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Archive for the ‘Nature humaine / Human nature’ Category

But this is not why she bought the pictures, way back then. She bought them because she wanted them. She wanted something that was in them, although she could not have said at the time what it was. It was not peace : she does not find them peaceful in the least. Looking at them fills her with a wordless unease. Despite the fact that there are no people in them or even animals, it’s as if there is something, or someone, looking back out.” – Margaret Atwood, “Death by Landscape” in Wilderness Tips (Toronto : Emblem Editions, 1999), 92.

A significant difficulty of this project is the vulnerable position I put myself into. This vulnerability is voluntary and part of the boundaries of what I would like to test. How do others choose to treat me when I put myself at their disposition? Where are the limits of respect in our engagement? Will others abuse or take advantage of me?

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Canada’s Most Wanted and Most Unwanted Colours
Les couleurs les plus et les moins désirées par les Canadiens

Komar & Melamid Blue / Bleu 30%
Green / Vert 18%
Beige 8%
Maroon / Bordeaux 6%
Yellow / Jaune 5%
Purple / Violet 5%
Teal /Sarcelle 5%
Peach / Pêche 4%
Pink / Rose 4%
Red / Rouge 3%
Black / Noir 2%
Brown / Brun 1%
Orange 1%
Fuchsia 1%
Grey / Gris 1%
Mauve 1%
Other / Autre 1%
Don’t know / Sans préférence 3%

Anthony Kiendl, Bruce Grenville. Komar & Melamid: Canada’s Most Wanted and Most Unwanted (Regina : Dunlop Art Gallery, 1999), 8

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…il est important de réconsidérer la place des oeuvres dans le système global de l’économie, symbolique ou matérielle, qui régit la société contemporaine : pour nous, au-delà de son charactère marchand ou de sa valeur sémantique, l’oeuvre d’art représent un interstice social. Ce terme d’interstice fut utilisé par Karl Marx pour qualifier des communautés d’échanges échappant au cadre de l’économie capitaliste, car soustraites à la loi du profit : troc, ventes à perte, production autarciques, etc. L’interstice est un espace de relations humaines qui, tour en s’insérent plus ou moins harmonieusement et ouvertement dans le système global, suggère d’autres possibilités d’échanges que celles qui sont en vigeur dans ce système.” — Nicolas Bourriaud, Esthétique relationnelle, (Dijon : Les Presses du réel, 2001), 16.

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The Western idea of the autonomous ‘figure in the landscape’ is no longer accepted in critical discourse, yet it remains a pervasive myth in general culture, one that answers to a deeply felt desire for trancendance.” — Petra Halkes, Aspiring to the Landscape : On painting and the Subject of Nature (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2006), 145.

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What might appear as contradictory, that is, the fact that economic globalization seems to be accompanied by an increase of cultural divisions, is only so on the surface. It is a fact that, in a world where exchanges of goods and ideas are more and more frequent on an international level, people are increasingly aware of the unique characteristics of their own local cultures. Similarly, and it is particularly obvious in the European Union, the disappearance of the old national borders when it comes to goods and persons, has made the artificiality of these borders very clear: the creation of national identities — a recent phenomenon after all — and the political desire to brand and localize them within artificial boundaries has far too often very little to do with any sense of local belonging. It is not possible to differentiate clearly the elements of local cultures from those of national cultures: if the local culture is made up, for instance, of elements like the language we use with family and close friends, as well as the type of food or clothing one is used to wearing, the national culture is made up, for example, of historical events and stories often associated to the ‘nation-building’ movements of the past.” — Frank Vigneron, “On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the handover …” Asia Art Archive News Letter 7 June (2007). (Accessed June 20th 2007)

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Economic laws appear “to be like natural laws, that they are not made by man to regulate free acts of exchange but are functions of the productive conditions of society as a whole where all activities are leveled down to the human body’s metabolism with nature and where no exchange exists but only consumption” — Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition. (Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1958), 209 quoted in Kieran Bonner, ” Understanding Placemaking : Economics, Politics and Everyday Life in the Culture of Cities,” Canadian Journal of Urban Research 11, no 1 (2002), 2.

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The topographical views of military officers were in fact simply one manifestation of the romantic inclination of English gentlemen of the later eighteenth century to delight in the splendours of natural scenery or anything they found in their travels that was charmingly primitive, rough, quaint, or exotic — in a word picturesque. — Dennis Reid. A Concise History of Canadian Painting. 2nd ed. (Toronto : Oxford University Press, 1988), 19.

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