANDINI KRISHNA LATA PADA SINTHIYA SIVASITHAMPARAM
STIR WAS A DANCE, VIDEO & MUSIC MASH-UP EVENT FEATURING SAMPRADAYA DANCE CREATIONS (CHOREOGRAPHER: LATA PADA, AND DANCERS: NANDINI KRISHNA AND SINTHIYA SIVASITHAMPARAM), THE DJ COLLECTIVE QUADRASONIC (BORIS CASTELLANOS, ALVARO CASTELLANOS & ULYSSES CASTELLANOS) AND VIDEO ARTIST FAISAL ANWAR. THE LIVE IMPROVISATIONAL MULTI-LAYERED PERFORMANCE WAS PRECEDED BY A SERIES OF COLLABORATIVE WORKSHOPS.
ConCeiVed By suZAnne CArte-BlAnChenot CoordinAted By KAren KrAVen thursdAy, mArCh 19 7-9pm, 2009 mist theAtre, CCit Building, uniVersity oF toronto mississAugA
The Projects: Port Credit was an exhibition which accented the proposal or propositional stage of an artwork (what might or could happen). A proposal introduces, triggers, enables. It functions as a meeting point in a predictive discussion of the future of a place. While the standard characteristics of a proposal are to highlight feasibility, possibility and potentiality, the proposals featured in The Projects also dialogued with the absurd and flirted with the impossible and the utopic. The eight invited artists provided a perspective on the socio-economic engines of an area undergoing rapid transformations. These perspectives on Port Credit were simultaneously critical and creative, generative and imaginative. They took the form of posters, maquettes, installations and performative interventions. Some addressed social and political issues frontally, others obliquely. All were thoughtful and informative while remaining playful and whimsical. They were scattered throughout the former offices of an architectural firm, amidst the cubicles and desks, resembling the concoctions of architects gone awry. The Projects: Port Credit, was an initiative of the Blackwood Gallery presented in partnership with the Port Credit Village Project, a local community group. It was the Blackwood Galleryâ€™s first off-site exhibition.
KIM ADAMS DIANE BORSATO SHANE KREPAKEVICH GARETH LICHTY LAUREN NURSE SANDRA RECHICO KERRI REID JON SASAKI
CURATED BY CHRISTOF MIGONE JULY 5 - JULY 30, 2009 Off-SITE LOCATION: 55 PORT ST.E, PORT CREDIT, MISSISSAUGA.
Gareth Lichty, Hamper
Diane Borsato, SWANS WILL BE TREATED LIKE BIRDS
Kim Adams, Artist Colony (Phase 2): Project Port Credit - Architect in the wall
Lauren Nurse, Untitled
Jon Sasaki, Trying to Go Home Again
Kerri Reid, The Port Credit Free Cinder Block Repair Service
Shane Krepakevich, Proposal Towards an Architect ure of Sleeping at the Office Last Night or Forever
Sandra Rechico, The Alton Cottage Playhouse
the projects: port credit
Kim Adams - Artist Colony (Phase 2): Project Port Credit - Architect in the wall (2009) Various materials. In the original Artist Colony (Phase 1) stacked box cars are converted into artists’ studios, entertainment centres, shopping and amusement parks, which make up a contained universe in the style of high-rise architecture set on wheels to travel between city centers. In the second phase, based in Port Credit, one can glimpse through the window of an office door in a recently vacated architects’ firm, a model for a development in process —an architect at work. The Artist Colony (Phase 2): Project Port Credit, is an art and cultural centre on wheels which can move out from its core in all directions. Diane Borsato - SWANS WILL BE TREATED LIKE BIRDS (2009) Series of 11 original drawings. For The Projects, Diane Borsato has created eleven drawings that make proposals for the Port Credit area. In declarative capitals, the impulse sketches propose absurd or impossible new programs for the region: SWANS WILL BE TREATED LIKE BIRDS, to MUSIC TEACHERS WILL RECEIVE FREE MEAT, and THE LAKE WILL BE CLEANED ENTIRELY. Through the drawings the audience is invited to consider the limits of public art, the rationale of the proposals, and to imagine their diverse possible implications.
Shane Krepakevich - Proposal Towards an Architecture of Sleeping at the Office Last Night or Forever (2009) Various materials. Starting from the fortuitous find of a commercially available ‘Port Credit’ paint swatch, this installation imagines the remaining pieces of an unusual housing development strategy. Using the exhibition site’s former use as an architecture office as latent material, this work collapses the planning and design of living spaces with lived space itself. The joining of a necessary and an improvised housing situation with a proposal for its wide distribution muddies the usual separation of individual making from large-scale development. A replication of the original living space as a prototype for mass implementation exemplifies this purposeful complication while also considering the trace and accommodation of individual motivations, needs, and desires in formalized design. It is in light of these considerations that the pervasive use of ‘Port Credit’ blue acts as a fluid placeholder in this work, reflecting the complex relationship between people, their living spaces and surrounding municipalities. Gareth Lichty - Hamper (2009) Construction fence 9 ft diameter by 4 ft high.
Hamper is an investigation into the constant renewal of commercial office spaces. At once familiar and strange, Hamper consists of three cylinders of rolled safety orange-coloured construction fence. Lined up within three commercial office cubicles, Hamper cuts off the free circulation of movement, capturing sight lines across the space, and directing the viewer’s gaze towards the lake. Playing with how construction fence acts more like a symbolic barrier than an actual barrier to a site, Lichty subtly repurposes this common material to activate the space.
Lauren Nurse - untitled (2009) MDF, Melamine, wood, grey paint, plant materials.
I am interested in the idea of systems and efficiency, manifesting in a form that wastes nothing and gathers material to shape itself from what is left behind: a model that slowly builds itself in the abandoned offices of an architects’ firm. Architecture is an expression of geometry as applied to structures—the philosophy of the built form grows out of referential allusions to the systems and patterns found in nature. What if natural forms collected themselves into a geometry? My project references the exhibition site’s history of boatbuilding (the construction of complex forms that were designed as tools for navigating the natural world), its secondary incarnation as an architects’ office, and its proximity to Lake Ontario. These elements combine to create an installation that discusses the constructed environment of the building versus its natural surroundings. I am interested in the tension between inside and outside and the intersections that occur when borders become fluid and porous. In this case, the natural colonizes the unnatural and spurs a dialogue between the two. Sandra Rechico - The Alton Cottage Playhouse (2009) Various materials. In 1965, the Altons of Port Credit built a playhouse for their children, which over time accumulated a puppet theatre with many puppets, an easel and chalkboard, a couple of small desks and a trunk with dress-up clothes. The playhouse became a location for spontaneous play not only for their children but also for others in the neighbourhood. By all accounts up to 100 kids per week came to play games or use their imagination in the playhouse. In 1976, the City of Mississauga, took over the property with the aim of making it into a public park (then Cranberry Cove, now Rhododendron Gardens). The impromptu games and parties near the lake stopped. I want to start them up again (or at least remind people of their existence). To that end, a scale model of the playhouse will be displayed in the exhibition to tell of recent history and propose the possibility of re-creating a playhouse for today.
Kerri Reid - The Port Credit Free Cinder Block Repair Service (2009) Pen on paper drawing, one copy of a sign put up around Port Credit, photo documentation of a repaired cinder block left out in Port Credit, and one broken concrete cinder block. Dimensions variable.
A couple of years ago I came across a piece of a broken cinder block by the side of the road. After several failed attempts to contact various cinder block manufacturers to see if they could incorporate this found broken piece into the body of a new cinder block, I have now decided to take matters into my own hands and fix it myself. For this exhibition, I will be fixing the original piece and leaving it somewhere in Port Credit, as well as offering a free repair service for anyone from Port Credit who has a cinder block in need of repair. Jon Sasaki - Trying to Go Home Again (2009) 7 x 9” oil on panel sketches, painting box, unused panels, older works circa the mid-’90s.
I have a weak spot for grand romantic gestures. Although they currently manifest themselves in videos, performances, objects, and photos, I was at one time an ‘en plein air’ landscape painter. Over the years, however, I have lost faith in the ability of my little painted panels to communicate relevant messages to the world. When I recently retrieved these old paintings from my basement storage locker, I lamented that my jaded eyes couldn’t ‘see’ them anymore, so to speak. My cynicism now prevents me from accessing work that once gave me so much pleasure. I no longer have my old conviction or for that matter the technical skill. I fear these things are probably lost. Yet, despite that foreknowledge, I will try this summer to reclaim them. I will be a ‘painter in residence’ periodically executing landscape paintings at various locations in Port Credit. I will bring my old painting box, my brushes and panels, and I will try to recover the uncritical appreciation for this genre of painting that I have lost.
A Short History of Industry and Small Business in Port Credit over Some of the Past Century John Armstrong
Former Texaco Refinery Property, 181 Lakeshore Road West, Port Credit (2009)
In the mid 1970s, Claude, one of my university housemates in Sackville, New Brunswick, planned to travel across Canada at the end of term before he went back home to France. He wanted to visit large cities—Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver—and get to know the hometowns of his three housemates. I grew up in Port Credit, Ontario, and our other two housemates in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Kingston, Ontario. Claude’s enthusiasm for visiting his new friends’ places of origin had limits: the smaller centres should have some point of interest. To check on this, Claude had the Michelin Guide to Canada, the authoritative and rather dry French travel publication that offered a brief outline of each town, city and region, and pointed out anything worth visiting, with an emphasis on art and architecture. A system of stars, three being the highest distinction, recognized noteworthy attractions. Port Credit had no stars. The guide noted that the town, located on the shore of Lake Ontario just west of Toronto at the mouth of the Credit River, was home to two manufacturing and industrial concerns—the St. Lawrence Corn Starch Company and the Texaco Refinery—neither of which, the guide flatly stated, would be of any interest to a tourist. Fredericton and Kingston fared much better; each had a star. Claude opted not to visit Port Credit. I was miffed. Port Credit, a paradigm of small-town, mid-century North America, was surely worth at least a half-day stopover. Founded in 1889, the Starch Works (as the Corn Starch Company was popularly called) was small-town manufacturing writ large. Raw materials arrived and processed goods departed, first by wagon team, and later by rail and tractor-trailer, all of which sported the Starch Works’ distinctive namemark. Great volumes of food staples were created: laundry and cooking starch, corn oil and that ubiquitous, if often hidden food
Armstrong Jewellers Bulova Watch Give Away, Cliff Armstrong and winner, 1952
sweetener, corn syrup. All this starch, oil and glucose syrup was produced in an imposing and sooty number of brick factory buildings with many, many domestically scaled sash windows that inexplicably always seemed to be dark. A forest bordered the factory to the east. Seven times a day, the factory steam whistle would sound throughout the town to let the workers know when to wake-up, start work, have lunch, and so on. All of us in the town orchestrated our day by the whistle. The Starch Works was managed by successive generations of the Gray family, and in the midst of the Great Depression, rather than lay-off the company’s workers, then president William T. Gray employed his workers to build the Factory Office on Lakeshore Road at Hurontario Street. The 1930s building is an ornamental brick building with a prominent central doorway with a transom window above filled with their namemark, handlettered in gold leaf. Surrounded by
Armstrong Jewellers, 225 Lakeshore Road East, Port Credit, 1950
ornamental wrought iron, the lettering would reflect the ambient light and hauntingly glint out at you as you walked by.[fig. 4] The company’s smokestack was a key landmark to mariners on the lake. But the Starch Works’ greatest visibility was achieved through their NHL hockey card promotion: from 1943 through 1967, consumers could mail in proof-of-purchase labels to the company and receive black-and-white photo portraits of current players in the league. This highly successful food promotion campaign resulted in “a major sales boost for the company’s products”—particularly to its popular Bee Hive Corn Syrup.(1) Further west of the Starch Works on Lakeshore Road at Stavebank Road, Texaco purchased an existing oil refinery in 1959. From 1932 on, a succession of owners had maintained a refinery on the waterfront site of a nineteenth-century brickworks.(2) The refinery employed fewer townspeople than the Starch Works and presented a nearly bucolic aspect to passers-by. Row upon row of pristine white oil storage tanks occupied a vast field of trimmed grass; and, each of the tanks sat on its own manicured hillock. Every tank had a reference number ever so neatly painted near the top. This parkland of monoliths sat behind a tall chainlink fence, and in the distance
the refinery fires burned high in the air, night and day. From Lakeshore Road, the field of storage tanks’ order and accountability set against the refinery’s distant flames presented a striking if contradictory image. In the 1920s, European architects such as Erich Mendelsohn and Bruno Taut travelled to Buffalo, New York, to see the pareddown purposefulness of the city’s lakeside grain silos. Industrial buildings such as these held great fascination for the early European modernists, supporting the architects’ dedication to simple geometric forms and monumentality.(3) But by the 1970s, Düsseldorf artists Hilla and Bernd Becher’s documentary photographs of the German industrial landscape had become well known. I’m not entirely certain that oil storage tanks in France familiar to my friend Claude would have differed greatly from the tanks in Port Credit, but as a child I found in the refinery site a kind of reassuring simplicity of purpose. The place was more ideal model than actual thing. In 1999, Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky photographed another refinery on Lakeshore Road in nearby Oakville, just west of Port Credit. Burtynsky’s images depict the Oakville Refinery’s intricate network of pipes, ducting and valves as rational, stainless steel order glistening in the midday light. Given Burtynsky’s environmental activism, the artist no doubt intended subtle critique. But his photographs (now in the collection of Oakville Galleries), could well be seen as presenting industry in a utopian manner, much as I perceived the Port Credit facility—sans irony—many years ago. Most of us have a fond attachment to our hometowns or regions, and often that attachment has some measure of nostalgia and not a great deal of objectivity. Certainly, much of what I valued in Port Credit as a resident would have been lost on a first-time visitor. There was little concern for the production of tourism in Port Credit even into the 70s; there was employment and a satisfied insularity that comes of self-sufficiency. Port Credit was then and will forever be in the shadow of the region’s far greater attraction, Toronto. Beyond a travel guide’s snapshot view of Port Credit as an industrial centre, the town was defined by numerous other, much smaller, commercial ventures. In 1950, the eastern side of Port Credit beyond the Starch Works and south of the Lakeshore Road was largely residential with only the odd commercial building on the Lakeshore.The two apartment buildings (between Oakwood Avenue North and Woodlawn Avenue on the north side of the Lakeshore) with the beautiful, eccentric concrete entrances in the form of two intertwining tree trunks hadn’t been built yet.North of Lakeshore Road was largely fields and woodlots.
In 1950, the Maxted Pharmacy building on the southwest corner of Lakeshore and Hiawatha Parkway was just being built, and Henry’s Hardware (later, and for many years, Ventresca’s Supermarket) on the southeast corner of the same intersection was also under construction. Reg and Mary Marshall had already established Marshall’s Sport and Gift, in the middle of the block bracketed by the Village and Maxted Pharmacies. On the northwest corner of Lakeshore and Briarwood Avenue was the home and office of Doctor Brayley whose name may now be found on the three-story Brayley Building office complex built on that site in the 1960s. There was no commercial development between Cumberland Drive and the St. Lawrence Starch Works to the west at all. Paul Velano’s Flame Steak House, the area’s fine dining mecca throughout the 1960s and 70s, was years away. In 1950, my father opened up a jewellery and watch repair business, some two and a half blocks east of the Starch Works on the corner of Lakeshore Road and Cumberland Drive. The store was located in the then-newly constructed Village Pharmacy building in a small retail space originally slated to become a barbershop. His business motto was “C. Cliff Armstrong for Watch Repair.” My father’s first name, which he didn’t like to use, was Charles. My father’s journey to retail and watchmaking in Port Credit mirrored the post-war population shift from the inner city to growing suburban centres. Like many World War II veterans, he left the forces young, married, and found he had no immediately marketable skills. Following up on a childhood passion for building model airplanes, he passed an aptitude test and completed a one-year intensive course in horology (watch repair) offered to veterans at the Gould Street Rehab School in Toronto. Following graduation, he worked for the Toronto department store Simpsons for three years as a watchmaker. He didn’t feel that conditions at Simpsons were overly unpleasant, but described the warehouse on Toronto’s Temperance Street in which he and six other watchmakers worked on a quota basis as being dusty and having
to predict when the watch would stop—down to the hour, minute and second.A Port Credit businessperson won the contest.[Fig. 2] By 1952, Armstrong Jewellers had outgrown the modest Cumberland Drive location, and the store moved half a block east into the building that Mel and Gwen Stewart of Stewart’s Hardware had just built. The Stewarts then lived in an apartment above the Village Pharmacy. Initially, Armstrong Jewellers shared its half of the Stewart Building with Able Cleaners (who soon moved several stores east); the jewellery store then expanded to assume the proportions it would keep until 1979. My father’s 1950s renovation of the store included the installation of a custom-built wall and ceiling maple showcases, an aluminium store front with a floor-to-ceiling picture window, a smaller eyelevel showcase window, and a store-wide illuminated sign that was ordered at the same time as a matching sign for Stewart’s Hardware. Each week, the windows were cleaned and the floors polished to a high shine.
Front Doorway of 1930s St. Lawrence Starch Company Factory Office Building, 141 Lakeshore Road East, Port Credit (2009)
windows so grimy you couldn’t see out of them. He dreamed of opening up his own business. Father first heard of Port Credit’s developing commercial district from a family friend and building inspector for Toronto Township, the regional government that preceded the creation of Mississauga in 1968. On his first visit to Port Credit, Father met Laurie Purdy who was about to open the Village Pharmacy in a newly completed building. (Ron Purdy, Laurie’s son—and longtime community icon and humourist—retired and sold the pharmacy to Joseph Bahrani in 1993.) Armstrong Jewellers opened in October 1950, with a stock of watches, diamonds, jewellery and silverware.[Fig. 3] The focus of the business, however, was watch repair.To celebrate the opening, Father ran a contest to give away a ‘ladies’ and a ‘gents’ watch. He wound the watch up and gave it to the manager of the local Bank of Commerce for safekeeping. Contestants had
Living in the ground-floor apartment behind the store, Father ran the business with my mother Lois until the arrival of their first child in 1956 when Do Humphreys was hired as the store’s assistant manager. As the business grew, Armstrong hired Port Credit residents Ethel Brown and Doris Spencer as sales clerks, and another watchmaker was employed. Business was brisk. Every spring and fall Humphreys and Armstrong went to the Toronto Gift Show to order the store’s stock which came to include Bulova watches, Bluebird Diamonds, Royal Doulton figurines, Cornflower glassware, Cross and Olive crystal, Dominion luggage, and tides of costume jewellery displayed on an oval island that occupied the centre of the store. Throughout the store’s 1950s and 60s heyday, many trends in giftware came and went: charm bracelets, serving trays made of cheery fibreglassed cotton prints with the inevitable daisy or happy-face designs, Danish Modern teak monkeys, and handtooled leather encosed lighters. One anniversary happily followed the next. Father served as an elder of the Port Credit First United Church for 22 years and was a charter member of the Port Credit Rotary Club (1952) which started out meeting in the United church’s auditorium with meals cooked by the church’s Women’s Auxiliary. The club’s first fundraising goal was to equip the operating room in the new South Peel (now Mississauga) Hospital. And, of course, the store sponsored a juniors’ hockey team that first played in the Dixie Arena and later in the newly-built Port Credit Arena.
By the end of the 60s, traffic was slowing in Port Credit retail businesses: Dixie Plaza and then Applewood Plaza had opened, to be followed in the 70s by the Sherway Gardens and Square One indoor malls. But the most severe blow to my father’s store was a 1978 armed robbery. At 10 a.m. one October morning, a man entered the store carrying a knife; he bound and gagged Father, and left him in the back office while calmly serving customers who arrived during the theft. The bandit took the store’s watches and gemstone jewellery and fled to a car waiting in the alley and driven by an accomplice.The following May, the bandit was apprehended, but by that time he had fenced everything. For security, larger jewellery-store chains hire professional guards; it is seldom that smaller stores are able to afford the prohibitively high cost of theft insurance. Father was not insured; his loss was so great that he was unable to restock the store. In the year immediately following the theft, he feared for his life every time the door opened. Father sold the business in 1979. After a month’s holiday, he once again rented the small store he started out in on Cumberland Drive in 1950. From then until 2000, he concentrated solely on watch repairs. With the advent of transistorized timepieces, mechanical watch and clock repair has become both boutique skill and dying art. George Brown College in Toronto was the last college to teach watchmaking in Ontario: and it no longer receives enough applicants to run its longstanding horology program. Father’s generation of watchmakers felt it was the trade’s last. In 2000, Armstrong Jewellers celebrated its 50th anniversary— and my father retired. His old store on the Lakeshore is now a bridal boutique. The St. Lawrence Starch Company was sold in 1989 to Cargill, an American food, agriculture and financial services corporation, and, following the Canada-United States free-trade agreement of early 1989, the company was moved to the US.(4) After 100 years of production, the Starch Works closed in 1990, and most of the factory complex was demolished in 1993 to make way for a relatively low-density, upmarket development of storefront live-work units, condo townhouses, waterfront townhouses and lakeside parkland spread over 16 acres. The development was sensitive and even to a degree green: sightlines were preserved to the waterfront from Lakeshore Road, the factories’ concrete foundation material was crushed and used for new roadbeds, and a good portion of the original forest on the north-east edge of the property was maintained. Project developers Fram Building Group have kept one of the original buildings, the 1930s Factory Office, to serve as its international headquarters.(5) And the Starch Works’ steam whistle—an innocuous structure—is mounted atop a lamppost on the publicly accessible Waterfront Trail that goes through the old factory property.
The Texaco Refinery operated in Port Credit until 1985 at which point the facility was relocated to Nanticoke on Lake Erie. Imperial Oil acquired Texaco’s properties five years later and sought Ministry of the Environment approval to bring in new soil to revitalize the Port Credit brownfield site for reuse. This work was terminated when it became clear that liability for the closure of brownfield sites is not legally settled in Ontario.(6) The sizeable 140-acre property sits vacant and overgrown as Imperial Oil continues to “manage and monitor” the refinery site.(7) [Fig.1] Despite the town’s reluctance, Port Credit was incorporated into the City Mississauga in 1974. Today, even though the town’s retail strip along the Lakeshore still retains its 1950s architectural face, a great deal has changed. Mainstreet retailing has experienced huge competition from strip plazas, mega-malls, and now big box retailers; and social violence has certainly not gone away. In the 1980s and 90s, a number of antique, second-hand shops and bargain shops were established in East Port Credit. There was a venerable precedent for this in Port Credit’s pioneering business in used goods,Ye Olde “X” Shoppe, which was opened in 1952 by Mildred Grebeldinger and later owned by her son Richard, who closed the business in 2002.(8) Most recently, the village is steadily gentrifying with fine restaurants, organic food retailers and art galleries—becoming a bit of a tourist destination. I should let Claude know. (1) Bee Hive Hockey Photos: Obtaining a Photo, http://www.beehivehockey.com/ history_03obtaining.htm. (2) Betty Clarkson, The Story of Port Credit (Port Credit, Ontario: Port Credit Public Library Board, 1967), 175-176. (3) Kathleen James, Erich Mendelsohn and the Architecture of German Modernism (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992). (4) Clyde H. Farnsworth, “Free-Trade Accord Is Enticing Canadian Companies To U.S.” (The New York Times, Friday, August 9, 1991). (5) Stephen Weir, “An undiscovered gem: Fram Building Group transformed a demolished starch factory into vibrant live-work community” (The Toronto Star, July 8, 2006). (6) G. Peppin, “Real Estate; Can we turn brownfields into fields of gold?” (Mississauga Business Times, November 23, 2005). (7) “Regent Refinery Not Oldest But Biggest Tax Payer Here” (Port Credit: The Weekly Special Supplement, July 12, 1961). (8) Kathleen A. Hicks, Lakeview: Journey from Yesterday (Mississauga, Ontario: Mississauga Library System, 2005), 279.
In my first Voyages, while I was young, I was instructed by the oldest Mariners, and learned to speak as they did. But I have since found that the Sea-Yahoos are apt, like the Land ones, to become new fangled in the Words; which latter change every Year; insomuch, as I remember upon each return to mine own Country, their old Dialect was so altered, that I could hardly understand the new. Jonathan Swift
Here was my confusion: upon hearing hip hop artist and producer Timbaland’s 2007 single “The Way I Are”, and being taken in by one of his usual, catchy hooks, I couldn’t adequately repeat the name of the song to anyone to whom I wished to communicate my appreciation of it. Eventually I discovered that what I first thought was my brain and mouth’s inability to recreate this grammatically challenging proposition was in fact the distance between the song’s chorus, “the way I’m are”, and its title, “The Way I Are”. But my lack of facility with the name of the song only added to my pleasure in it, and the allure it had for me. Trying again and again to communicate “the way I’m are” regularly resulted in a pleasing, momentary inability to speak at all, and at the same time, presented a phrase I desperately wanted to be able to repeat. It is this moment of allure and openness that is contained in all of the works in this exhibition. Working in sculpture, painting, digital photography, video, sound and print, the participating artists all presented the viewer with propositions that encapsulated each artist’s investigations into formal and conceptual concerns that extend and open up the lexicons of art.
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels as quoted in Daniel Heller-Roazen, Echolalias: On the Forgetting Of Language (New York: Zone Books, 2005), frontispiece.
the way I are ValĂŠrie Blass Anthony Burnham Robert Fones Martin Golland Jen Hutton Kelly Jazvac John Massey Elizabeth McIntosh Planningtorock Tony Romano
curated by Katie Bethune-Leamen January 21 - March 1, 2009
Jen Hutton, Peanut Butter Jar (Mock-up) and Bamelle
ValĂŠrie Blass, Distorsion et alignement animalier
Anthony Burnham, Mobile Perspective and Plateau
Robert Fones, Leviathan #5
Martin Golland, Cube
Elizabeth McIntosh, Untitled (3D Form Set)
Kelly Jazvac, Deflationary Club and Slump Block
John Massey, Pink Dawn
Planningtorock, Black Thumber # I
Tony Romano, The Last Act
the way I are
Valérie Blass - Distorsion et alignement animalier (2008) Retractable tube, acrylic paint, plaster casts from knickknack, 67 x 4 ½ x 4”. Courtesy of the artist.
Anthony Burnham - Mobile Perspective (2008) and Plateau (2008)Oil on canvas, 24 x 30”; oil on board, 19 ¾ x 26”. Courtesy of the artist.
Robert Fones - Leviathan #5 (2008) Colour photograph laminated on aluminum, 46 x 68”. Courtesy of the artist and Olga Korper Gallery.
Martin Golland - Cube (2008) Oil on canvas, 48 x 42”. Courtesy of the artist and Birch Libralato Gallery.
Jen Hutton - Peanut Butter Jar (Mock-up) (2007) and Bamelle (2007-8)Plastic peanut butter jar, gravel, plaster, paint, 7½ x 6 x 5½”; papier maché, gravel, plaster, paint, cardboard, plastic fitting, fabric, 36 x 18 x 23”. Courtesy of the artist.
Kelly Jazvac - Deflationary Club and Slump Block (2008) Salvaged Adhesive vinyl, T-square, 39 x 8 ½ x 2 ½”; salvaged adhesive vinyl, thumbtacks, 69 x 25 x 10”. Courtesy of the artist and Diaz Contemporary.
John Massey - Pink Dawn from the series This Land (The Photographs)(2005-8) 27 ½ x 37 ¾”. Courtesy of the artist and Georgia Scherman Projects.
Elizabeth McIntosh - Untitled (3D Form Set) (2008) Oil on canvas, 30 x 40”. Courtesy of the artist, Diaz Contemporary & Blanket Gallery.
Planningtorock - Black Thumber # 1 (2008) Video, 11min. 3sec. Music: Planningtorock, Video: Janine Rostron. Courtesy of the artist.
Tony Romano - The Last Act (2006) 35mm film transferred to video, 25min. Digital Prints, 17 works at 11 x 17” and 1 work at 30 x 42”. Courtesy of the artist.
In which slang is proposed as a means through which to consider elaborations and modulations of visual imagery and formal methods within various art practices Katie Bethune-Leamen
In my first Voyages, while I was young, I was instructed by the oldest Mariners, and learned to speak as they did. But I have since found that the Sea-Yahoos are apt, like the Land ones, to become new fangled in the Words; which latter change every Year; insomuch, as I remember upon each return to mine own Country, their old Dialect was so altered, that I could hardly understand the new.(1) Jonathan Swift
Here was my confusion: upon hearing hip hop artist and producer Timbaland’s 2007 single “The Way I Are,” and being taken in by one of his usual catchy hooks, I couldn’t adequately repeat the name of the song to anyone to whom I wished to communicate my appreciation of it. I would stammer it out, and inevitably get it sort of wrong, or when it was right, it felt wrong. But I kept on trying. Eventually I discovered that what I first thought was my brain and mouth’s inability to recreate this grammatically challenging proposition was in fact the distance between a segment of the song’s chorus, “[...] the way I’m are [...],”and its title,“The Way I Are.”(2) My lack of facility with the name of the song only added to my pleasure in it, and the allure it had for me. Trying again and again to communicate “[...] the way I’m are [...]” regularly resulted in a pleasing, momentary inability to speak at all, and at the same time, presented a phrase I desperately wanted to be able to repeat. Slang can operate in this way—appearing as an unknown configuration that indicates the presence of something you weren’t previously aware of, or perhaps a new way of describing something of which you are aware. But it’s not a closed form, ho no, because it’s
using words, and letters, and recognisable phonemes. So there’s the promise that you can accession its meaning. As slang is the ichor of highly marketable groups or cultural moments, often its meaning can’t stay occluded for long, and as such its status as marker of a hidden, desirable world can quickly transform through use, then general use, into something known, and if overused can become uninteresting or simply die out. Of great importance to how the linguistic phenomenon of slang operates, and its cachet, is its relationship to underworlds and subcultures (such loci are frequently fingered as the generative sources of slang). Since at least the 16th century such terms and turns of phrase have been gathered up and reproduced in dictionaries ostensibly intended to elucidate good citizens and arm them with the verbal machinations of (sometimes imagined, often exaggerated) nefarious elements— thieves, brigands, pirates, etc.(3) These dictionaries, often inaccurate or riddled with imagined items to begin with, and frequently operating as a type of fictionalised thriller, themselves become inaccurately copied and re-published, thereby spawning further iterations of these language elements. A pleasing schism is therefore created—what is the ur-source of such words? There is no way to really know, and does it matter? For my purposes it does not. What I am proposing is that a work of art is perhaps most interesting when it is functioning in some of the ways that slang can. All of the works included in The Way I Are were selected for their implacable resonance—a way in which their place in an artistic lexicon was somehow inscrutable, but which drew me in. In this way, each work encapsulates the same moment that arresting slang presents. Within these moments is encapsulated each artist’s investigation into formal or conceptual concerns that extend and open up various art languages. The concept of slang, when applied to the visual, is a gathering of known elements, and a combination of them in a way that gives pause. It’s an extrapolation that describes a given engagement with the specifically formal, visual, and conceptual vocabularies that absorb an artist. These visual moments that can be identified as analogous to encounters with engaging slang are entrancing, as they pull us in, make us want to know more, and perhaps consider repeating their utterances. Valérie Blass’s work Distorsion et alignement animalier (2008) cloaks the repetition of a cast multiple— homage to commercial production—in sheath-like, form-fitting tubing. The resultant cinching and flaring shape has been carefully striated with colourful linear
marks running its length. Rising up from the floor, this diminutive column simultaneously muffles and declares form, while dipping the purely sculptural into the resolutely painterly. In Anthony Burnham’s painting Mobile Perspective (2008), a maquette of a gallery space is in the process of falling apart even as it holds aloft little lengths of wood from which dangle what appear to themselves be diminutive canvases. In order to plan out their shows, many artists create small models of gallery spaces in which they will be exhibiting. As a simulation of an already exhaustively artificial form—the white cube —here the form has literally collapsed, yet within its fall a promise for the presentation of new forms is proposed by the artist. Robert Fones’s work Leviathan #5 (2008) is extracted from a larger series; positioned side-by-side, the seven panels of Fones’s Leviathan spell out the first two lines of Thomas Hobbes’s 17th-century tract of the same name. In these two sentences, Hobbes aligns the creation of a natural world by Christianity’s God with man’s creation of artificial life. Fones has carefully crafted Hobbes’s writing out of letterforms he has designed, sculpted, painted, then photographed and digitally arranged against images of blue skies dotted with picture-perfect clouds. The brush-strokes visible on the letters brings a painterly quality to the image, while the sculptural construction of their forms gives them a hard edge that makes them shimmer and vibrate in the gilded cage of their representation. By eliminating spaces between each word in the quoted phrases, and using the boundaries of each image to determine the length of each line, words are dissembled, and meaning becomes even more inscrutable than that already presented by Hobbes’s 17th-century English. New words and meanings emerge, and a fraught dialogue between form and representation—both in art and language—and their histories is presented. Martin Golland’s paintings feature representations of unidentifiable architectural spaces—they are familiar, but their exact use unable to be pinpointed, their locations unknowable. This expanding and contracting familiarity is shored up by his capable meandering between representation and abstraction. Often combined in canvases, here these potential poles have been drawn in so close to each other that an almost unbearable tension is created where shapes loom up and collapse from moment to moment. In Cube (2008) we are pulled into the canvas by an incongruously woody pink and black form. Once inside,
we are positioned on what might be a painting rack, yet this space opens up in convoluted pathways to great expanses lurking in the background, which can then be cancelled out by moments that suddenly rear up and surge into the foreground. Solidity melts into ambiguity and the sliders on the histogram between abstraction and representation are brought in tight. Jen Hutton’s Bamelle (2007–2008) takes its title from a purposeful confusion of Paul McCarthy’s 1972 performance work Ma Belle. Solidifying McCarthy’s visceral exploration of human physicality, Hutton has created an anthropomorphic little sculpture machine frosted with layers of references to gloopy foodstuffs—peanut butter and icing. Sitting on a small deflated sculptural riser, seemingly crushed under the sculpture’s own chub, Bamelle beckons to us at seating height, creating the suggestion that we might want to centre ourselves over its odd orifice and settle down. The work Peanut Butter Jar (Mock-Up) (2007) serves as both precursor and footnote to Bamelle. Jar is a single note exteriorisation; internal contents smeared on an exterior, a smooth casing complicated and deformed, translucent clarity obfuscated. For the series of works that includes Deflationary Club (2008) and Slump Block (2008) Kelly Jazvac harvested cast-off vinyl from a commercial signage manufacturer. The fabricator’s condition for handing over the materials was that Jazvac could not use any recognisable elements contained within these rejected bits: all logos, distinguishable imagery, or identifiable features had to be pared down or eliminated by the artist. Jazvac focuses on the skin of her objects, employing the vinyl veneers of commercial communications, and eliminating their knowable form, leaving us to deal with their shiny and seductive, yet rumpled and drooping surfaces. Draped on, or propped up against the gallery wall, a proposal is made for a renewed and ongoing examination of a formless form. Jazvac has taken surface materials used to coat, display, and represent, and peeled them back, hoarded them, hollowed them out to create a possibility for new accumulations of intent and meaning.(4) Perhaps John Massey’s digital photographic work Pink Dawn [from the series This Land (The Photographs)] (2005) shouldn’t work—its elements are so simple, and its subject matter so abjectly overused both in commercial form and critical rejoinder. But these facts only serve to create an incredibly tight tension here: an American luxury car interior is shot in loving, close-up detail, exploiting its roomy interior, while through the car’s windows a glorious pink and beigehued beach scene is placed. Both the car and the landscape share this warm, creamy palette, and the landscape sits so nicely through the windows of the car interior in which we are immersed that the watertight visual assemblage that is created can’t contain itself, and instead it starts to leak out new meaning—a lugubrious mixture of seduction, enjoyment and creeping unease.
A moment of arrest is created when looking at Elizabeth McIntosh’s painting, Untitled (3D Form Set) (2008). In this work, two seemingly giant, faceted, multi-colour forms intersect, floating against a mauve background; they have locked together, or perhaps are attempting to separate, and at their meeting point a puce wedge somehow recedes into space, but in so-doing reveals an immodest wedge of lime. This little wedge, this wink, this nod of a form manages to feel surprising, even crass—its paint is thin, its presence hinting at the layers of colour and shape that live under what McIntosh has chosen to let us see. It’s a revelatory form that talks about all of the process hard at work on the canvas. There are other moments, on other canvases of McIntosh’s where this might be more formally obvious, but here, despite being both small and subtle, this little shifting revelation is gripping. Planningtorock is the name under which Janine Rostron makes music: Planningtorock makes the music, Rostron makes videos to accompany the songs. It’s an insular, one-woman process that presents a highly personal lexicon of sound and images, drawn from biography and a lifetime’s accumulation of references to popular music and its cultures, expressed as a creolisation of hip hop, trance-like cants and classical music. Black Thumber #1 (2008) is an installation work comprised of two twinned sound and video elements. Where Planningtorock’s musical releases and attendant videos are baroque-ass hip hop held aloft by
attenuated string lines and haunting lyrics, this installation is an almost mystical, stripped down and harrowing distillation of her work. A slowly keening voice, strings, and tiny yelps carry us through the imagery of two facing videos. In one, the fringed hair of a blonde woman waves in slow tendrils over a little circling car above which she hovers in a black puffer jacket. Across the way, kaleidoscopically mirrored metal forms recall the drawings of H.R. Giger, Transformers, car grills and various worrisome machinery. In The Last Act (2006) Tony Romano engages with the dialogue between film and video, presenting a film he has directed, its script a reworked transcription of a found pornographic video from which he has removed all the sex scenes. Shot on 35mm stock, the work projects a tension between the earnestness of a NFB film stumbled upon during a Sunday afternoon of channel flicking and a work made for viewing in the gallery. Stilted dialogue is enacted not by professional actors, but by acquaintances of Romano’s, thus personalising and re-contextualising the words, and adding awkward poignancy to the storyline. Meanwhile, the expurgated sexual dialogue has been exiled to a series of framed prints where the already stilted text becomes even emptier and more awkward, hanging silently on the wall.
(1) Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (orig. London: Benjamin Motte, 1726) as quoted in Daniel Heller-Roazen, Echolalias: On the Forgetting Of Language (New York: Zone Books, 2005), frontispiece. (2) Timbaland, “The Way I Are.” Timbaland Presents Shock Value. Background/Interscope, 2007. CD. (3) Julie Coleman, A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries: Volume I: 1567-1784 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 1-7. (4) Portions of this section originally appeared in “Sticky, Droopy, Slumpy & Peely, or, “Inchoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate!” (as if yelled into a canyon)” commissioned by YYZ Artists’ Outlet, 2008.
(1) Arthur Rimbaud, Complete Works, Selected Letters, trans. Wallace Fowlie (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), 303-305, translation altered. (2) Jacques RanciĂ¨re, The Flesh of Words: The Politics of Writing, trans. Charlotte Mandell (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004), 150, emphasis added.
Paradigm shifts do not generally announce themselves, they cannot be premeditated nor can they, once unleashed, be stopped. We are largely unaware of their scope and scale until they have fully been digested. Manifestos are an exception to this rule, but even there the prescriptive agenda tends to garner attention and gain consequence long after the intended moment. Slang operates more deftly, it prompts a slip towards a shift, albeit tentative and provisional at times, but ultimately the furtive scurries within a language are insidiously effective. In a letter dated May 13th 1871, Arthur Rimbaud famously espoused that “it is a question of reaching the unknown by the derangement of all the senses.” Shortly after, in the same letter, he makes another remarkable statement, one where syntax is rendered dissonant and enters an unknown grammar:“I is an other” he writes with aplomb.(1) The phrase’s brevity belies its significance by the way it encapsulates a radical condition of ontological alterity. A state where the individual’s hold is made to shift to an unknown realm, one clearly beyond the existing paradigm. Timbaland’s lyric “The Way I Are” is a pluralized variant of Rimbaud’s succinct sentence causing an entanglement of the curator’s tongue. That bewildering moment Katie Bethune-Leamen experienced became the impetus for this exhibition which she, as guest curator, presents at the Blackwood Gallery. The exhibition dwelled on the paradoxical partnership between unknowing (alterity) and representation (exhibition). Jacques Rancière addresses this tension when he writes of an alternate world, one proximate but configured around and committed to a mode of resistance: “What is opposed to the laws of mimesis is the law of this world underneath, this molecular world, un-determined, un-individualized, before representation, before the principle of reason.”(2) The Way I Are aimed to disturb even its own parameters, it willfully undressed itself from any pretense that to cohere is equivalent with rigor. It is unmeasurably more demanding to depart from a mapped territory than to stay within its confines. A gallery housed within an educational institution might approach such a proposition with trepidation, but contemporary art is predicated on continual questioning and such criticality should be the sine qua non of a space of learning. The Way I Are will affirmed itself as a learning mistake, smartly and strategically straddling between learning and unlearning.
Migone Christof by
Kim Adams Kim Adams currently lives in rural Ontario. He is a “process-oriented” artist who manipulates pop cultural artefacts, i.e. found objects, to create miniature worlds and buildings. This internationally known contemporary Canadian artist manufactures inexplicable structures often influenced by architectural accidents. He has shown his work nationally and internationally since 1978.
solo exhibitions Older, Sadder, And All In White This Time (Latcham Gallery, Stouffville) and Dazzle Shizzle (MKG127, Toronto); a 20’ tall Amanita pantherina mushroom sculpture, Mushroom Studio, commissioned by the Toronto Sculpture Garden, which contained a functioning studio space that the artist used for the year of its installation; the commissioned project Ghost Chorus: A Dirge for Dead Slang for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, re-presented in France as part of Le Printemps de Septembre à Toulouse (Pavilion Projects). Recent residencies include ones in Toulouse, Venice, Sligo, Banff, and Eindhoven.
Bas Jan Ader Dutch/Californian artist Bas Jan Ader was last seen in 1975 when he took off in what would have been the smallest sailboat ever to cross the Atlantic. He left behind a small oeuvre, often using gravity as a medium, which more than 30 years after his disappearance at sea is more influential than ever before.
Valérie Blass Valérie Blass is a Montreal-based artist who completed her BFA and MFA at l’Université du Québec à Montréal. She has had solo exhibitions at Parisian Laundry, Circa Gallery, Gallery B-312, Gallery Dare-Dare, l’Oeil de Poisson, and Bishop University’s Foreman Gallery. Venues for group exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Power Plant, and Galerie Clark. Blass was included in the inaugural Quebec Triennial at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections. She is represented by Parisian Laundry, Montreal.
Faisal Anwar Faisal Anwar is a digital media artist living in Toronto. He is currently the director of Digital Dip, an interactive art and design studio, and is also the new media director at Mammalian Diving Reflex. Anwar’s art practice explores fictional, sociopolitical and edutainment narratives. Anwar is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Habitat-LAB, Interactive Arts and Entertainment Program 2004. Anwar did his Bachelor’s in graphic design at the National College of Arts, Pakistan, in 1996. He is one of the pioneers of The Puppeteers theatre group in Pakistan. Anwar has been on the Programming Committee of SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) and has taught at Centennial College. John Armstrong Over the past ten years, Toronto visual artist John Armstrong has frequently collaborated with Paris artist Paul Collins. Their recent paintings on photographs were part of an exhibition in May 2010 titled The Mechanical Bride at the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, Toronto. In 2003-04, Armstrong’s solo work was included in The Ironic Turn, a touring survey of contemporary Canadian art that originated at the Kunsthalle Erfurt in Germany. A 1998 survey exhibition of his artwork from the 1990s, titled Sanguine, was organized by Cambridge Galleries and toured several Canadian destinations. He has written on contemporary art in C Magazine, ArtsAtlantic, BorderCrossings, Canadian Art, Parachute, and The Globe and Mail. Armstrong is a studio professor in Art and Art History, a joint Honours BA program between Sheridan and the University of Toronto Mississauga. Katie Bethune-Leamen Katie Bethune-Leamen is a visual artist—and sometimes art writer and curator—based in Toronto. She received her MFA from the University of Guelph, and BFA from Concordia University. Recent projects include the
Diane Borsato Diane Borsato is a visual artist working in performance, intervention, video, installation, and photography. She has exhibited in galleries and museums across Canada and internationally. She was the 2008 winner of the prestigious Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for outstanding artistic achievement at the mid-career level from the Canada Council for the Arts. She is currently Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studio at the University of Guelph, and lives in Toronto. Trisha Brown Trisha Brown first came to public notice when she began showing her work with the Judson Dance Theater in the 1960s. Along with like-minded artists including Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, and Simone Forti, she pushed the limits of what could be considered appropriate movement for choreography thereby changing modern dance forever. This revolution in dance was imbued with a maverick spirit and blessed with total disrespect for assumption. Anthony Burnham Anthony Burnham studied at Concordia University and currently lives and works in Montreal. Burnham’s solo exhibitions have included presentations at Montreal’s Darling Foundry and Clark Gallery. He has exhibited his work in group shows in Quebec, Spain, Austria, and France, and was included in the inaugural Quebec Triennial at Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
Jennifer Campbell Born in 1976, Jennifer Campbell grew up in Vancouver, B.C. She received a BFA (Honours) at University of Victoria in 1998 and completed an MFA in photography at Concordia University in 2004. Her work has been shown in solo shows at Dazibao (Montreal) and Westspace (Melbourne) as well as in several group shows in Vancouver, Seattle, Toronto, Montreal, and New York. She is currently working as the Director of Crawl Space Gallery, an artist-run centre in Seattle.
Robyn Cumming Robyn Cumming makes things and then takes photos of them. She enjoys forcing her friends and family to pose for her in intriguing but awkward and unattractive positions. Her work has been exhibited throughout Canada, in Asia and New York, and can be found in public and private collections worldwide. She was recently featured in a new series about Canadian photographers titled Snapshot on BRAVO but she’s really self-aware and finds the whole thing pretty embarrassing.
Ulysses Castellanos Ulysses Castellanos is a multidisciplinary artist and independent curator living and working in Toronto. The central aim of his art practice is to demystify established cultural constructs by involving the viewer in the (often humorous) debunking of idealized images, concepts and paradigms. Castellanos culls images from films, television, literature and popular music and transposes these images within a performance art setting, or distills them into installations wherein these components are manipulated, juxtaposed, contrasted and collided against each other, with the aim of eliciting a shift in perception and understanding.
Zev Farber Zev Farber is an electronic media artist based out of Toronto. He recently completed an MFA in Visual Art at York University. His work has been shown in galleries and festivals in Toronto and appeared in various Canadian publications. Robert Fones Born in London, Ontario, Robert Fones was part of the art scene there that would later prove to be integral to Canada’s conceptual art movement. Based in Toronto since the mid-1970s, he exhibited at the renowned Carmen Lamanna Gallery, then the Sandra Simpson Gallery. Fones has exhibited in Canada, the U.S., and Germany, and has published several artist books with Coach House Books and Art Metropole. He is represented by Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto.
Annie Onyi Cheung Annie Onyi Cheung is an emerging performance, video and installation artist. Her work has recently been shown at Nuit Blanche, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Fleishman Gallery, and the Queen West Art Crawl. In 2007 she co-founded Collective, a collaborative performance group and in 2009 she became a member of 7a*11d. Cheung performed during Free Fall (2010) with Tanya Mars, and juried A is for Anomie for Images Festival 2010. Born in Hong Kong, she lives and works in Toronto.
Food Jammers Food Jammers are Micah Donovan, Christopher Martin and Nobu Adilman. Micah Donovan is an artist and educator. He has worked closely with Spiral Garden at Bloorview Kids Rehab in Toronto, as a designer and arts program coordinator for children with and without special needs. He lives in Toronto. Christopher Martin graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been seen in New York, Tokyo, Baltimore and Toronto. Nobu Adilman is a Toronto-based producer, director, writer, and performer of films and television that have shown internationally. Micah, Chris and Nobu most recently launched www.somewhatsketchy.com—a website dedicated to their somewhat sketchy experiments.
Sophie Bélair Clément Sophie Bélair Clément is interested in exhibition circumstances, the information obtained in the course of the documentation process and in the dissonances that derive from attempts at recreations. Her performances and installations, contextually developed in collaboration with cultural workers and musicians, suggest sustained attention to the immediate and mediated space. She is currently enrolled in the Études littéraires et intermédiales PhD program at the Université de Montréal. Gillian Collyer Gillian Collyer is a fibre-based installation artist, living and working in Toronto. In her work she explores issues of gender, identity, memory and the uncanny. She received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in 1995 and her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. She has exhibited her work across Canada and the U.S. Currently she teaches at the Ontario College of Art & Design.
Shannon Hoff Shannon Hoff, Ph.D. (Stony Brook University), is Assistant Professor of social and political philosophy at the Institute for Christian Studies, a graduate school for continental philosophy in Toronto. She is currently writing a book about Hegel, exploring what his rich account of human identity and interaction entails for how we should organize political and social life. She works in other areas as well, such as Derrida, phenomenology, and political and feminist philosophy, and tries to do so both inside and outside the world of academic philosophy.
Louis Fortier Louis Fortier lives in Montréal. He received his BFA from Université Laval in Quebec and completed his MFA in 1994 at Université du Québec à Montréal. Over the last twenty years, he has participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada. In 2007 he was in La tête au ventre presented at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery in Montreal as well as Hot Wax at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery in St. John’s. In 2008-2009 he was featured in It happened in your neighbourhood: Contemporary Art in Québec at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. Louis Fortier is represented by Donald Browne Gallery, Montréal.
Jen Hutton Based in Toronto, Jen Hutton completed her BFA at the University of Guelph. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, most recently at Gallery Stratford in Stratford, Ontario, Truck Contemporary Art in Calgary, and the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.
Kenneth Goldsmith Kenneth Goldsmith’s writing has been called “some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry” by Publishers Weekly. Goldsmith is the author of nine books of poetry, founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb, and the editor of I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews. Kenneth Goldsmith is the host of a weekly radio show on New York City’s WFMU. He teaches writing at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a senior editor of PennSound, an online poetry archive. A forthcoming book of critical essays, Uncreative Writing, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.
Kelly Jazvac Kelly Jazvac received a BA from the University of Guelph and an MFA from the University of Victoria. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently including Red Bull 381 Projects in Toronto, Diaz Contemporary in Toronto, the Khyber ICA in Halifax, Atelierhof Kreuzberg in Berlin and i8 Gallery in Reykjavik. She is currently based in London where she teaches sculpture at the University of Western Ontario. Jazvac is represented by Diaz Contemporary.
Martin Golland Martin Golland received his MFA from the University of Guelph and his BFA from Concordia University. Born in France, he lived in Turkey, Puerto Rico and Miami before moving to Ottawa. He now lives and works in Toronto. Golland has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Birch Libralato in Toronto, the Felix Ringel Galerie in Dusseldorf, and the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre in Guelph. He is Assistant Professor in Painting at the University of Ottawa. Emily Gove Emily Gove is a Toronto-based artist working primarily in photography and video. She graduated from the Art & Art History program at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College in 2005 and completed her MFA at York University in 2009. Her work deals with awkwardness, nostalgia and failure. She has participated in exhibitions at Gallery TPW, Board of Directors and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre, among others. Antonia Hirsch Antonia Hirsch is a Vancouver-based artist who has received critical attention for both national and international exhibitions, having presented her work at such institutions as Program in Berlin, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Gallery 101, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Artspeak, Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, and Gallery 44. In 2004, she was awarded the Canada Council Studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Her work can be found in collections such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Sackner Archive of Concrete & Visual Poetry, Miami Beach.
Simone Jones Simone Jones has been making kinetic sculpture since 1989. Most recently, her work has expanded to include film, video and performance. Recent exhibitions include two international tours: Resonance: The Electromagnetic Bodies Project and Points of Entry as well as two shows in Pittsburgh: Displacement, at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery; and Sculpture Now, at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Jones has served on the Board of Directors of the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) and InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre. Jones graduated from the Ontario College of Art with a concentration in Experimental Art and received her MFA in Sculpture Installation from York University. Jones is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Art at the Ontario College of Art & Design. Žilvinas Kempinas Žilvinas Kempinas was born in Lithuania in 1969 and has been living and working in New York since completing his MFA in 2002. He has had recent solo museum exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, the Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, the Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York, and Galerie Leme, São Paulo. Group shows include the MUDAM-Musée d’Art Moderne, Luxembourg, and Nuit Blanche, Toronto. In 2007, the artist was highlighted by Art Review Magazine as one of its ‘Future Greats: 25 Artists You Need to Know’, and received the Calder Prize and Atelier Calder Residency Award. At the 2009 Venice Biennale, he represented Lithuania with his installation Tube. He is represented by the Yvon Lambert Gallery.
Sunny Kerr Sunny Kerr makes and organizes art for institutional spaces and flexible situations independently and as a member of the curatorial/artist’s collective, WayUpWayDown. His artistic output encompasses video and site-specific installation, durational process works and pedagogical happenings. In all of his projects, he values collaboration and learning. He completed his BFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and his MFA at York University. He has taught at both York University and the Ontario College of Art and Design and was most recently a sessional instructor in the University of Toronto’s Visual Studies program.
Kristiina Lahde Kristiina Lahde is an artist based in Toronto, Canada. She received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax N.S. in 1999. Kristiina works in collage, sculpture and installation. Her work has been exhibited at Convenience Gallery in Toronto and the Texas State University Gallery, amongst others. In January 2010, Kristiina’s solo exhibition Double Take took place at MKG127 in Toronto.
Erika Kierulf Erika Kierulf is a Montreal-born visual artist who completed an MFA at Concordia University in 2008. Her photographic and installation work has been shown in Canada, Sweden, and Mexico. Concerned with issues of intimacy and the banal, she explores emotional and bodily states of in-betweenness.
Diane Landry As a multidisciplinary artist, Diane Landry designs performances, installations with automation, audio sculptures, and works she qualifies as “mouvelles”. She has exhibited and performed extensively in Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Australia. In 2005, she received a Murphy and Cadogan Fellowship Award from the San Francisco Foundation and in 2006, she completed an MFA at Stanford University. She has been an artist-inresidence nationally at Oboro (Montreal), Avatar (Quebec City), the Banff Centre (Alberta), as well as internationally in such cities as Buenos-Aires, Marseille, Utica, and New York.
Young-Sup Kim Young-Sup Kim was born in 1972 in Dang-Jin, South Korea. He received a diploma in visual arts from the Sea-Jong University in Seoul and since 2002 has studied audiovisual art at the HBK Saar in Saarbrücken. His work has appeared in a number of solo and group exhibitions including Gehaltene Klänge (2003) at the Akademie für Tonkunst, Darmstadt, and BLAUE GROTTE (2004) at Münchhof, Hochspeyer.
Gareth Lichty Gareth Lichty studied Fine Arts at York University in Toronto and Sculpture at Leeds University in England. He has exhibited nationally and internationally. Lichty has been a Director and the Chair of Programming for CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum, Kitchener and Area) since 2005. Lichty lives and works in Kitchener, Ontario, and is represented by Peak Gallery, Toronto.
Alison S. M. Kobayashi Alison S. M. Kobayashi is a visual artist working in video, performance, installation and drawing. She was born and raised in Mississauga and is currently working in Toronto and New York. In 2006 she won the TSV Artistic Vision Award for Best Local Short Film at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival and in 2007 was awarded the Mississauga Arts Award for Best Emerging Artist. Her films have been shown in Canada, the U.S., Spain, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.
Paul Litherland Photographer and multimedia performance artist Paul Litherland lives in Montreal and performs at multimedia art festivals and events. His work incorporates ideas of risk taking, finding strengths in unexpected places and creating artworks with a sense of humour. Media and ideas he works with include digital photography, digital video, performance art, base jumping, skydiving, boxing, street interventions, vulnerability as strength, exposure to risk, and poetic combinations of materials and histories.
Arnold Koroshegyi Working in photography, print media and installation, Arnold Koroshegyi has exhibited across Canada and the U.S. His photographic work explores many different traditions of the medium. Recent projects include developing a camera that incorporates locative media, surveillance software and remote sensing technology to create large-scale photographs of electroclimate landscapes. Koroshegyi completed a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Western Ontario in 2006.
Valerian Maly Valerian Maly, born in 1959, lives in Bern, Switzerland, and works in the fields of inter-media, performance, and installations. He studied Music at the Music Conservatory in Luzern. He is professor at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, teaching History of Media Arts, Performance & Performing Arts.
Shane Krepakevich Shane Krepakevich completed a BSc. in Geology at the University of Alberta in 2001 but has since dedicated his time to an art practice including drawing, installation and sculpture. Completing a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Guelph in 2010, Shane continues to live and work in Guelph, Ontario.
John Massey John Massey is a Toronto-based artist with a degree in fine arts from the Ontario College of Art & Design. He has exhibited extensively across Canada and internationally, including shows in Germany, France, the U.S., and Australia. Recent solo exhibitions have included presentations at the University of Toronto Art Centre, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and Georgia Scherman Projects, Toronto.
Elizabeth McIntosh Based in Vancouver, Elizabeth McIntosh received a BFA from York London, UK. Recent solo exhibitions include Diaz Contemporary in Toronto, Parisian Laundry in Montreal, and Blanket Gallery in Vancouver. Recent group exhibitions include the Vancouver Art Gallery, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Perugi Artecontemporanea and Galleri Susanne Hojriis. She is represented by Diaz Contemporary and Blanket Gallery. Christof Migone Christof Migone is an artist, curator and writer. He obtained an MFA from NSCAD in 1996 and a PhD from the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University in 2007. He lives in Toronto and is a lecturer in the Department of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga and the Director/Curator of the Blackwood Gallery. Johnson Ngo Johnson Ngo is a Toronto based multidisciplinary artist, primarily working with performance, video, sculpture, and print. Ngo holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of Toronto and an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts from Sheridan College. Ngo has exhibited at the University of Toronto Art Centre, Mississauga Living Arts Centre, and Hart House. Lauren Nurse Lauren Nurse is a transplanted Quebecer, living and working in Toronto, Ontario. She recently graduated from York University’s MFA program, with a concentration in print media and installation. She has participated in exhibitions in Toronto, Montreal, New Mexico, and Italy, and has completed residency programs at Montreal’s Atelier de L’Île, Atelier Circulaire, the Vermont Studio Center, Newfoundland’s Pouch Cove Foundation, and Muskoka’s Tree Museum Sculpture Garden. Her current work explores intersections between real and fictive environments. She teaches Design at Sheridan College, and Print Media at both the Ontario College of Art and Design and York University. She is currently pursuing a degree in horticulture from Guelph University. Lata Pada Lata Pada is the Artistic Director of SAMPRADAYA Dance Creations. She has trained for over thirty-seven years in the Tanjavur style of bharatanatyam under the acclaimed master teacher Kalaimamani Guru K. Kalyanasundaram. She has also trained in abhinaya under the eminent Guru Padmabhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan. After a rewarding career as a bharatanatyam soloist, Ms. Pada founded the SAMPRADAYA Dance Academy in 1980 in Sudbury. In 1990, the Academy was relocated to Mississauga where she founded the associated dance company. Ryan Park Ryan Park was born in Calgary, Alberta and raised in Langley, BC. He received a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA from the University of Guelph.
Roula Partheniou Roula Partheniou is a visual artist represented by MKG127 and living in Toronto. Recent exhibitions include Trompe le Monde, MKG127, Toronto; Circular Logic at Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge; Remakes at YYZ Artist’s Outlet, Toronto; a collaboration with Micah Lexier titled Works, Works 1, Twice for *Queen Specific, Toronto. Recent group and two-person shows include Permutations, Truck Gallery, Calgary; A to B at MKG127; Literally at Artspeak, Vancouver; Infinite Egress at Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey; and The Form Itself at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art. Juliana Pivato Juliana Pivato was born in Edmonton and has lived in Montreal, Chicago, and Toronto. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BFA from Concordia University and a BMus from McGill University. She works in a variety of media including drawing, video, sound, and bronze casting. In 2008-2009 she was the creator and host of Songs from the Loop, a weekly radio show on freeradiosaic.org. Quadrasonic Quadrasonic is a collaborative DJ collective that creates a visceral experience of movement and projected images. Quadrasonic describes itself as producing “a way of transforming the art of deejaying.” They are four DJs working simultaneously on eight turntables, plus Ableton Live, a computer program that enables them to create improvised electronic music compositions in real time. Though soulful house music is the lingua franca of the men at the decks, the sets incorporate everything from salsa to funk to old-school disco. Originally from El Salvador, Alvaro and Boris Castellanos are at the core of Quadrasonic. Kerri Reid Kerri Reid is a visual artist currently based in Toronto. She teaches at the Toronto School of Art and the University of Guelph. Originally from Vancouver, she studied at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and the University of Guelph. Her recent work involves a series of restorative gestures with discarded mundane objects and can include dust, wicker, ceramics, drawing, photography, woodwork, painting, and faxing, as well as interactions with the free curbside economy, Craigslist, and eBay. She has exhibited in both group and solo shows throughout Canada and recently participated in residencies in Vermont, Iceland, Dawson City, and Bruno, Saskatchewan. Sandra Rechico Sandra Rechico is a Toronto artist whose work investigates urban space through maps. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and abroad. Her exhibitions have been featured in numerous publications and she has participated in a number of international residencies. With Christie Pearson she curated WADE, a city-wide art event in Toronto’s wading pools. Rechico is an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph. Kelly Richardson Kelly Richardson studied fine art at the Ontario College of Art & Design and graduate media studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her works have been exhibited internationally at various venues including the Sundance Film Festival, Busan Biennale, Hirshhorn Museum and
Don Simmons Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Don Simmons is a conceptual artist/writer based in Toronto, Canada. Simmons completed his MFA degree at NSCAD in 2002. Previously, he studied art history in Italy while completing his diploma at OCAD. His writing has appeared in Parachute, Image and Text, and Handheld Media. Simmons has held teaching positions at the Alberta College of Art & Design, NSCAD University, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Sculpture Garden, Hallwalls, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, The Nunnery, Gwangju Biennale, Stills Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Centre Georges Pompidou. Her work was recently acquired by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She lives and works in the United Kingdom. Tony Romano Based in Toronto, Tony Romano received a BFA from Vancouver’s Emily Carr College of Art and Design. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally with recent group shows at Charles H. Scott Gallery in Vancouver, Trianon Gallery in Alberta, Remo Gallery in Tokyo, and the Kulturhuset in Sweden, and recent solo shows at Articule Gallery in Montreal and Diaz Contemporary in Toronto.
Michael Snow Internationally acclaimed as an experimental filmmaker, Michael Snow is one of Canada’s most important living artists. He is distinguished as a highly accomplished musician, visual artist, composer, writer, and sculptor. Dazzling in his ability to switch from one medium to another outside of any predictable sequence and noted for a multi-disciplinary approach to his work, Snow continually challenges notions of content and form, seeing and representation.
Janine Rostron (a.k.a. Plannintorock) Janine Rostron is a videographer and musician also known by her artist name, Planningtorock. Rostron studied music, videography and visual arts before moving from England to Berlin, where she is now based. Rostron directs the videos that accompany the music she composes, and runs her record label, Rostron Records. She has released several records and has performed live shows worldwide. Her videos have been screened and exhibited internationally. Jon Sasaki Jon Sasaki’s practice of “romantic conceptualism” incorporates film, objects, performance-for-video, installations/interventions, and so on. His time-based work has been presented at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, The Aurora Picture Show, and CAFKA. Solo exhibitions include Gallery TPW, The New Gallery, and Latitude 53. Recent group exhibitions include Susan Hobbs Gallery, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, the Owens Art Gallery, Simon Fraser University Gallery, Jessica Bradley Art + Projects, the Koffler Gallery, as well as the 2006 and 2008 editions of Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche. Jon was an active member of the Instant Coffee art collective between 2002 and 2007. He is on the programming committee and staff of the Mercer Union Centre for Contemporary Art. Jon is the proud owner of one of the world’s largest collections of “keys to the city.” He currently lives and works in Toronto, although he has yet to acquire a key for that particular city. Joshua Schwebel Joshua Schwebel is a Montreal-based artist. He works between expectation and documentation. His work has been exhibited, although he would like his CV to be longer and more illustrious. Tom Sherman Tom Sherman; founding co-editor of Fuse magazine, Toronto, 1980; represented Canada at the Venice Biennale, 1980; founding Head of Media Arts section of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ottawa, 1983-87; international commissioner for Venice Biennale, 1986; appointed director of the School of Art and Design, Syracuse University, 1991; co-founded Nerve Theory, an international performance art/recording collaborative, 1997; awarded the Bell Canada prize for excellence in video art, 2003.
Jennie Suddick Jennie Suddick is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto, Canada. Her work has been exhibited in Canada, the U.S., and Italy. She received a BFA and an Advanced Visual Studies Certificate from the Ontario College of Art and Design, where she was the recipient of multiple awards. She went on to receive her MFA from York University in 2009. She creates work in print, photography and sculpture, which deals with issues of Canadian identity, cryptozoology, museological display, and hyper reality. Recently, she has shown at Board of Directors, Gladstone Hotel’s upArt and participated in Hallwalls’s Artists and Models: Stimulus in Buffalo. She received the Award of Excellence at the 2009 Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. Alison Syme Alison Syme is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Toronto. She specializes in late nineteenth-century art and visual culture. Her first book, A Touch of Blossom: John Singer Sargent and the Queer Flora of Fin-de-Siècle Art, was published by Penn State University Press in 2010. Josh Thorpe Josh Thorpe is an artist and writer living in Toronto. He has a Master’s in Visual Studies from University of Toronto and teaches at the Ontario College of Art & Design University, as well as the University of Toronto. In 2009 Art Metropole published Thorpe’s first book, Dan Graham Pavilions: A Guide. Currently he is contributing to the production of a book on the unrealized proposals of Gordon Lebredt. Kelly Wood Kelly Wood was born in Toronto in 1962. She received her MFA from the University of British Columbia in 1996. She is currently on faculty in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Western Ontario. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at various museums and galleries, including in Canada, at the Power Plant Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. She is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery of Vancouver.
A compendium of the Blackwood Galleryâ€™s exhibitions & projects in 2009
Publication Editor: Christof Migone Editorial assistants: Julia Abraham, Joanna Sheridan, Juliana Zalucky Texts: John Armstrong, Katie Bethune-Leamen, Shannon Hoff, Sunny Kerr, Christof Migone, Alison Syme Graphic Design: Adam Hilborn â€“ Peekay design Photo credits: Toni Hafkenscheid, unless otherwise noted and except for: Kelly Wood p. 14; Antonia Hirsch p. 15; Arnold Koroshegyi p. 17; Diane Landry top p. 19; Blackwood staff pp. 26-31; Paul Litherland bottom p. 43; Hope Thompson top p. 48; Valerian Maly p. 49; Annie Onyi Cheung top p. 58; Roula Partheniou p.61; Ryan Couldrey pp. 90-98, 100-101; Jennifer Campbell p.99; Emily Gove & Alison S.M. Kobayashi & Jennie Suddick pp. 102-103; courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto p. 115; Erin Kobayashi pp. 120-121; Johnson Ngo p. 123; Nikolaus Legrady pp. 126-127; courtesy of John Armstrong pp. 149-152.
Blackwood Gallery Director/Curator: Christof Migone, Exhibition Coordinator: Juliana Zalucky Collections Manager & Archivist: Julia Abraham, Joanna Sheridan (2009-2010) Outreach Coordinator: Joanna Sheridan, Carly Anderson (2009-2010), Karen Kraven (2008-2009) Installers: Red Armstrong, Marx Kruis, Eric Glavin, Michael Beynon, Joel Herman Graphic Designers: Karen Kraven (The Projects: Port Credit, Fall In, Fall Out, Drop Out, Stir), Graeme Laird (2 Radio Solos CD), Chris Lea (The Way I Are), Yarek Waszul (awashawave) Volunteers & Work-Study Students: Anais Bae, Angela Daeun Bae, Jen Chan, Susan Collacott, Nicole Clough, Mallory Diaczun, Meaghan Eldridge, Meaghan Froh, Nives Hajdin, Cynthia Issi, Michelle Johnson, Krista Keller, Mairin Kerr, Mariam Khan, Zara Khan, Ridhima Khurana, Laura Krick, Jillian Lanthier, Candace Lau, Kristie MacDonald, Anna Marszalek, Geza Matrai, Diana Merta, Marissa Mohammed, Sidra Mukhtar, Enfys Ottman, Farrukh Rafiq, Kristie Robertson, Paola Savasta, Sharon Sbrocchi, Ricardo Segura, Gurpreet Sehra, Joanna Simpson, Dale Soa, Heather Stainback, Alicia Traintafilou, Jessica Vallentin, Nikki Villeda, Angie Wang, Michelina Williamson, Alysha Woolner, Heae Young. Advisory Board: John Armstrong (Chair), Jill Caskey, Kajri Jain, Louis Kaplan, Laura Krick, Louise Noguchi, John Ricco, Sharon Sbrocchi, Richard Sewell, Alison Syme.
The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of: The Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Port Credit Community Foundation, Office of the Vice-President and Provost (University of Toronto), Arts Council Korea, Department of Visual Studies UTM, UTM Student Housing & Residence Life, City of Mississauga (Culture Division). The exhibitions & projects were made possible through the support of the following partners and individuals: Janis Alton, John Armstrong, Centre City Capital Limited, Contact Photography Festival, Facilities Personnel, Robert Fones, Hart House, Images Festival, Jonathan James, Dr. William James, Louis Kaplan, Chris Lea, Christopher Lengyell, Amish Morrell, Dale Mullings, Bill Paterson, Port Credit Village Project, Diane Pracin, Sharon Sbrocchi, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Christopher Régimbal. BLACKWOOD GALLERY UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA 3359 MISSISSAUGA RD. N., MISSISSAUGA L5L 1C6, ONTARIO, CANADA T. 905.828.3789 BLACKWOODGALLERY.CA LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION WOOD: A COMPENDIUM OF THE BLACKWOOD GALLERY’S 2009 EXHIBITIONS AND PROJECTS / EDITED BY CHRISTOF MIGONE INCLUDES BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES AND INDEX. ISBN 978-0-7727-8210-6 1. ART, CANADIAN--ONTARIO--MISSISSAUGA--21ST CENTURY-EXHIBITIONS. 2. ART, MODERN--21ST CENTURY--EXHIBITIONS. I. MIGONE, CHRISTOF, 1964- II. BLACKWOOD GALLERY N6496.3.C3M58 2011 709.71’074713535 C2011-900438-0 PRINTED AND BOUND IN CANADA ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO PART OF THIS BOOK MAY BE USED OR REPRODUCED IN ANY MANNER WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE PUBLISHER, EXCEPT IN THE CONTEXT OF REVIEWS. THE PUBLISHER HAS MADE EVERY EffORT TO CONTACT ALL COPYRIGHT HOLDERS. IF PROPER ACKNOWLEDGEMENT HAS NOT BEEN MADE, WE ASK COPYRIGHT HOLDERS TO CONTACT THE PUBLISHER. COPYRIGHT © 2011 BY THE BLACKWOOD GALLERY AND CONTRIBUTORS THE BLACKWOOD GALLERY IS A PUBLIC GALLERY BASED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA AND IS PART OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VISUAL STUDIES.
following page: Diane Borsato, Skyline (2006-2009)