Elizabeth Alexander’s “‘Can you be BLACK and Look at This?’: Reading the Rodney King Video(s)” as selected by Deanna Bowen

Tuesday, 03 April 2012
Images at 204 (204 Spadina)
7 PM

Facilitated by Deanna Bowen and cheyanne turions

In conjunction with Gallery 44 and the Images Festival’s co-presentation of Deanna Bowen’s The Paul Good Papers, Elizabeth Alexander’s “Can you be BLACK and Look at This?”: Reading the Rodney King Video(s) has been selected by Bowen to be read aloud and discussed by participants.

The Paul Good Papers is based in archival research on civil rights history, activism and the migration of African Americans from the southern United States into Canada. Focusing on the third wave of the Ku Klux Klan, the exhibition builds on two audio recordings made by Paul Good, a veteran radio, television and print journalist, and a former ABC News Southern bureau chief. The first recording documents school integration attempts in Notasulga, AL circa 1964, and the latter is a revealing one-on-one interview with Robert Shelton, the Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America Inc. Shelton was a mentor and confidante of Calvin Craig who was Grand Dragon of both Georgia Realm of the United Klans of America (UKA), and Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Craig will also figure prominently in Bowen’s upcoming solo exhibition Invisible Empires at the Art Gallery of York University in January 2013. Through an investigation of African American/Canadian memory, trauma and autobiography, Bowen explores the potential that arises from the re-examination of difficult histories.

Alexander is a is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher.  Her text, “Can You Be Black and Look at This?”: Reading the Rodney King Video(s), is a meditation on the complex fiction of race and the struggle for racial self-identification.

Deanna Bowen is a descendant of the Alabama- and Kentucky-born Black prairie-pioneers of Amber Valley, AB and Campsie, AB. She is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited internationally in numerous film festivals and galleries. She was recently awarded research/creation funding from the Canada Council for the Arts to develop and create Pain and Wastings, an experimental video installation/dual portrait based on the artist and her mother.

No Reading After the Internet (Toronto) is supported by the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto. Special thanks to the Images Festival and Gallery 44 for their support of this salon.

Image credit: from “We Got Nothing to Hide,” Harold H. Martin & Kenneth Fairly, original photography by Lynn Pelham. Saturday Evening Post, 30 January 1965.


Steve Collis presents selections from David Harvey on Marx

March’s Reading: “Companion to Marx’s Capital” and “Spaces of Hope by David Harvey
Wednesday March 14 2012
VIVO Media Arts (1965 Main Street), Vancouver BC
7pm Salon Free
Facilitated by Steve Collis

March’s edition of No Reading will be hosted by Steve Collis. Steve has been busying himself for the last few months with the local Occupy movement, in part as a member of the grassroots media corps that has sprung up. For the salon he will be presenting work drawn from his recent research on ‘change’. We will look at two sections from the works of David Harvey, A Companion to Marx’s Capital and Spaces of Hope. Both of these readings build out of a footnote from Marx’s Capital, wherein he is situating his project in relation to the work of Charles Darwin–calling for a “critical history of technology” that answers to Darwin’s pioneering work in the natural sciences. Harvey touches on Marx’s discomfort with the pitfalls of Social Darwinism, but nonetheless (in Spaces of Hope) Harvey invites a contemporary discussion on what is constitutive of ‘humanity’–precisely what we are being alienated from, if indeed we are ‘alien’ to our proper selves. Navigating the path between the ideal and the material, Harvey touches on important discussions of causality, technological determinism, architecture, and civil planning.

David Harvey (born 31 October 1935, Gillingham, Kent, England) is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). A leading social theorist of international standing, he received his PhD in Geography from University of Cambridge in 1961. Widely influential, he is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities. In addition, he is the world’s most cited academic geographer, and the author of many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline. His work has contributed greatly to broad social and political debate; most recently he has been credited with restoring social class and Marxist methods as serious methodological tools in the critique of global capitalism. He is a leading proponent of the idea of the right to the city.

David Harvey’s Companion to Marx’s Capital (2010) and Spaces of Hope (2000) are facilitated by Stephen Collis. Stephen Collis  is the author of Mine (2001), two parts of the on-going Barricades Project, Anarchive (2005) and The Commons (2008), and On the Material (2010), which won the 2011 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. He is also the author of two books of criticism: Through Words of Others: Susan Howe and Anarcho-Scholasticism (2006) andPhyllis Webb and the Common Good (2007). A former member of the Kootenay School of Writing, he teaches poetry, poetics and American literature at Simon Fraser University.

No Reading After the Internet is a monthly opportunity to gather and read a text aloud in hopes that it might provoke theoretical illumination on particular art works, or the broader scape within which such work exists. This program departs from Cineworks’ Thought on Film series, conceived by Cheyanne Turions. Whilst still very interested in cinema, the focus of this incarnation is softened to accommodate the more broad (and ever expanding) scope of media art.

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 oursteps in the hopes of discovering individual and collective ways through the realms of language and interpretation. The strategieswe have at our disposal are twofold: through the yoking of our discussion to a text; and inducing conversation, where possible, between text and specific, local, contemporaneous art discussions and happenings.

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

Women Game Players, Characters and Creators

Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Bento Miso (#300 – 862 Richmond Street West, Buzz #800)
7 PM
Facilitated by Jennie Faber and cheyanne turions

The creation and consumption of video games has long been seen as the domain of men and boys. Women and girl gamers are rendered “invisible” by designers and communities, even while producers attempt to capitalize on the “bored housewives” market and design games with ostensibly girly themes.

In multiplayer games, female players are forced to disguise their gender to avoid harassment, and are effectively silenced. “Feminine” (non-combat) game mechanics and storytelling is derided. Women and girls are relegated to marginal participation and spectatorship–the only safe spaces for them. And the lack of creator gender diversity produces games that reinforce this cycle.

Bento Miso, located in the heart of Queen West, is a collaborative workspace for independent web and game makers, and is expressly a physical “safe space” for women game creators and players. Co-founder Jennie Faber has culled a selection of readings around the theme of women game players, characters and creators. She is interested in exploring how female characters–playable and non-playable, enemies, villains, and heroes–and women game-makers–producers, writers, designers, et cetera–can shape a new player culture in which it is safe for women and girls to fully engage in and enjoy video games. These entities are as marginalized as players, yet may hold the key to re-programming player communities.

Excerpts from the following articles will be read aloud and discussed by participants at the salon: “Cheerleaders, booth babes, Halo hoes: pro-gaming, gender and jobs for the boys” by Nicholas Taylor, Jen Jenson and Suzanne de Castell; “Gender in play: Mapping a girls’ gaming club” by Nick Taylor; “‘Women are treated better than men online’, says NerdBoobLoot-man” by Hoyden and Shaker Lauredhel; and “What do we do about video games?” by Roy. Excerpted texts can be found here.

No Reading After the Internet is a salon series dealing with cultural texts, which are read aloud by participants. The particular urgency of the project is in reforming publics and experimenting with the act of reading, as its own media form, in our moment. No Reading means to offer an engaged pedagogical space where participants can retrace the steps used in constructing understanding, productively challenging individual and collective ways through the realms of language and interpretation. To participate in No Reading is to invoke an exuberant not-knowing, seeking out moments of collective illumination. No pre-reading or research is required.

Born and raised in Alaska, Jennie Faber grew up writing, gaming, and coding in the ’90s. Now she’s an avid gamer, a recovering prescriptivist editor, and front-end developer. She is the Product Director at Bento Box and co-founder of Bento Miso. She draws on her editorial background to translate documentation and conversations into real user goals and create refined, useful, usable applications.

No Reading After the Internet (Toronto) is supported by the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto. Special thanks to Bento Miso for their support of this salon.

Excerpts from “Bring the Noise,” “Inside the White Cube” and “The Emancipated Spectator,” selected in conjunction with the main Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Wednesday, 07 March 2012
Gandai Workstation (1265 Bloor Street West)

Facilitated by cheyanne turions

The main Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (mMOCCA)* was founded mostly from wood and old nails in 2011 and exists as a slightly for profit, arms length agency in the City of Toronto. The mMOCCA is relocating all the time, it could be in your bedroom right now. In each new location the mMOCCA redefines the heart of North America’s most dynamic arts community. Our facility is modest in scale, impressive in design, and functions effectively as a nucleus of energies for cultural production and exchange.

The mandate of the mMOCCA is to exhibit, research, collect, and promote innovative art by Canadian and International artists whose work engage and address challenging issues and themes relevant to our times. mMOCCA is committed to providing a forum for emerging artists that show particular promise, and to establish artists whose works are considered to be ground-breaking or awesome.

From the 29 January until 17 March 2012, the Gendai Workstation will be sharing its site with the mMOCCA, whose programming includes a Silent Auction fundraiser developed in partnership with the Art History Graduate Student Association of York University (AHGSA), as well as an exhibition entitled FANDOM.

This co-habitation acts as witness to the interplay of each organization’s role in respect to their administrative functions and exhibition making methods. In this sense both organizations mutually activate each other’s domain in an attempt to demistify the by-products of their interaction.

Excerpts from Claire Bishop + Boris Groys’s Bring the Noise, Brian O’Doherty’s Inside the White Cube and Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator have been chosen by Braden Labonte, Director of the mMOCCA, and Yan Wu, Programming Director of the Gendai Workstation, in collaboration with the AHGSA, to be read aloud and discussed by participants at March’s No Reading After the Internet.

Participants are encouraged to attend the Silent Auction on Saturday, 03 March 2012, from 7pm-12am at the Gendai Workstation (1265 Bloor Street West).

The Art History Graduate Students Association is a student-run organization open to all members of the York University community. The AHGSA seeks to represent the interests of those in the graduate programme in Art History.

A satelliete of the Gendai Gallery, the Gendai Workstation focuses on experimental content and fosters research into models for public art galleries that, like the Gendai, operate from a basis of ethnic identity. With this extension, Gendai Workstation posits itself as an alternative research platform with an audience that consists of Toronto’s downtown art community and academic and other research-oriented institutions from different disciplines that share similar concerns.

No Reading After the Internet (Toronto) is supported by the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto. Special thanks to the Gendai Workstation for their support of this salon.

* It should also be noted that mMOCCA (main Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art) bears absolutely no relationship to the MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art), another fine institution located in the city of Toronto.