At Least Five Difficulties: A Symposium on Artists’ Publishing is a three-day symposium focused on the real and potential role of artists’ books, zines, and democratic multiples as a social agent in communities at large, and as a force for change within the art world, during an era of rising authoritarian movements internationally. Our title refers to Bertolt Brecht’s essay Fünf Schwierigkeiten beim Schreiben der Wahrheit, or Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth (1934), an essay about the difficulties of using writing to oppose fascism. The problems elucidated by Brecht can be extended to art-making in general, but are particularly relevant to the distribution and selective formation of publics that is characteristic of artists’ publishing. The symposium is intended for artist-publishers, curators, and scholars from Canada and internationally, with special focus on artist-publishers embodying and working with queer, indigenous, disabled, working class, gender equity, and people-of-colour publics and issues within the context of artists’ publishing, but not excluding other types of activist focus.
A keynote presentation will be made by Martha Wilson, founder of Franklin Furnace Archive, and a keynote exhibition by Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press will be presented in the Libby Leshgold Gallery during the symposium.
Schedule (all locations are at Emily Carr University, 520 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver)
Friday, July 12, 6:00 pm: Fiona Banner in conversation with Kathy Slade (Rennie Hall)
Followed by a reception for the exhibition Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Pressn (Libby Leshgold Gallery)
Saturday, July 13 1:00 pm: Welcome, followed by “Revisiting Brecht’s Five Difficulties”, a talk by Kay Higgins (Rennie Hall) 2:30 pm: “Publication as a Transformative Strategy”, a talk by Laura Daviña of Publication Studio São Paulo (Rennie Hall) 4:00 pm: a talk by Sebastién Aubin (Rennie Hall) 6:30 pm: Keynote presentation by Martha Wilson (Reliance Theatre) followed by a reception
Sunday, July 14, 2:00 pm: “Can Artist Publishers Be Useful?” A group discussion moderated by Marc Fischer of Temporary Services/Half-Letter Press, followed by a publication exchange and barbeque
Libby Leshgold Gallery acknowledges that it is located on unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
We are grateful for the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and presenting sponsor RBC Wealth Management.