Category Archives: Speaking

Libidinal Economies…

Tayler_MainmiseI had the pleasure of organizing (and presenting) on a panel for the SHARP2017 conference at the University of Victoria, 9 – 12 June, 2017.

Libidinal Economies: Networks of Activist
and Countercultural Print Cultures in the Early 1970s
10 June 2017

Recent scholarship in literary studies, art history and history of the book has recognized print culture to be an essential communications technology linking diverse social movements and liberation struggles of the early 1970s. As the civil rights movements and radical nationalisms of the late 1960s adapted to demands for gay and women’s liberation, presses such as Third World Press (Chicago), Broadside Press (Detroit), TISH (Vancouver), Éditions Parti-Pris and Mainmise (Montréal) issued books and magazines which cited textual references and visual imagery drawn from transnational movements. Local content, neo-avant-garde aesthetics and utopian concerns were asserted in relation to these mutable texts and re-contextualized imagery. This panel will take a comparative approach to discussing the network of desires that drive the production of this radical print culture in Canada and the United States. How do aesthetic choices of book design, typography and para-textual elements make visible the conditions of production for these books? What economies of affective labour are (in)visible in this material culture? What modes of affective belonging take form and how does this create new transnational publics and geographies for radical futurities? This panel responds to the SHARP “Technologies of the Book” CFP themes: The role of the book in society and the social history of print and, print cultures and networks.

Chair: Maria Chappell, University of Georgia
Kinohi Nishikawa, Princeton University: “Reframing Blackness: The Installation Aesthetic of In Our Terribleness”
Deanna Fong, Simon Fraser University: ““Oh, that was a nice party”: Listening to Affective Labour in Literary Collectives”
Felicity Tayler, University of Toronto: “Mainmise: Countercultural Geographies in Reproduction”

This paper will propose a single issue of the Québécois countercultural magazine, Mainmise, as a case study of the aesthetics of cheap single-colour printing and remediation, typical of an early 1970s North American “alternative press.” I argue these aesthetics can be read as the material expression of an attempt to achieve cross-cultural solidarity. Issue no. 2, 1971, of Mainmise, features an image captioned, in French, “Tim Leary Alger, aprs son évasion avec Eldridge Cleaver, ministre de l’information des Black Panthers.” Continue reading

Générations et régénérations du livre / The Generation and Regeneration of Books

SHARP 2015: The 23rd annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing, Longueuil/Montreal (Canada)
Tuesday, 7 July, to Friday, 10 July 2015

Pictured here, a tweet responding to my paper, Imagining the book as counter-environment: Roy K. Kiyooka’s Transcanada Letters (1975),
an excerpt of which can be found below…

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 4.42.15 PM

The front and back covers of Transcanda Letters show a multi-coloured illustrated map of Canada, overlaid by black and white snapshots of the east and west coast that are clasped in the left and right hands of the artist. The two snapshots are autobiographical and documentary in style – they confirm Kiyooka’s presence on both edges of the continent at specific times and locations. These images cause the reader to wonder where he is, and what his body is experiencing? The national boundaries of Canada are recognizable in this cover illustration; nonetheless, the map’s swirling amorphous shapes hold out the promise of an expansive psychedelic geography, as if the reader might “trip” through altered states of consciousness into another sense of place. Also note the grid indicating of longitude and latitude. These cartographic measurements typically help to define national boundaries and exploitable national resources contained within. But Kiyooka has placed this grid between his own hands, thereby turning the national territory into a material form that he could use to construct an imaginary space. Is the space that this book produces a national imaginary that Benedict Anderson associates with the hegemony of print culture? – Or is it a post-national space anticipating other media forms?

Can Lit Across Media

Un-Archiving the Temporal Literary Event
5 June-6 June, 2015 Concordia University

A conference questioning the act of reading listening and looking at archives through an expanded take on what is literary. Below, an excerpt from the paper I presented on the panel, Archival Blind Spots and Silences. Co-panelists were Joel Deshaye and Katherine McLeod.

Sound as a Visual – Visual as Sound: Documentary Traces of Literary Events at Véhicule Art in the Early 1970s

A visual record of Véhicule’s elusive linguistic space is accessible through incomplete written records and anonymous photographs held in the Concordia University Archives. To my eye, the photographic remnants depicting Véhicule’s “space” mimic the documentary mode of conceptual photography, just as the administrative documents such as meeting minutes mimic conceptual “aesthetics of administration.” Some of the photographs document intermedial events – such as two events occurring in 1973 that I will address in this talk: The exhibition Sound as a Visual / Visual as Sound organized by Suzy Lake and Allan Bealy; and a video/text/sound performance by painter and poet, Roy Kiyooka.

Bealy was a conceptual artist who used Véhicule’s press to publish DaVinci Magazine and a series of poetry chapbooks under the imprint Eldorado Editions. Lake was one of the 13 founders of the gallery and a painter who left the late 1960s civil unrest in Detroit for Montréal. During this period, Montréal was a site where issues of race and class were equally contested, but channeled symbolically through debates over language use and sovereignty. This paper asks how a linguistic space produced through the combination of architectural structures, administrative protocols, conceptual aesthetics and a printing press might have positioned Véhicule Art as an affective space existing beyond the  “grids” imposed by federally legislated official bilingualism, or provincial legislation designating French as the language of public life.

Lake is recognized for her photographic series that systematically document the performance of identity in the activities of everyday life. In One Hour (Zero) Conversation with Allan B. (1973), the gridded structure is reminiscent of a photographic contact sheet. Lake, depersonalized by the white-face make-up worn by mimes, performs affective moments throughout a conversation with Bealy within the “gaps” in the grid. In the same year 1973, Lake invited poet and painter Roy Kiyooka to return from the West Coast to Montreal to perform an intermedial event at Véhicule Art. At this time, Kiyooka likewise produced gridded photographic series documenting everyday moments of his peripatetic life as in, Long Beach BC to Peggy’s Cove, (1971).

This is Paradise

Art and Artists in Toronto May 28-31, 2015 | Justina M. Barnicke Gallery & University of Toronto

An incredible 3 days of Toronto looking and thinking about the city. I thought about it through the perspective of a visitor from a different place. Below is the video for the panel Artists, Networks, Cities. Adam Welch and E.C. Woodley were co-panelists. I start around 50:00min.

Artists, Networks, Cities from Justina M. Barnicke Gallery/UTAC on Vimeo.

This paper responds to the conference call for:

  • “art-historical accounts of art in Toronto — including accounts of individual artists; artist communities (artists’ scenes and social networks).”
  • “Strategies that focus on local artistic practice within a broader regional, national and international framework.”

Toronto via Vancouver: Image Banks and Filing Systems for Networked Bodies

Existing scholarship acknowledges the connection between Vancouver’s Image Bank and Toronto’s General Idea in the early 1970s; however, their shared publishing activities and exchange of correspondence remains to be explored as it complicates the relationship of reading publics to a notion of “place.” Continue reading

Data Visualization for Art Historical Research

Constellations, Clusters, Networks
2015 AHGSA (Art History Graduate Student Association) Annual Conference
March 6 – 7, 2015, Concordia University, Montreal


Metadata as a Complex Network: A Case Study of Data Visualization for Art Historical Research. Our slides can be accessed through Spectrum, Concordia’s open-access research repository.  This paper, co-presented with with Tomasz Neugebauer and Corina MacDonald, reported our progress on a research project. There is a lot of complex network theory and algorithyms involved, but relevance to art historical research methods may lie in the portrait it draws of AA Bronson (and General Idea’s) centrality to publishing on contemporary art in Canada.


Metadata as a Complex Network: A Case Study of Data Visualization for Art Historical Research.

This paper responds to the crossover in conference topics between network science and art historical research methods. We ask how the visualization of complex networks can be used to generate art historical questions? Our data set is derived from the bibliographic database created by Artexte, an organization with the mandate to comprehensively collect Canadian exhibition catalogues and related international materials. The nodes of this network include the documents in the Artexte collections, connected to each other through edges representing subject cataloguing (keywords), and contributors, such as: artists, writers, editors, translators, critics, publishers, art organizations, etc. The resulting network of 40,000 e-artexte catalogue records contains over 135,000 nodes and more than 320,000 edges. The emerging research questions for this exploratory study include: (1) does the bibliographic metadata network exhibit the properties of complex networks (properties associated with small-world and scale-free networks) found in previous studies? (2) can the visualization of bibliographic metadata as a network contribute to art historical research? (3) is the measure of betweenness-centrality in the complex network derived from the e-artexte dataset useful to art historical research? We used measures of centrality to determine how important a particular node is to the entire structure. Although we initially thought these measures might reflect canonization processes, they seem to point to something else. Rather than mapping who has the most power in the art world because they are exhibited, published or written about most frequently, it seems to map which publications, writers, artists, curators are most important in holding the whole net together. What meaning does this outcome have for art historical methods?