Robin Simpson is an art historian, curator, and student based in Vancouver where he is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of British Columbia. He is a contributing author to A Play to be Played Indoors or Out: This Book is a Classroom (Ed. Corinn Gerber, Lucie Kolb, and Romy Ruegger, Passenger Books, 2012), Oh, Canada (Ed. Denise Markonish, MassMoCA / MIT Press, 2012), Heteropolis (Ed. Adaptive Actions, Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, 2013) and Sarai 9: Projections (Ed. Raqs Media Collective, Sarai / Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, 2013).
GRANT ARNOLD, ROBIN SIMPSON
April 13, 2013
Speakeasy: Salon is a series of talks and presentations that interrogates Artspeak’s mandate to encourage a dialogue between visual art and writing. In this incarnation, speakers will present within the conversational salon format on wide-ranging subjects including art, music, literature, politics, popular culture, and science. Speakers select their own topics for discussion and are not expected to be experts in the subjects they present. Each session ends with a conversation between participants and speakers, creating an opportunity for the exchange of ideas and critical discourse, and a mutual scholarship of the topics explored. Speakeasy: Salon references both the demand for interdisciplinary learning in contemporary art and writing practices and an interest in the informal academic institution.
GRANT ARNOLD: The Lord of Obstacles in the Suburbs: My Carved Ivory Figure of Ganesh
“I had just contracted an upper respiratory infection when Kim asked me to participate in this series. The infection was working its way between my sinuses and bronchial passage. I refused to rest my voice and within a week I had lost it completely. That was about a month ago, my voice has returned but I continue to run into people who have the same infection. Most of these people are in some way or another connected to artist-run culture here in Vancouver. Something is going around. It´s caught at openings and talks, the handful of bars we frequent, from popular library books, and the other speakeasies and studio parties we attend. I´ve been daydreaming of a new mute art scene or at least one where we all spoke in hushed, guttural voices.
Previous installments of this series have taken place under assigned topics. This time around things are a little more casual. Last fall many of us participated in a conference that assessed the state of artist-run culture. There is another on-going para-academic series in town, happening not far from here with university professionals who speak on their area of expertise. Here we’re making room for marginal research, the off-cuts, hobbies, fancies, preoccupations, and early propositions. This is intended to be a salon, not a clinic. Save the diagnosis for another address.
If we can’t or refuse to decide on a shared topic maybe we can change the way we speak. I’ll present a number of strategies and examples in voice modification. Some of these are easier and more accessible than others. Special invitation is extended to those who have caught that ambulating throat infection.”