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EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
C Magazine

C Magazine Winter 2021

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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

5 min.
letters

Dear C Mag, The season has come again with a cold, sandy wind that disables me from breathing well. I have had mild chronic asthma since I was 21, and the freezing wind in Canada that dries out each of my breaths has worsened the illness. When I cough excessively, I realize I am living matter. Then, my negative spaces hiding in my body and mind are finally revealed and recognized by my pain and the extreme loneliness in the struggle with the shortness of breath. It is bizarre that each confrontation of negative space entails an individual’s agony and solitude. This is probably why “Evaporative Losses” in your latest issue grasped my eyes. When Jenna Swift brought up an image of the negative space depict ed in the text, I breathed…

9 min.
body language

Early in the autumn, we issued a rare call for pitches that didn’t lead with a theme, giving our communities and contributors a chance to have a say in shaping the next issue in a time of such trenchant irresolution. In response, we heard meditations on the rampant shift of the art world’s activities into online space; pained expressions of longing for IRL connection in the forms of exhibitions, openings, residencies, house parties, sex; ruminations on health and non-health of physical, mental, and psychic strains; and reflections on the now dramatically apparent reality that the self is an assemblage of continually unravelling experiences, many of which hinge on the involvement of others. Body language—that mysterious, intuitive social science and gestural repertoire that allows us to send and receive messages without…

17 min.
“cells interlinked within cells interlinked”: on ambivalent contamination

Yet porousness felt more grounded, more active, than simply being impressionable; a sponge, after all, is not fundamentally altered by any liquid that soaks it. I associated it with the sensitivity of certain female narrators, such as Jo of Jenny Hval’s Paradise Rot, Anja of Elvia Wilk’s Oval, or even Faye of Rachel Cusk’s lauded yet reviled Outline trilogy. These women, especially Faye, are frequently described as open vessels for the lives of others, but their fluid demeanours and observational capacities are not to be confused with a lack of agency. Instead, they seem to exist in a flow state, cycling between self-discipline and social surrender. The ability to dissolve as easily as sugar, yet reassemble just as easily and at will, seems an indicator of secure personhood, though not…

17 min.
what are they fighting for? on oliver husain, kerstin schroedinger, and the community who embraced dncb as an experimental treatment for hiv

Among the most colourful (literally) of these hopes was dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB): a common chemical used in the processing of colour photography that, starting as early as the mid-’80s, some HIV+ people experimented with to treat the virus—or at least reduce the appearance of lesions caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), an AIDS-related opportunistic infection. As a fact sheet about DNCB from the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange explains: DNCB is applied to the skin where it is absorbed and carried to the lymph nodes by immune system cells. Within the lymph node network, DNCB is thought to stimulate several parts of the cell-mediated immune system—specifically the parts that are weakened in HIV disease. DNCB seems to prompt the cell-mediated immune system both to produce chemicals (called cytokines) that regulate the immune system…

20 min.
the (im)possibility of healing: on lauryn youden

Lauryn Youden’s survival and self-care strategies span a range of epistemic modes—be they witchcraft, spirituality and mysticism, medicine and alchemy, art and theory—each enormously loaded with internal plurality and complex, overlapping histories that have been distorted by such obfuscating forces as colonialism, racism, and patriarchy. Some methods are affirmed by Western science and others by some of the many different frameworks and systems of knowledge that exceed it, including tarot, divination runes, and herbalism. Each item on display in her most recent exhibition, Visionary of Knives at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, is selected based on both embodied evidence of what works for Youden and those with whom she is in relation, in a way that is guided by cultural sensitivity. Is there a way to engage with multiple sources of cultural knowledge…

19 min.
soft blues

“The past does not influence me; I influence it.”— Willem de Kooning“Know amazedly how often one takes his madness into his own hands and keeps it.”— Lorine Niedecker The best thing I got from my relationship with Z was his description of Alvarado Street in Los Angeles being like a river, how the traffic just swims down it. The second best thing I got was that I was finally disabused of the idea that de Kooning was a genius. Z, a straight cis white boy painter from Texas, without one lick of irony or self-awareness at how ironic it made him look, worshipped de Kooning, idolized and wanted to be him, studied him with righteous devotion, hunted every scrap of biographical anecdote; de Kooning did it like this, de Kooning said this,…