C Magazine

C Magazine Autumn 2018

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.

C The Visual Arts Foundation
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Kari Cwynar: In her short text in this issue, poet Lillian Allen writes, “I remember a time when a person was as good as their word as a societal norm.” We asked Allen to write a short definition of “trust” – inspired by the anecdotal yet radically political definitions of common terms in the arts that Allen produced for Public Recordings’ Performance Encyclopaedia project in 2016. Allen’s new “definition” introduces the issue and establishes an important background – trust as community-based and relational, as a social system, as a financial system. Importantly, for a publication that produces, thinks through and probes language, Allen ultimately stresses how trust is completely entangled with words, with one’s word. In our call for proposals for c139, we posited some degree of trust as implicit in…

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who can we trust? whose words will rescue us?

When I was growing up in Spanish Town, Jamaica, people had two different types of currencies in conducting commerce; you could pay in cash for something or you could trust it. “Mi madah sen’ mi fi trust a loaf of harddough bread and some butter ’til Friday.” Trust was a popular currency and was both transactional and relational, the way it should be. In some communities it was more popular than cash. Trust was metaphysical in the way that it moved through space and time to materialize goods to sustain life. There was a rhythm and recurrence to the cycle of trust and predictability to the promise of payment. For these folks, the shopkeeper would just make a mental note. For others who had a harder time of meeting their…

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‘zeal without wisdom’: rushing for reconciliation

“Creative expression supports everyday practices of resistance, healing, and commemoration at individual, community, regional, and national levels.… The arts help to restore human dignity and identity in the face of injustice.”— Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, vol. 6, Canada's Residential Schools: Reconciliation These words, found in volume six of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report, recognizes reconciliation achieved through the arts as a method integral to healing. Through its inquiry, the commission identified core problems within Canadian societal and government structures and released a subsequent 94 Calls to Action to implement systemic changes to policies and practices that discriminate against and harm Indigenous people. The Calls to Action are laid out with the intention to be implemented through personal,…

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the artist-curator relationship

How does trust wager into the negotiations required of artists and curators to complete a project? Considering that the artist-curator relationship has become almost required – even co-dependent – in the ways that art is made public, what role does trust play in establishing that relationship? How is the artist’s trust different from the curator’s trust? What does language have to do with it? How are boundaries maintained between artistic process and curatorial discourse? If the initiation of a project requires a leap of faith from both parties, how is trust built? What tools might one come up with to deal with situations where trust isn’t a given, or where established trust is broken? C Magazine posed these questions to more than a dozen artists and curators. This is what they…

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it’s not the economy: an interview with stanley wolukau-wanambwa

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa is a photographer and writer. His work advances a theory of contemporary images, via both a documentary photography practice and written criticism. He works with original and appropriated texts and images, in order, as he says below, to explore “a set of histories and genealogies by way of which contemporary conditions…become normal and, in some sense, invisible.” I met Wolukau-Wanambwa in summer of 2017, while teaching in the Image Text MFA program at Ithaca College, and our friendship has continued to evolve in and around various arts spaces in New York City. He has photographed me (at my request), so I know a little about how it feels to be the subject of one of his portraits. It’s a revealing experience and also one that’s impossible to prepare for;…

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me, my parents and my art practice

I arrived in Taipei to heavy rain. My Dad had messaged me a set of instructions to get to his apartment in Neihu, and I followed them closely – I wouldn’t have been able to ask for directions in Mandarin. He met me at the bus stop with an umbrella and a pair of flip-flops and showed me to my new room: a beige paneled square, with half-unpacked suitcases strewn on the floor amidst a maze of clothing racks and plastic-wrapped suits. Pressed into the corner was a new mattress, without sheets or a pillow. It was in this room that I first met Ken – the artist Kenneth Jeffrey Kwan Kit Lau – over Instagram. His profile, @fy_ca, was recommended by a mutual friend from his BFA graduating class in…