Desire Lines
Access to Print: Kass Banning, Will Straw, and Rinaldo Walcott, with respondent Joy Xiang
Friday, April 30, 2021 @ 2 – 3:30 pm



Support documents:
Network diagrams:

This network shows us how the absences, or received lack, in one publishing project generates desire for new ones. These panelists will share their personal memories of scenes and magazines as sites of discursive community, reflecting on how one magazine can emerge as a response to another. For instance, the poststructuralism and cultural theory of Border/Lines can be read as a response to the materialist politics of FUSE. Despite these formal differences, Border/Lines and Fuse emerge as two parallel discursive spaces where the language and practice of queer identity and cultural race politics were developed in the 1980s and 1990s. Further, the absence of a certain form of content creates desire for new forms that can hold new content, as these two magazines acted as points of consolidation for discourses that resonated into other socio-cultural contexts and prompted the creation of even more publishing spaces, such as Topia.


Presenter Bios:

Kass Banning teaches at the Cinema Studies Institute, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on aesthetics and screen alterity, to include minor cinemas and new media ranging from diasporic to Indigenous to queer. Specific areas of interest include Black diasporic visuality and minor Canadian moving image practice, expanded documentary, and artists’ moving image installation. Complementing her research on cultural translation and local / global intersections, her work revisits national, transnational, and planetary analytics, from theoretical and philosophical perspectives that privilege “difference.” Banning co-edited the anthology Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women’s Cinema (Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1999), and co-founded and co-edited two Canadian quarterlies, CineAction and Border/Lines, for over a decade. Her most recent publication, co-written with Warren Crichlow, “A Grand Panorama: Isaac Julien, Frederick Douglass and Lessons of the Hour” appears in Film Quarterly, Summer 2020.


Will Straw is James McGill Professor of Urban Media Studies at McGill University in Montreal, where he teaches within the Department of Art History and Communications Studies. He is the author of Cyanide and Sin: Visualizing Crime in 50s America (Andrew Roth Gallery, 2006) and co-editor of several volumes including The Cambridge Companion to Rock and Pop (with Simon Frith and John Street, 2001), Circulation and the City: Essays on Urban Culture (with Alexandra Boutros, 2010), Formes Urbaines (with Anouk Bélanger and Annie Gérin, 2014), and The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Cinema (with Janine Marchessault, 2019). His research on periodicals has appeared in the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, Criminocorpus, Context(e)s, the University of Toronto Quarterly, Parallax, and Media History. Much of his current research focuses on the night-time culture of cities. Another of his current projects has to do with mimeography and science-fiction fanzines from the 1940s through the 1970s.


Rinaldo Walcott is Professor of Black Diaspora Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Institute and member of the Graduate Program at the Institute of Cinema Studies as well. His teaching and research is in the area of Black diaspora cultural studies and postcolonial studies with an emphasis on questions of sexuality, gender, nation, citizenship, and multiculturalism. From 2002–2007, Rinaldo held the Canada Research Chair of Social Justice and Cultural Studies where his research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust.

As an interdisciplinary Black Studies scholar, Rinaldo has published in a wide range of venues. His articles have appeared in journals and books, as well as popular mediums like newspapers, magazines, and online venues, as well as other forms of media. He was on the editorial committees of Fuse, Border/Lines, and Topia. His latest book, The Long Emancipation: Moving Towards Black Freedom (An Essay), is forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2021. He recently published On Property (Biblioasis, 2021).



Joy Xiang is a writer, arts worker, and perpetual late bloomer born in Shanghai and based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Her work engages desire, migration, material flows, and media nostalgia and futurity. She prioritizes collaborative processes, and learning ways of being together in complication and intimacy. Her first chapbook, cold blood, uses cold-blooded creatures as a metaphor for creative and survival-focused adaptation strategies. She has edited for Milkweed and re:asian; written for Mercer Union, Ada X, and Hamilton Artists Inc.; and held positions at Vtape and Blackwood Gallery. She was assistant editor at Canadian Art and is a member of the feminist working group EMILIA-AMALIA.


Desire Lines: the series
The trajectory of arts magazine publishing in Toronto from the 1970s onward has always been a space criss-crossed by lines of desire. This speaker series takes an algorithmically produced network diagram of publishing metadata as a jumping off point for story-telling around personal memories.

This series is organized by Felicity Tayler, Interim Head, Research Support (Arts and Special Collections) at the University of Ottawa Library and Michael Maranda, assistant curator. New generation respondents are curated by Faith Paré, made possible by an RA-ship from the SpokenWeb partnership. The background to the series comes out of a metadata analysis of three magazines from the seventies and eighties, Fuse, Border/Lines, and Fireweed, that Felicity put together with Tomasz Neugebauer of Concordia University.

We would like to offer thanks to the participants who are generously contributing to this program, which is deeply informed by the legacies of their practices. We would also like to thank our partners Artexte and SpokenWeb.


See also

Making a Network of Relations Visible

Making a Network of Relations Visible

6 Aug 2021
Setting a Tone

Setting a Tone

26 Mar 2021
A Lit Fuse: Klive Walker

A Lit Fuse: Klive Walker

Desirelines Response
26 Feb 2021
Riddim an’ Resistance

Riddim an’ Resistance

26 Feb 2021
Desire Lines

Desire Lines

Oral history project
Feb - Aug 2021




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