Category Archives: Writing

International Journal on Digital Libraries

Artexte metadata conversion to EPrints: adaptation of digital repository software to visual and media arts documentation. Tomasz Neugebauer, Corina MacDonald, Felicity Tayler. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 2012. (DOI) 10.1007/s00799-011-0077-5

Keywords: Metadata · EPrints · Art documentation · Open access

Does an open access institutional repository model respond to the needs of a non-academic documentation centre? My coauthors and I answer this question through the analysis of the collection materials and bibliographic data management at Artexte, an independent organization founded in 1980 in Montreal with the mandate to support research in contemporary Canadian art. Growing interest in digital publishing platforms prompted us to consider an open source solution for publicly funded publishing in the arts as an alternate option to commercial models.

Symbolic Landscapes and Their Adjacent Uses

Below, an excerpt from my recent story in The Dérivateur. In the words of Editor, Beth Blum, the magazine is an agent for musings off the beaten path, framed around the subject of the city.

Beside the bank is an empty lot of land; an aerial photograph dated 1974 shows the lot as a void. The west wall of the bank collapsed last year, toppling the full height of the building onto the uneven, scrubby dirt below. A restoration project brought new sod and a lush covering of grass and clover. The Gardener tends to the lot as the municipality overlooks one project for another and the grass grows higher and goes to seed. His personal project transgresses boundaries between public and private cultivation in the alley (spreading scarlet stalks of amaranth upon the indiscretion of the wind). The municipality is distracted by a proposal to tear down the highway interchange. When the new sod was laid, the lot was bestowed with a garbage can. As citizen groups mobilize against the infrastructure project, collection schedules are overlooked and plastic bags of dog feces overflow into piles on the sidewalk…

You can read the rest of the story in Issue 1: The Street of The Dérivateur .

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

Composed as part of From the Toolbox of The Serving Library seminars led by Dexter Sinister at the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff.

Stylisations of the first paragraph of the essay by David Foster‐Wallace “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”

It’s the weekend. The fist day of it, though I don’t suppose it matters. The
oppressively dense atmosphere of this depressingly generic airport is hardly
mitigated by an infusion of caffeine. The minutes draw themselves out like the long vowels of Floridian pronunciation. Killing this time is an inverse problem, as the memories of the last few heady days feel more like the time is killing me. Though the end of this assignment should bring some relief, the looming prospect of Chicago holds little promise for brighter circumstances.

The patient shows contradictory signs of signs of lassitude and agitation, his
appearance is sallow. A recent cruise has neither lifted the subject’s spirits, nor improved skin colour. The agitation may be explained by recent excessive
consumption of caffeinated beverages. The lassitude emerges from the description
of transitory spaces, such as airports in the south‐eastern United States. The patient is reluctant to reveal the route of the aforementioned cruise, referring only to a “hypnotic sensuousness collage of all the stuff I’ve seen,” the inference is one of illicit activities and substances, possibly the true source of the patient’s agitation is located in guilt. The date, March 18 falls during the period generally coinciding with SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. This would be commensurate with the patient’s final destination in the north‐east of the United States, which today is experiencing intermittent snow and a low of ‐31F (with wind chill). Further diagnosis is not possible at this time, recommendation to pursue treatment when travel schedule allows.

As If, Without Alibi

This spring there has been overlapping discussion between social groups around Jacques Derrida’s text, The University Without Condition. This led to desire for a summary to be circulated. Here it is.

Derrida, Jacques. “The University Without Condition” in Without Alibi. Peggy Kamuf, ed.
Stanford : Stanford University Press, 2002. 202‐237.

“The University professes the truth, and that is its
profession. It declares and promises an unlimited
commitment to the truth. (D, 202).”

This summary is written with reference to Peggy Kamuf’s (K) introduction to the collection of Derrida’s (D) essays, Without Alibi. Kamuf’s introduction elaborated some key concepts used in The University Without Condition but expanded further in the accompanying texts. Continue reading

Martha Wilson Speaks on Free Zones

For the full post and images see

The condition that we live in is an absurd place and there is no way to resolve it so you do have to laugh otherwise you go nuts.

The inestimable Martha Wilson (artist and founder of Franklin Furnace Archive Inc. in New York) visited Montreal recently for two talks in conjunction with her retrospective at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery. Staging the Self chronicles Wilson’s career as a feminist performance artist – from early work before an audience of one (a Pentax camera) to later appearances satirizing first ladies such as Barbara Bush and Tipper Gore. These complex explorations of identity politics were displayed in the gallery in tandem with Wilson’s other accomplishments as the founder and driving administrative force behind the avant-garde activities of Franklin Furnace that opened in 1976. From its inception, this time-based performance space and artists’ book archive supported freedom of expression for artists who challenged mainstream cultural values. The desire for “Making the world safe for avant-garde art” took many forms over the years, and in 1997 migrated onto the web. The retrospective held much of interest in terms of shifts across media, from black and white film to magazine pages to video and webcasts. What I’ll address here is a narrative arc that formed during the talks, in conversation between the artist, the curator Peter Dykhuis and an audience of a younger generation for whom digital culture is coextensive and the mechanisms of exclusion are less forthright. Wilson’s candid reflections acted as cautionary tale: it is often the banality of administrative pressures that threaten spaces of free expression. Continue reading