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Dear________,

Thank you for thinking of me and extending the invitation to contribute to your project.

Perhaps you are already familiar with the ongoing conversations around precarious labour in both academic and artistic fields, but this is an issue that is very dear to my heart and I made a choice a while ago to not work for free. I’m a bit surprised that a ____________ focused on ______________ would be continuing to perpetuate the idea that working for ‘exposure’ is fair compensation.

Writing, research, editing, _______, ________, and administrating are all WORK. In Canada, we have an organization called CARFAC that sets minimum fees for any kind of artistic work, and in the U.S., W.A.G.E has been advocating for similar practices in museums and institutions there.

Those of us working in the field of  _________________ are also affected by the pressures of economic precarity and the undervaluing of our work, whether working in academia, for institutions, or as independent producers. When we work for free, we perpetuate the idea that our labour is not ‘real work’ and reinforce the conditions where only those who can afford to work for free are able to continue. It should go without saying that these labour conditions disproportionately affect women, people of colour, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ folks.

Perhaps these are issues that you might also consider addressing in your __________.

Best of luck with your project,

 

desire_change
Since 2013, I have been working as Managing Editor on a new publication on contemporary feminist art in Canada, commissioned by Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA), and edited by Heather Davis.

In the resistance to the violence of gender-based oppression, vibrant – but often ignored – worlds have emerged, full of nuance, humour, and beauty. Correcting an absence of writing about contemporary feminist work by Canadian artists, Desire Change considers the resurgence of feminist art, thought, and practice in the past decade by examining artworks that respond to themes of diversity and desire.

Essays by historians, artists, and curators present an overview of a range of artistic practices including performance, installation, video, textiles, and photography. Contributors address the desire for change through three central frames: how feminist art has significantly contributed to the complex understanding of gender as it intersects with sexuality and race; the necessary critique of patriarchy and institutions as they relate to colonization within the Canadian national-state; and the ways in which contemporary critiques are formed and expressed. The resulting collection addresses art through an activist lens to examine intersectional feminism, decolonization, and feminist institution building in a Canadian context.

Heavily illustrated with representative works, Desire Change raises both the stakes and the concerns of contemporary feminist art, with an understanding that feminism is always and necessarily plural.

Contributors include Janice Anderson (Concordia University), Gina Badger (artist, writer, editor, Toronto), Amber Christensen (curator and writer, Toronto), Karin Cope (NSCAD), Lauren Fournier (artist, writer, and curator, York University), Amy Fung (curator and writer, Toronto), Kristina Huneault (Concordia University), Alice Ming Wai Jim (Concordia University), Tanya Lukin Linklater (artist, North Bay), Sheila Petty (University of Regina), Kathleen Ritter (curator and writer, Vancouver), Daniella Sanader (curator and writer, Toronto), Thérèse St. Gelais (UQAM), cheyanne turions (curator and writer, Toronto), Ellyn Walker (Queen’s University), Jayne Wark (NSCAD) and Jenny Western (curator and writer, Winnipeg).

Copublished by Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and McGill Queen’s University Press.

LazyLady_web

The Ladies’ Invitational Deadbeat Society (LIDS) was founded in 2006 as a closely-knit affiliation of then-unemployed cultural workers, not working, but still bustin’ ass within Alberta artist-run culture. Their activities made visible and politicized women’s roles in the arts economy through tactical laziness, crafty collaboration, over-performance, and wild hilarity. They announced their intentions to DO LESS in a series of works produced between 2012 and 2014, and to completely withdraw from art-making at the Calgary Biennial 2015. After a decade of non-activity, they officially called in quits in 2016. LIDS was Anthea BlackNicole Burisch, and Wednesday Lupypciw.

An archive of projects can be found on the LIDS site.

The Ladies’ Invitational Deadbeat Society’s limited edition DO LESS WITH LESS / DO MORE WITH MORE cross stitch pattern poster was printed at the Alberta Printmakers’ Society in June 2012. The slogan on the original posters was inspired by a discussion during Artivistic’s Promiscuous Infrastructures project at Centre des arts actuels Skol in Montréal, Québec about how artists and non-profit arts organizations negotiate the constant pressure to do more with less. With this poster reissue for FUSE Magazine’s final issue, LIDS proposes that we resist the capitalist logic of constant acceleration, productivity, and austerity budgets by reasserting a realistic level of production within our means. Use LIDS’ handy pull out pattern to stitch a banner for your own office and hang in the orientation of your choice! A version of the poster was also printed in PHONEBOOK 4, directory of independent art spaces, programs, and projects in the United States, in 2015.

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Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society, DO LESS WITH LESS / DO MORE WITH MORE, FUSE Magazine 31-1 WINTER 2013-14 PATTERN PULLOUT.

Photo credits: Olya Zarapina

From May 5th to June 6th I will be doing a research/curatorial residency at Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn. While there, I will be starting work on a new research project entitled How To Shut Down An Artist-run Centre // Comment fermer un centre d’artiste autogéré. Merci beaucoup à Clark et au Conseil des arts de Montréal pour leur soutien de cette résidence.

Project Description
(le français suit)

I have been involved in Canadian artist-run culture for almost ten years now – as an employee, board member, and artist. The spaces and working methods of these centres have provided innumerable forms of community support and inspiration. But they are also operating in an increasingly precarious position – one that often echos and even reproduces precarious conditions for artists and cultural workers.

Recently, I have been thinking about ways that an artist-run centre might not only react to this position, but how it might prepare for the worst. Given the current political climate and the increasing pressure to generate their own revenues, it seems inevitable that centres will either need to radically rethink how they operate…or risk shutting down altogether. There are a few centres that have moved away from the traditional “white cube” models or that have started to shift their operations or revenue streams, but many continue to rely on and reproduce a model that is at best redundant, and at worst, unsustainable. For those working in the milieu it seems unspeakable, but what would it mean to close an artist-run centre on purpose? What if we gave ourselves 5 more years, knowing that at the end we would close? What kinds of things would we do differently, what kind of risks would we take? How would we change to best serve our memberships? What new models might emerge? What patterns might disappear? What if we responded to funding cuts not by doing yet another fundraiser, but by using up the last of our dwindling supply of public funding to “go out with a bang?”

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Ever feel like your job has started to take on a somewhat performative quality? Tired that artists and athletes are getting all the recognition and the fun? Want to put your over-developed administrative skills to the test and show off your hidden talents for organizing, planning, and figuring out brilliant last-minute solutions while working under pressure with a tight budget? Have we got a race for you!

The Art Administrator’s Race is a day-long game based on popular television programs like The Amazing Race or Survivor, childhood memories of Capture the Flag, and the absurdity and humour in our day-to-day lives as arts administrators and cultural workers.

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Avez-vous déjà eu l’impression que votre travail comporte un aspect performatif? Êtes-vous tanné-e du fait que les artistes et les athlètes sont les seul-es à recueillir la gloire? Avez-vous envie de tester vos habiletés surdéveloppées en matière d’administration des arts et de pavaner vos talents cachés pour l’organisation, la planification et la résolution de problèmes de dernière minute tout en travaillant sous pression selon un budget limité? Eh bien, nous avons une compétition pour vous!

La Course annuelle des administrateur-rice-s des arts est une compétition d’une journée, basée sur les populaires émissions de télévision telles Amazing Race et Survivor, les souvenirs d’enfance de capture du drapeau et le côté absurde et humoristique de notre quotidien d’administrateur-rice-s des arts (AA) et de travailleur-euse-s culturels.

Organised by Amber Berson and Nicole Burisch, the first race took place in Montreal on May 20th, 2013, from 2-5pm (https://www.facebook.com/events/113142445556510/). Four teams met at Eastern Bloc and then raced throughout the Mile Ex/Little Italy/Mile End neighbourhoods to complete a set of arts-admin related challenges.

The rules were:

  • The whole team must do the challenge at the same time. No splitting up.

  • You must take a photo at each station (and try to upload it to Facebook for good PR and communications)

  • You must begin and end at Eastern Bloc, but otherwise can do the challenge in whatever order you want.

Challenges included:

  • Translate a text that was written in English by a non-native speaker, to actual English. In less than ten minutes so it can go to press.

  • Bring Your Kid to Work Wild Card Challenge (30 mins max)

  • Schmooze with a Collector + Bonus Point Round! (30 mins max)

  • Old technology / equipment pickup / installation challenge (30 mins max)

  • Visit two board members who work on opposite ends of town to sign a document and then drop it off at an art council office (i.e. with the judges), in less than two hours.

  • Photocopy challenge. Make a posters with images from your challenge stations. Make enough copies for every team.

  • Explain your financial statements to your membership. You must be back at Eastern Bloc by 4:45 for this challenge.

The race concluded with after work drinks/judging at Alexandraplatz, where celebrity judges/board members Libby Shea, Anne Bertrand, and Saelen Twerdy evaluated each team’s performance, and tallied scores from the various challenges.

After thorough consideration (and a shocking last-minute disqualification) the results were announced:

1st place: Michelle, Anna, Sheena
2nd place: Florence, Virgine, Pedro
In a category of their own: Chris and Rose
Disqualified: Amber and Nicole

Thanks to all who participated and offered their homes, resources, and ingenuity. If you are interested in participating, contributing, or suggesting potential future challenges, please send an email to citiusaltiuspervilis(at)gmail(dot)com.

Merci beaucoup à tous les participant.e.s: Anne, Saelen Libby, Olya, Florence, Virginie, Pedro, Claudine, Chris, Rose, Sol, Michelle, Anna, Sheena, Eliane. Vous êtes toutes et tous des gagnant.e.s!

book_preview_cover

The Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society (LIDS) and friends will be converging in Toronto at the end of May for a performance by Wednesday L AND an official BBQ book launch with our feminist pals! Join us on Sunday May 26th at 3pm at the Feminist Art Gallery for the launch of our new publication.

The publication documents our 2012 residency, the Incredisensual Panty Raid Laff Along and is now available through local LIDS distributors near you! This handy volume gathers together materials produced during the residency: photographs, texts, recollections, and ephemera. Designed by Olya Zarapina, this publication also features 3 new texts by feminist scholars Jennifer Kennedy, Mireille Perron, and Amy Fung.

Sixty of the books are covered in limited edition dust jackets/posters that we printed at the Alberta Printmakers’ Society in June 2012. The slogan on the posters: “Do More With More, Do Less With Less,” was inspired by a discussion about how non-profit arts organizations negotiate the increasing pressure to participate in business-based models and the “cultural industry.” A PDF excerpt of the publication, with an edited transcript of one of our Sunday Tea n’ Chats discussions, The Value Of Our (Collective) Work is available as a free sneak preview.