Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tomorrow marks the first evening of Swarm: a Festival of Artist Run Culture. An initiative of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC), Swarm has, over the past twelve years, grown to include university galleries (UBC’s Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery), former artist run centres (the Contemporary Art Gallery), independent sites (Blim, The Gam Gallery, Shudder Gallery), hotels (New Forms at the Waldorf), parks (Vancouver Chinese Garden) and magazines (Fillip).

For my part I have curated Vancouver/Vancouver, a two-part exhibition drawn from the art collection of longtime Vancouver resident Rick Erickson, which opens tomorrow at Gallery 1965, in the same building as VIVO (1965 Main Street). Accompanying this exhibition is a short essay that mentions past trends in local collecting; the formal patterning found in Erickson’s collection; before concluding with a few words on the collector and his collection, how it provides us less a portrait of the collector than a spatial and temporal map of the city's cultural ecology. At the close of the second exhibition (“socially”-oriented works displayed in formal patterns, as opposed to the first show, where “formally”-oriented works are displayed expressively), I will post the essay here, at websit.

Also this week I begin at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Expanded Literary Practices is a Special Topics humanities course, hosted by the Department of Critical Studies. The course is based on my own research interests; specifically, the convergence of written and visual practices. Though focused on the 20th century, the course will reach as far back to 19th century France, where we will read and discuss Baudelaire’s innovative prose poem, “Anywhere Out of this World” (1869), before immersing ourselves in Symbolism, beginning with the visual poetry of Stephane Mallarme, who, in an effort to cherish life’s mysteries, implored us to “move that lamp away” (ecarte la lamp), something U.S. writer Jack Kerouac may or may not have taken seriously (see below).

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