Battle brews over back campus turf
The University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly
VOL XXXV Issue 22 • February 28, 2013
Trinity College Meeting formalizes plans to leave UTSU College says it can provide better services for less Isaac Thornley Monday night’s Trinity College Meeting (TCM) voted unanimously in favour of holding a referendum to decide whether they should “defederate” from UTSU. The separation would redirect fees currently paid by Trinity College students to UTSU back to the TCM. Advocates for defederation argue that by localizing allocation of student fees, services
would be run more efficiently and with greater sensitivity to student needs, all while avoiding bureaucratic disputes with UTSU that have characterized campus politics in recent years. Trinity is the first of four campus bodies seeking defederation, with Victoria, St. Mike’s, and the Engineers following suit and taking formal steps towards their own referenda. “Our point of view,” explained Engineering Society president
Rishi Maharaj, “is that if we can deliver the services that people care about for the same or less money, and in a fashion that obviates the need for anyone to care about the toxic politics of UTSU governance, we can offer our members a much better value proposition.” Despite UTSU criticism of the feasibility of an independentlyrun health and dental insurance plan, leaders from both Trinity and the Engineers are confident
Engineering Society VP Finance Pierre Harfouche addresses crowd at Trinity College Meeting on deferederation , Monday, February 25.
in their research. “I have every reason to believe that an engineering students-only health and dental plan would not be a penny more expensive than what we are paying today,” said EngSoc President Rishi Maharaj. “EngSoc can provide better value as a more local, more focused organization.” Meanwhile, referendum plans continue at Trinity. Monday’s meeting voted to again request the UTSU to hold a referendum asking students whether they wish to continue their membership in the UTSU. If UTSU does not announce a referendum by March 15, the TCM would hold one between March 25 and 29. TCM also voted unanimously in favour of putting aside $10 000 for the potential costs of legal counsel, as well as to endorse their report released Sunday afternoon titled, “Advisory Report on the Proposed UTSU Referendum.” The Engineering Society and the Victoria College Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC) are currently in the process of drafting their own feasibility reports, with VUSAC’s report set to be released at an open meeting Friday evening. Monday afternoon, just hours before the TCM meeting, UTSU presented a public reply to Trinity’s report with a document entitled “A Response to Factual In-
accuracies in the Trinity College Meeting’s ‘Provisional Report.’” The major issue presented in the response was the potential for ill-informed voting members at the TCM. The document stressed “[concern] that many students will be unable to view [this response]. Accurate information is crucial to the democratic process, and we hope that the Trinity College Meeting will respect this in the future.” A concern for fair democratic process has underlined the rhetoric of both the UTSU and the potentially defederating organizations. “It is extremely important that this [referendum] moves forward with a level playing field, and with an informed electorate,” TCM Chair Jake Brockman emphasized. The TCM made sure to provide members present with printed copies of both TCM’s Advisory Report and the UTSU response, despite the fact that Trinity College Co-Head Sam Greene called the UTSU Response “misguided.” The Trinity referendum, in addition, will allocate equal funding to both the “for” and “against” defederation camps. Specific details concerning campaign procedures will be decided at the next TCM, scheduled for March 11.
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February 28, 2013
Battle brewing over back campus turf
Controversial field hockey pitch for Pan Am games to be installed behind UC Emerson Vandenberg Plans to tear up the field in U of T’s back campus is causing a rift between the University College council and school administration. In preparation for the Pan Am games, the school is seeking to replace the worn back campus pitch with artificial Astroturf. This will serve as a field hockey venue for the 2015 games. At this point, only one other field in Canada meets international field hockey standards. Many people, including professors, students and administrators at UC, are upset by these plans. Citing it as a loss of green space, these defendants are seeking a motion to re-examine the $9.5 million Astroturf project. A growing
collection of nearly 2,000 signatures in support of the motion is putting pressure on the U of T admin to reconsider their plans. The efforts to curb the deal, spearheaded by Professor of English Alan Ackerman, hope to move the site of the required pitch to another location in the city. Ackerman suggests Downsview Park. He claims that a field hockey pitch on campus “won’t be of much use to most U of T students.” To combat what he and other members of the UC council view as the unneeded destruction of historic campus grassland, Ackerman is hoping to further challenge funding sources for the project and propose an alternative soccer pitch that will maintain the
venue’s grassy roots. In addition to the loss of green space, Ackerman and others at UC are concerned by the health and environmental risks posed by Astroturf. These include chemicals that rise into the air from the artificial surface in the sun, as well as the damaging effect these chemicals can pose to the ground beneath. Furthermore, whereas natural grass ventilates and hydrates the soil beneath, Astroturf essentially starves the soil and even allows the aforementioned chemicals to possibly seep into groundwater. The Synthetic Turf Council, which is an industry body in the U.S., claims that the artificial surface is not damaging to the environment.
Despite calls for the preservation of storied green space on campus, few people debate the need to reshape the back field. Strewn with mud holes and uneven ground, a meaningful restoration project is indeed a necessity. Ackerman agrees that the field can be somewhat treacherous and muddy during the rainy seasons, but claims that “students have played many sports on muddy fields for centuries and had lots of fun.” Plans to break ground and begin construction are not yet underway and Ackerman hopes it isn’t too late to open an official discussion with the U of T administration.
from “electoral reform” UTSU has already warned the leaders of the movement that a “clear legal precedent” stands in their way. “The UTSU cannot make changes if constructive feedback is not given… the conversations of splitting from the Union have not been initiated in good faith to improve the students’ union,” said UTSU vicepresident internal Corey Scott. If Trinity’s example stands, referenda can be expected to be held in the next few months, with the resulting evidence being put before the Governing Council University Affairs Board. Once the matter is on their table, the likelihood of defederation and potential for legal repercussions will become much clearer.
Opinion: In defense of Muslim Studies and multi-faith centres at U of T the newspaper is the University of Toronto’s independent weekly paper, published since 1978. VOL XXXV No. 22 Editor-in-Chief Cara Sabatini
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Dylan Hornby During Reading Week, the University of Toronto caught the attention of some very special journalists. Yes, the straight-talking, right-leaning Sun News Network aimed their sights at our school’s annoyingly progressive policies. Sun News writer Anthony Furey expresses disappointment in his Alma Mater. He criticizes U of T for doing a “disservice” to students by building a multi-faith centre in Robarts, raises suspicions about the new Muslim Studies program and slams the creation of a Muslim prayer and ablutions facility at Emmanuel College. To sum it up, Furey’s fury seems to be with U of T’s spending on accommodating other religions, especially those pesky Muslims they talk so much about on Sun News. It’s unfortunate that Furey’s world class education from U of T has led to him writing sensationalist articles for Canada’s least-watched joke of a news network. Furey claims multi-faith centres simply waste money when we have so many churches, synagogues and mosques downtown. Now granted, there are places of worship downtown, but it
doesn’t mean that they are always open, close to campus or have space. If you’ve ever been to U of T’s current multifaith spaces, it’s well known students complain about cramped quarters. A facility at Robarts solves all these problems in one swoop because of its high-traffic location and the fact it remains open 24 hours. The article also takes issue with Emmanuel College’s new Muslim Studies program and facility that has a $100 000 price tag funded mostly by the university (taxpayers). I guess Furey chose to skip over the fact U of T has spent money on Christian theological education for over 150 years. According to The Varsity article that Furey picks-and-chooses information from, more than 2,000 students study Christian theology in 10 separate programs across campus. These include Knox College since 1844, Emmanuel College since 1928 as well as the Toronto School of Theology post World War II. Knox even offers students a professional path to become ordained Ministers. Simultaneously, we offer religious studies in Judaism, Buddhism and others for years. So why is it when a Muslim Studies program is introduced at a theo-
logical college, it is suddenly a scandalous waste of taxpayer money? Furey’s “taxpayer” arguments simply lead nowhere. He criticizes Muslim and other diversity-based studies as “fluff” because they “give the taxpayer little bang for their buck”. Anyone can tell you universities are not just places that prepare you for a job, but rather ones of research and discovery. If Furey’s making that old “job-worthy” claim, then he should write an article against funding JudeoChristian studies, philosophy, art, english and believe it or not, journalism, because they don’t necessarily lead to highpaying jobs either. Furey must realize these programs are not just about accommodating Muslims, or the Islamification of Christian colleges. They offer the opportunity to learn about a growing faith in a Canadian perspective. It’s obvious that there are tensions about Islam’s expanding presence in Canada. With the introduction of inclusive programs like these, instead of inciting fears between Canadians of different faiths, we can help to remedy them.
Student unions launch first pineapple in food fight
UTSU, UTMSU seek to increase affordability and options for campus food Yukon Damov “Have you heard about the $8 pineapple?” asked Grace Guo, vice-president external for the University of Toronto Mississagua Students’ Union. At Colman Commons, the central cafeteria for UTM students living in residence, such an outrageous price exists, depending on the size of the pineapple, as the price is per 100 grams. A pineapple is a fine idea— healthy and tasty. It gets one side of the equation right, but Guo and the UTMSU, as well as Munib Sajjad, vice-president university affairs for the University of Toronto Students’ Union, are planning to lobby the administration to express
students’ dissatisfaction with the quality, variety, and price of food on the two campuses. The principal source of conflict is the monopoly that Chartwells, a company that has contracts with dozens of post-secondary institutions across North America, holds on food services. “There should be no profit made from students,” Sajjad said. UTMSU is currently in the process of mediation with UTM, trying to access the contents of Charwells’ contract with the school. Chartwells cites issues of competition for withholding the information. UTMSU held a town hall Wednesday night to receive
student input on the matter; UTSU is holding a town hall Thursday. Only twenty students attended Wednesday’s town hall and, according to the Facebook event as of press time, only twenty students of nearly 600 invited are slated to attend Thursday’s town hall. Maybe most students don’t care about outrageously expensive pineapples, or maybe they don’t know about the campaign. The low turnout failed to quell Guo’s enthusiasm. “I’m very optimistic that we can work with the administration towards a solution,” she said after the town hall, which featured representatives from Chartwells and the adminis-
tration. UTSU and UTMSU are calling their initiative a Task Force, emphasizing that their lobbying efforts need student input. Hence the Town Halls and the survey forms available at the UTSU office. Oddly, the survey is only available in paper format at the office as the website survey is currently down. Posters around campus are also scarce. What Sajjad and Guo are working on is basic stuff — everybody knows food sucks on campus. But if their initiative is to be effective, it will require more student involvement than currently appears to be.
Ugandan Parliament get ready to vote on ‘draconian” anti-homosexuality bill’ Canadians weigh in on impact and response
Marsha Mcleod In Uganda’s capital Kampala, the Ugandan Parliament is poised to vote on a bill infamously known as the “Kill the Gays” Bill. The bill was first introduced in 2009 by MP David Bahati, but was later tabled and reintroduced a second time in November 2012. The AntiHomosexuality Bill broadens the existing criminal statute on same-sex relations. Health professionals could be imprisoned or fined for allowing LGBTI individuals to be treated in their workplaces. Additionally, landowners would face seven years in prison for providing living space to LGBTI individuals. When the bill was introduced in 2009 it included the provision of the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” a clause which could be invoked if, for example, an HIV-positive person was found guilty of engaging in homosexual intercourse. There is some international ambiguity as to whether the death
penalty clause has remained a provision of the bill. In the Order Paper for February 27th, 2013, under the Ugandan Parliament’s “Order of Business to Follow,” the bill is listed as the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009,” which Richard Elliott, the Executive Director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, believes is suggestive that the Parliament will be voting on the unrevised 2009 version. Ugandan tabloids such as The Rolling Stone (now defunct) and Red Pepper have also stoked anti-homosexual fires by publishing photographs and names on several occasions of alleged homosexuals. Out of fear for individuals’ personal safety, Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has extensively advocated against these public “outings.” Mugisha believes that the Parliament will undertake the vote on the bill soon, as it is eager to bolster public support after a recent corruption scandal. Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni attempted to assuage the horror of international donors towards the bill by stating, “We shall not kill or prosecute [gay populations], but there should be no promotion of homosexuality.” However, the Parliament is enthusiastic about pushing the bill into legislation. In 20082009 foreign aid accounted for thirty-two per cent of Uganda’s budget, yet David Bahati states that the Parliament is willing to sacrifice the support of international donors in order to pass the bill. Consequences of the AntiHomosexuality Bill would detrimentally affect public health programming. Elliott believes that even without the death penalty provision the bill would “drive people viciously into the closet and makes it extremely risky to be identified as [any sexual or gender minority].” Elliott sees the bill as “a horribly draconian piece of legislation” which would increase discrimination, violence, and hate-mongering towards sexual and gender mi-
nority groups in Uganda. David Rayside, a political science professor and associate of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, remembers when a similar, albeit less life-threatening, culture of fear was prevalent within the LGBTI community in Toronto in the late 1960s: “There was a lot of fear in terms of getting beat up by the police and engaging in sexual activity out of your own home.” Changes in public perception in Toronto towards the LGBTI community took several decades, not gaining firm traction until the 1980s and 90s. Rayside asserts that, despite the fear of violence and persecution present within LGBTI groups in Uganda, there is certainly hope for a gradual process of change towards inclusivity. John Baird, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that “Canada will speak out” against this piece of legislature. Will Canadians rise to prove correct Baird’s emphatic statement?
the briefs Mid life on Mars?
Former rocket scientist, billionaire Dennis Tito, released a plan to privately fund a space mission that would send two humans to Mars. The 500-day mission involves a fly-by of the Red Planet rather than a landing. It is expected to cost much less than a NASA-led mission, (between $1-2 billion dollars) while simultaneously selling off broadcasting rights. Tito seeks to find a middle-aged married couple who already have children for the mission, since their fertility may be compromised by living in the radiation in space. The mission is set for January 2018, when Mars is expected to be closest to Earth.
Pessimists will outlive us all
The American Psychological Association published a study showing that people who have a more negative outlook often live longer and healthier lives. The study was conducted using the responses of 40 000 people between 19932003. When asked to rate how satisfied they would be in five years’ time, optimists had a 9.5% increase in reported disabilities and a 10% higher risk of death than those who were pessimistic. According to the author of the study, “Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions.” There’s your silver lining.
Oscar-winning short film producer tossed from Oscars
Upon winning the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film, Paperman producer Kristina Reed threw paper airplanes with kisses on them down into the audience from her seat on the balcony. Security promptly escorted her from her seat. She protested and argued her way back to her perch. Paperman is about a man who falls in love with a woman at a train station, loses her in the crowd, but sees that she works in the office building across the street from his office. He throws paper airplanes out his window trying to get her attention. -Dylan Hornby and Yukon Damov
February 28, 2013
Elect or eject? MOTION: Senators should be elected instead of appointed to Canada’s Parliament For weeks now, controversy has riddled Canada’s Senate. From Patrick Brazeau’s domestic violence charges to Pamela Wallin’s $320 000 travel costs to Saskatchewan, recent scandals have stolen the spotlight from policy debates and prompted Canadians to question whether or not their interests are indeed represented in Parliament. Is it time to elect an accountable Senate for Canadians? Or will an elected senate give us more problems than we already have? The Senate is not broken, but greatly ineffective. With its current 105 appointed Senators it provides some oversight to the legislative process, but in a manner that wastes opportunities, money, and talent. By electing Senators and enacting reforms, the Senate could become a useful body in Canadian politics. First is the issue of wasted opportunities. The Senate has rarely attempted to overstep our limited tolerance of its existence, and which works well for them. They may be unpopular, but there are few accusations that they are a threat to our democracy. The Senate provides the necessary oversight of legislation from the House of Commons. They only obstruct a bill on the supposed unconstitutionally of the legislation. Additionally they will amend and clarify troublesome sections of legislation, often due to “drafting or translation errors.” These functions cannot be dismissed as unimportant, but they are undeniably rare. The Senate could play a bigger role in our democracy, but not without increasing the legitimacy of the Senate. Elections legitimize political power in the eyes of the public, and this fact of democracy should be applied to an underused Senate. Second is the issue of wasted money. With an annual expense of $90 million, we don’t need 105 Senators. If we had fewer Senators, they would be far more accountable to their province and less able to shirk their daily responsibilities. Plus, a
smaller Senate would increase the prestige of holding a seat, bringing better candidates to the post. We could have a fifteen member Senate: two Senators from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia; one Senator for the remaining provinces; and one Senator for the combined Territories. We could introduce elections every four years, with twoyear election cycles for those provinces with two Senators, blending the representationby-population system of the House with the equal representation of the American Senate. With elections, the best candidates could run, rather than creating a patronage appointment for political debts or to gain leverage with powerful groups. It would cost less than $13 million per year with current salaries, and Canadians would get more for their money. In the end, we must admit that our Senate is worth reforming. They provide a necessary function, but it must be drastically reformed to be worth the cost both to the taxpayer and to our democracy.
The issue of reforming Canada’s Senate has faced politicians since confederation. While the Senate has its lowest approval rating in recent history (twentytwo per cent), many still disagree over how it should be reformed. Many Canadians believe that an elected Senate will be the key solution to fixing an “old boys club” in Ottawa politics. In this case however, democracy may not be the fix-all solution, and may even further debilitate the current situa-
Charles -Philippe Lamy
tion. Now, it does seem against common logic to argue against democratic methods (our student union has enough problems covering that double standard). Nevertheless, the negative effects of an elected Senate can be easily seen if we take a look across the border. In the United States, the people directly elect both their representatives and their senators. In both countries, the
purpose of the Senate is to act as an advisory body to their respective Houses. The main problem with an elected Senate is that since they have term limits, every single decision they make impacts their re-election. Since senators in the US are regularly faced with elections, they know they have to satisfy the voters of their party to win. It’s common sense for Democratic or Republican senators to vote identically to collectively defend their voting records. The Senate then splits along partisan lines, with each side blaming the other until the next election. Suddenly, instead of the usefulness of an advisory body, we get a hyper-partisan one in its place. Although political parties are necessary, an overload of partisan politics creates gridlock, and its no wonder why the US Congress is one of the most inefficient and deadlocked political institutions in the Western world. A bill passed in a Republican House will surely fail in a Democratic Senate, and vice versa. Huge decisions are either rushed at the very last minute or are kicked down the road. On the other hand, Canada’s Senate has minimal gridlock. The Prime Minister can pick his own senators, who stay on until they reach seventy-five. This makes for a slower-changing structure, with members who may identify with a political ideology, but aren’t necessarily blood brothers with key leaders in the House of Commons. In addition, Canada’s Senate is aware of its non-democratic standing and rarely vetoes a bill that has clearly passed in an elected House. Instead, they will advise minor changes that may have been glanced over. In a government that is more divided between left and right than ever before, the Senate must in the words of John A. Macdonald, act as an institution of “sober second thought.” Canada’s Senate surely has problems of wasteful spending and usefulness, but increasing its power through public elections will only create more problems for fulfilling their duty.
Trading in the Rotman pit U of T’s business school hosts mock market competition David Stokes Last Thursday evening the lobby of the Rotman business school became an 80s trading floor as contracts were bought and sold through gestures, yells, and verbal bargaining. This was the social outcry, the inaugural event of the tenth annual Rotman International Trading Competition, which ran Thursday to Saturday. Open to teams made up of undergraduates and MBA students, the competition hosted more than 240 students representing forty-eight universities from Asia, Europe, United States and Canada. Competition organizer Marco Salerno, who competed last year and whose team placed second, ran around more than the traders, equipped with a curly earpiece like a member of the secret service, ensuring the event ran smoothly. Former student and competition co-founder Kevin Mak rang a big brass bell to start the trading. Mak, now a lecturer at Stanford, told the newspaper that he started the event as a way for students to do less theoretical work, less historical analysis, and gain more practical experience. Open outcry trading, once standard practice, is now uncommon at stock exchanges. The Toronto Stock Exchange moved to computer assisted trading in 1997. So for the students, this was their chance to relive the heady days of aerobic adrenaline-driven capitalism, without the big shoulder pads and constant cocaine bumps, presumably. Wearing competition-issued blue trading jackets over suits, the students engaged in trading through the continual yelling of their prices, an experience akin to bartering in a whirlwind. “At a thousand! At a thousand! At nine-ninety!.” If you weren’t selling at the right price, or not selling at all, like this journalist, you might as well have been invisible. The competition’s sponsors-which include BP Oil and CIBC--and their recruiters stood back and took in the spectacle. Many of these firms are look-
The visible hands of the market: Rotman students engage in open outcry tradting at international trading competition. ing to hire; and judging from the big watches on a few sponsors’ wrists, it might not be a bad idea to join them. “Full day of interviews tomorrow,” said one recruiter who commented that this is a great event for the recruiters since there are a lot of students in one place, and some of them are from far away. Asked about tactics for this sort of trading, one recruiter who used to work as an open outcry trader commented: “This trading floor is called ‘the pit,’” she said and pointed out that the best strategy is to move around a lot, as hard as that might be in a crush of bodies. But if you get stuck in one corner you might miss someone in another spot who is selling contracts cheaper. Information flows as fast as your feet, whereas now what matters is your bandwidth speed. You are at an advantage if you are tall and loud. The competitors were largely male; the ratio of men to women was roughly five to one. In front of the traders a tickerbar scrolled by with fake news, with headlines including “Canada to drop the Toonie” and “Airplane crash hurts industry.” These clues are meant to allow
traders to predict whether the market would become bearish, bullish, or neutral, which informs their buying and selling. Yet most traders were not looking at the news ticker; they were too busy looking for buyers or sellers. “Nothing is really happening yet they keep trading,” said the former outcry trader. Thankfully this was not a real market, and real traders typically do not buy or sell while servers offer them prosciutto wrapped havarti and alcohol. The open outcry is just for fun, meant to be a social mixer; and it was effective: by the end, competitors were no longer with their teams but had become spread out. Finding the best price required meeting new people. The next two days featured competitions in algorithmic trading, quantitative trading, options trading, commodities trading, and mergers and acquisitions, among other varieties of trading. If nothing else, the open outcry would prove to be good exercise in a social environment, as the majority of these competitions involved silent trading on a computer.
Eric Kang, assistant director of the competition, stated that the competition is “not a zero sum game,” and for one team to have something doesn’t mean that another team has to have nothing. The skills and talents that allow teams to succeed are less about aggressive trading and more about exercising strategic acumen and prudential investing. “Are you properly hedged? Or are you over extended in one sector? We force the market to tank, and crash.” With this experience of inherent chaos built into the model, winners will have planned to deal with it.
Cases are short and they run them a few times to find each team’s average rank in order to mitigate lucky bets; this way, the results “don’t reward recklessness or random guesses.” Though in reality the market doesn’t exactly work like that, he commented. A team of students from Université Laval (Quebec City) got first place and a team from Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) placed second. Awards were handed out at a ceremony at the CN Tower.
6 THE ARTS
February 28, 2013
Toronto’s first feminist art conference tackles gender issues Called for art on media analyis, violence and ‘slut slamming’
The first feminist art conference to take place in Toronto will be held on the weekend of March 9 at the Foundery in the West end. The conference is a multi-disciplinary showcase of feminist art. It will also include panel discussions on the issues addressed through the artwork. Dana Ayotte, artist coordinator for the event, stated that the goal of the Feminist Art Conference is to “provide a venue where we can come together to talk about feminist art and the role it plays in our feminist political vision.” What exactly is feminist artwork and how exactly does one set out to make it? In an interview with the newspaper, participating multi-media artist Jamie Karn said, “to put it simply, if one wishes to make feminist artwork, one will make feminist artwork.” Ilene Sova, coordinator and
a conceptual portrait painter showcasing artwork at the conference, said, “in a broad sense, one could say that feminist artists tend to create work that is inspired by the feminist issues that they are most passionate about. After, identifying or experiencing an issue they develop art that creatively expresses that theme.” The issues represented at the conference are both broad and localized, but focus on addressing the oppression women face in their everyday lives. Sova listed the areas of interest in their call for submissions: “violence against women, sexual assault, slut shaming, pro-choice issues, media analysis, racialization gender/trans identity, and economic and political agency.” The Missing Women Project by Ilene Sova will be showcased at the conference. It is a series of large-scale portraits of Ontario women who went
missing 1970 to 2000. Sova describes the project as a way to open up violence against women as a topic for discussion. The conference will provide a venue where this series will not only be showcased, but a place for the crucial discussion to take place. The venue is a large, open concept space located at Bathurst and Dundas. There is gallery space to display artwork as well as several separate rooms where the panel discussions will take place. Ayotte explained that the Foundery was selected selected as the venue because, “it provides both a gallery and an event space under one roof, so that the art show and the conference could co-exist in time and space.” “It needs to be understood that feminism isn’t gynocentrism,” said Karn. The relevance of the conference is salient for students in Toronto
given the series of sexual assaults that took on and around campus last year. “Conferences and events like this help to normalize outrage with disproportional privilege distribution and open up the conversation about what still needs attention and change.”
The Feminist Art Conference runs from 12 to 8 pm with a reception to follow on March 9 at the Foundery, located at 376 Bathurst St. Visit www.factoronto.org to register.
Jane Alice Keachie
Jaymie Karn: Setting Sex On Fire Graphite on paper
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Artists hit the shift key and capitalize on technology New technology, new spaces for creativity, a new class of artists Technology has successfully managed to meld itself into the art world — so you can conclude after visiting Threshold, a collection of multimedia pieces put together by a group of Ryerson Arts students, which range from projectors mimicking movement to electronically wired dolls’ heads, to musical renditions of a painting’s pixels. Artists are embracing this technological shift and are creating pieces that are only achievable with help from digital machines. Equipped with new tools like Photoshop and online resources like Youtube and Tumblr, today’s artists can share their work with the masses, all without putting pants on or leaving their beds. U of T visual art professor John Massey, in an email exchange with the newspaper, remarked on his own work: “When personal computers arrived in the beginning of the
nineties it made combining photographs infinitely easier. Previously I had spent endless hours in dark rooms and was obliged to deal with photo reproduction services. Those days are gone. Now I am able to develop a collage language which is much more seamless with a great many more possibilities, without leaving my studio.” While some people question if new techniques are a crutch for artists who can’t traditionally draw or paint, Massey disagreed. “New technologies have their own craft requirements. Learning to manipulate a photograph in Photoshop is just as hard as processing an image traditionally.” Sarah Nind, a Contemporary Art professor at OCAD, agreed that technology is neither improving nor hindering art, but simply transforming it. In a pair of paint speckled pants she commented, “We’ve always
had technology. When people start talking about how terrible technology is and how it is changing creativity, [it’s important to point out that] you know, a paint-
brush is a tool, and s o we’re talking about levels of technology.” New tools for art-making have almost completely taken over, Nind emphasized that “manufacturers don’t make things for artists to use basi-
cally.” Artists are repurposing “equipment which is being developed for industries where money can be made…Kodak and Fuji are not going to keep making film and developing chemicals just for artists.” Instead of artists using their hands to physically mould their work, their hands are on scroll pads, tablets and mice. Nind explained, “We’re talking about making work where the artist’s hand, literal hand, in making work [is] becoming a bit more diluted.” Certain anxieties undoubtedly arise with this incorporation of technology to make intangible art, especially the problems of restoration and preservation. Much of this new art is meant to exist only temporarily, in the digital ether.
Nind explained that what is happening is where we previously understood our position through artifacts, for example the Mona Lisa, as property possession kept in a museum and even behind bulletproof glass, we are now replacing it with work that may not exist at all in physical space, which makes it harder to commemorate and protect our periods’ highest cultural achievements. But there have always been a backlash against previous art movements, rejecting old techniques and finding new ways to commemorate the present age, but there is also always a collaboration and a revival of the traditional. Massey concluded, “As new technologies supplant traditional approaches, older, more antique forms take on an arcane aura. There will always be a market for the traditional.” Some day computers may even constitute “traditional art.”
Cosplaying unzipped Carissa Ainslie Ever wanted to dress up as your favorite character from XMen, but realized that Halloween was eight months away? Have no fear, cosplaying may be your answer. Cosplaying, or “costume play,” involves dressing up as your favorite character from an anime, television, movie or comic book series, and in some instances role playing as that character. Cosplaying gives people a chance to celebrate their fanship and show your costume-making skills. Dressing up as your favorite character has become a typical staple in attending a convention. From store bought to handmade, these elaborate costumes can rival some of the garments seen in Hollywood. There are conflicting stories on when and where cosplaying originated, but the most
common belief is that the term was coined in 1984 by Nobuyuki Takahashi of Japanese anime studio Studio Hard at the World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles, California. He was impressed by the costumed fans and wrote about it in a science fiction magazine, abbreviating the two words together as is common in Japanese. Claire Baker, who has been cosplaying for seven years, told the newspaper that she got into this creative form of expression by seeing how much fun others were having. She was also a huge Digimon fan which led her to discovering cosplaying online through their fan base. Baker is a selfdescribed “drama kid,” so becoming these different characters was not much of a stretch. “Being able to interact with other characters, or other people who recognize you or your
character... it’s amazing.” Not only do people dress up to go to conventions, they also attend panels that teach them how to perfect certain techniques. Fan Expo 2012 in Toronto had twelve panels dedicated to just costumes over the four day event. Almost half of them were anime related, but others ranged from sci fi to steampunk. Masquerades have become quite popular at conventions as well. A competition to see who has the best, most accurate costumes, this event is typically jammed full of fans wanting to see their favorite characters come alive on stage as those who participate are serious cosplayers. Whether dressing up as an ode to your favorite comic book hero or submitting a years’ worth of work to a masquerade, cosplaying can be a great outlet for creative ex-
Costumes aren’t just for Halloween anymore; for some, the city is their stage
Author and cosplayer Laura VanArendonk Baugh above. pression. There is something thrilling about walking into a convention under the guise of someone else and connecting with other fans who share
similar interests. Toronto Comicon takes place March 9 and 10 at the Convention Centre.
February 28, 2013
the campus comment
the newspaper asked: What do you want to know about other people, but are too afraid to ask?
Karen, 5th year, Philosophy “I’d really like to know why people decide to repress themselves? Why do they repress their darker desires?”
THOMAS 2nd year, Chemistry “What do you want?”
DANIEL 4th year, Toxicology “Would you rather judge a person to their face or behind their back?”
DYLAN 2nd year, Peace & Conflict Studies “How long do you last in bed?”
the mascot “What do you think of our paper?”
BODI BOLD & DAVID STOKES
Gloria 4th year, Psychology “What would you give up to save the environment?”