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C Magazine

C Magazine Autumn 2020

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C Magazine, established in 1984, is an essential platform for critical debate about contemporary art. With an emphasis on Canadian practitioners and international contexts, each thematic issue engages with emergent perspectives through original art writing, criticism and artists’ projects. C is committed to facilitating meaningful, pluralistic, interdisciplinary, historically-engaged and imaginative conversations about art.

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Country:
Canada
Language:
English
Publisher:
C The Visual Arts Foundation
Frequency:
Quarterly
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3 Issues

in this issue

6 min.
a convex, minutely puckered surface could be called a vertical sea*

What else can I describe to help create a more complete picture?1 There are approximately 11 seconds of silence before her voice begins, a silence that is loud and grainy when the volume is maxed out on my laptop—punctuated with a few disembodied clicks and what I imagine to be a slow intake of the speaker’s breath. Then, that particular unfolding, wet sound of a mouth as it prepares for speech: “a convex, minutely puckered surface could be called a vertical sea,” she says. Throughout her sentence she leaves small beats after certain words—convex, surface, could be called—pauses for emphasis and an additional breath. The title for Aislinn Thomas’s video is pulled from Guelph-based poet Anna Bowen’s first attempt to describe what she is seeing: to translate her visual field into a…

5 min.
evaporative losses

Breath travels. Our mouths are broken-open places—a house where only wind lives, searching the cupboards and closets. I replace your missing mouths with those of jars, mines, graves. What is gathered and dissipated by mouth? Once alternately filled and emptied, the cloistered breath swallows itself—Dies irae, desire drawn back in along a taut, slender rope. When my late father was a child, he helped as a seasonal farmhand on an arid ranch near the Old Man On His Back Plateau. Lent out to extended family for manual labour, he carried a deep scarring love originating from that corner of southwestern Saskatchewan. Each scarce story I’ve been told from that time seems to encompass beauty and desolation in equal measure. As a child made responsible for the care of roaming cattle, he…

5 min.
a rock isn’t always a rock

I first visited Iniskim Umaapi, the Majorville Medicine Wheel, in 2017. I had recently dropped out of graduate school and moved back home from Vancouver, homesick for the wide open Prairie. Moonlighting as a chauffeur for the day, I borrowed my sister’s Pontiac Montana and picked up a group of Niitsitapi youth and their caseworkers and my mom in Standoff, AB. Thanks to my infallible, GPS-like sense of direction we got lost twice, only. The site isn’t particularly difficult to find; we headed east on the highway from Lethbridge, then hit some gravel stretches and, finally, winding dirt roads carved in crown land. The ruts did a number on the Montana’s suspension but like a true rez car, she proved her strength. There, at its base, we met archaeologist and historian…

5 min.
consciousness by lex brown

W. E. B. Du Bois coined the term double consciousness to describe a particular phenomenon of Blackness. The term refers to an ability to see oneself from a subjective vantage point, and simultaneously from the vantage point of the whiteness that oppresses. It’s a concept of enduring relevance, especially in the contemporary moment, when various institutions, both inside and outside the art world, have had to create ad hoc committees in order to make the simple declaration that Black lives matter. I tried to suspend my judgment as these statements of solidarity began to flood the feed, but I couldn’t help but read them as carefully crafted pieces of PR. My skepticism led to the uneasy feeling of double consciousness, the value of my Black life reduced to a question…

5 min.
bureau of aesthetics: native art department international (maria hupfield and jason lujan)

Walking into the Native Art Department International (NADI) Bureau of Aesthetics, I am immediately greeted by the rhythmic sound of jingles. They are coming from There is No Then and Now; Only Is and Is Not (2018), a projection of Bronx-based artist Dennis RedMoon Darkeem dancing in an empty theatre in his powwow regalia. At the end of each loop, his statement reads across a black screen, “I feel like everyone has had a hand in defining Native people, except ourselves.” When Maria Hupfield and Jason Lujan began planning for the first Canadian solo exhibition of their long-term collaborative project, they could not have imagined that just as it was set to open, the world would shut down. How bizarre it feels to be in a gallery right now; its rules…

4 min.
david wojnarowicz: photography & film 1978–1992

“If light does come from within does that make us walking movie projectors? Are we casting form onto a dark screen?” — David Wojnarowicz, Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration, 1991 A mechanical heartbeat is heard in the gallery space, the methodical click-pause-click of a timed slide projector. A Super 8 video projection casts a slice of electric-blue light that spills from wall to floor. The monotone voice of the artist, David Wojnarowicz, is punctuating a film soundtrack of clumsy keyboard chords and canned, synthetic drumbeats. These immediate audiovisual signals are not overwhelming. Instead they draw you in, as if to forewarn, through a multitude of frequencies, that you are about to enter a space indexed by a depth of interior worlds. David Wojnarowicz: Photography & Film 1978–1992, at the…