NEVER THE SAME: WHAT (ELSE) CAN ART WRITING DO?

AN INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON THE AGENCIES AND FUTURES OF ART WRITING

Over the past few decades multiple modes of creative and critical writing have proliferated in art worlds. A range of approaches – from ficto-criticism, speculative fiction, performative writing, site-writing, poetic innovations, new mediations and alternative forms of criticism – have made political, philosophical and academic space for art writing. Dylan Thomas notes, ‘A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.’ His phrase ‘never the same’ evokes the articulation of mutable writing approaches which refuse to accept art discourses and production as business-as-usual. 

Never the Same: what (else) can art writing do? asks, what are the places for, and political implications of, de-instrumentalized forms of writing?  In an age of austerity, neocolonialism, neoliberal uses of creativity, art marketing, grant writing and practice based PhD work, how can writing by and for artists and their work enact resistance to such forces? What are the language forms (re)emerging in the present?  How might art writing be considered as an ethical practice towards an understanding/in defense of artistic knowledge? How do (re)emergent modes of artistic writing enact agonisms and solidarities in relation to art audiences? Never the Same will address how and for whom these new modes of art writing matter through multiple symposium sessions guided by the following four areas of investigation:

  • Performing & Materializing Art Writing

  • Making Space, Place & Time Through Art Writing

  • Art Writing & Knowledge Production

  • New Modes of Publishing & Distribution


 

KEYNOTE: CHRIS KRAUS IN DISCUSSION WITH JENNIFER KRASINSKI

Chris Kraus is a prolific and internationally recognized American writer, editor and art critic whose work focuses on a range of underrepresented art world realms and conditions. Watch her discussion with award-winning art columnist Jennifer Krasinski.

Videographer: Noel Bégin


 

PERFORMING & MATERIALIZING ART WRITING

As writing calls and responds in proximity to bodies both present and absent, what performativities of language embody speaking subjects? By examining spaces between gastromancy (where literally, the gut speaks) and modes of ventriloquism, narrative and performative dynamics of identity and voice emerge. Theories of new materialism consider the agencies of extra-semiotic forces in artistic production. How might art writing’s material embodiments enliven boundaries between discourse and production?

abstracts

Videographer: Noel Bégin


 

MAKING SPACE, PLACE & TIME THROUGH ART WRITING

What real and fictional spaces and places can art writing conjure? How do inscription, gesture and language formulate and reveal cultural knowledge and difference?  How does language gesture across and within difference, and how might we consider geographies, histories and futurities in this context? How do modes of site-writing occupy and form these discursive spaces? What new iterations of art writing use and transform digital media spaces? What spacings and rhythms of art writing resist forces of chrononormativity (Freeman, 2010)?

ABSTRACTS

Videographer: Noel Bégin


 

DAY ONE WRAP UP with Jennifer Krasinski 

Videographer: Noel Bégin


 

ART WRITING & KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION

The introduction of artistic knowledge into educational institutions has presented frictions to epistemic certainties. How have art institutions grappled with this, and what new agencies of art writing do such frictions generate? How might other fields of knowledge benefit from art writing’s speculative, performative and material conditions? What kinds of (un)productivities or productive refusals might art writing contribute to the precarious economies of artistic and institutional labour?  How does failure function as a form of resistance? What alternative forms might be brought to address these conditions?

abstracts

Videographer: Noel Bégin


 

NEW MODES OF PUBLISHING & DISTRIBUTION

How have new modes of publishing and distribution – online and print – transformed relations between artists, writers and readers? How do such modes of publishing and distribution work to assemble or activate different kinds of readers and communities? Through what structures of exchange does art criticism thrive? How do different serial formats or rhythms of distribution perform new critical perspectives or ecologies? What are the unanticipated afterlives and futures of digital critical art forums?

abstracts

Videographer: Noel Bégin


 

DAY TWO WRAP Up with merray gerges

Videographer: Noel Bégin


 

EXHIBITION

extratextual, curated by Lisa Baldissera and Joanne Bristol

An international exhibition of contemporary art informed by modes of writing

Judy Anderson, Carl Beam, Blair Brennan, Suzanne Caines, Judy Chartrand, Chris Cran, Moyra Davey, Eve Fowler, Maria Fusco, Beatrice Gibson, Brion Gysin, Nelson Henricks, Sin-ying Ho, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Ann Newdigate, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn, Joachim Koester, Kristen Kreider & James O’Leary, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Christof Migone, Mary Scott, Angela Silver, John Will

Contemporary Calgary
117 8 Avenue SW, Calgary, Canada
September 1, 2017 to January 21, 2018
Reception: September 15, 6:00 – 10:00 PM

Working in concert with the symposium, the exhibition extratextual explores ways in which modes
of writing, as well as concepts of textuality and narrative have informed artistic production.  The
exhibition will include contemporary and historical projects by artists and writers across disciplines
and addresses ways in which texts have both informed and created their own cosmologies, event-
scapes and terms of engagement, and how they inform our understandings of contemporary
narrative, performance and culture.

Both the exhibition and symposium investigate the places for, and political implications of, de-
instrumentalized forms of writing.  In an age of austerity, neocolonialism, neoliberal uses of
creativity and art marketing, these projects seek to identify ways in which art writing in-the-
expanded-field might enact resistance to such forces. They do so by articulating how the
performativity, materiality and spacing of (re)emergent modes of artistic writing enact agonisms
and solidarities in relation to audiences. They also consider art writing as an ethical practice
towards an understanding / in defence of artistic knowledge.


PARTICIPANTS

JOAN BORSA

Joan Borsa is a Canadian curator, critic, interdisciplinary scholar, and associate professor of Art and Art History as well as Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Her work focuses on museum, gallery and curatorial studies, socially engaged art projects, feminist art practice, the particularities of place, and situated knowledge. Her writing integrates discussions of contemporary art and culture with everyday lived experience, social history, theoretical perspectives, and storytelling. Borsa received the Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Arts Award in 2009 and the Saskatoon YWCA Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

 

SUSAN CAHILL

Dr. Susan Cahill is an independent filmmaker, curator, and Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Calgary. She is principal investigator of the SSHRC-funded “The Art & Surveillance Project,” a database dedicated to Canadian artistic engagements with the surveillance state post-9/11. This database also forms the basis for her current book project, States of Observance. An expert in Canadian contemporary settler art, Cahill has a research program that engages a number of regional contexts, including the Ontario Arts Council-Northern Arts Program funded curatorial and artist residency project “You Art Here: Visualizing Place at the ‘Gateway to the North.’” She is currently completing a documentary on the resettlement of out-port communities in Newfoundland.

 

MARK CLINTBERG

Mark Clintberg is a Canadian artist, critic, art historian whose practice moves across boundaries of production and discourse. Presented across Canada and internationally, his works use a range of materials and actions, expanding concepts of authorship and collaboration. His work has appeared in exhibitions across Canada, including at the National Gallery of Canada, Banff Centre and the Art Gallery of Alberta and in the United States, Germany, and Portugal. In 2013 Clintberg was a shortlisted finalist for the Sobey Art Award, which annually recognizes the most notable talent amongst visual artists under 40 across Canada. As part of the performing and materialising art writing panel, Clintberg will discuss the various modes of written and spoken address which play through his artistic and critical work.

 

AMY FUNg

Amy Fung is a writer, researcher and curator currently based in Toronto, Canada, with a specialization in criticism, poetics, and the moving image. Fung received her Masters in English and Film Studies from the University of Alberta in 2009 and was the Artistic Director of IMAGES Festival, Toronto for 2015 – 2017. Fung has published her writings in Canadian Art, Art Papers, C Magazine, Fuse, and Frieze, among other publications and is a co-founder of MICE Magazine. Fung’s recent curatorial projects have included a two-day reading series featuring Maria Fusco, Eileen Myles, Lynne Tillman, and Jacob Wren co-presented by Artspeak, the Western Front and 221A in Vancouver;  and “They Made A Day Be A Day Here,” a touring exhibition at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie, the Mendel Art Gallery, and the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba. She is currently writing her first book.

 

DAVID GARNEAU

David Garneau is a Métis artist, curator, writer and Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Regina. He recently co-curated (with Michelle LaVallee) Moving Forward, Never Forgetting at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina and With Secrecy and Despatch (with Tess Allas) for the Campbelltown Art Centre in Sydney, Australia. Garneau has given numerous talks in Australia, New Zealand the United States, as well as throughout Canada. He is part of the SSHRC-funded research project Creative Conciliations, and is working on public art projects in Edmonton. His paintings are in numerous public and private collections.

 

MERRAY GERGES

Merray Gerges studied art history at NSCAD and journalism at King’s in Halifax, where she co-founded and co-edited CRIT, a free biannual criticism broadsheet. In 2015 she attended Superscript, a conference at the Walker Art Center that deliberated over the futures of art criticism, as a Hyperallergic mentee and was the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. In summer 2016 she was Canadian Art‘s editorial resident, and is now assistant editor thereHer reporting, criticism and lectures have ranged from discussing the radical potential (and shortcomings) of intersectional feminist memes and ASMR connections between zit-popping and slime videos to art-world race politics and tokenism.

 

JENNIFER KRASINSKI

Jennifer Krasinski is a an art columnist for the Village Voice, and a performance critic for Artforum.com. Her writing has also appeared in Art In America, BOMB, Spike Art Quarterly, DIS Magazine, and The Paris Review Blog. She is the author of Prop Tragedies (Wrath of Dynasty Press, 2010), and is on faculty in the MFA Art Writing program at the School of the Visual Arts. She is the recipient of a 2013 Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and was a 2016 artist-in-residence in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Process Space program.

 

MARIA FUSCO

Maria Fusco is a Northern Irish writer, theorist and critic who is internationally recognized for her work in fiction, radio and theoretical writing, as well as her foundational work in the field of fiction as a critical practice. She is the founder and editorial director of experimental art writing journal, The Happy Hypocrite, former Director of Art Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is currently Reader in Interdisciplinary Writing at the University of Edinburgh. She was the writer-in-residence at the Lisbon Architecture triennale, the Kadist Art Foundation in Paris and the Whitechapel in London, and in 2018 will be Research Fellow at Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam. As part of the art writing and knowledge production panel, Fusco will discuss how the poetics and politics of art writing afford ways of knowing which disrupt boundaries of discipline.

 

SKY GOODDEN

Sky Goodden is the founding editor of Momus, an international online art publication that stresses a return to art criticism. Momus has been critically recognized, and widely read and shared, receiving citations from peer publications including Frieze, e-flux, The New Inquiry, and the LA Times, among others. The publication was shortlisted for two International Art Criticism Awards in 2016. As it approaches its third anniversary, Momus has grown an audience of over 600,000 readers. It is now producing a podcast titled Momus: The Podcast (its first season is being syndicated by the popular, UK- based NTS Radio), and working on its first print edition, to be released this fall. Goodden holds an art history BFA from Concordia University and an MFA in Criticism & Curatorial Practice from OCAD University, which in 2016 awarded her with an Alumni of Influence Award, “The Trailblazer.”

 

EMMANUEL IDUMA

Emmanuel Iduma is a Nigerian writer and art critic based in New York. He holds an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he is also a faculty member. He has contributed essays on art and photography to a number of journals, magazines, and exhibition catalogues. He is the editor of Saraba magazine, which he co-founded. Until 2016, he was Director of Publications of Invisible Borders, a trans-African organization based in Nigeria, and participated in four editions of its acclaimed road-trip project. He played a curatorial role in the group’s installation “A Trans-African Worldspace” at the 2015 Venice Biennale. He co-curated the Nigerian Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. He is the author of the novel The Sound of Things to Come (first published as Farad in Nigeria), co-editor of Gambit: Newer African Writing. His latest book A Stranger’s Pose will be published in 2018.

 

CHRIS KRAUS

Chris Kraus is a prolific and internationally recognized American writer, editor and art critic whose work focuses on a range of underrepresented art world realms and conditions. Her 1995 genre-defying book, I Love Dick, has recently been adapted as an Amazon television series. She has taught creative writing and art writing at The European Graduate School and has been a visiting professor at the Art Center College of Design, the University of California, New York University, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the Los Angeles Contemporary Archives. Along with Sylvère Lotringer and Hedi El Kholti, Kraus is coeditor of the influential publishing house Semiotext(e), which has introduced much of contemporary French theory to an American audience.

 

KRISTEN KREIDER

Kristen Kreider is a writer and artist. Her research stems from an interest in the poetics of thought, its materialization as form, and a concern with how artworks relate to the world. She has published poetry, essays, journal articles and a single-authored monograph entitled Poetics & Place: The Architecture of Sign, Subject and Site (IB Tauris). In collaboration with the architect James O’Leary, Kristen’s artistic practice engages with sites of architectural and cultural interest. Combining aspects of performance, installation, documentary, poetry, fiction and image-making, the work of Kreider + O’Leary exposes and interweaves the complexities of place into a fabrication of the real. Their book Falling was published by Copy Press, Field Poetics is forthcoming from Eros Press, and they are currently working on a large-scale project, Un-Governable Spaces, engaging with five sites of community and resistance globally. Kristen is Professor of Fine Art and Director of the Art Research Programme at Goldsmiths College, London.

 

CHRISTOF MIGONE

Christof Migone is a Canadian artist, curator and writer known for his multifaceted practice that moves between textual, performative and sonic realms. Presented across Canada and internationally, including in 2012 when he performed as part of the Whitney Biennial, his work encourages audiences to reconsider the material and conceptual limits and potentials of language. He received his MFA from NSCAD and his PhD from the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts of NYU. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Western Ontario. As part of the performing and materializing art writing panel, Migone will discuss the various modes in which writing is investigated through his artistic and critical work.

 

JEANNE RANDOLPH

Dr Jeanne Randolph is a Canadian cultural theorist, performer and author who is renowned for her method of ficto-critical writing that emerged in Canada in the 1980s. Randolph was also the first and only writer in Canada to develop Object Relations Psychoanalytic Theory as a medium for cultural criticism. As part of the art writing and knowledge production panel, Randolph will unravel some of the assumptions about what (else) art writing can do.  Her presentation might possibly resemble a stand-up theory performance.

 

SARA RAZA

Sara Raza is the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa based at the Guggenheim Museum, New York. Raza earned her MA in Art History and Theory and BA (hons) in English Literature and History of Art both from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and is a Ph.D. candidate at the Royal College of Art, London.  She was most recently the winner of the 11th ArtTable New Leadership Award for women in the arts, previously she was awarded the Arts Council of England’s Emerging Curator’s Award. Raza has curated several international exhibitions and projects for biennials and festivals, including Collateral Events at the 55th Venice Biennale; Ergin Cavusoglu’s Middle Eastern debut exhibition at The Pavilion Downtown Dubai; the Central Asian Salon for the 6th Tashkent Biennial at the Art Gallery of Uzbekistan. Previously she was Curator of Public Programs at Tate Modern. Sara writes for numerous publications and is the longstanding desk editor for West and Central Asia of ArtAsiaPacific magazine. She is an artist adviser for ISCP in New York and the  author of Punk Orientalism: Central Asia’s Contemporary Art Revolution, which will be published in 2018 by Black Dog Publishing, London.

 

HELENA RECKITT

Helena Reckitt is a British writer, art critic, curator and Reader in Curating at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on contemporary art, artists’ film and performance, specializing in histories of feminist and queer art, collectivity and thought. Reckitt is on the editorial board of the Journal of Curatorial Studies and is a member Feminist Curators United. Her latest curatorial project, ‘Habits of Care,’ opens in September 2017 at the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto, as part of a five-month curatorial research programme ‘Take Care.’

 

JANE RENDELL

Jane Rendell is a British writer and theorist whose research and writing cross architecture, art, feminism, history and psychoanalysis. She has introduced ‘critical spatial practice’ and ‘site-writing’ through her authored books: The Architecture of Psychoanalysis (2017), Silver(2016), Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006), and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002). Rendell teaches experimental and spatialized forms of site-writing on the MA Architectural History and MA Situated Practices. Rendell is Professor of Architecture & Art at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where she is Director of History & Theory and leads the Bartlett’s Ethics Commission.

 

LISA ROBERTSON

Lisa Robertson is a Paris-based Canadian poet, art writer and professor who has taught at universities across the US and Europe. She is the author of the poetry collections Cinema of the Present, The Weather, Debbie, and XEclogue, and the essay collections Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture and Nilling as well as A Needle Walks Into a Haystack, a correspondence with Matthew Stadler published by Koenig Books/ Liverpool Biennial, 2014. Currently Robertson is a visiting tutor at the Royal Academy at The Hague as part of their Masters in Artistic Research Program. Robertson will be teaching classes on the nineteenth century art historian and cultural theorist Aby Warburg as well as a class on experimental publishing in the arts. As part of the Performing and Materialising Art Writing panel, Robertson will share research and concepts about her involvement in European art discourse, her role as a conduit between continents and conversations. Robertson will also facilitate a workshop with emerging art writers.

 

DYLAN ROBINSON

Dylan Robinson is an writer and artist of Stó:lō descent who holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s University. His recent research documents histories of Indigenous public art in relation to the embodiment and spatialization of Indigenous rights and settler colonialism. His publications include the edited collections Arts of Engagement: Taking Aesthetic Action in and Beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2016), and Opera Indigene (Routledge, 2011). Most recently, he has been working with the Nisga’a artists and members of the Nisga’a government to address breaches of Nisga’a and other First Nations protocol in compositions that appropriate Indigenous songs.

 

WALTER SCOTT

Walter Scott is a Canadian interdisciplinary artist working in writing, illustration, performance and sculpture. In 2011 while living in Montreal Scott started his Wendy comic book series. The series tell the fictional story of a young woman who aspires to art stardom but whose plans are constantly being derailed. The incredibly popular Wendy series has now been serialized on Random House Canada’s literary digital magazine Hazlitt. Scott has exhibited across Canada and some of his recent exhibitions include Joan Dark at Western Front, Vancouver, 2014, Pre-Existing Work at Macaulay and Co. Fine Art, Vancouver, 2015, and Stopping the Sun in it’s Course, at Francois Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, 2015. In 2014, Scott was Artist-in-Residence at the Koganecho Bazaar in Yokohama, Japan as well as the Artist-in-Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto in 2016.

 

KRISTY TRINIER

Kristy Trinier is an independent curator, art director and arts consultant. Her previous roles include Director of Visual, Digital and Media Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity; Curator at the Art Gallery of Alberta, in which she curated Future Station: 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, as well as exhibitions at the AGA and Enterprise Square Galleries; Public Art Director at the Edmonton Arts Council, where she managed the City of Edmonton’s Public Art Collection, related exhibitions and public art programs and Grant Writer at Banff Centre. Trinier holds a Bachelors degree in Visual Art and English from the University of Victoria, and a Masters degree in Public Art from the Dutch Art Institute as a Huygens scholar in The Netherlands. She is currently pursuing PhD studies in Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought at European Graduate School based in Switzerland. She is the Secretary of Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective and producer of Publication Studio Edmonton at 66B, a print on demand artist book publishing project.