Writers club - Essays


Magical Rings   

Edwin Janzen

The boxer sports a lurid, bedraggled regalia of gloves and athletic pads, but stares away into space with blank eyes. The boxer’s opponent, too, is in rough shape, with eyes—indeed, with entire body—swathed in bandages, head and limbs supported by a scaffold of improvised joists and braces suggesting injuries so fantastic they must be metaphysical. Egged on by a pair of hyenas, everyone is ready for a bout that seems unlikely to happen. Nearby are the figures of two more boxers, their robes like windows into other realms ... {read more}



Quand faire, c’est dire   August 30, 2013

Julie Tremble Natalie Olanick

The exhibition title Quand faire, c’est dire inverts the title of a well-known work by John Langshaw Austin[1] in which he posits theories regarding “speech acts.” Austin’s work radically influenced philosophical notions of language, transforming it from a descriptive tool into a means of effecting action upon the world. In an interview, artist Chelsea Knight explains that for her “relationships of power are at the core of every social interaction. They affect the way we use and ... {read more}



Approaching Stillness   October 18, 2009

Andrew Frosst

Born from a mutual interest in each other’s work, Tedi Tafel and Vida Simon’s three part collaboration explores both the relation of an artist’s performance to its audience and the effect of cosmic events on our daily lives. To approach this inquiry, the artists can be seen primarily as employing the element of play (not in the sense of competitive play, but as a sort playful dealing with everyday events). This can be seen in previous works such as Tafel’s immersive intervention titled From the Cougar Cabin to the ... {read more}



Automatic Reproduction of Constantine Delilabros’ Music Scores   November 13, 2009

Edwin Janzen

Once upon a time, when Panayiotis Delilabros was but a boy, his father would invite him into the smoke-filled kitchen of their simple house, which doubled as Constantine Delilabros’ office. The chain-smoking father would invite the son to “listen to the sound of my calculator” — a humble Casio — that played musical notes when you depressed the numbers.

Constantine Delilabros’ musical compositions consisted of sequences of numbers drawn by his secret methods from an old, well-worn Bible, which ... {read more}



Rooms Are Never Finished   September 11, 2009

Nadia Kurd

In here it’s deliberately dark so one may sigh
in peace.  Please come in.  How long has it been?
Upstairs- climb slowly- the touch is more certain.
You’ve been, they say, everywhere.  What city’s left?
I’ve brought the world indoors.  One wants certainty…

Agha Shahid Ali, from Rooms Are Never Finished (2002)

The title of this essay, borrowed from poet Agha Shahid Ali’s book of the same title, is an apt ... {read more}



You, Me and You   April 02, 2010

Jasia Stuart

I put the word ‘love’ into google today and I get  1 420 000 000 results. This is my confirmation that the subject of Milutin Gubash and Annie Gauthier’s collaborative work is not something obscure. For your sake, reader, I hope it is a subject you know at least a little bit about, whether personally or vicariously.

To take on ‘love’ in anyway way is quite a feat, and judging by number of times I have given or been given advice on the subject, love, as well as the interactions we enter into on ... {read more}



Blue Skies   November 05, 2010

Edwin Janzen

Is there anything as momentary and ineffable — yet as universally sought after — as happiness? Suffering and its causes are identifiable, earthly, tangible, and we all know them well enough: painful injuries, financial stress, guilt, loss of loved ones, anger over injustice, and so on. Few can say the same of happiness. While everyone experiences it in moments, deep, abiding happiness remains elusive to all but a few. That nearly everyone seeks it, however — the United States of America even enshrine the pursuit of it in ... {read more}



Hesitations   September 17, 2010

Natalie Olanick

At the point where the wall begins, there is a single grey line. As our eyes follow this line, we see that it feeds into a series of nails — hundreds of nails, carefully placed. The thread winds between the nails, resulting in several five-by-seven-foot mechanical wave patterns, all created from the single thread. Accompanying these wave patterns are faint sounds of voices — a sigh, hums and fragments of words.

The large wave patterns are artist Emily Hermant’s representation of the gaps that come in between the ... {read more}



Not one but the other: Galland and Lalumière’s Retourne-moi / Invert me out   July 02, 2010

Amber Berson

articule, because of its lack of visible signage, is seen as a discreet neighbour. Past visitors to the space have commented on the difficulty in finding the gallery and community members are often surprised to learn that there is an artist-run centre in their midst. As residents themselves of the neighbourhood and therefore aware of the ambiguity the space represented for locals, Emmanuel Galland and François Lalumière proposed, two years ago, to create an ephemeral sign for articule – a short term branding project for an otherwise ... {read more}



The Artifact Institute. Service 1   

Edwin Janzen

As plastic begins to outperform sand on certain Pacific beaches, perhaps now is the time to reflect on the imposing ubiquity of manufactured objects. Until the Industrial Revolution, most people could possess only a few—handmade ones, at that. Today, objects are so available, we spend vast amounts of energy, money and time simply managing them: collecting, arranging, storing, recycling and, at last, discarding. And technological artifacts, with their irresistible marketing hype, rapid obsolescence cycle and invariably toxic contents, ... {read more}



In the Spirit of Working Together   May 04, 2012

Amber Berson

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, to make more time, to bring us closer together. Yet, it often does the opposite – we become frustrated when it doesn’t work as desired, or when it breaks down faster and more regularly than expected. We often waste time because of technology. And most certainly while it may intend to bring us together, technology cleaves human relationships – at once rendering our access richer but the quality poorer.  Western society now mediates contact through technology; but the key ... {read more}



A select few   March 09, 2012

Jonathan Plante

At first glance, Carl Trahan would probably not think of this page as a text about his work, but rather as a flat surface covered in seemingly ordered black marks. Letters cast in a font with a history of its own. Encrypted matter that will produce meaning. Meaning what? 

Sharing his time between Berlin and Montreal, Carl Trahan has used translation as one of his preferred media to observe the fluctuations of language through space-text. But he is less interested in the exact correspondence of meaning as in the back and forth ... {read more}



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