Re: NETCO, Talk and Performace

A collection of textual and visual essays based on the exhibition Celebration of the Body organized by Ingrid and Iain Baxter (N.E. Thing Co.) in 1976 in Kingston, Canada, and its reactivation in 2012 in three acts: in Lyon, Saint-Fons and London, by Fabien Pinaroli et al.

Launch of the English-language edition published by the Paris-based it: éditions. The book presents a wide range of responses from artists, curators, and scholars to the 1976 Olympics-themed N.E. Thing Co. Ltd. exhibition held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Saturday, February 3rd at 4:00pm
Small World Music Centre
180 Shaw Street, Studio 101

What if NETCO … a tactile slide show
A short performance-presentation engaging concepts of counterfactuals by Fabien Pinaroli. This divergent thinking in history will serve certain important features of NETCO veiled since the appearance of photo conceptualism. The performance will also address questions relative to sport, light, and information.


Bio to come.

Bio to come.

Bio to come.

Rebecca Noone is a Canadian artist and a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. Her work brings together conceptual art practices and social scientific research methods in order to explore the everyday encounters and interactions with information, systems, and technologies.

Curator, critic and educator, Fabien Pinaroli lives and works in Lyon. He writes regularly for monographic publications as well as magazines including Ciel Variable (Canada), L’art Même (Belgique) and Zéroquatre (France).
In 2008, he was coeditor of the book Harald Szeemann: Individual Methodology (JRP|Ringier, 2008). and cocurated with IAC (Institut d’Art Contemporain de Villeurbanne) the exhibition Dan Graham, Jef Wall : The Children’s Pavilion. In 2012, he curated the project CoB#2, which resulted from a study based on the archives of the N.E. Thing Co. Ltd at the AGO, Toronto and in the IainBaxter&RaisonnE (Ed. Adam Lauder). He conceived and organized the reworking of an exhibition, Celebration of the Body, produced in 1976 in Kingston, Canada. He reworked the exhibition in different phases and various propositions, including two exhibitions History of Art in the Age of…, Reworking of an Exhibition, Lyon, France, two study days in London, and a publication. The latter, Re: vers une histoire mineure des performances et des expositions(it:éditions, 2014) is published today in English. He also was in 2013 the curator of the monographic exhibition Iain Baxter& at Raven Row, London. In 2015, he organized at Nivola Museo, Sardinia, Italy Castelli di sabbia & IL TOPO with David and Frederic Liver, a retrospective of IL TOPO, the Italian artist-run magazine. During the last years, he gave numerous lecture performances: Some useful notes for In General People… and Re: (IAC LyonVilleurbanne, 2014), CoB#2 / RE: Lorraine’s bread with cereals (Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, 2014), Give Me Honey, Tactile Slideshow (Mamco, Genève, 2015), Livre & Live : Re: & To Sing Foucault (Kunstverein Stuttgart, 2015). In 2016, he worked on Radio-Lumières, a collaborative project revisiting the work of Yoko Ono invited by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lyon in the context of Lumière de l’Aube, the first retrospective of the artist  in France. In 2018, he cocurate Re: Celebrating the Body at the MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina, SK, Canada), a multidisciplinary platform revisiting Celebration of the Body featuring contributions by NETCO co-presidents Iain Baxter& and Ingrid Baxter, as well as an international contingent of invited artists. A reactivation rather than a historical reconstruction, the project probes the current relevance of NETCO’s deconstruction of cultural stereotypes of the body with a special focus on questions of ability and the development of a “soma-esthetic.”
Charles Stankievech is a Canadian artist whose research has explored issues such as the notion of “fieldwork” in the embedded landscape, the military industrial complex, and the history of technology. His diverse body of work has been shown internationally at the Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; MassMoca, Massachussetts; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Canadian Centre for Architecture; National Gallery of Canada; and the Venice Architecture and SITE Santa Fe Biennales. His lectures for Documenta 13 and the 8th Berlin Biennale were as much performance as pedagogy while his writing has been published in academic journals by MIT and Princeton Architectural Press and the art publishers e-flux and Sternberg. His award winning curatorial projects includeMagnetic Norths at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Concordia University and CounterIntelligence at the Art Museum, University of Toronto. Since 2011, he has been co-director of the art and theory press K. Verlag in Berlin. Since 2015 he has been a contributing editor of Afterall Journal. He was a founding faculty member of the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City, Canada and is currently the Director of Visual Studies in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto.Studio Stankievech:

Sonic Potential: ‘Report’ by Raven Chacon at YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto BY BLOUIN ARTINFO | OCTOBER 02, 2017


In a musical installation, the YYZ Artists’ Outlet presents ‘Report’. ‘Report’ is the latest work of American composer Raven Chacon, who in this production explores the musicality of firearms. The original presentation will be presented at the Toronto venue until early December.

Raven Chacon was originally trained as a classical composer. His works spread across a variety of mediums including installation, video, performance, and recording. In this show, he considers the outermost boundaries of an important parameter of sound: dynamics and volume.  The voices of nature and unorthodox instruments contrast against a landscape of silence, sometimes explained in a score of music notation, text, or other pictorial depictions. This show is a musical composition scored for an ensemble playing various caliber firearms. The sonic potential of handguns, rifles, revolvers, and shotguns are utilized in a tuned discord of percussive blasts interspersed with voids of timed silence.

Chacon holds an MFA in Music Composition from California Institute of the Arts. He is a performer of experimental noise music, composer of chamber music, and an installation artist. He is a member of the American Indian arts collective, Postcommodity and performs regularly as a solo artist as well as with numerous ensembles in the Southwest USA. His work was recently exhibited at the 2017 Whitney Biennial and Documenta 14. The artist lives and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This exhibition runs through December 2, 2017, at YYZ, 140-401 Richmond St. W. Toronto, ON M5V 3A8.

Vol. 1: The Ward Players by Ellyn Walker

This text by ELLYN WALKER was published alongside JALANI MORGAN‘S Exhibition, The Unforgetting of Black Canadian Baseball, Vol. 1   The Ward.

Vol. 1: The Ward Players
By Ellyn Walker

In 1942, Mount Carmel Church,[1] located on St. Patrick Street in the area known as the Ward, had an inter-racial baseball team that featured two Black players. This was two years before Ontario would pass the Racial Discrimination Act in 1944; four years before Jackie Robinson played for the Montreal Royals during the 1946 season and led them to the International League title; and five years before Robinson would go on to officially break the Major League colour barriers signing to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

Indeed, histories of sport contain numerous social, cultural, and political narratives, many of which tell important stories of place and place-making across the lands now known as Canada. Both within and outside of these borders, there has existed a very narrow story of Black baseball within the public imaginary, in which Toronto-based artist Jalani Morgan intervenes with his new exhibition at YYZ Artists’ Outlet.

Reminding us of the richness contained in baseball as a simultaneous site of blackness, masculinities, dexterity, love, family, community and resistance, Vol. 1: The Ward Players is the first iteration within Morgan’s larger body of work called The Unforgetting of Black Canadian Baseball. In it, he focuses on Black histories of baseball in the area in which the gallery is located – the Ward – where Morgan also works and lives, turning his attention towards two Black players documented in a 1942 archival image of the local Mt. Carmel Church baseball team. Inspired by this image (now housed in the Ward Museum’s collection), Morgan began searching for stories of these players, whom still have yet to be identified. This brings to mind a number of considerations, namely, how to honour people whom you know limited things about?

The Ward Players commemorates these men’s stories through what is known: they played baseball. Using materiality in careful ways to pay respect to them, Morgan’s installation draws on the cultural objecthood of baseball customs and protocols to reference popular remembrance practices such as used for display in museums or sports halls of fame. Featuring a pristine display case in the middle of the gallery with two baseball jerseys stoically exhibited inside, this particular type of display suggests the aftermath of a retirement ceremony, where an athlete’s decorated equipment or uniform would be forever on view, safeguarded and appreciated in a hall of fame. Within Morgan’s artwork, the encasement offers a heightened level of visibility and protection to the jerseys’ objecthood and, in doing so, insists on a kind of formal acknowledgement that is long overdue.

Positioned diagonally in the room with each jersey facing opposite the other, the display case demands an investment in looking, as visitors must physically walk around its entirety in order to see its full contents –the front and backs of each jersey. Replicating the original jerseys worn by the Mt. Carmel team in the 1942 photograph, the front side of each jersey features a dark green clover patch over the right breast that contains the team’s insignia. The backside of each jersey features slightly different markings from what the original player’s would have worn, with the word “ NAME ” at the top-centre and the Ward’s GPS coordinates underneath[2]. By including this precise locationality, Morgan insists on a number of things: foremost, the players’ (and Morgan’s) contributions to this place – the same place in which viewers of the display case will be physically standing.

“ NAME ” is sewn in graphic capital letters where the player’s original last name would have been, acting as a kind of space-holder for a name we should know but unfortunately do not. This conceptual gesture holds space for not knowing (alongside the potentiality of future knowing), as neither Morgan nor myself have been able to identify or locate the Black Mt. Carmel baseball players thus far from the original church photograph. Though they remain unnamed, this does not make them unknown.

Morgan is thoughtful to distinguish this act from popular gestures of ‘remembering,’ explaining in a co-written article with scholar Nicole Bernhardt that “unforgetting involves [the] critical examination of existing narratives that were developed by the dominant power elite, and re-establishing the story through the voices of those who were disenfranchised in the original narrative.”[3] This recalls critical feminist and anti-racist practices that seek to recover and re-centre marginalized and thus invisibl-ized voices. Morgan and Bernhardt explain, “the process of ‘unforgetting’ [requires] both an unearthing of neglected histories of blackness within Canada and a call to become [more] attentive”[4] to them, as they exist all around us. This is clear in the sited implications of the gallery, which is also located in the Ward – an area that has an extensive Black history that still remains largely unknown to the general population.

Annexed by College Street, Queen Street, Yonge Street and University Avenue, the Ward is situated on traditional Indigenous lands that are now part of Treaty 13 territory – an area that carries with it many histories and thus claims to it, some of which span back as far as the last ice age.

The Ward was also home to arrivants from the Underground Railroad, such as Thornton Blackburn, an African-American escaped slave whose legal case established the principle that Canada would not return slaves to their masters in the US no matter what they had done. Blackburn’s escape also caused The Blackburn Riots – the first race riots in the history of Detroit – before reaching his freedom in Upper Canada. Upon reuniting with his wife Lucie in 1834 and settling in the newly incorporated City of Toronto, the Blackburns opened the city’s first taxi service called “The City” in 1837. They soon began acquiring properties throughout the Ward to provide for other escaped slaves who would need safe and affordable housing. By 1855, more than 500 Black people lived in the Ward, where it would continue to thrive for a short period as a tight-knit entrepreneurial Black community.

Due to its close proximity to Union Station and the port, the Ward would go on to be home to refugees from the European Revolutions of 1848, the Irish Potato Famine, and later from Russia and Eastern Europe, where crowded parcels of land were often subdivided by landlords into highly condensed mixed-use neighbourhoods. This is where successive waves of new immigrants would initially settle, creating ‘slums’ in the process through rapid conditions of overcrowding, such as the spread of disease. For instance, St. Mary’s Church, a Roman Catholic Gothic-Revival style church established by Irish immigrants in 1852 at Bathurst and Adelaide, was built on top of a mass grave of cholera victims from the outbreaks of 1832 and 1834.

This is the same area in which YYZ is located and Morgan both works and lives – where fresh water continues to run underground from a disappeared body of water known as Taddle Creek that, like the mass cholera grave, remains unbeknownst to most of us. However, in 1985, when the Toronto Metro Police began constructing their new headquarters near Bay and College, Taddle Creek miraculously emerged in the building process from seventy feet below, interrupting and delaying the project. The fact “that these waterways continue so strongly in a big city’s stream of consciousness, long vanished but somehow known by citizenry who cannot have known them, demonstrates the power of collective memory […] to persist,”[5] as well as the ways in which what may seem invisible is simply just out of view.

This is not unlike histories of Black life and community-making in Toronto (and in Canada more broadly), which have significantly shaped the cityscape and its practices, while continuously being elided from it/them. We know this well, while we also importantly know otherwise – such as the work of Black poets, critics, scholars, curators, artists and musicians in this very city has shown us for so long (see the work of Austin Clarke, Dionne Brand, Rinaldo Walcott, M. NourbeSe Philip, Andrea Fatona, Betty Julian, Sandra Brewster, Abdi Osman, Camille Turner, and the Black Jays, to name but a handful).

When viewers encounter the marking “ NAME ” on the back of the jerseys, they may interpret it in a number of ways. Those familiar with art history will know that there already exists a long colonial tradition of depicting Black subjects as nameless, and thus beneath the white artists and photographers that frequently depicted them. Alternatively, visitors to the work may see the potential for their own name to be emblazoned on an iconic sports jersey, such as a younger version of Morgan would have done while growing up in Scarborough watching the Toronto Blue Jays at their peak, capturing two championships in 1992 and ’93.

From 1983 to 1993, the Blue Jays had won more than one thousand games and reflected relatively diverse (specifically, Black) teams. However, Morgan describes his family’s disengagement precisely when that representation started to change.

Indeed, representations are powerful insomuch that they are thought to portray what is possible. For example, while scholar David Canton notes that 70 years have passed since Jackie Robinson desegregated Major League Baseball, he explains only 7.7 % of all MLB players today are Black.[6] Jalani Morgan’s exhibition and broader project tells an important counter-story to what these stats suggest, insisting on the importance of Black histories of baseball regardless of data, popular narratives, neighbourhood demographics, or unidentified persons. Focusing on the Ward as his particular site of/for unforgetting, Morgan brings to mind Dionne Brand’s book of poetry about Toronto, in which she writes, “how come I anticipate nothing as intimate as history”?[7] For it is in this loving spirit that Jalani invites people into his work and the generative spaces of unforgetting Black histories.



Notes: The artist would like to acknowledge Jess Godding (21/21 Design Company), Nicole Bernhardt, Kristie MacDonald, A Space Gallery, and the Ontario Arts Council for their assistance in realizing this project.


JALANI MORGAN is a Toronto-based photographer, visual historian and photo editor known for his editorial, documentary and gallery collected work both nationally and internationally. Morgan’s creative work explores visual representations within a Black Canadian context and focuses on documenting and portraying images of Black life both in Canada and internationally. As a commissioned photographer, he covers the spectrum of portraiture and current events documenting the architectural, racial, musical and cultural landscapes of Toronto. Over the past fifteen years, Morgan has built an impressive portfolio creating pieces for: Black Lives Matter Toronto, National Film Board of Canada, The Fader, Nike, Sportsnet Magazine, TVO, National Screen Institute, Converse, Manifesto, ArtReach, TEDxToronto, Daniel Spectrum, Nia Centre for the Arts and has contributed to exhibits for Photoville New York, The Wedge Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Windsor and CONTACT Photography Festival. Originally from Scarborough, Morgan has been dedicated to giving back to his community through mentorship and community empowerment programs that have included The Remix Project, LAMP and We Are Lawrence project created in partnership with City of Toronto and Manifesto. He is a passionate Toronto Blue Jays fan and has a soft spot for Montreal.


ELLYN WALKER is a writer and curator based in the place now known as Toronto, where her work engages with the politics of representation, inclusion and social justice work in the arts. Her writing has been widely published by McGill-University Press, Inuit Art Quarterly, Prefix Magazine, BlackFlash Magazine, Journal of Curatorial Studies, Public Journal, amongst others. She was recently awarded the 2016 Thematic Exhibition of the Year Award by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries for her curated exhibition CANADIAN BELONGING(s) presented by The Art Gallery of Mississauga. Ellyn is currently a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University. Walker is a YYZ Board member.

[1] What is today called Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

[2] 43.64484 x -79.404229.

[3] Jalani Morgan & Nicole Bernhardt, “Unforgetting Blackness – Beyond Black History Month,” NBS Consulting Blog, February 24, 2015.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Alfred Holden, “The Forgotten Stream: The real Taddle Creek—a brief history,” The Christmas, no. 1, 1997.

[6] David Canton, “Where Are All the Black Baseball Players? 3 socioeconomic reasons for the declining percentage of black players in MLB,” US News, July 10, 2017.

[7] Dionne Brand, Thirsty, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2002.

“Why don’t I understand?” by Vincent Bonin

This text by VINCENT BONIN was published alongside MARIE-MICHELLE DESCHAMP + BRYAN-K. LAMONDE‘S Exhibition, BETTER TIMES.

“Why don’t I understand?”
by Vincent Bonin

In his untranslated book written in French, Le Schizo et les langues ​​(1971), Louis Wolfson, who suffered from schizophrenia, adopted the analyst’s posture rather than that of the analysand, by attempting to write the autobiography of his own “split mind.”[1] From childhood, he has put in place procedures to quickly translate fragments of his mother tongue, English, in other idioms. Since 2012, some works by Marie-Michelle Deschamps are distilling the content of Wolfson’s texts. She has repurposed his techniques of linguistic condensation to integrate them in her own praxis as methodological triggers. The temporal passage from one set of words to the other became for her a corollary of the giving of form to particular materials. These references to Wolfson as character are less present in the show at YYZ, but Deschamps is still exploring here the play between the fragmentation of language and the contingent manifestations of sculptural processes, this time in dialogue with her longtime collaborator Bryan K. Lamonde.

It is useful to describe from the outset her way of working. After a period of conceptualizing often involving complex topological design, Deschamps initially makes models of her works with paper. A bit like superimposing a fabric on a pattern, she then manipulates copper and steel sheets, finely chiseling an outline and folding the surface at specific locations. The metal leaves are coated with an enamel powder and placed in an oven. For this glaze to amalgamate with the copper and maintain its uniformity, without turning to green-gray, the cooking time must remain very short. Once in the open air, metals take their final appearance like a revealed photographic image. Some works are partly covered with cracks and asperities caused by chemical reactions during the cooking. Deschamps sometimes quickly draws graphemes with a stylet on the burning half-liquid enamel and these marks, like scars or automatic writing, seem to underline the rapidity of the transformation. Other objects remain smooth, with the exception of the shaped folds. When these assemblages do not lie on the floor they support themselves on the walls, hung most of the time without adjoined frames.

Although the conceptual ramifications of temperature transition remain only latent in Deschamps’s complicity with her chosen materials, I wish nevertheless to examine here how the understanding of some contemporary thermodynamic phenomena can be added to the discourse on split subjectivity that the artist has been investigating through Louis Wolfson’s case study, and other references to psychoanalytic literature. Temperature balance defines the reception and retention of information in the human body and brain. By the early 1960s, Marshall McLuhan had already proposed a schematization of “hot” media, giving the illusion of immersion, and “cold” media, which demand that the receiver fill the gaps in communication[2]. To move from technological to organic reception of data, McLuhan then largely updated Sigmund Freud’s theories of trauma with cybernetic science. More recently, the thermodynamics of electronic discretization had made it impossible to conceive of the protocols of the deregulated economy (new currencies, among others) as separated from an incompressible materiality and toxicity. In order to remain stable, the internal mechanism of the hardware of any communication systems now depends on the regulation of the shift from hot towards cold and cold towards hot. Just like the precise control of the internal temperature in the chips of our devices, the continuous transmission and storage of data in ubiquitous clouds necessitates to remove the excess of heat out of the server farms dispersed around the globe, which are rolling 24/7. Furthermore, neurobiological study of affects now expands the postulates of psychoanalysis by also using thermodynamic models. For example, people who are victims of severe head injuries or Alzheimer’s disease often don’t feel their own suffering, having a “cold brain” according to scientific imaging, while conversely, other neurological pathologies like Multiple Sclerosis can produce excessive phantom burning[3].

In analyzing Walter Benjamin’s essay, The Artwork in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Susan Buck Morss points out that the modern discipline of aesthetics, which first attempted to describe the perception of the senses before proposing templates of judgments of taste, is linked to technologies of anesthetics and analgesics[4]. However, we must be careful not to conflate too easily the phenomena of physical cooling and psychic frigidity to a work of art associated from the outset with a withdrawal of human qualities, or to the artist’s detachment. Deschamps’s reappraisal of a vocabulary of abstraction indicates that a decrease in affects, even when reaching the zero degree, preserves a specter of the subject.

While seeing the photographic documentation of It suits you well (2015), I abandoned myself to free associations. I projected on the work’s entangled vitrified surfaces looking much like fabric hiding a body, the remembered image of the vests of Mary Kelly’s son, which she carefully folded and placed under Plexiglas in the introductory plates of her cycle Post-Partum document (1973-197). Kelly’s distancing from her subject, also carried out by covering these vests with Jacques Lacan’s schemas on intersubjectivity, has often been mistakenly described as waning of affect. While Kelly demonstrated the Lacanian principle that the symbolic already ascribes subject positions in language, even before a baby is born, she recognized an unknown dimension – her own emotions as a mother – in this over-determination of social reproduction. For Deschamps who, unlike Kelly, doesn’t use indexical figuration, passages from hot towards cold, rather than provoking only painful dispersals of energy, can also resolve in the forgetting of the burn and its healing/cicatrizing, leaving no trace. Perhaps that is why always arriving at its destination in an acclimatization chamber (which the gallery replays as an aftermath “scene”), Deschamps’s transformed objects also allow us to remain calm. Although the topological signs distributed on her substrates are offered to the gaze in arrested form, they also make us think about the way folding can expand in an infinite movement.

Recently, Deschamps showed as it were the reverse of the copper and enamel process by creating a work that gives us this time the opportunity to fold and unfold surfaces instead of just contemplating them. During her pregnancy, she painted a series of watercolors by establishing a gestural vocabulary close to the units of a chromatic scale. She then digitized each of the sheets covered with these graphemes, and placed them in a template of blank pages of a printed newspaper the size and “salmon” color of the Financial Time[5]. Since this publication Untitled was produced in a large print-run, it can be distributed for free on the premise of the exhibition. Handling our own copy, we realize that in the absence of information, our habits of reading become perceptible. By way of an automatism, we remove a sheet out of the set, and then we insert it again where it is missing. Unlike the Financial Time which is paginated, we can read it in every direction. We turn the object on itself like a pivot and explore all of the possibility of juxtaposing the graphemes, until they are repeated and their familiarity is imposed on the perception of difference, thus closing up the loop. Although the newspaper is the reference here, the gestures Deschamps asks us to perform could also allude to the manipulation of money.

The graphic envelope of this work has been created by Bryan K. Lamonde. In 2013, he designed the template for Deschamps’s book The Twofold Room in which she has explored the allegory of the hotel to address language as a temporary dwelling, once again linking the register of psychic symbolization to architecture and an anonymous materiality. On page 43, she printed the logo of the institution, described as follows in the text:


“Two I in bed together, two I which form an H.”


Just like she had reversed here the “I” to give birth to another opaque but recognizable letter, later on, with a sculpture entitled Entre Singulier et Pluriel (2015), she had used once more this “coupled” form by matching identically shaped copper and enamel surfaces, putting the white one upside down and covering the other in a skin toned color. For the YYZ exhibition, Deschamps and Lamonde examined again the plasticity of fonts, which we often use according to a principle of transparency, as if they have no effect on reading. Conversely, when we see their occurrences in different contexts, it is possible to recognize singularity by accumulation. In his book Discourse, Figure, Jean-François Lyotard discussed the rebuses, which are a travesty of language requiring the parallel reading of the text and its graphic supplement[6]. Although an alphabet belongs to no one, it is possible to transform the whole into an idiosyncratic seemingly autonomous object, when its parts are treated as discrete elements. In L *, a group exhibition at the Darling Foundry in 2016 dedicated to Louis Wolfson’s aforementioned techniques of translation, Lamonde had made magnet fonts attached to structures like those used by Deschamps to hang enamel coated copper or steel substrates. At YYZ, he continues this research on the alphabet with a video showing a series of letters permuting as nodal points, enabling a system of unknown origin to spin its way out of the void.

Lamonde’s greased fonts combined with Deschamps’ substrates could trigger the speech of an analyst. While writing this text, I have been going back to a little-known episode of the story of Jacques Lacan’s Borromean dots and mathemes used as speaking prompts during his seminars. These diagrams were extrapolated mainly through scribblings and at this early stage, could have been made partly in a state of floating attention while listening to analysands. In the introduction to Lacan’s catalogue raisonné of drawings and graphic manuscripts, a very strange object in itself, Jacques Roubaud describes the transition from the sketches to the rigidity of a series of copyrighted elements (including fonts):

“A loss results from the perfect normalization of the drawings compared to the ‘draft’. The drawings are perfect in The Sinthome, but petrified, frozen, ‘frozen words.’ The general draft was more than a negligible piece of writing. It introduced a rich interference, imbued with meaning, due to the hand guided by the effort of thinking.”[7]

Contemporaneous with Lyotard’s investment of the visual against the dominance of language, and Lacan’s topology, Louis Wolfson’s intra-linguistic translation protocols represent an exemplary manifestation of the desire to create an idiom with existing structures before thought processes freezes in the logic of communication. The figural, as it increases the discursive, must not, however, be confused with a possessive individuation of speech (a solipsism). The recognition of the exteriority of language in relation to the subject (“it speaks”) indicates the place one must occupy, against our will, after a flight into the imaginary. The return of the symbolic order during enunciation could also be manifested in a completely other register, by the stratification of a social history of materials, which has to be recognized in an artistic practice beyond the limits of the artwork’s instantiation (even more so when it is conceived a readymade).

Another of Deschamps’s series entitled Company (2017), presented at YYZ, conjures up multiple meanings, referring both to corporate legal persons and to the act of being present to someone, at his or her side (for instance, beside their beds when they are sick). It would be reductive to see this play with words as a hint to the process of collaboration, although Deschamps explicitly recognizes the division of labor and the importance of dialogue in all of her projects. This “whatever singularity” of residual subjectivity rather evoke for me another linguistic subversion, more ordinary though than the grammatical misuses to which Deschamps referred to through quoting Wolfson’s techniques of translation. I think here of the claiming of the preferred pronoun “they,” singular plural, by transgender persons hoping to leave the “I” and the unifying power of the “us” behind them. There, one decides to impose a non-choice to others, and this distance no longer rests on dissociation from the social. While Deschamps and Lamonde don’t explicitly refer to a queer phenomenology, in their objects meant to “accompany” without a predicate, they may offer a second series of metabolic metaphors alongside that of the temperature transition. In line with another debate about a use value of indifference, they point towards the way in which some abstractions dissolve a human frame already deemed improper by subjects who got casted out of the symbolic order[8]. In the time being, this is the way I identify with their work and put myself in the empty places it has carved.

Vincent Bonin, January 2018.





[1] Louis Wolfson, Le Schizo et les langues (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1970).

[2] Marshall McLuhan, “Media Hot and Cold,” in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001). Initially published in 1964.


[3] Dysesthesia is a condition that produces these phantom sensations. The affected brain roots send deceptive signals to the nervous system, interpreted as burns on the skin. On the subject of irreversible brain dissociation, see Catherine Malabou, The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012).

[4] Susan Buck Morss, “Aesthetics and Anaesthetics: Walter Benjamin’s Artwork Essay Reconsidered,” October, vol. 62 (Fall 1992), p. 3-41.

[5] In another ongoing series, Deschamps isolates the grapheme as the smallest unit of meaning. She makes shapes looking like a hybrid of brushstrokes, clouds, and algae, by applying a smoothing compound and a marble powder directly on the walls of the gallery. Some of these works are entitled Coquilles, alluding to the French word for typos, which also means shells.


[6] Jean-François Lyotard, Discourse, Figure (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2010). Initially published in 1971.


[7] Jacques Roubaud, “Brouillons Là quand,” in Jacques Lacan, Œuvres graphiques et manuscrits (Paris: Artcurial – Briest – Le Fur – Poulain – F. Tajan, 2006), p. 8.

[8] On abstraction in art and queer discourse, see Pink Labor on Golden Streets, Queer Art Practices, edited by Christiane Erharter, Hans Scheirl, Dietmar Schwärzler, Ruby Sircar (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2015).


Jalani Morgan: The Unforgetting of Black Canadian Baseball


FRIDAY 12 JANUARY 2018, 6:00PM-8:00PM

Image Credit: archival image, the Ward Museum, Toronto

Jalani Morgan’s reverence for baseball is reflected in his act of celebration with his inaugural “Black Canadian Hall of Fame” Collection. Morgan turns his attention to his home studio’s location – The Ward – where his discovery of two Black baseball players that played for the local Mount Carmel Church  team in 1942 will be further explored.

JALANI MORGAN is an established Toronto based photographer, visual historian and photo editor who is known for his editorial, documentary and gallery collected work both nationally and internationally. Morgan’s creative work explores visual representation within a Black Canadian context and focuses on documenting and portraying images of Black life both in Canada and internationally. As a commissioned photographer, he covers the spectrum of portraiture and current events documenting the architectural, racial, musical and cultural landscapes of Toronto. Over the past fifteen years, Morgan has built an impressive portfolio creating pieces for: Black Lives Matter Toronto, National Film Board of Canada, The Fader, Nike, Sportsnet Magazine, TVO, National Screen Institute, Converse, Manifesto, ArtReach, TEDxToronto, Daniel Spectrum, Nia Centre for the Arts and has contributed to exhibits for Photoville New York, The Wedge Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Windsor and CONTACT Photography Festival. Originally from Scarborough, Ontario, Morgan has been dedicated to giving back to his community through mentorship and community empowerment programs that have included The Remix Project, LAMP and We Are Lawrence project created in partnership with City of Toronto and Manifesto. He is a passionate Toronto Blue Jays fan and has a soft spot for Montreal.


Between art and Vernacular: ‘CV’ by David Court at YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto | BLOUIN ARTINFO
SEPTEMBER 29, 2017

Known for his authorial attitude towards his art, Canadian artist David Court is currently exhibiting his works at the YYZ Artists’ Outlet in Toronto. The exhibition, titled ‘CV’ will run until early December.

David Court’s work lacks a reliable methodology, operating instead through responsiveness—to institutional protocols, architectural contexts, curatorial frameworks, and theoretical discourse. These considerations operate alongside a form of authorship that self-consciously seeks to address the dramas of the institution and practice of art, on the level of narration, organization, and display. Scattered fragments of material (texts, images, and objects) are gathered into uncertain theatrical patterns of style and expression. This work dwells on various dysphoric effects of contemporary life—states of alienation, suspension, and impasse—as they manifest in artistic practice and material culture. This method reflects an emphasis on the in-between, working on the edge between art and vernacular contexts.

Court was born in Halifax, Canada. His recent exhibitions include the Flux Factory in New York, the Convenience Gallery in Toronto, and a public commission for the Toronto Sculpture Garden. In 2008 he participated in a residency at the Banff Center, Canada and also wrote several reviews, journals and catalog texts. He currently living and working in Ulster County, New York.

Source: Between art and Vernacular: ‘CV’ by David Court at YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto | BLOUIN ARTINFO

Beware: whoever pretends to be a ghost will eventually turn into one by Vincent Bonin

This text by VINCENT BONIN was published alongside DAVID COURT‘S Exhibition, CV.

Beware: whoever pretends to be a ghost will eventually turn into one
By Vincent Bonin

In a conversation, David Court said to me that since he submitted a proposal to YYZ’s generic call, he was in some way inviting himself rather than adapting his practice to a given framework, which usually characterizes site-specific “interventions”.[1] However in turn, he asked me to write an introduction to his show and thus “imposed” my response to an institution, bypassing the selection committees of peers that otherwise predicates the selection of content in an artist-run center. Additionally, this text was written without me having been able to see many of Court’s exhibitions, and therefore it is largely the result of distilled documentation, transformed as it were it into a fiction of primary experience.[2] During our conversations, Court and myself talked about the vicariousness of language in art historical essays, when an author gives a belated second chance (a deferred reception) to the often nearly imperceptible gestures that made some artworks often blend completely into their surroundings. Notwithstanding the fact that the artist could himself offer this narrative, there is still the remaining necessity to graph other prosthetic discursive entities to his speech for means of legitimation. Moreover, even when there is commonality between cultural producers (usually transpiring from an artist-run center ethos), the polarization of the invitation and the response prevails, shifting an unintelligible collective will towards the individual artist, and his scribe, becoming, à deux, a “subject supposed to know.” In other words, they are asked to answer to social situations under the rubrics of proper names, accruing their capital, symbolic or otherwise.

In the last few years, Court ‘s exhibitions have seemed to approach the question of responsiveness away from the presupposition that his role (and that of his collaborators) would be above all to “reveal,” once more, hidden meaning unspeakable by the institution hosting the work. In a sequence of projects begun in 2012, he has focused instead on the way another kind of consideration of context could address ghostly things “hidden in plain sight.” As an example, Court has engaged with the phenomenology of visible dissimulation by making an allegory out of the infrastructure of the “green screen” technique, allowing video editors to juxtapose incompatible segments of reality within a unified and continuous visual field.

In this exhibition at YYZ, David Court reformats materials from his previous show, Artist’s Rendering (Distressed, Relaxed), presented at the artist-run center AXENÉO7 (Gatineau) in March and April 2017. At the time of writing this text (August 2017), he had not yet decided which of the components of the previous display would reappear[3]. Located in a former industrial area of Gatineau, AXENÉO7 occupies a converted textile mill, the Hanson Hosiery, which is part of a larger industrial complex, at this point largely recycled into other uses. For the show, Court incorporated the recent outcomes of a familiar debate on art and gentrification, but he also attempted to slightly change its terms. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, New York, and more recently, in Columbus, Ohio, where he witnessed different forms of urban change under late capitalism. It has become a leitmotif to say that the arrival of artists and the so-called “creative class” in overlooked neighborhoods increases the value of properties, pushing the poorest populations to the periphery. Eventually, these artists are themselves evicted from the enclaves that had welcomed them, and they have to migrate to other parts of cities. The cycle continues until urban living becomes unbearable for all, except the wealthy[4]. Through our participation in the reproduction of this system, we always leave a footprint and conversely make space more and more abstract, to the point that some dwellings remain empty while their value on the market increases. Although the AXENÉO7 building as it is known today was inaugurated in 2002, artists had been occupying the premises since 1982[5]. In the vicinity there are some vacant lots, a few apartments and suburban homes. Nevertheless, unlike other refurbished industrial districts in Canadian cities, especially Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, this section of Gatineau won’t soon be the prey to a real estate boom going overboard.

Overall, in the exhibition at AXENÉO7, Court established an abridged sequence in which each discreet element seemingly carried the potential to act as a trigger for pursuing a debate, in the fashion of institutional critique. Playing their own roles in this scenario, the staff could have used the content of the show to enact micro-performances, filing gaps in the knowledge of working class history of the neighborhood, and, at the same time, relay their own contemporary struggles as cultural workers. However the “discussion island” was not offered. As his notes, published on the premises, made clear, Court wished to avoid programing symbolic reparation, in which, ultimately, antagonisms are absorbed in a new dialectical synthesis.[6] He rather chose the path of obfuscation, distributing layers of observed misrecognition. Court has in common with several artists today that he leaves the fragility of meaning uncovered, instead of overly protecting it. The precariousness of working conditions extends to everything that is exposed in this setting, including himself. He understands that it is also vain to attempt to arrest the vast movement of digital dispersion which makes an image say a thing and its opposite, according to the hands that take hold of it. Court, however, works in the field of discourse, which asks for discriminating gestures. As he did in other projects[7], at AXENÉO7, he wrote this aforementioned statement establishing the limits of his agency, and he interpolated a bibliographical object in the epicenter of the exhibition, assembling into a precise constellation several excerpts of books and shorter essays consulted during the design and production of the exhibition.[8] This object did not occupy the paratextual place usually reserved for cultural mediation. Instead of making copies of the booklet accessible at the entrance hall table, Court “abandoned” them on an old dolly salvaged from an exhibition he participated in at Modern Fuel, Kingston in 2016 (with the artists Aryen Hoekstra, David Court and Shane Krepakevich). Nearby, he carefully positioned other “objets trouvés” (which he calls “unemployed forms” in the checklist): an antique loom shuttle and a wooden crate. On the walls, Court hung four prints encased in recycled wooden frames. For one, he made a montage out of images (found on Etsy) of a piece of loom (Reclaimed #1 (This/That)). For another, he retrieved a photographic print from the collection of the Beacon NY Historical Society, showing the former site of the Dia Beacon with heavy industrial machinery (Reclaimed #2a (A gallery that was once a factory)). In a fourth, he isolated a detail of the model of the refurbished site by the architects Rice and Lipka (Reclaimed #2b (Fabrication)).

The disused quality of the frames, the antique shuttle loom and the dolly seemed to displace with irony the fiction of use value in recent artworks salvaging techniques like weaving, mainly for the purpose of arresting “eye balls” on social media. This work was thus highly “instagrammable” against the grain, and at the same time, it referred critically to a larger phenomenon of cosmetic visuality : the tendency, since the late 1980s, to retain some of the patrimonial architectural detail of a converted industrial site as decoration. More than kitsch nostalgia, these encased features produce photo-ready cuteness[9] in a space where, for example, the body of museum visitors as well as tenants or owners of condos became monetized, interchangeable units. The renovation of the spinning mill at AXENÉO7 seems to have resulted from a compromise between the construction of “neutral” white cubes for artists and the valorization of the industrial/picturesque characteristics of the site. From outside, the letters spelling “Hanson Hosiery Mills” on the façade have been kept intact. Their towering presence could generate confusion as to what is the current function of the place inside for the passerby unfamiliar with the artist-run center’s mandate. Entering the first gallery, the project room where Court had his show, the viewer notices that one wall is interrupted by a large, perfectly square window, revealing the garden. Some artists choose to veil it with a curtain, but Court left it as it was, so that this landscape became the figure, almost eclipsing the ground. In the exhibition at AXENÉO7 all content thus blended in their surroundings by virtue of the integrative potential of the architecture. Opposite this window, Court screened a video on the most cutting-edge flat screen monitor, decomposing the contents of an engraving attributed to Thomas Morgan representing two luddites in a factory, destroying a loom. The visitor alternately saw the arms of the luddites, and the texture of a sample of fabrics filmed in close-up.

While attempting to give an afterlife to the ghost of Ned Ludd in the contemporary period, Court seemed to ask the question: is it still possible to throw the sabot in the machine while it is running? He knows that the answer to this question cannot itself emerge from the rehabilitation of iconoclastic gestures or falling into the negative of intentionality (eg. the so-called creativity of destruction). It must also integrate another kind of sabotage in the absence of direct human intervention: accidents, abstract protocols, or natural and economic catastrophe, generating their own forms and responses. Taking into account this contingency, during the process of writing this essay, I also wondered what was the embedded performance of avoidance in the repetition of the term “ambivalence” (which Court uses in his statements). As it is almost forcing a speech act on un-felicitous circumstances, does it allude to the impossibility of taking a stance (in the psychoanalytic sense of the split subject), or rather to the difficulty of finding one’s own respite (or semblance of autonomy) facing the current political situation, when others, less privileged, are pushed into the void? At the beginning of his famous text “Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia,” Roger Caillois included the phrase: “Beware: whoever pretends to be a ghost will eventually turn into one.”[10] The meaning of his statement can be diverted to say that it is naïve, even dangerous, to hide behind the specters of anarchy when there is an urgency to patch broken social links in the present. Rehearsing the theatrical tropes of disappearing acts once more with feelings, saying again and again “I prefer not to,” risks letting unwelcomed forces occupy the place we have vacated. Here, I am using the plural but talking about my own doubts, and not parroting the artist’s, although we might agree on this.

Vincent Bonin
August 2017.


[1] I had sent Court quotes from Jacques Derrida about the ontological status of the invitation and the response (in the philosopher’s case, embedded in an academic framework), which I thought would fit into a discussion gravitating around context in the art field as a given, even after more than 40 years of debates around site specificity. See Jacques Derrida, Passions (Paris: Galilée, 1993).

[2] What name do we give to this division of labour which produces a body of work, as well as the biography of an individual, from archival fragments? In disclosing this particular temporality of writing, and by extension, of art producing, one might say that the profiles of two readers of this text are hollowed out. The first one would have seen the works in the gallery, and would read this text during or after his visit. The second one would find the page devoted to the exhibition on the YYZ Website, much later. There is, perhaps, a third reader, finding the printout in a pile of press releases or didactic material remaining of his visits to the 401 Richmond building, a few months after the exhibition had closed. I am addressing him now, in the tense that we call in French the “futur antérieur.” I imagine this reader as the usual neglectful viewer, distracted, indeed even indifferent, but then discovering this text after the fact and actually remembering what he saw.

[3] It is important to point out that, for Court, the exhibition is never considered as the uttermost limit of conception. He often shifts his projects during the brief period of the installation, which is not usually devoted to production.

[4] Although part of its content is now dated, Rosalyn Deutsche’s book Evictions: Art and Spatial Politics (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996), still remains in my opinion a key reference on art and gentrification, particularly at its nascent phase. For an updated version of a debate about site specificity “increasingly assimilated into the capitalist logic of regeneration and value creation,” see When Site Lost the Plot, edited by Robin Mackay (Falmouth: Urbanomic , 2015).

[5] See the Website of La filature, a production center adjacent to AXENÉO7 serving the same community of artists :

(consulted August 31, 2017).

[6] David Court, “Notes on Artist’s Rendering (Distressed, Relaxed)”, 2017.

[7] For his exhibition Self-Titled (Materials for a 21st Century Room-SWAMPED, EXHAUSTED, HESITATING) at the gallery 8 Eleven, Court invited the poet Corina Copp to compose a text in response to the materials and references he was gathering for the exhibition.

[8] The texts are by Robert Binghurst, Muriel Combes, Claire Fontaine, Lewis Mumford, Sianne Ngai, Martha Rosler, Gertrude Stein, Bernard Stiegler and “others.”

[9] I use the term cute here in the way theorist Sianne Ngai repurposes it for cultural critique. She says: “Cuteness, an adoration of the commodity in which I want to be intimate with or physically close to it as possible, thus has a certain utopian edge, speaking to a desire to inhabit a concrete qualitative world of use as opposed to one of abstract exchange. There is thus a sense in which the fetishism of cuteness is as much a way of resisting the logic of commodification – predicated on the idea of the “absolute commensurability of everything”-as it is a symptomatic reflection of it.” Sianne Ngai, Our Aesthetic Categories : Zany, Cute, Interesting (Cambridge Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 2012), p. 12-13.

[10] Author’s translation. It is quoted in French in the English version of the text as: “Prends garde: à jouer au fantôme, on le devient.” Roger Caillois, “Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia,” October, Vol. 31 (Winter 1984), p. 16.

VINCENT BONIN lives and works in Montreal. Notable among his credits as a curator is the project Documentary Protocols (1967‐1975), presented at Concordia University Leonard and the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery and composed of two exhibitions (2007-2008) and a publication (2010) exploring the development of artists’ collectives and self-managed associations in Canada during the 1960s and 1970s. He served as co-curator (with Grant Arnold, Catherine Crowston, Barbara Fischer, Michèle Thériault and Jayne Wark) of Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada (1965-1980), which travelled throughout Canada between 2010 and 2013. In collaboration with the curator Catherine J. Morris he organized an exhibition on the American critic Lucy R. Lippard entitled Materializing ‘Six Years’: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art, which was presented at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum in 2012-2013 (with a catalogue published by MIT Press, Cambridge). In 2013-2014, he conceived the two-installment exhibition D’un discours qui ne serait pas du semblant/Actors, Networks, Theories, held at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery and at the artist-run centre Dazibao, in Montreal, which examined the way “French Theory” was assimilated in Anglophone art milieus (the book following this exhibition will be published by Black Dog, London, in the Fall of 2017). In 2016, he curated Réponse, an exhibition responding to the work of the French philosopher Catherine Malabou, which was presented at the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides, Saint-Jérôme.

DAVID COURT is an artist and writer currently living and working in Ulster County, New York. He holds a Masters in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto (2009) and a BFA from NSCAD University (2006). Recent exhibitions include: Artist’s Rendering (Distressed, Relaxed), AxeNéo7, Gatineau, Quebec, 2017; You can tell that I’m alive and well because I weep continuously, The Knockdown Center, Queens, New York, 2017; Apparatus for a Utopian Image, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space, New York, New York, 2016; Self-Titled (Materials for a 21st Century Room—or SWAMPED, EXHAUSTED, HESITATING), 8eleven, Toronto, Ontario, 2016; David Court, Aryen Hoekstra, Shane Krepakevich, Modern Fuel Artist Run Center, Kingston, Ontario, 2016.

Raven Chacon: Report

Presented in partnership with imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival
imagineNATIVE ART CRAWL | FRIDAY 20 OCTOBER 2017, 5:00PM-9:00PM


Originally trained as a classical composer, Raven Chacon works across a variety of mediums including installation, performance, video, and recording. The works in Report consider the outmost boundaries of an important parameter of sound: dynamics and volume.  The loudness of nature and of unorthodox instruments contrast against a landscape of silence, sometimes explained in a score of text, music notation, or other pictographic depictions.

Three places in the Southwest U.S. chosen for their quietness are presented as Field Recordings, further amplified to their maximum volume. While seemingly reduced to noise, the recordings reveal individual colors of the essence of each location.

Report is a musical composition scored for an ensemble playing various caliber firearms. The sonic potential of revolvers, handguns, rifles, and shotguns are utilized in a tuned cacophony of percussive blasts interspersed with voids of timed silence. In the piece, guns—instruments of violence, justice, defense, and power—are transformed into mechanisms for musical resistance.

RAVEN CHACON holds an MFA in Music Composition from CalArts. He is a composer of chamber music, a performer of experimental noise music, and an installation artist. He performs regularly as a solo artist as well as with numerous ensembles in the Southwest USA, and is also a member of the American Indian arts collective, Postcommodity. Chacon has presented his work in different contexts at Vancouver Art Gallery, ABC No Rio, REDCAT, La Biennale di Venezia – Biennale Musica, Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Chaco Canyon, Ende Tymes Festival, 18th Biennale of Sydney, and The Kennedy Center among other traditional and non-traditional venues. His work with Postcommodity recently exhibited at the 2017 Whitney Biennial and documenta 14. Chacon currently lives and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

David Court: CV



David Court’s work lacks a stable or reliable methodology, operating instead through responsiveness—to architectural contexts, curatorial frameworks, institutional protocols, and theoretical discourse. These considerations operate alongside a form of authorship that self-consciously seeks to address the dramas of the institution and practice of art, on the level of organization, narration and display. Scattered fragments of material (texts, images, and objects) are gathered into ambivalent and theatrical patterns of association, expression, and style. This work operates with and in the tension between the ethical demand of expression and the institutionalization of taste and sensibility, dwelling on various dysphoric affects of contemporary life—states of suspension, alienation, and impasse—as they manifest in artistic practice and material culture.

DAVID COURT is an artist and writer currently living and working in Ulster County, New York. He holds a Masters in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto (2009) and a BFA from NSCAD University (2006). Recent exhibitions include: Artist’s Rendering (Distressed, Relaxed), AxeNéo7, Gatineau, Quebec, 2017; You can tell that I’m alive and well because I weep continuously, The Knockdown Center, Queens, New York, 2017; Apparatus for a Utopian Image, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space, New York, New York, 2016; Self-Titled (Materials for a 21st Century Room—or SWAMPED, EXHAUSTED, HESITATING), 8eleven, Toronto, Ontario, 2016; David Court, Aryen Hoekstra, Shane Krepakevich, Modern Fuel Artist Run Center, Kingston, Ontario, 2016.