By Shannon Foskett
“Science does not have a monopoly on empiricism,” historian David Topper once noted, arguing that empirical matters are, in fact, “germane to all visual imagery.” (1) Recognizing the role of visual images in the production of theoretical knowledge means understanding that their value extends beyond mute illustration to their unique capacity for discovering and articulating new information. An elegant case in point is trigonometric parallax—the “gold standard” of geometric measurements—first developed by Hipparchus (190-120 BCE), and still used by today’s astronomers for determining the moving edge of our expanding universe. (2) Whereas distance measures the spatial difference of two points, parallax derives distance through the mediation of a third: observing a distant object while alternating between two lines of sight, one can measure the apparent shift in an object’s location. Read More
By Alisha Mascarenhas
To be guided by soft signs requires listening on a subtler frequency than usual; attending to what’s quiet and shimmering beneath the surface impressions of the mind. This is not an easy task in New York City, where everywhere are threats of sensory aggressions, sirens, and structurally established determinants of where to walk, where to stand, which exit to take, and where to cross from one corner to the next. Read More
By Emily Fitzpatrick
In the early 2000’s, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency under the United States Department of Defense working on social forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI), began to develop machine-learning agents that could cognitively engage with each other, their environment, and essentially ‘learn’ from their experiences in a simulation. During one simulation, two learning agents named Adam and Eve were programmed to know some things (how to eat), but not much else (what to eat). They were given an apple tree and were happy to eat the apples, but also made attempts to eat the entire tree. Another learning agent, Stan, was introduced and wanted to be affable, but eventually became the loner of the group. Given the natural development of the simulation—and a few bugs in the system—Adam and Eve began to associate Stan with food and one day took a bite out of him. Stan disappeared and thus became one of the first victims of virtual cannibalism. (1) Read More
By Angel Callander
Ana Mendieta’s work embodied the complexities of nature, sovereignty, and taking up space. In Libertad, shown at Dazibao in Montréal from September 7 to October 19, 2019, French-Colombian artists Karen Paulina Biswell and Laura Huertas Millán appear alongside Mendieta to examine the sensual and material forces that impact the experiences of women, and the function of freedom for those who pass between being subjects and ‘objects.’ However, to limit this reading of the show within the confines of womanhood and female agency would be incomplete. Weaving through conceptions of home and belonging, and a determination for survival, the artists expose a slippage of race, nation, and gender that is inherent to all identity: concepts unable to be fixed within immovable categories. Together, the works comprise a criticism of the systems of knowledge that justify domination, as well as the essentializing gestures that equate women with nature. Read More
By Ella Adkins
When I moved into my new apartment this past November, I started hanging up the bits of ephemera I’ve collected along the way: a framed, embroidered bouquet of pink flowers, two large nude monochrome prints I made in that one elective at university, and a certificate. It’s printed on thick paper, feeling substantial enough to be of some importance. At the top, in gold text, it reads “The Department of Optimism is Proud to Honour” with my name italicized and underlined, all in red (my favourite colour). It then reads, “In recognition of your helpfulness, selflessness, excitability and meekness. You are a wondrous listener and your soft nature makes all around feel comforted. You’ve been likened to Anna Wintour and Jackie Kennedy. You are graceful.” The certificate is officiated with a gold sticker, embossed with the text, “DEPARTMENT OF OPTIMISM”. There’s a space at the bottom of the document stating who nominated me. It’s anonymous, although there is only one person who would liken me to Jackie Kennedy. I think about them, and the complexities and history of our relationship. I find it strange that they’ve also likened me to Anna Wintour, unsure to feel insulted or complimented, but overall, it’s amusing. After sharing this tender moment with the piece of paper in my hands, I then put it up on the wall next to my degree, and chuckle at their similarity in appearance.
By Philip Leonard Ocampo
At the opening of Muscled Rose, I didn’t get a proper look at Divya Mehra’s There are Greater Tragedies (2014). The same goes for my return visit, as the wind is blowing the large flag in a direction that makes the text on it difficult to read. I feel unfocused anyways—my mind is fixed on an argument I had with my parents about leaving home last year. I tell myself that I’ll see the flag on my way out and enter the gallery.
By Hannah Godfrey
and speak in vain to the silent ash
Catullus, “101,” trans. E. Cederstrom
and talk (why?) with mute ash
Catullus, “101,” trans. Anne Carson
I was boarding a train from London St. Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. At the end of the platform, on the wall of the station, above the clock, was some large, pink neon handwriting.
I Want My Time With You.
By Kate Kolberg
As I walked through Agouti Sky, Georgia Dickie’s solo exhibition at Oakville Galleries, I kept hearing my dad’s voice in my head. “Let’s see what’s in inventory,” the phrase he habitually announces before hastening off to his basement workshop to find something. Though my father would argue otherwise, the room is shambolic, muddled with tools, his exercise bike and innumerable things. These things are of some mysterious origin, known only to him, and they’ve been saved as “inventory” for moments just like this—the moment when “this might come in handy” is realized. So, as I came face-to-face with Dickie’s most conspicuous, centrally-placed piece, Reef (2019), a multi-part installation of found objects, my mind began swanning through the familiarity of it all: this was an inventory. Reef, in sum with the eleven other sculptural works in the show, is an assemblage of items: wooden boxes, satellite dishes, a leather belt, metal frames, cash registers, metal wiring, a tensor bandage, tubing, ropes, cut paper, candles and a baby seat. A jumbled group of things, with some mysterious origin, known only to her. Read More
By Rowan Lynch
When I am alone, my phone screen is the first and last thing I interact with over the course of a day. I would prefer to be someone who reads themselves to rest, rather than making my stilted way towards unconsciousness in my phone’s dim light, but this pattern has run largely uninterrupted for years. Letting the phone absorb my attention is seductively comforting; it works as a numbing agent allowing me to effortlessly leave my physical environment, all shrouded in an intangible promise of productivity. In exchange, it blurs my free time into a flatlined haze. I use it in this capacity constantly, despite feeling I know better, and the efforts I make to reject the exhausting pace it promotes. It is a pace I feel my body has unconsciously come to match. Read More
By Megan Gnanasihamany
You know this surface intimately. Walking past a window, you catch your reflection walking with you—an intangible body double, flat and eerily transparent, skimming the line between interior and exterior until you reach the building’s edge, and the reflected “you” disappears. In Gabriel Peña Tijerina’s more., the architectural glass surface is at once screen and mirror; an invocation of the ghosts of its own mass production. Glass and plastic invite looking at and through their surfaces at the same time, and a window is never just a window when your reflection is also blinking back. Both architect and artist himself, Peña Tijerina’s research into the modality of glass examines Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s adopted aphorism “less is more” (1) in Tap Art Space’s final exhibition, siphoning out the sticky substance of capitalism from our ever seductive mirrored selves in glass. Read More