Every sound is a small action and broke world

Monday, 12 December 2016
6 PM
8-11 (233 Spadina Avenue)

As part of Every sound is a small action and broke world, an exhibition by Christopher Willes currently on view at 8-11, this salon keeps with an inquiry into the various genealogies of sound that the exhibition elaborates and will feature texts by experimental music icons Maryanne Amacher and Pauline Oliveros.

Christopher Willes in attendance.

Every sound is a small action and broke world explores a sensorial delineation between the intra-noise of political conflict and music’s capacity to make something else audible. Borrowing its title from a line in the poem “Other dimensions in music, ghostcatching,” by Fred Moten, actions in the exhibition initiate from the forcefulness of sound—its vibrational persistence, and its material in-betweenness in relation to objects, the body, space and language. Informed by the compositional language of American experimental music, the exhibition includes several long-duration sound works that complicate attention, material memory and the concert as a mode of display.

Readings have been selected in consultation with artist Christopher Willes.

In a 2001 presentation as part of a panel on John Cage’s influence—which will be read aloud at the salon—Maryanne Amacher meditates on the future of music. More specifically, she writes about the possibility that the conditions of reception will become more a part of the music maker’s concern: “Music will be filled with extraordinary surprises … Music can tell us about the sensation of thinking.” For Amacher, and those who follow after her significant impact on experimental music practices, Cage’s effect was to open up not only a question of what is music, but how are we listening. In her visionary futurist tone, she speaks about the origins of music, its effect on the brain and cognitive approaches to composition that open new possibilities to experiencing music over long durations and through surprising sensations. She explains, “Expansive memory will allow composers to create sonic worlds that may last many hours yet include long periods of silence … Music will now take on a totally new dimension, similar to our experiences of time.”

Alongside this reading, the salon will also feature a collective enactment of one of Pauline Oliveros’s Sonic Meditations. Oliveros had abandoned composition/performance practice as it is usually established for what she termed Sonic Explorations, which included everyone who wanted to participate. She attempted to erase the subject/object or performer/audience relationship by returning to ancient forms that preclude spectators. She was interested in communication among all forms of life, through Sonic Energy. She was especially interested in the healing power of Sonic Energy and its transmission within groups. All societies admit the power of music or sound. Sonic Meditations are an attempt to return the control of sound to the individual alone and within groups especially for humanitarian purposes—specifically healing.

Excerpts will be handed out at the salon and no pre-reading is required.

Every sound is a small action and broke world is on view until 03 January 2017 at 8-11.

Special thanks to the 8-11 for hosting this salon.

CHRISTOPHER WILLES is a Canadian artist and composer. He makes performances, music and exhibitions, and he writes about contemporary art. Select projects have been presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Music Gallery, Intersite Visual Art Festival, The Rhubarb Festival and Open Ears Festival. He often works within experimental dance and theatre as a sound maker and dramaturge, including works with Public Recordings, Urbanvessel, Small Wooden Shoe, Dancemakers, Ellen Furey, Ame Henderson, Evan Webber and Adam Kinner. He studied music at the University of Toronto and received an MFA from Bard College. In 2016 he was awarded a Chalmers Art Fellowship and was a MacDowell Colony Fellow.


Working Conditions

Juan Ortiz Apuy Measures of Distance II (North, South, East and West) After Heizer, 2014

Juan Ortiz-Apuy, “Measures of Distance II (North, South, East and West) (After Heizer),” 2014.

Tuesday, 02 August 2016
Gallery TPW (170 St. Helens Avenue)
7 PM

As part of Working Conditions, an exhibition currently on view at Gallery TPW, this salon will expand upon the exhibition’s interrogation of power dynamics, blind spots and measures of success contained in cultural economies and ecosystems, investigating the invisible structures that are used to organize time, bodies and space.

Working Conditions brings together the work of artists questioning where they stand and what they stand amidst. Acknowledging that the studio exists at the intersection of many ecologies, the artists place themselves in relation to factors beyond their place of production. Their interactions negotiate complicities, rights and responsibilities while pushing at the blurry boundaries between art and life.

Readings have been selected in consultation with participating artists Kajsa Dahlberg and Juan Ortiz-Apuy, and curator Sam Cotter, and will include selections from Rebecca Solnit’s River of Shadows and Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. Excerpts will be handed out at the salon and no pre-reading is required.

Working Conditions is on view until 06 August 2016 at Gallery TPW.

Special thanks to the Gallery TPW for hosting this salon.

The Origin of the Work of Art


Saturday, 30 April 2016
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
2 PM

As part of Rehearsal for Objects Lie on a Table, which is curated by Emelie Chhangur, this salon is hosted by Kevin Temple and Michael Maranda, who invite a collective reading of Martin Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art” in the context of object oriented ontology and Gertrude Stein’s Objects Lie on a Table. In “The Origin of the Work of Art,” Heidegger confronts the history of aesthetics for uncritically accepting the distinction between subjects and the objects of art. Heidegger, by contrast, locates aesthetic experience beneath the threshold of the subject/object distinction to uncover the ontology of the work of art.

Kevin Temple is a writer and critic. He is currently a PhD candidate in philosophy at The New School for Social Research, New York.

Michael Maranda is a Toronto-based artist and assistant curator at the AGYU.

Rehearsal for Objects Lie on a Table is on view until April 30 at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto.

Image credit: Diane Borsato, Tea Service (the conservators will wash the dishes), 2013. Museum action/intervention and archival photographs. Courtesy of the artist.

Special thanks to the Art Museum at the University of Toronto for hosting this salon and to the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto for their ongoing support of this project.

Reading Alice Driver and Susan Buck-Morss as selected by Joni Murphy

Still from "Céline et Julie vont en bateau" (1974), directed by Jacques Rivette.

Still from “Céline et Julie vont en bateau” (1974), directed by Jacques Rivette.

Saturday, 23 April 2016
Art Metropole
4 PM

Reflecting on themes emerging from her debut novel Double Teenage, which has just been published by BookThug, this salon will feature texts selected by Joni Murphy that have been instrumental in the development of her work.

Joni Murphy in attendance.

Exploring  ongoing patterns of violence against women (especially Indigenous women and women of colour) in relation to NAFTA and neoliberalism, Murphy investigates the matrix of violence wrought by western philosophical, economic, and cultural traditions. Excerpts will be drawn from Alice Driver’s “Why Targeted Violence Against Women in Juárez Is Not A Myth” and Susan Buck-Morss’s “The Flaneur, The Sandwichman and the Whore.”

Double Teenage tells the story of Celine and Julie, two girls coming of age in the 1990s in a desert town close to the US–Mexico border. Starting from their shared love of theatre, the girls move into a wider world that shimmers with intellectual and artistic possibility, but at the same time, is dense with threat. This unrelenting novel shines a spotlight on paradoxes of Western culture. It asks impossible questions about the media’s obsession with sexual violence as it twins with a social unwillingness to look at real pain. It asks what it feels like to be a girl, simultaneously a being and a thing, feeling in a marketplace. Double Teenage is a portrait of the recent past, seen through the cloudy lens of now, offering a way to see through violence into an emotionally alive place beyond the myriad traps of girlhood.

Participants are invited to attend a reading by Joni Murphy on Thursday, 21 April 21 2016 at BookThug’s Spring 2016 book launch featuring readings by Jacob Wren, Malcolm Sutton, Joni Murphy, Margaret Christakos, Adrienne Gruber, Jennifer Zilm, François Turcot, Stephen Thomas and Alessandro Porco. Details can be found here.

Joni Murphy is a writer and artist working between critical theory and fiction, writing, performance and sound. The quotidian workings of state violence, literary misprision, and subtle forms of resistance to neoliberalism are consistent themes in her varied creative output. Visit her website here.

Special thanks to Art Metropole for hosting this salon and to the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto for their ongoing support of this project.

Interim Measures

Interim Measures image

“Untitled,” Brady Cranfield and Jamie Hilder (2012).

Saturday, 19 September 2015
8-11 (233 Spadina Avenue)
3 PM

Artists and curator in attendance.

As part of Interim Measures, an exhibition curated by Denise Ryner and featuring the work of Chris Lee, Brady Cranfield and Jamie Hilder, this salon will feature texts selected by the artists and curator that explore the visible and invisible relationships that link financial deregulation and commodity money systems to conventions of value, production and presentation in art. Excerpts will be drawn from Andrea Fraser “L’1%, C’est moi,” Terry Atkinson’s “Vogl’s Combo,” and Emlio Moreno’s “Other Issues: Currency Delimiting Sovereignty.”

The exhibition’s title, Interim Measures, refers to corrective actions or policies enacted in governance and finance in response to a crisis with the expectation of an eventual return to a desired norm. However it is often the case that temporary situations evolve to become the status quo.

The most recent global financial crisis in 2008 has encouraged artists and curators to critically address the functions of capital and finance through their work. However these examinations often establish a disjuncture between the work of the artist and the economic structures they aim to represent. Through soundwork, printed matter and performance, artists Chris Lee, Brady Cranfield and Jamie Hilder activate their investigations of economist-derived aesthetics and speculative value. The artists in Interim Measures challenge assumptions of the extraterritoriality of the spaces of art and cultural production to the fluctuations of speculative finance and cognitive capitalism.

Chris Lee (Toronto) is a graphic designer and educator based in Toronto and Buffalo. He is a graduate of the Graphic Design Master’s program at the Sandberg Institute (Amsterdam). While at the Sandberg, his work focused on speculative visualizations of (alternative) currencies, and their attendant institutions and ephemera. He has also facilitated several workshops in Scotland, the Netherlands, and Croatia, and has written essays on the relationship between graphic design and currency. Chris is also currently a member of the programming committee at Gendai Gallery (Toronto), serves on the editorial board of Scapegoat Journal (Toronto) and is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at the University at Buffalo SUNY. He recently co-edited with Maiko Tanaka the Gendai Gallery publication Model Minority (2014) with contributions by Angad Bhalla, Tings Chak, Alvis Choi, Christine Choy, Richard J.F. Day, Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen, Jinhan Ko / Instant Coffee, Will Kwan, Mona Oikawa, Liz Park, Gordon Pon, Kerri Sakamoto, Min Sook Lee, Vincent Tao, Dan S. Wang and Ryan Wong.

Jamie Hilder (Vancouver) is an artist, writer and critic. He has had solo exhibitions at Artspeak, Charles H. Scott Gallery and most recently at 221A in collaboration with Brady Cranfield. Hilder completed his doctoral dissertation on the International Concrete Poetry Movement at the University of British Columbia in 2010. From 2011-2013 he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences at UCLA and is currently an instructor at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He has also exhibited and published work in the United States and Europe.

Brady Cranfield (Vancouver) is a sound and visual artist, musician and writer. He received his MA in Communications and MFA from Simon Fraser University. He has also collaborated with artist and curator Kathy Slade on multiple audio projects such as 12 Sun Songs (2009) and 10 Riot Songs (2011). His recent exhibition Due To Injuries… at 221A with Jamie Hilder was also published as an artist book of the same name which includes contributions by Franco Berardi, Jaleh Mansoor, Enda Brophy, Cecily Nicholson and Steve Collis. Cranfield also teaches intermittently at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and is the co-proprietor of Selectors Records shop and performance venue in Vancouver.

Denise Ryner (Vancouver) is a curator, writer and arts worker. She received her MA in Art History at the University of British Columbia. Her recent exhibitions include Public Objects, Private Frames which is currently showing at the Canadian Heritage regional office in Toronto and Location/Dislocation (2011) at the Jackman Humanities Institute. She has worked in numerous galleries in Toronto including Art Metropole and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery. Currently she works at the Vancouver Art Gallery, is an instructor at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and works at the Audain Gallery where she recently programmed a series of walks called Rain or Shine Saturdays.

Special thanks to the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto for their ongoing support of this project and to 8-11 for hosting this salon.

Documentation courtesy of Tucker McLachlan.

Documentation courtesy of Tucker McLachlan.

Bik Van der Pol’s “Eminent Domain” at The Power Plant

Bik Van der Pol, Eminent Domain, 2015. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2015. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Bik Van der Pol, Eminent Domain, 2015. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2015. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Saturday, 22 August 2015
The Power Plant (231 Queens Quay West, Toronto)
4 PM

Facilitated by cheyanne turions

Reflecting the collaborative strategies at play in their current exhibition on view at The Power Plant entitled Eminent Domain, artists Bik Van der Pol have compiled selections from articles and essays that have been instrumental in developing the project. Readings will include excerpts from Bruno Latour’s Agency at the Time of the Anthropocene and Bernd Scherer’s The Monsters.

For their commissioned project at The Power Plant, Bik Van der Pol investigate the ways that human activity in the globalized age have had a direct effect on ecological systems. The exhibition title references the concept of “eminent domain,” a term coined by author Hugo Grotius in 1625. “Eminent domain” is understood as the power that the State may exercise over land within its territory, whereby the government or one of its agencies has the right to expropriate private property for public use through payment or compensation. By foregrounding this concept, Bik Van der Pol’s project alludes to the increasing privatization of previously public goods including territory, property and the public domain at large.

Through their practice, Bik Van der Pol aim to articulate and understand how art can produce a public sphere, and to create space for speculation and imagination. This includes forms of mediation through which publicness is not only defined but also created. Their working method is based on co-operation and research inquiries surrounding the activation of situations serving the creation of platforms for various kinds of communicative activities. Recent solo shows and projects include Ternitz, Austria (2014); 31st Bienal de São Paulo (2014); Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2014); CAFAM Biennial, Beijing (2014); the Biennale of Mercosul, Porto Alegre (2013); Hoog Catherijne, Utrecht (2013); Between A Rock and A Hard Place in collaboration with Musagetes, Sudbury, ON (2011); The ENEL Award; MACRO, Rome (2010); and The Western Front, Vancouver (2010). Recent curatorial projects include Kunstfort Asperen, Acqouy (2011); and Plug In, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2009). They are currently the course directors of the School of Missing Studies at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

Special thanks to The Power Plant for hosting this salon, and thanks also to the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto for their ongoing support of No Reading After the Internet (Toronto).

Andrea Fraser’s “Performance or Enactment” as selected by Martha Wilson

Photo credit: Martha Wilson as Barbara Bush by Dennis W. Ho.

Photo credit: Martha Wilson as Barbara Bush by Dennis W. Ho.

Thursday, 16 April 2015 Urbanspace Gallery (Ground floor, 401 Richmond Street West) 3PM Free

As part of the 28th annual Images Festival, this salon will feature Andrea Fraser’s essay “Performance or Enactment” as selected by Martha Wilson.

Martha Wilson in attendance.

As part of the 2015 Images Festival, Wilson will be participating in performance artist Jess Dobkin’s How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb (For Martha Wilson). Taking a direct cue from Wilson’s video The History of Performance Art According to Me, Martha Wilson (2005), Dobkin takes on the complex and riddled history of performance art, defining its terms and conditions, while acknowledging the slippery temperament of her task. This new work will be an attempt to overwhelm the definitions and intersections of performance, documentation, the archive, and image reproduction to investigate the nature of performance itself. As a preface to the performance, which is centred upon enacting a lightbulb joke about performance art, Fraser’s text foregrounds discussion of re-performance of historical works.

Fraser’s essay “Performance or Enactment” can be accessed here. However, please note that it is not necessary to pre-read the text.

MARTHA WILSON is a pioneering feminist artist and gallery director, who over the past four decades created innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity.  She has been described by New York Times critic Holland Cotter as one of “the half-dozen most important people for art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s.”  In 1976 she founded Franklin Furnace, an artist-run space that champions the exploration, promotion and preservation of artist books, temporary installation, performance art, as well as online works.  She is represented by P.P.O.W Gallery in New York; and has received fellowships for performance art from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; Bessie and Obie awards for commitment to artists’ freedom of expression; a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts; a Richard Massey Foundation-White Box Arts and Humanities Award; and in 2013 received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University.

Special thanks to the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto for their ongoing support of this project and the Images Festival for hosting this salon.

Courtesy of the Images Festival.

Courtesy of the Images Festival.

Courtesy of the Images Festival.

Courtesy of the Images Festival.