Nicholas Bourriaud’s “Radicals and Radicants” (Toronto)

January’s Reading: “Radicals and Radicants” from The Radicant by Nicholas Bourriaud
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
LIFT Board Room [1137 Dupont Street]
Facilitated by cheyanne turions

Beginning in January, LIFT will play host to No Reading After the Internet, a monthly opportunity to gather and read a text aloud, provoking theoretical illumination on media art works and the context within which such works exist. The focus of the salon series departs from an interest in cinema, but will accommodate the broad and ever expanding scope of contemporary media art practices.

The Toronto manifestation of No Reading carries forward an ongoing endeavour that takes place in Vancouver.

The idea of a reading group isn’t new. No Reading nonetheless poses itself as an experimental learning and discussion space. Simply put, we are suspicious of our own reading abilities, and the extent to which our readings are conversant with one another. No Reading means to offer a slow space within which to retrace our steps in the hopes of discovering individual and collective ways through the realms of language and interpretation. The strategies we have at our disposal are twofold: through the yoking of our discussions to a text; and inducing conversations between those texts and related exhibitions or presentations.

The hope is that the varied experiences of those present will yield a spontaneous understanding of the particular text at hand, through the lens of the work it addresses. The idea is not to be lectured at, but to contribute to an emerging, communal reading.

Participation in No Reading After the Internet is free and open to everyone, regardless of their familiarity with a text or its author. Texts will be handed out at the salon. No pre-reading or research is required.

January’s Reading

Provoked by the Gallery TPW presentation of The Permanent Longing for Elsewhere, a screening curated by cheyanne turions, January’s reading will explore Nicholas Bourriaud’s idea of what it means to be radicant. Following modernism’s attempts to distill essential essences, to postmodernism’s acceptance of cultural clutter, to the negotiating impulse of today’s altermodernity, Bourriaud crafts a botanical metaphor for the specific reality of how the immigrant, the exile, the tourist, and the urban wanderer have become the dominant figures of contemporary culture.

Participants are strongly encouraged [though not required] to attend the related screening:

The Permanent Longing for Elsewhere
Gallery TPW [56 Ossington]
Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Questions about the salon series can be directed to cheyanne turions at c.turions at

Co-presented with Gallery TPW.


“The Pensive Image” from the Emancipated Spectator by Jacques Rancière

January’s Reading: “The Pensive Image” from The Emancipated Spectator by Jacques Rancière
Wednesday January 19 2011
VIVO Media Arts [1965 Main Street], Vancouver BC
7pm Salon Free
Facilitated by Alex Muir

This month’s reading comes from Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator (2008, english translation: 2009). As that title suggests, here and elsewhere, Rancière is engaged in a re-reading of many past potentially canonical interpretations of spectatorship, consumption, and passivity with a mind to loosening the vice-like grip of negativity in which these positions are so often held. The final work in this collection, “The Pensive Image”, begins with photography–reading its aesthetic and social relations through and against the ideas of Baudelaire, Benjamin and especially Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida. Re-using photographic examples from this book, Rancière offers readings as to how the content circulates that differ from those used by Barthes in defining his key photographic terms “punctum” (singular, resistant aspects) and “studium” (informative, social aspects). Meditating on aesthetic invisibility, indifference, the dynamic between art and reportage in representative practice, transfiguration, and the embedding of mediums within one another, Rancière works his way through Flaubert, and Walker Evans, through to the video-based practices of Woody Vasulka and Jean-Luc Godard. In particular, thoughts on the intersection and exchange of various disciplines seem very relevant to many contemporary media-based practices and perhaps even speak to the idea at the core of ‘media art’ itself.

Jacques Rancière is a well respected Algeria-born French theorist, whose works have long circulated around politics, pedagogy and aesthetics–and on many occasions the interrelations of these fields. The book under discussion, and several others have been spotted in the hands of many friends and associates in our community over the last few years–hopefully we could do worse than to read some of this work together. “The Pensive Image” is perhaps slightly to long to tackle aloud in its entirety in one sitting, and thus some excerpting will likely be necessary. Nonetheless the full text will be made available, and, as per always, can be attained in advance by contacting

Co-Presented with Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society