Saturday, November 9, 2013

Homework II Panel #5: Electronic Dance Music

I was invited by The Broken City Lab to curate and moderate a panel presentation for their second conference on collaborative and socially-engaged art practices, Homework II: Long Forms/Short Utopias. The conference built on their previous conference held two years earlier, Homework: Infrastructures & Collaboration in Social Practices. Once again, in Windsor, Ontario, they brought together multidisciplinary artists and creative practitioners enacting and articulating the complexities of working in practices driven by curiosities about utopian collaboration, community, infrastructures, locality, and long-form social practice.

For the event, I brought together a group of creative practitioners whose work addressed the themes of the conference through their engagement with electronic dance music. The panelists include Bambitchell (Sharlene Bamboat and Alexis Mitchell) (Toronto) who presented on their project, Border Sounds; Michael Caffrey and Kerry Campbell (Gatineau) who discussed their “GhettoBlast Sound System;” and Chris McNamara (Windsor) presented on his experience with the Windsor/Detroit techno music scene and described his involvement with the audio collective “Nospectacle.” The panelists’ projects employ electronic dance music in various ways that construct, articulate, and practice ideas of micro-utopias, pop-up ideals, and long-term social engagement. The event was live-streamed and recorded and remains accessible online. Press play.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Artist Book Now!

My artist book Empirer is featured in the exhibition "The Artist Book Now" at La Fab - Chelsea Arts, Culture and Heritage Centre from the November 2nd to November 30th, 2013. Curated by Margit Hideg, the exhibition asks if the the Artist’s Book can evolve into the 21st century. It includes a kaleidoscope of works from all disciplines and mediums as well a community-based interactive installation.

Empirer is an unauthorized translation of Hardt and Negri’s Empire into Unicode text in a unique edition that binds in hardcover with gold text and red ribbon the printed text of a book made available in electronic form. Published at the turn of the new millennium, Empire is a work of political philosophy about the spread of globalization that was so popular at the time of its release it was allegedly hard to keep on the shelves at bookstores. I found a pdf version on-line that unfortunately was locked for printing. In my feeble attempts to “hack” and print the pdf, I generated a Unicode version of the text that gained in aesthetic appeal what it lost in meaning. It serves not only as a signifier for technology and its built-in obsolescence but also as a code book for cracking the mysterious global forces at work today.

In English, Empirer is the title of the book; In French, it is a verb, “to worsen.” Empire gets empirered.