SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES

 

Breach welcomes submissions in the form of art criticism, exhibition reviews, essays and interviews from both established and emerging writers, artists, curators, activists, academics, and students. All issues center around a theme, more information on which can be found further down this page.

Please adhere to these guidelines when formatting your submission.

For completed works:

  • send the text in .docx or .pdf format
  • include an abstract of max. 500 words
  • include a bio of max. 100 words

For proposals:

  • send the proposal of max. 500 words as a .docx file, .pdf file, or text email
  • include an estimated word count
  • include a writing sample
  • include a bio of max. 100 words

Writers are encouraged to include images with their submission, if possible. Please obtain permission from the owner of the images, using the Image Permissions Form.

All submissions will be responded to within one week of the deadline. Selected works will then undergo a several-weeks-long editing process via email to prepare the text for publication.

Send all proposals, completed works, and queries to info@breachmagazine.ca


ISSUE 4 | JUNE 2016
THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION OF CANADA

Deadline: March 31 2016

 

Breach is currently accepting submissions for its fourth issue, on the theme of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) [1]. The forthcoming collection of texts is intended to continue the work already being carried out by artists, academics and others who have voiced criticisms of the TRC, including hesitations regarding the role of contemporary art within the commission [2].

Acknowledging that it’s been a year since the “close” of the TRC last spring, Breach intends to emphasize that the destruction wrought by Canada’s Indian residential school system is neither closed nor resolved. The residential schools were but one part of the multifaceted and ongoing colonial agenda of the Canadian empire to eliminate the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island through both overt brutality and seemingly-benevolent assimilation policies [3]. At this time, it’s neither too late to continue questioning the TRC, nor too early to begin taking note of its legacy.

Though this call is primarily concerned with the relationship between the TRC and the arts, it does not exclude the perspectives of people rooted in other disciplines who might focus on aspects of the TRC outside of the purview of art and culture. Such contributions might come from individuals and self-described activists involved in social movements and affinity groups concerned with decolonization in so-called Canada.

Prompts to consider:

  • How was intergenerational responsibility and complicity addressed by the TRC? Was the issue of ongoing colonialism and white supremacy sidelined in favor of an approach that placed blame on people and institutions located in the past? In what ways have artists directed attention to the decolonial work that needs to be done in the present day?

  • Ally politics is arguably a means of attempting to undermine one’s own privilege by following the lead of an oppressed group. Ally politics encourages passivity rather than activity, and involves the forfeiture of the “ally’s” agency, responsibility, and accountability [4]. In what ways are settler artists moving beyond the rhetoric of ally politics—exploring and exercising settler responsibility, acknowledging and articulating their experiences, and critically examining their positions within the context of this country’s colonial history [5]?

  • The choice of “reconciliation” over “conciliation” has been interpreted by some as a stand-in for assimilation [6]. Is reconciliation incongruous with decolonization and decoloniality? How did the TRC deal with the choice by some individuals to refuse reconciliation, and in what ways did artists create spaces for this refusal?

  • How did the TRC draw attention away from the ongoing environmental concerns and land claims disputes that Indigenous peoples have been struggling with up to the present day? Did the TRC incorrectly (or strategically) frame the residential school system as the sole obstacle preventing harmonious Indigenous-settler relations? In what ways have artists directed attention towards other facets of colonialism that were largely ignored by the TRC?

  • The TRC exhibitions can be seen as the continuation of the centuries-long colonial desire to know, understand, and translate other cultures. It has been noted that the exhibition processes of the TRC were not only problematic, but also, at times, inconsiderate of the experiences of some artists and individuals [7]. How were these risks navigated by artists and curators?

 

Please direct proposals, texts, and queries to info@breachmagazine.ca before March 31 2016. You will be notified of the status of your submission on April 1 2016. Selected texts will then undergo on editing process over a two month period, and be published on the website on June 1 2016.

 

 

[1] The original TRC website can be found at <http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=3>. Since the “completion” of the “first stage” of the TRC, the work of the commission has been moved to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, found at <http://nctr.ca/map.php>.

[2] See: West Coast Line 74, Vol. 46(2), Summer 2012.
The Land We Are, eds. Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill and Sophie McCall, Winnipeg: ARP Books, 2015

[3] Here I take a cue from David Garneau, who writes that “Canada is a modern empire in that it rules over a vast geography comprised of numerous ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse (First, Métis, and Inuit) Nations." David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” in West Coast Line 74, Vol. 46(2), Summer 2012.

[4] M., “From Charity to Solidarity: A Critique of Ally Politics” in Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism, ed. Cindy Milstein, XXX: AK Press, 2015.

[5] See Leah Decter and Carla Taunton, “Addressing the Settler Problem” in in Fuse Magazine, Vol. 36(4), September 2013.

[6] See David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” in West Coast Line 74, Vol. 46(2), Summer 2012.

[7] See "Adrian Stimson" Interview with Jonathan Dewar, in The Land We Are, eds. Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill and Sophie McCall, Winnipeg: ARP Books, 2015.


ISSUE 3 | DECEMBER 2015
 NEW INSTITUTIONAL REHEARSAL

Deadline: October 4 2015

 

For issue 3, Breach is accepting submissions on the theme of new institutional structures as they relate to contemporary art and artists—schools and pedagogies that resist curriculums or standardized assessments; galleries and artist-run centres that operate without a gallery space or traditional staff roster; collectives and organizations with funding models that circumvent government funding and grant applications.

Texts may delve into the circumstances—social, political, economic—that have contributed to the creation of these new institutional structures. Parallels may be drawn to experiments being undertaken within international communities and other disciplines.

Writers are encouraged to examine tangential subjects raised by discussions of these new institutional structures—the benefits and drawbacks of horizontality versus verticality [1]; the pros and cons of longevity versus ephemerality; catering to small niche audiences as opposed to larger, more diverse ones; the importance of fiction in conceptualizing new institutional structures [2]; unorthodox methods of measuring the "success" of various artistic endeavours.

Above all, Breach is interested in new institutional structures that attempt to resist capitalist relations and neoliberal interests, and the analyses and experiences of writers, artists, curators, collectives, academics, and other arts professionals who share these same concerns.

 

 

[1] See Institutional Attitudes: Instituting Art in a Flat World. Gielen, Pascal (ed). Amsterdam: Valiz, 2013.

[2] Ibid, p. 12. “[O]ur ability to oscillate between non-fiction and fiction is crucial in imagining other worlds, in being creative, in presenting different models of society or in addressing ecological issues. The empirical ‘reality’ of an imaginary world allows for both daydreaming and the forging of the most utopian plans. The sobering return from this fictional world to reality then generates the chance to try out these things.”


ISSUE 2 | SEPTEMBER 2015
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND LABOUR

Deadline: July 15 2015

 

“Doing art means displacing art’s borders, just as doing politics means displacing the borders of what is acknowledged as the political” [1].

Breach is now accepting submissions for issue 2, on the theme of art and social movements. While acknowledging that “art as a practice, inasmuch as it is about what can be seen, said and heard in a given social order, is already political if we consider how it is an individual pursuit that is nevertheless a social event” [2], Breach is interested in the overlapping terrains of “art” and “politics;" the possible points of engagement between contemporary art practice and the newest social movements [3]; and the potential for exchanges of knowledges, structures, and methods between the two.

The following are suggested points of departure, though they represent only a small portion of the possibilities:

  • Christian Scholl uses “disruption” and “confrontation” to roughly categorize two kinds of activist art; that which seeks reform, and that which initiates direct action [4]. How should the “success” or “efficacy” of art that purports to be "activist" in nature be measured? The amount of money it raises? The awareness it draws to an issue? The actions it inspires? The media coverage it garners? The critical theory it advances? The actual changes it affects in people’s lives?

  • To what extent does art that purports to be politically-motivated reflect the incompetency of NGO activism? According to BAVO, “NGO art in fact is characterized by a denial of politics: the question of what can be done here and now, and how this can be achieved most efficiently is more important than exposing and combating more underlying structures—which should be the essence of politics." Reasoning and operating more like humanitarian organizations or NGOs "rather than addressing the larger, political issues, they focus on what they can do immediately for the affected individuals or groups within the limitations of the feasible” [5].

  • If an artwork "only tries to convey a radical message, but is produced under capitalist production relations," can it ever "contribute to a revolutionary practice” [6]? How important is it that art oppose the capitalist machinery, and how best to do so? By impeding existing structures? By dropping out? By being "useless" [7]? 

  • In the current social climate, which forms of politically-motivated art are privileged and which are illegitimized, and why? Considering that, in recent years, socially-engaged practices have received a large degree of visibility, acclaim, and funding, what other types of practices are being hidden from view? If legitimizing specific forms of art necessarily means illegitimizing or criminalizing others and is "an exercise in social control,” [7] then what holds the greatest potential for change and poses the gravest threat to the status quo? Just as “the goal of most ‘mass mobilization’ protests is to gain a favourable public reception,” [8] is the goal of much socially-engaged art to gain a favourable public reception without actually testing the political landscape? Is its effectiveness being thoroughly examined?

  • Ideally, how close in proximity should an artist be in relation to the issue they are addressing? For Grant Kester, “it’s necessary to develop a more complex understanding of the specific terrain (the politics of incarceration, for example), rather than blundering along with little more than good intentions” [9]. How important is it that one also engage with the issue they are addressing outside of their work, as a citizen and not just as an art professional?

  • Increasing responsibility is being placed on the socially-engaged artist to provide new or improve upon already-existing social services. Do these artists' practices, their community-based works, and the “consensual-participatory approaches" popular amongst them serve to facilitate "large private urban investments, [and] gentrification ... all policies that remain at the forefront of the neoliberal governance of cities”? How can they utilize their unique position to interrogate the neoliberal order?

 

 

[1] Rancière, Jacques. Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2010.

[2] Downey, Anthony. "For the Common Good: Artistic Practices, Collective Action and Civil Society in Tunisia". Ibraaz. February 28 2013. http://www.ibraaz.org/essays/55.

[3] By "newest social movements," I am referring to Richard J. F. Day's use of the term, "intended to highlight the shift away from hegemonically-oriented 'movements', and towards non-branded strategies and tactics," such as Reclaim the Streets (RTS) and Black/Pink/Yellow Bloc (p. 8). Day also uses the term to refer to social movements that display "an affinity for affinity, that is, for non-universalizing, non-hierarchical, non-coercive relationships based [on] mutual aid and shared ethical commitments," such as certain Indigenous communities like the Mohawk Nation and the Zapatistas, as well as some strands of transnational feminism and queer theory (p. 9). Day, Richard J. F. Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements. London and Ann Arbor, Pluto Press: 2005.

[4] Scholl, Christian. "Bakunin's Poor Cousins: Engaging Art for Tactical Interventions." Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas, and Possibilities. Eds. Beg M. Zden Firat, Aylin Kuryel, and Begum Ozden Firat. Rodopi, 2011.

[5] BAVO. "Artists, One More Effort to Be Really Political". Art and Activism in the Age of Globalization. EdsLieven De Carter, Ruben Roo, and Karel Vanhaesebrouck. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2011.

[6] Benjamin, Walter. "The Author as Producer." Reflections. New York: Schoken, 1978. Quoted by Christian Scholl in "Bakunin's Poor Cousins: Engaging Art for Tactical Interventions." Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas, and Possibilities. Eds. Beg M. Zden Firat, Aylin Kuryel, and Begum Ozden Firat. Rodopi, 2011.

[7] For more about "useless" art, see: Justin A Langlois. "Uselssness and Antagonism: Suggestions for a New Engagement." SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement. October 8 2014. http://www.sfu.ca/video-library/video/1065/view.html.

[8] Craig, Megan. "Lessons We Keep Learning: Reflections on the Burnaby Mountain Pipeline Opposition." Vancouver Media Co-op. December 21 2014. http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/about/vancouver.

[9] Wilson, Mick. "Autonomy, Agonism, and Activist Art: An Interview with Grant Kester". Art Journal. Vol. 66 Issue 3, 2007, 107.


ISSUE 1 | JUNE 2015
DECOLONIAL AESTHETICS

Deadline: April 15 2015

 

Breach is currently accepting submissions for its launch, on the theme of decolonial aesthetics. This inaugural issue aims to interrogate, in the words of Olu Oguibe, the expectation that "the ‘ethnics,’ ‘postcolonials,’ ‘minorities,’ all those who have ancestry, connections, or affiliations ‘elsewhere’ ... belong in a different space, should create work of a particular flavor, deal with a certain set of themes, exhibit in particular avenues in particular locations outside the mainstream, or be prepared to offer work of a particular nature to earn momentary mainstream acknowledgement, after which they are quietly returned to obscurity” [1]. 

Taking a cue from the Transnational Decolonial Institute in recognizing the “confinement that Euro-centered concepts of arts and aesthetics have imposed" on artists [2], we wish to highlight other ways of sensing, and to break from ways of thinking that are rooted in Empire: colonial and settler narratives that displace other histories; frameworks for viewing and discussing art within traditional gallery and museum spaces that privileges certain western artists; and the "grand spectacle of globalisation" that purports to be, but is not, "a true universalism" [3]. We are interested not only in writing that employs a decolonial framework, but also that which is critical of decolonial views as they are commonly held in both activist circles and contemporary art practice.

Writers are free to consider the following suggestions, though this list is not exhaustive:

  • The work of Indigenous artists as it is framed and discussed within contemporary art, in ways that either uphold colonial discourses or disrupt them.

  • Contemporary art practice in relation to social movements (grassroots, radical, or NGO) that address issues of sovereignty and land-based struggles.

  • The relevancy of the arts to issues of decolonization, in regards to whether artists have a responsibility to draw attention to these issues, and whether Indigenous artists in particular are weighted down by expectations that these issues be central themes of their work.

  • If “traditionally, the significance of museums was based on their role to relate a master narrative that was shared by their audience”, and there “exist today competing histories (religious, ethnic, or postcolonial) that deconstruct an exclusive significance of ‘art’” [4], then what is the role of the museum of today? Is the museum obsolete?

  • Recognizing that art history is a western construct, how can art criticism resist being “complicit with globalization”, transcribing “the ‘local’ into a ‘universal’”, and “reducing difference to a series of essentialising and exoticising poses” [5]?

Based in Canada, Breach prioritizes content pertaining to current social issues and political debates within the Canadian context. However, we do not intend to limit our content based on the colonial construction of the borders, and therefore are interested in issues that extend beyond the national level as well. The call for submissions on the theme of decolonial aesthetics pertains to all off-shoots of colonialism that propagate the imperial agenda—capitalism, legacies of the slave trade, and environmental degradation, to name but a few.

 

 

[1] Oguibe, Olu. "Double Dutch and the Culture Game." The Culture Game. University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis: 2004, pg. 33.

[2] "Decolonial Aesthetics (I)." TDI+Transnational Decolonial Institute website. <https://transnationaldecolonialinstitute.wordpress.com/decolonial-aesthetics/>. Accessed February 22 2015.

[3] Appignanesi, Richard, and Rasheed Araeen. "Art: A Vision of the Future: Call for Papers." Third Text, Vol. 23, No. 5. Routledge. London: 2009, pg. 501.

[4] Augé, Marc. An Anthropology for Contemporaneous Worlds. Stanford University Press. Stanford: 1999, pg. 89.

[5] Downey, Anthony. "Critical Imperatives: Notes on Contemporary Art Criticism and African Cultural Production." Wasafiri, Vol. 21, No. 1. Routledge. London: 2006, pg. 41.