This publication series is part of the comissioned project Furnishing Positions by Adrian Blackwell and is produced in conjunction with the 2014 exhibition FALSEWORK
Double-sided broadsheet, 18" x 18"
Privacy / Publicity: Is private thought the necessary corollary of public space?
The public sphere is always tightly tied to dominant ideologies, which in turn delimit what is possible and what is not, what is real and what is pure fantasy. As a result, many people and positions are excluded from public space. Political theorists such as Nancy Fraser and Michael Warner have argued that under these conditions we need multiple publics, or what they call counter-publics—conversations within which smaller groups of people can build arguments, gestures, and practices in opposition to the dominant culture and at a distance from it. It is only through the preservation of certain forms of privacy that we can have meaningful forms of public space.
Artist Project and Text:
Charles Stankievech, You Are Here, 2014
Eric Cazdyn, "The Opposite of Private Is Not Public," 2014
Furnishing Positionsis a serial publication that focuses on the paradoxical nature of public space. Its standard form is an 18”x18” broadsheet, consisting of an artist’s project on one side and a text on the other. It will be published once every two weeks for three months, starting September 15, 2014, with each issue focusing on a specific paradox. As a serial, each issue builds on earlier editions. As each issue is published, it will be hung and made available for free in the Blackwood Gallery, posted to the gallery’s website, postered in public sites, and circulated electronically. As the exhibition progresses these broadsheets will accumulate, generating and animating conversations in the space.
Furnishing Positions (Broadsheet) is part of Adrian Blackwell’s project, Furnishing Positions, commissioned by the Blackwood Gallery and presented in conjunction with the exhibition FALSEWORK, September 15 – December 7, 2014.
When we saw with our own eyes the video stills of the mayor smoking crack and heard with our own ears the mayor lying about smoking crack, we finally confirmed what we already knew. The mayor smoked crack. And the mayor lied. When we saw the leaked video of US military pilots murdering innocent journalists in Iraq (and heard the pilots’ real-time commentary as they glibly rejoiced in their kills), we finally confirmed what we already knew—that war is hell. We tend to think that such confirmation is required in order to transform speculation into fact, and lingering doubt into unshakable confidence. Without the smoking gun we are stuck, always one clue short of closing the case. But what if it is the other way around? What if the confirmation of what we already know effectively undermines our confidence and keeps us further from the truth? What if it is the lack of assurance and the absence of any buried treasure that sharpens our critical qualities and brings us closer to understanding the logic of how things work? What if, finally, radical politics emerges not from a righteous and committed knowing, but from a hesitant not-knowing and a creative mobilization of our critical limits?
-Excerpted from Eric Cazdyn, "The Opposite of Private Is Not Public,"
Eric Cazdyn is Distinguished Professor of Aesthetics and Politics at the University of Toronto (Centre for Comparative Literature and the Department of East Asian Studies), where he teaches courses on critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, Marx and Marxism, Deleuze, film and video, architecture, modern literature, and modern Japan. He is the author of the following books: The Already Dead (Duke, 2012), After Globalization (with Imre Szeman, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan (Duke, 2002); and editor of Trespasses: Selected Writings of Masao Miyoshi (Duke, 2010) and Disastrous Consequences (South Atlantic Quarterly special issue, 2007). His most recent book, Nothing: Three Inquiries into Buddhism and Critical Theory (with Marcus Boon and Timothy Morton), will be published in 2015 by The University of Chicago Press. Cazdyn is also a filmmaker, and his films have been screened and performed in Japan, Canada, the U.S., Europe, and, most recently, in the U.K. as part of a two-week residency at The Cube Microcinema (Bristol) with Eric Chenaux.
Charles Stankievech has lectured, performed and exhibited at such platforms as dOCUMENTA13 (Kassel), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen), Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Kunst-Werke ICA (Berlin), the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), and several art and architecture biennales (Venice, Berlin, Santa Fe, and Montreal). His writings range from academic journals for MIT Press to experimental texts for art publications. His images have been published in a range of forums, from NASA publications to WIRED magazine. He has participated in residencies with the Department of National Defence, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and Fieldwork in Marfa, Texas. He was a founding faculty member of the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City, Canada and is currently Assistant Professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, at the University of Toronto. Since 2011, he has been co-director of the art and theory press K. located in Berlin.
Publisher: Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga
Artist: Adrian Blackwell
Curator: Christine Shaw
Editors: Adrian Blackwell, Christine Shaw
Designer: Matthew Hoffman
Copy Editor: Jeffrey Malecki
Printer: Captain Printworks
Greig de Peuter
Mary Lou Lobsinger
The Furnishing Positions broadsheets are all available for free download. To order free printed copies of any or all of them, please send an email including title(s), number of copies, and your mailing address to: