Jacob Wren's Blog, page 8

December 11, 2015


e) Listen to people without MFAs or PhDs. Listen to people who have lived experience. Listen to people who are angry. Listen to people who are not being shown at galleries. Don’t tell us to be polite. Don’t police our voices. Just sit with it. Ask yourself why people are angry. Acknowledge any part you play in that.

f) If you have the urge to be a White Saviour and speak for us, just stop. Just turn off your laptop, back away from your desk and go make yourself useful by working in reciprocity with Indigenous people and/or POC. Ask yourself how you can amplify the work of POC and/or Indigenous people without centring Colonial institutions or legal orders or colonial voices.

- Zoe S.C. Todd

[You can read the rest of the article here: So long and thanks]


 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 11, 2015 16:00 • 4 views

December 9, 2015


I highly recommend this piece by Jesse B. Staniforth:

“of the North” – Quebec filmmaker uses YouTube and unauthorized music to portray the Inuit

As well, in a Facebook comment Jesse added this note:

The story I submitted was so much longer than it was supposed to be so a lot of it had to be cut for space (and they did a GREAT job). However, I originally ended with this coda, which I think is worth sharing:

I emailed Mara Gourd-Mercado for clarification about the statement, asking, “rather than presume the Indigenous audience of this film is misreading it, are you concerned that your reading of the film ‘confronting stereotypes’ is grounded in your lack of knowledge and experience of Indigenous communities? Do you stand by your contention that this film is critical of those stereotypes?”

Gourd-Mercado replied, “One of the main things we take away from our conversation last week and that is important for us to express right now is not the RIDM's perception of the film. We need to listen to the opinions that are emerging from the Inuit communities, and to establish communication channels with members of this community. We hope to be able to enter a more inclusive dialogue regarding the film and our programming moving forward. As we stated this takes time and we are ready to put in the work at any cost.”

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 09, 2015 18:43 • 15 views

December 8, 2015


(It seems I really do love lists. As is often the case with me, many of these things were released prior to 2015. I have listed them more or less in the order they gradually came to me.)


Bodymap – Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
In an I – Popahna Brandes
May ’68 and Its Afterlives – Kristen Ross
Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde
Lee Lozano: Dropout Piece – Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer
The Fourth World – Diamela Eltit
Bodies of Work: Essays – Kathy Acker
Tattooed Forever – Dalia Rosetti (story in Animal Shelter 3)
Her 37th Year, An Index – Suzanne Scanlon
Garments Against Women – Anne Boyer


Anything and everything by Hannah Black
Anything and everything by Jackie Wang


Aina More – For People With Short Attention Spans
Rapsody – Beauty & The Beast
Lexii Alijai – feel-less
Shamir – Rachet
Little Simz – A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons
Vince Staples - Summertime ‘06
THEESatisfaction – EarthEE
John Carter – Fields
Kelela – CUT 4 ME


Cuts Make The Country Better – Edith Brunette and François Lemieux
Talk Show – el instituto / SBC Gallery


its not a thing – keyon gaskin
Resistance Solo – Miguel Pereira
Uro – Anna Natt
J'AURAIS AIMÉ TRAVERSER – Elaine Juteau in collaboration with Andrée-Anne Giguère and Luis Felipe Ortega Gil

2 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 08, 2015 11:42 • 15 views

December 6, 2015


Sexism and racism in art
I now feel these are the questions
I will spend the rest of my life debating
as Raymond Boisjoly tweeted:
“...as if art was more important than
our responsibility to one another”
I have never particularly liked to argue
because I’ve never particularly
thought I was right
but like anyone I can easily be
pulled into an argument
especially on the internet
and then what
am I learning something?
I want to remain open
to listen, but the tone of the arguments
so often makes me feel
like arguing instead of listening
(not even talking about fascists or
trolls, but about complex, genuine,
distressing disagreements)
people generally don’t change so much
will anything I say
change anything you think
or vice versa, how or why?
I have been accused
of letting guilt run away with me
but what would it be like
to live in a more just world
and what is the correct
attitude to take us there
when I’m doing my best to
understand your argument
to listen, to be open
but all I really feel is disagreement
there is very little in my daily experience
that gives me any real sense of possibility
yet I know I must keep feeling
possibility regardless
regardless of our differences
regardless of my despair
I don’t want to get too lost
in the details
whether this work of art is sexist
or that one is racist
if you respectfully disagree we
can respectfully disagree
I don’t want to spend all my time
attacking works that ethically suck
would instead prefer to spend my time
praising works that are ethically
and artistically glorious
when something is sexist or racist
we have to speak out against it
loudly and clearly
even with the possibility that later
we might see other aspects
how to speak out yet avoid
these endless, go nowhere debates
stay off the internet
what is my opinion worth
so much less than my actions
I do so few actions
apart from making art
and I believe in art less than ever
but strangely, almost against my will,
I still somehow believe
all of this I write
from the bottom of a depression
which might not even be a depression
an alienation, a loneliness
a never-been-able-to-have-close-friends
an internet addiction
that has in some sense converted me
so I now see so much more racism and sexism
in art and in the world
and I thought I saw so much before
before the internet
when I was also lonely and alienated
my loneliness and alienation
also forms of luxury and privilege
the really fucked up thing about me
is I can always walk away
I never get that attached
this must be a defense mechanism
and how do we argue
without letting our defense mechanisms
carry us away
and how to make people feel structural inequality
how to make people feel structural inequality
how to feel structural inequality
fully and violently, so it would completely wrench my gut
gut me to the core of my privilege
gut me towards action
this isn’t a real poem
just some thoughts in the shape of a poem
when people are being killed in the streets
dying from lack of resources
in stupidly profitable wars
killed by their loved ones
we need poems of pure rage
this one is not
I do feel rage
don’t know if I have any right to it
can feel how I take up too much space
but not how to share the meager resources
our racist and sexist world grants me
I am starting to make attempts
through these attempts I begin to see
just how hard it is, how it doesn’t just work
everything in my life and work
an endless trial and error
the definition of praxis
and these attempts draw me into further debates
as I try to understand
why people say the things they do
if we could all replace our childhoods
with something more open
more generous
if I could snap my fingers
and capitalism would be gone
replaced with something
more caring and more hopeful
what kind of debates would we have then
what would they feel like
who would they be for
who would we be

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 06, 2015 18:12 • 12 views

Still thinking about this tweet from Raymond Boisjoly: "...as if art was more important than our responsibility to one another"

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 06, 2015 17:22 • 6 views

December 3, 2015

November 30, 2015


We are not a resource to feed into your next artistic project. You may be talented at your particular craft but do not assume that this automatically translates to an ethical, responsible and self-determining process. Understand community cultural development methodology but also understand that it is not a full-proof methodology. Who and what institutions are benefiting from the exchange?

- Tania Canas, from Some points to consider if you’re an artist who wants to make work about refugees 

[You can read the rest of the essay here.]

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on November 30, 2015 16:23 • 9 views

November 29, 2015


"Many of us watched the of the North controversy billow up over the course of the past week. It’s fascinating to witness something that so few people saw gain such traction, but it’s also heartening that the reaction was so strong. Though social media is a terrifying identity construction machine through which we pick and choose the values by which we wish to be known by others and an arguably imbalanced tool for popular education, it’s an easy outlet for denouncing and condemning racism. Many wish for there to be a greater share of consideration, understanding and love towards those who’ve been especially disadvantaged, dispossessed and whose well-being is still not the bottom line of our own free will. I tried to watch the film, but by the time I got around to it, the circulated link was removed. We've heard from articulate folks that it is cruel, and I've heard from very wise and loving people that it was also beautiful. I vacillate between desire to have accessed the coveted object of discussion and the discomfort of yet again being in a position of witnessing a stilted perspective enabled by a tool for self-broadcast and public institutions that intend on increasing diversity content, and crafted by a singular privileged viewpoint. Rationally, the film being seen by more people could create a better context for conversation about its controversial content, and yet intuitively, the film being seen by more people will invariably wound the people in it, as well as so many others who identify with them. This isn’t about censorship against free speech, political correctness against artistry. The time of distanced, self-profiting voyeuristic cultural practices, particularly in our post-Truth and Reconciliation nation(s) is over. And how about making humility as valuable as creativity?

-  Patricia Boushel

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on November 29, 2015 11:26 • 11 views

November 28, 2015


When people hear the word racist their first impulse is to become defensive, to say that they're not racist, etc. But we were all raised in a racist and sexist culture and we all have racism inside of us. It only gets worse if you disavow it.

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on November 28, 2015 22:52 • 16 views