4Cs Archive 2018

CCCC 4 January 17- 2018

Kathy Bergquist led this meeting, and had assigned a book  by Srdja Popovic, Matthew Miller: Blueprint for Revolution – How to use rice pudding, Lego men, and other nonviolent techniques to galvanize communities, overthrow dictators or simply change the world. (New York: Spiegel and Grau 2015)Blueprint for a Revolution ,

which is available at the Ottawa Public Library:

Book Shelf 2017 Research in Art - Google Chrome 12272017 123918 PM.bmp


At the January CCCC meeting, it was clear that people were inspired by the book, and were coming up with ideas.

Kathy writes:

I have attached an image of the list of actions that we, as artists, might want to take to address specific, current concerns related to the ideas we are discussing.

It is easy enough to look around and see serious problems, and to sense that in some way they are connected to each other; it is much harder to think of how to address them through art in ways that expose the problem(s) and hopefully, promote movement toward meaningful change. It feels essential to apply our creativity and to try; if we don’t, then what do we have to say that is relevant?

Anyway, I look forward to more discussion, and to consideration that leads to action.

Kathy Bergquist

,  “Staying with the trouble” is the hard, and essential, part of making change!

Kathy also provided a list of reading resources:

A novel detailing how a dictator rises to power and dismantles democracy, It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis, first published in 1935, and published as a Penguin Classic in 2017. Interestingly, Popovic’s first chapter is titled, It Can Never Happen Here, which is frequently the reaction of most would-be revolutionaries to the potential for success of non-violent revolution. What is critical for everyone to understand is that anything can happen anywhere, if the conditions are right:dictators and despots rise to power, people re-claim a place, a political system, a world for themselves.

Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics, by Emily Eliza Scott and Kirsten Svenson, University of California Press, 2015. Several great essays on a range of topics, and helpful notes and resources at the end of each essay.

Clear, concise definition of colonialism with a good bibliography, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/colonialism/

People might want to check out the web site, http://canvasopedia.org/ which is full of interesting resources, and see how some of the strategies might be applied by artists.
Also, if people visit this page https://www.researchgate.net/search and enter the terms “art and activism” many interesting things come up.
Both web sites are intended as starting points for the imagination.

——————————————————————————————————————————————CCCC 5: Wednesday February 21, 2:00PM to 4:00 PM

Read Maude Barlow HERE

maude barlow

From Doris:

I believe that I need to narrow down the subject of water for the next CCCC.  I would like to focus more on the effect of ‘plastic’ in the ocean and water ways. This is also closer to my own art concern. I would like the participants to look at these videos to start the discussion:



as well as some of the content from this page


and my video—Cassandre—


and if they have the time and the desire, to look at the UNESCO site


http://www.marlisco.eu/tl_files/marlisco/mixed-images/Final%20Marlisco%20leaflet.pdf :


—————————————————————————————————————————————– Meeting 6, Karina KraenzleWednesday April 18th 2018,  10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon

Karina writes:I have tried to centre the discussion on capitalism itself, both in relation to climate crisis as well as to many other issues.

1. Tim Swinehart: “Stealing and Selling Nature: Why We Need to Reclaim “the Commons” in the Curriculum  A short summary of how the theft of the commons has a long history associated with capitalism (and colonialism) and how that got us to where we are now in terms of climate crisis.

2. An explanation of Capitalism https://marketplace.regent-college.edu/ideas-media/business-economy/what-is- capitalism

3. Another explanation of capitalism https://fee.org/articles/what-is-capitalism-anyway/

4. A talk by Naomi Klein. In fact, in this keynote address to the San Miguel Writers Fest in 2017, she cleverly brings together her last three books, No Logo, (about marketing and branding), The Shock Doctrine (her book about disaster capitalism) and her latest book, This Changes Everything (about Climate change and capitalism) to form her analysis of the current state of affairs vis a vis capitalism, politics and climate change. It’s about an hour long, so make yourself a cup of tea and have a look HERE

5. For those of you who are interested in The Leap Manifesto, (referred to in the previous talk) here is the link: https://leapmanifesto.org/en/the-leap-manifesto/

6. I’d also like to suggest the documentary Saving Capitalism (a bit over an hour long), based on the book by Robert Reich, public policy professor at Berkeley and former labour secretary to Clinton. It’s both interesting and entertaining, mainly focussed on the U.S. Available on Netflix. (N.B. Reich also hosts a fabulous podcast called Resistance Report, which gives context to current U.S. politics – and suggestions for citizen activism)

7. The link below is a brief synopsis of Thomas Picketty’s book Capital, which came out a couple of years ago, and made waves for its detailed (lots of charts and graphs) analysis of the history of capitalism, particularly focusing on wealth distribution and inequality. Its importance lies in its thorough quantitative analysis of data over long periods of time that proves what many people had already intuited. It’s a 700-page tome and requires a lot of commitment to read – hence, the synopsis. 🙂 https://hbr.org/2014/04/pikettys-capital-in-a-lot-less-than-696-pages


-Meeting 7- Carmel Whittle

We collaborated with Gallery 101 on this part of our study.

The meeting took place on Wednesday June 20th, at G101, 280 Catherine Street

Facilitated by Carmel Whittle, G101’s Community Outreach Indigenous Liaison

I’d like to thank Carmel Whittle for facilitating, and G 101 staff (Laura and Georgia) for setting the stage for a deeply engaging discussion on (re-)conciliation. This could be the beginning of a productive collaboration between RIA and G101!
Comments, questions and afterthoughts are always welcome. Send them to me and I can post them on this page.
Here is a link to the CBC site Beyond 94: Where is Canada at with reconciliation?

Carmel writes;

Our Call To Action: to collaborate

RIA and Gallery101

What to expect?

Gallery 101, in collaboration with RIA is planning a series of readings and discussions on reconciliation. Our first session will be on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018, from 2:00 PM to 4:00PM at Gallery 101.

We have a short amount of time to work with and my suggestion is to record your findings, your understandings of what you have read, in particularly look to the issue of Appropriation. I will suggest that some of the work in your researching and exploring be written in a journal. If there are questions, thoughts that could be discussed in our sessions then you could refer to your journal.

There will be a hand-out at the end of our 1st session and i will call them our “Action Guide 2018”. The Action Guide will have a number of activities that will help in learning more about Indigenous culture, ceremony, art & traditional practices.

Look forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday, June 20th.

Carmel A. Whittle

G101 Community Outreach Indigenous Liaison

280 Catherine Street

Ottawa, ON


Calls to Action Summary – 20 pages


Recommended reading below: It is important to read the following two excerpts before proceeding to the recommended readings for our June session.

What we have learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation,

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015

The 500+ pages of the Executive Summary include calls to action in detail and contains the discussion leading to each call to action. Please read the following excerpts:

1. Pages 113-126: “Reconciliation”


The 10 principles (on pp. 125 and 126) are very important to understand when working through the many layers of what it means to work towards reconciliation. The principles can be referred to when direction is required or, as Sinclair points out, there will be confusion, there will be difficult conversations. The principles can be something we can return to as we work our way through the sessions on colonization

There is mention of the Royal Commission which i had introduced in our previous

gathering. There is much to be said for stories in this short article but i think it will

support what we are discovering together, which is knowing our story and in turn listening to others.

2. Pages 279 – 292 of the Executive Summary: “The arts: Practising resistance, healing, and reconciliation.”


1st session: Truth and Reconciliation: Recommendation #83,

Wednesday, June 20, 2:00PM – 4:00PM at Gallery 101,

280 Catherine St. Ottawa

We call upon the Canada Council for the arts to establish, as a funding priority, as strategy for indigenous and non-indigenous Artist to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process.”

Please read the following two articles from the complete West Coast Line publication online: Summer edition, 2012:

1: David Garneau: “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” West Coast Line, Summer 2012

2Alex Janvier: “Reflections” (Remarks and Interview) Interview by Jonathan Dewar, West Coast Line, Summer 2012  pages 12 – 21

Both files can be downloaded from the West Coast Line webpage


The readings below are readings in your own time they are not required for the first session:

The Survivors Speak (259 pages)


Additional resource

Canadian Public Opinion on Aboriginal Peoples 2016

http://nctr.ca/assets/reports/Modern%20Reports/canadian_public_opinion.pdf pp. 45-50 Grouping of Canadian opinions as determined by this study – positive and negative.

Other Sources:

Mediatropes An academic journal on indigenous issues:


Restoration of Tribal Government and Soveignty,  etc.


Lindsay Day, Ashlee Cunsolo, Heather Castleden, Debbie Martin, Catherine Hart, Tim Anaviapik-Soucie, George Russell, Clifford Paul, Cate Dewey, Sherilee L. Harper

And here’s a link to Carleton University’s CIRCLE:

The Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language and Education (CIRCLE) strives to facilitate the research, and delivery of linguistic and cultural materials of the First Peoples of North America as well as all Canadians. A special focus is on cultural expressions linked with music and language, both for Aboriginal Canadians and other indigenous people

Indigenous environmental justice works to turn long-standing stewardship into recognized governance

Deborah McGregor is an associate professor at York University’s environmental studies program and Osgoode Hall law school in Toronto. She is the information and education program manager for the Tribal Natural Resources Department with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation. (Submitted by Deborah McGregor)

Decolonization, Reconciliation, and the Extra-Rational Potential of the Arts

cheyanne turions
March 23, 2016

cheyanne turions

cheyanne turionscheyanne turions is an independent curator and writer who holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia, and is currently pursing a master’s degree in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto. From the farmlands of Treaty 8, she is of settler and Indigenous ancestry. She sits on the Board of Directors for Kunstverein Toronto, the Editorial Advisory Committee for C Magazine and the Advisory Board for the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. She is the director of No Reading After the Internet (Toronto). Photo credit: Yuula Benivolski


-Meeting 8 Carmel Whittle, Lori Victor

The CCCC Study group will meet on

Wednesday September 19th, 2018, at G101 from 2:00 P.M to 4:00 P.M.

Readings suggested by Lori Victor:




Please note:The readings that were originally posted for September, have been moved HERE, and will (possibly) be discussed in the October meeting.

We’ll be continuing our topic of (de)colonization, turning our attention to the issue of cultural appropriation. The session is facilitated again by Carmel Whittle, Community Outreach Indigenous Liaison at Gallery 101, who is collaborating with Lori Victor on this event. Three short articles are required reading and can be found below.  This event will take place at G101, 280 Catherine Street, where the exhibition pîkiskwe-speak: An Invitation to Conversations in Reconciliation is on view. Please RSVP to researchinart.ria@gmail.com

Carmel writes: 

Hello everyone
I hope you all had a wonderful summer holiday. I hope you had an opportunity to see Indigenous art, listen to Indigenous speakers, attend workshops and/or perhaps attended a Pow Wow. I am looking forward to hearing your stories and experiences when we meet again on Wed. Sept. 22nd at Gallery 101, 2 – 4 p.m. (280 Catherine Street across from the bus station)

This third conversation in our series will look at appropriation in the arts, and continue to work with the articles recommended by Lori Victor (see below). We’ll continue our discussion of what constitutes appropriation and its implications for Indigenous artist, community and culture. I have invited Lori to share her experience as an artist and her encounter with Indigenous perspective on an installation she presented in the past.

Returning to Garneau’s article, Imaginary spaces of conciliation and reconciliation, I would like to recommend the excerpt below for our consideration:


DAVID GARNEAU, page 38 West coast line, summer, 2012.

“Art is not healing in itself, but it can be in relation. Art is a stimulant and a balm when taken internally, but dangerous if mistaken for experience. There is a profound difference between reading signs and being engaged by a symbol. Sharing in a discourse about histories, responsibility, and transformation among artworks and with other human beings is a corrective to the colonial desire for settlement.

The paintings at the start of this essay, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective Meeting and Aboriginal Advisory Circle Meeting, try to picture irreconcilable spaces of Aboriginality without giving away any content. I want to signal that something interesting is going on beyond the colonial gaze. At the same time, by using dominant culture vernacular, I want to show that what happens in these spaces is very like what happens in similar spaces but with different people. While the core of Aboriginality is incompletely available to non-Native people, Settlers who come to spaces of conciliation not to repair Indians but to heal themselves, who come not as colonizers but with a conciliatory attitude to learn and share as equals, may be transformed.” (p.38)

Read the complete article HERE

In conclusion I would like to share a link to Mi’kmaq artist Ursula Johnson’s extraordinary exhibition, the Indian Truck House of High Art, shown in June 2018 at the Central Art Garage here in Ottawa, which speaks directly to cultural appropriation. Please check out this short clip: The Indian Truck House of High Art

The CCCC discussions are open to anyone, but please RSVP to researchinart.ria@gmail.com


-Meeting 9: Anthropocene

Wednesday, October 10, 2 PM to 4PM, 

at RIA . Facilitated by Petra Halkes

Please RSVP researchinart.ria@gmail.com for your personal invitation and the address

Please note: As Rene and I are away for part of October, our next discussion will take place on the second Wednesday this month, not the usual third Wednesday.


1. 4Cs’ Direction in its second year.

2. Anthropocene, the word, the exhibition.

Summer readings sent in by members have been moved to the Bookshelf

1. 4Cs’ Direction in its second year.

This October, the Capitalism, Colonialism and Climate Change Study Group has been meeting at RIA or at local galleries for one year.

It may be time to ruminate a little on where the group wants to go in the second year, what it wants to read, see, and learn about. 4Cs is a group without a teacher; as initiator and communicator I wait (more or less!) for people to suggest directions.

This time I will facilitate the discussion (and choose a text to read.) I suggest we give ourselves a bit of time for self-reflection at the beginning of our meeting and discuss some ideas that have been floated:

Rob Snikkar let me know that he would like to discuss white privilege with us, sometime soon. It is an important aspect of (de)colonialization, which is an issue that we will continue to grapple with in a series of discussions on reconciliation, that we have inserted in the 4Cs study group. That series takes place at Gallery 101, with Carmel Whittle, G101’s indigenous outreach person. Carmel and I will be planning another session in the fall, in which people will be invited to bring a piece of their art work and talk about their concerns with appropriation in relation to this work. Date TBA.

Note: In the October 10th meeting we will not be talking yet about our dormant proposal for an exhibition, Collab for Change. Wait for this, later this fall.

Please note that (some) documentation, discussions and suggested readings of previous 4Cs sessions can be found on the RIA Website. (works better on your computer than on your phone, sorry)

Topic 2: Anthropocene, the word, the exhibition.

RIA has endorsed the Systems Change Not Climate Change event organized by the Ottawa New Socialists that will take place on October 13. The event consists of a gallery tour and public meeting on the occasion of the opening of the National Gallery of Canada’s photo and film exhibition, Anthroposcene. You can find the poster and a link to their facebook page here: https://researchinartottawa.wordpress.com/news/

Recommended Reading and viewing for 4Cs’ October 10 meeting:

If you missed the opening and/or the curator’s tour of the exhibition Anthropocene at the National Gallery of Canada, I recommend you see it before our meeting:

Free Admission to the National Collection

  • Every Thursday 5–8 pm
  • Sunday September 30, 2018 (Culture Days)


Suggested Reading:

Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chtulhocene,” Donna Haraway in conversation with Martha Kenney, in: Heather Davis and Etinne Turping (eds), Art in the Anthropocene – Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies. Open Humanities Press 2015.

Please note that one of the editors of this book, Heather Davis, will be speaking at the NGC on November 24.

You can access a pdf with Haraway’s conversation directly HERE.

Why I chose this text:

I hope you will like this text. Read it as poetry. A conversation rather than an essay, it gives no tightly argued theses, but breaks boundaries and wanders off in loops and figures, throws curves and bends and turns words to uncover new meanings. Haraway plays with words that are borrowed and invented, sometimes absurd, sometimes scientific, but always based in the biological, the visceral organic motility of growth, life and death. Her earthiness and her strong conviction that there is no space between nature and culture–humanity is completely entangled with nature– encourages tactile, visual thinking. What could be more inspiring to artists?

This text is not only good reading for our discussion on the Anthropocene, but also for our reflection on where we want to go as a group. We want to remain flexible, open to all, working and thinking together. So pay attention to what Haraway says on sympoiesis – making together. We’ll also use one of Haraway’s favourite words,tentacular. With fingeryeyes we will remain open to urgencies and snatch opportunities as they appear! With Haraway’s words we can “figure” our group.

As for the Anthropocene discussion, look at the argument she makes for changing the word to Capitalocene.Rather than blaming our species as a whole for Climate Change, Capitalocene points to a cause, a cause that can be addressed. Such a word opens up response-ability, rather than helpless communal guilt.

Haraway’s remarks on the word Anthropos as opposed to human, are particularly pertinent for our conversation. She said:

“The Anthropocene has had a conflicted etymological history. A number of experts think of anthropos as ‘the one who looks up from the earth,’ the one who is earth-bound, of the earth, but looking up, fleeing the elemental and abyssal forces, “astralized.” “Human” is a better figure for our species, if we want a species word, because of its tie to humus, compost.”(p.233)

Though earthbound, the idea of human as Anthropos, ‘the one who looks up from the earth,’ gives us a sense of vision as distanced. If our eyes can go that far into space, we can imagine being there, far above earth and death, in the infinite heavens. We can imagine, and actively search for, a godly view of earth, a panoramic view that gives us a sense of control over all that we see below. This will give us, we imagine, a feeling of oneness with the world, while at the same time gaining a sense of power over all. (endnote 1)

In giving us just such a panoramic view of the destruction of the earth through his aerial photographs, what is the effect of Burtynski’s exhibition Anthropocene on its viewers? Could we talk about that?

Haraway talks about re-figuring our surveying vision that has been so potent in shaping our western, industrialized colonizing culture: “[ ] vision can be figured as

touch, not distance, as entwined with, or negatively curving in loops and frills, not

surveying from above.” (p.232)

Haraway’s haptic vision leads us back to art practice. Her interest in artists, which include writers and especially sf writers who have become, she says, “more and more essential to my material practice,” comes as no surprise,(p.237)

So I’ll end my introduction here with a link to a website for the Hyperbolic Crochet CoralReef Project initiated by Margaret and Christine Wertheim, that Haraway talks extensively about:


Enjoy and be inspired!

And let me know if you plan to attend our discussion on the 10th!



1. I wrote about this most recently in an essay for Shirley Yik’s exhibition Anthrop-o-rama in RIA’s Artist Project Room


-Meeting 10 Carmel Whittle

This was our third session on Decolonization/Reconciliation, facilitated by Carmel Whittle. This meeting took place at Gallery 101 on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, from : 2:00P.M. – 4:00P.M.


Mitch Speed:”What is to be Learned, What is to be Done? Thomas Hirschhorn at the Remai Modern.” (Momus, May 4 – 2018)



Ms. Viso is an independent curator and museum consultant, and former museum director of the Walker Art Center

Podcast: “3 Indigenous writers discuss cultural appropriation with CBC’s Rosanna Deerchild”


 CBC May 17, 2017


“Dirty Words: Appropriation.” Aylan Couchie, Raven Davis and Chief Lady Bird address the emotional fallout of cultural appropriation in a conversation moderated by Lindsay Nixon. Canadian Art: Features, May 16, 2018