Spring 2012 Newsletter
Learning To Be Out There

Diane Borsato

4 April – 10 June 2012
Opening Reception: Wednesday April 4, 6 – 9 pm

“My actions and performances are about experiencing things in an actively engaged manner. They’re about ways of knowing that aren’t solely based on reading texts or seeing. They’re also about the ways we relate – to objects, places, and to each other.”
– Diane Borsato

In this solo exhibition, Diane Borsato shows several recent relational projects and interventions. On the one hand, her work is concerned with being in the city and in nature and, on the other hand, with ways of learning and exchanging knowledge. In The Chinatown Foray, the artist hosted a naturalist expedition in an urban marketplace. In Italian Lessons, she attempted to learn Italian by learning salsa, physics, first aid, and beekeeping by way of Italian instruction. In Terrestrial/Celestial, Borsato coordinated an unconventional exchange of observational practices—from opposite ends of the scale—between amateur mycologists and amateur astronomers. In a new work, Walking Studio, Borsato proposes a different space for research, collection, and reflection with her mobile field study lab. Comprised of a study centre and fully functional sauna, Walking Studio frames and supports artistic practices that are site-responsive, peripatetic, and relational.
This is the first major survey exhibition of Sobey-nominated Canadian artist Diane Borsato and brings together works in a variety of media from photography and video, to relational sculpture. While the works reference the grand history of conceptual, fluxus, and performance art, Borsato’s practice consists of simple gestures and organized events—acting as proposals for alternative ways of knowing objects, places, and each other. Outsmarting the universalizing modernist constraints that reduce human experience and empathy into easily digestible, rational categories, these works open up a space for critical insight. They enable a different way of relating, in humourous and poetic ways, to everyday life, to the realm of “high art,” and to other specialized fields of knowledge production, involving artists and non-artists alike in the process. Diane Borsato’s work proposes a different method of inquiry, one that relies more on touching, tasting, and feeling the world around us – from the terrestrial to the celestial.
The exhibition is accompanied by a major hard-cover monograph on Diane Borsato’s recent works published by the Art Gallery of York University, edited by Stephanie Springgay, and designed by Lisa Kiss Design (Toronto) with text contributions by Emelie Chhangur, Stephanie Springgay, Darren O’Donnell, Scott Watson, and an introduction by Philip Monk. The publication is supported by Diane Borsato and Stephanie Springgay’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, The Institute of Walking: Research and Creation in Relational and Interventionist Arts Practices.

Get on the Performance Bus!

Life of a Craphead is the comedy duo of Amy Lam and Jon McCurley. They have presented performance, comedy, theatre, and video works at Hotel MariaKapel (Hoorn, Netherlands), Department of Safety (Anacortes WA), Upright Citizens Brigade (LA & NYC), The Power Plant, Gallery TPW, and Xpace (Toronto). Their first movie, Bugs, is currently in post-production.
The free Performance Bus departs OCADU (100 McCaul St.) at 6 pm sharp on Wednesday 4 April en route to Diane Borsato’s exhibition opening at AGYU.
The bus returns downtown at 9 pm. That is, if it’s not hijacked by a pair of dangerously insane psychopaths.

“Life of a Craphead have been hired to assist the delivery of the two most dangerous people alive, two Psychopaths, from Pearson Airport to a unique correctional facility in Kingston, Ontario. These Psychopaths are extremely physically dangerous and are geniuses of manipulation who are insane. Corrections Canada has been quoted in their press release regarding the public transport of these dangerous people, ‘…we have never made a statement like this before but due to the risks involved the public should be aware that the Corrections Canada c.e.o. has admitted to being scared.’ To limit the time these dangerous people will be in transport, the motorcade will have to drive on the highway between Toronto and North York around 6 pm on Wednesday, April 4. Life of a Craphead are also scheduled to concurrently host the AGYU’s Performance Bus and have been quoted as saying, ‘There must be an error as we have not been hired to move those psycho guys.’”

Performance and Book Launch: Diane Borsato

Saturday May 5, 2 – 5 pm
Art Metropole
788 King Street West, Toronto
How to Keep Bees in Italian
(with English subtitles)
Despite the artist’s elementary second language skills, How to Keep Bees in Italian by Diane Borsato is an instructional slide lecture that will be delivered in Italian with English subtitles. The specialized vocabulary of queens, drones, workers, and swarms, leads to an expansive discussion that will draw upon diverse references from history, philosophy, popular culture, and natural science.
Developed from Borsato’s efforts to learn the language by studying beekeeping (and other eccentric pursuits) in Italian, this memorized lecture demonstrates how the vocabulary around one specific subject can be applied to talking about ideas and questions that vastly exceed its disciplinary boundaries.
Per idem tempus et in eodem loco, the most recent catalogue published by the AGYU (on, not coincidentally, Diane Borsato … see above and below) will also be launched.
Come for the lecture, leave with the book.

The Shifting Plane of Performance Symposium and Discussion Forum

Friday April 27, 5:30 to 9:30 pm &
Saturday April 28, 1 to 3 pm
Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle,
University of Toronto (Room tba)

Programmed in conjunction with Diane Borsato: Terrestrial/Celestial, The Shifting Plane of Performance is a series of performances, symposia, and a discussion forum that examines contemporary developments and directions of performance art, its relationship to social practice and relational aesthetics, and how performance functions beyond North American or European models (see schedule to right). The symposium and forum are co-curated by Stephanie Springgay & Swapnaa Tamhane and are funded through Diane Borsato and Stephanie Springgay’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, The Institute of Walking: Research and Creation in Relational and Interventionist Arts Practices. They would like to thank Hart House for in-kind donation of space and the AGYU for their “awesomeness” (their word, not ours!).
This event is free. Please contact Stephanie.springgay@utoronto.ca to register.
The Shifting Plane of Performance
List of Events
Thursday April 26, 6 pm:
Performance by Ali El-Darsa, Debates Room, Hart House
Produced in collaboration with SAVAC
Friday April 27, 5:30 to 9:30 pm: Symposium,
East Common Room, Hart House

Panel 1: Positions of Performance Today: Christof Migone, Curator, Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto, Mississauga; Antawan Byrd, Doctoral Student, Art History, Northwestern University, Chicago; Swapnaa Tamhane, Artist/Curator, Toronto; Srimoyee Mitra, Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Windsor.
Panel 2: Performance Not Merely as Performance: Darren O’Donnell, Artistic Director, The Mammalian Diving Reflex, Toronto and the Torontonians; Vesna Krstich, Curator, Toronto/London; Wanda Nanibush, Executive Director, andpva, Toronto; Jimena Ortuzar, PhD student, The University of Toronto; Amish Morrell, Editor, C Magazine.
Panel 3: Institution vs. Public Space: Stephanie Springgay, Assistant Professor, OISE, The University of Toronto; Emelie Chhangur, Artist/Assistant Director and Curator, Art Gallery of York University; Jess Dobkin, Artist/Curator, Toronto; Jorge Lucero, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Kim Simon, Curator, tpw. Produced in collaboration with the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Saturday April 28, 1 to 3 pm: Forum Moderator:
Matthew Goulish, Adjunct Full Professor,
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Hart House South Dining Room

AGYU still Loves Images Festival

Gendai Workstation
1265 Bloor Street West Toronto, Ontario M6H 1N7
6 April – 5 May, 2012
Opening Saturday April 14, 8 pm
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm
Last year it was Icaro Zorbar, this year Angélica Teuta. Another year, another amazing Colombian artist. With the support of the AGYU and Gendai Gallery, Colombian artist Angélica Teuta is exhibiting a new installation made especially for the 25th annual Images Festival. As a collaborator-in-residency at Gendai Workstation, Teuta teams up with the two architecture DJs-in-residence to create her installation. The special project with Teuta was facilitated by the AGYU, who will be working with her later this year in a residency in preparation for the Fall 2012 exhibition Imaginary Homelands.
Angélica Teuta is an artist living and working in Bogotá, Colombia. She studied fine art at the National University of Colombia. Teuta creates installations using light, mechanisms, and spaces. Her most recent solo show, Scenes to Prevent Nightmares, was shown at the Cases Reigner Gallery, Bogotá and Des Pacio Gallery, San Jose, Costa Rica.

Summer Residencies

This year’s summer residencies will host Colombian artists Mateo López, Mateo Rivano, Maria Isabel Rueda, Daniel Santiago, Angélica Teuta, Miler Lagos, and Icaro Zorbarin order to produce new work for the Fall 2012 exhibition Imaginary Homelands.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Fall 2012: Imaginary Homelands
Winter 2013: Deanna Bowen

Programming Reports

The touching of hands…
Some knowledge just cannot be communicated at a distance, some actions just cannot be accomplished when we are apart. For the month of February, a ten person collective made up of a mix of Toronto artists, activists, and educators came together for the AGYU’s collaboration with the Feminist Art Gallery, The Power Plant, and feminist film and video distributor Cinenova, entitled All Hands on the Archive. They were each invited to select and present work from the Cinenova collection to an “enabling audience” of each film or video – the specific communities addressed by each work, the communities whose urgency demands each work come into being.
A feminist viewing situation emerged for the collection of activist video and experimental film that refused to establish historical hierarchies or follow an existing canon. The political knowledge sustained by Cinenova was activated in the local context, and the collection has now been expanded by the activist and artist practices of Toronto. As an audience member said during one postscreening dialogue, “These are the kinds of conversations that aren’t happening, but should be!” These conversations were at the core of the project, and they are far from over.
People, Power, Magic and Cinenova: All Hands on the Archive were both made possible through the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council’s Arts Investment Fund.

The magic that lives on…

Will Munro transformed Toronto, one space at a time. The inclusive queer social spaces he built allowed people to gather, and enabled them to create their own initiatives that redefined the city. Will’s first retrospective, History, Glamour, Magic honoured his spirit by creating a queer social sphere that began in the AGYU galleries and quickly expanded across the city through our People, Power, Magic program led by John Caffery. Toronto’s queer and trans youth were invited into a series of events and workshops where they could create, craft, and act out through the hands on skills they learned to do-it-themselves – from sewing to vogue-ing. The legacy of Will’s community was felt through the participation of many of his long-time collaborators, while the torch was passed to the next generation through the participation of the Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance, resulting in their biggest ball yet! Drawing upon an existing activist network including our frequent collaborators at tblgay and the amazing association of Gay-Straight Alliances from high schools across the city, People, Power, Magic set the stage for the new wave of queer cultural agitators.


When you’re getting ready to attend the opening of Diane Borsato’s exhibition, make sure to pack some extra money and your book bag, as there are a few things you’ll want to bring home with you.
First off, there is the catalogue of Borsato’s work. Designed by Lisa Kiss, it documents many of Borsato’s past projects in full detail: images, textual descriptions, you name it! As well, the catalogue invites you on a tour of her working practice with essays by Emelie Chhangur, Darren O’Donnell, Stephanie Springgay, and Scott Watson. Edited by Stephanie Springgay.
Then, there’s Spoiler Alert, the catalogue of Oliver Husain. Essays by Emelie Chhangur, Ian White, and Chi-Hui Yang, explanatory footnotes by Husain, and copius illustrations. Designed by Sameer Farooq, it’s a treat (but don’t give away the ending)!




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