by carl wilson



On the participatory-aesthetics front: Eye today has a well-rounded piece discussing some of the criticisms that have been made of Newmindspace, the cute-couple-holds-street-parties branch of the Toronto public-space and interactive-art movements. Personally, I think the "hipster colonialism" critique absurdly and paranoically overinflates the importance of groups such as Nms, throwing totally out of joint one's perspective on more important factors in gentrification and population segregation such as, say, real-estate speculation, policing, banking and schools. But while I think Nms are mostly harmless, I also think they've got pretty weak footing as art: Their work is two-dimensional - measured up and down, it's fun; measured side to side, it's sociable; measured back to front, it's got less meat on its bones than Kate Moss - and, at times, it's a tad obnoxious in its sense of social-spatial entitlement and seeming so goshdarned pleased with itself. But then again, that's what 20-year-olds are often like, so why begrudge them? Maybe they'll get more complex with time, and if not, holding hug-ins for the World Wildlife Fund is a benign enough pastime until they end up as public-relations executives somewhere.

| Posted by zoilus on Thursday, March 15 at 4:15 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)



Hey People,

Just wanted to weigh in on the homogeneity question.

It's really a tough one, Kevin, and one that so many are concerned and baffled about. I think you're reading of the situation needs more nuance.

I don't think chalking it up to wiredness is the answer, there are so many more factors, factors that are difficult to fully appreciate as white people. But, in any case, I think merely diversifying how you advertise is not ever going to be enough but, instead, you (and me) have to do some serious, boring, old fashioned, outreach. We need to intentionally approach people and not only invite them to participate in our work but participate in theirs.

We also need to find ways to give up some of the control in the initiating of our events to other people.

But, most importantly, the complexion of our events will not change until the complexion of our friends change. Ultimately, it's all about love, I think, and there's no way through this dilemma until our circle of friends reflects the diversity of the city. And that's going to take a while and will necessarily involve us spending time in places where we're not the engines of creation nor the centers of attention.

It will require much following of others before we can lead anything but a bunch of people who look like us.

Posted by Darren O'Donnell on March 28, 2007 8:51 AM



Well, that was the nicest response to a borderline-mean post of mine that this site's ever seen, I think.

Kevin, I wouldn't come down too hard on you on the "white" thing, as that's a general problem with alterna-culture that applies to many, many other movements/events than yours. But flyers and posters might make Newmindspace's work seem less like an in-group thing and more inviting for people who don't happen to be on the email lists of anybody who's already participating. You've got a lot of potential volunteers to help; the wastefulness question is a nice thought but maybe a relatively small issue by comparison. Just a suggestion.

Posted by zoilus on March 20, 2007 1:17 AM



Haha, I actually appreciate your witty commentary and am for once relieved that we're not being taken too seriously.

Besides the sloppy factual inaccuracies (we didn't "ink" and "deals", we don't work for Cundari, they haven't been called "Integrated Advertising" for years, Tim Hortons isn't their client but the ROM, AGO and Nuit Blanche are, the list goes on) Liz's main crime was omission:

Our events are largely white because the only way we can advertise events for free is on the internet. White Canadians are more wired, on average, than non-white Canadians. It's as simple as that. We are trying to diversify but printing flyers and handing them out is wasteful and expensive.

Re: art, not all of our events are art, strictly-defined, but events like Night Lights and Radical Illumination are indeed intended to be art installations in the traditional sense, using light as a medium.

Anyway, time to go occupy myself with some "neighbourhood-level imperialism"!

Posted by Kevin Bracken on March 16, 2007 4:11 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson