C Magazine

C Magazine Winter 2021

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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Twenty-two years ago, Gayatri Spivak largely denounced postcolonial theory, citing its stagnating effect on the work of its celebrated practitioners. Despite its failures, however, she maintained that by using it, we could opt for an ethics of alterity rather than a politics of identity to make our way through the climate of cultural polarization—seeing identity politics as an awkward tool that uses identities to account for histories, and forgoes multiplicity in the process. An ethics of alterity does not necessarily smooth out identity politics’ shortcomings but instead merges it with the sharing of time, space, and experiences with others; it is on the side of relations and linkages. Since encountering these theoretical positions, I have been consumed by locating this call for an ethics of alterity in the local and…

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amiskwacîwâskahikan: jane ash poitras, mj belcourt moses, lauren crazybull, tanya harnett, george littlechild, dwayne martineau, conor mcnally, lana whiskeyjack

Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre, Edmonton September 30–November 28, 2020 amiskwacîwâskahikan/Beaver Hills House/Edmonton is centrally located in the Treaty 6 region and is the traditional home of the Papaschase. From the rolling hills, aspen forests, verdant grasslands, and the flowing life way of kisiskâciwanisîpiy/North Saskatchewan River, the region has been a site of gathering for many Indigenous peoples sharing the land and resources since time immemorial. It is on this land, overlooking kisiskâciwanisîpiy, that the Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre stands. Ociciwan, translated from nêhiyawêwin to mean “the current comes from there,” references the kisiskâciwanisîpiy, the people it has brought to this region, and the link between the past, present, and future. Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective started in 2015 and over the years has undertaken a series of projects—including visual art exhibitions, a large-scale experimental…

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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…

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invocation 1

[prelude] The following is meant to be read to another—human or other-than-human, perhaps more-than-human—at a distance of approximately 60 cm. Find this position in relation to them in space. Hold them in your peripheral vision, gently. Attune yourself to their materiality. What volume of space do they displace? What compression or expansion of your own body would be required to fill that volume? Can you sense their weight? What is the timbre of their vibration? Can you transpose this into audible tones? Do you pick up on the smell of them from this distance? Without touching, is there a discernment that can be made about their temperature in relation to your own? Mind this. [bodymorphing] You are moving. Dancing is happening. It’s slow. You’re horizontal to the floor and your limbs seem to move at…

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the commute: s f ho, jaye simpson, helena krobath

Arts Assembly, Vancouver April 28–August 13, 2020 the commute, a project commissioned by Arts Assembly’s Whitney Brennan long before the events of this year, is a series of three audio works. Originally meant to be listened to on each piece’s corresponding transit line in Vancouver, the works become more expansive than their original premise as the experience of commutes become distant. Listening to the works by S F Ho, jaye simpson, and Helena Krobath creates a double experience of space and time. The listener is in their own body and location, but also elsewhere, moving along distinct routes and timetables of another body. The commute as a concept is travel structured around labour and falls into a category of peripheral unpaid time. This is what Henri Lefebvre called “constrained time,” which Kristin Ross…

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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…