Dexter Sinister presents ``A More Athletic Sense of Agency,'' tomorrow night TUESDAY JANUARY 26, 7 PM at Every Letter In The Alphabet, 1875 Powell Street (at Victoria) as part of the exhibition An Invitation to An Infiltration at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. Dexter Sinister will read excerpts from The First/Last Newspaper. This is the first of five consecutive evening events. Details for each will be announced the night before together with a brief preparatory text:

Largely assembled from a collection of concise, diverse profiles originally written for a variety of style and Sunday supplement magazines during the decade itself, The Nineties operates at an odd speed. The book combines the immediacy and involvement of real-time journalism with the delay and detachment of reflective commentary. Its affairs remain too recent and their effects too tangible to be considered at a remove, as ``history.'' Seen in relation to a school with an obvious stake in contemporary culture, then, what we might call The Nineties' keen disinterest in immediate history offers a working model, an editorial premise applied in order to gauge the condition from within or as close as seems reasonably possible.

One of Bracewell's more vivid conceits is to isolate ``frothy coffee'' as the decade's all-purpose signifier, one of a few infantile treats he suggests amount to the ``Trojan Horse of cultural materialism.'' On reading this, a friend noted the not unlikely scenario of reading about what he calls the ``Death by Cappucino effect'' while drinking a cappucino, and it occurred to me that in an art/design school, such discomfiting self-awareness might be harnessed towards realizing a sense of ``criticism'' more pertinent than merely discussing someone else's work within the confines of its disciplinary vacuum. A ``criticism,'' rather, that refers to the ability and inclination to confront, engage with, and communally discuss a subject as it happens whether a piece of work, a cultural condition, or the relation between one and the other. The end of Bracewell's summary seems to call for as much, diagnosing the cumulative outcome of the nineties as ``post-political,'' a state of impotence characterized by a ``Fear of Subjectivity.'' Slavoj Zizek similarly evokes a state where reflection and reflexivity have been undermined to such an extent that ``it's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of Capitalism.'' The aim of this exercise would be to nurture this critical attitude towards reinstating a more athletic sense of agency.


Posted 25 January 2010 19:12:34


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