COVID-19 is an irrefutably global provocation that is currently reconfiguring nearly every aspect of life on Earth. The non-linear spread of the virus’ impact, which exceeds and differs from the rate of infection, has amplified and magnified already latent conditions of precarity, injustice, and inequality. It has been declared a pandemic, the etymology of which is pan + demos, meaning “all people,” but it is not affecting all people equally. These uncertain socio-political circumstances demand agile, dynamic, and multifaceted responses. In their recent book Now, the agents of The Invisible Committee call for us to generate desirable social and political worlds through an improvisatory tilt. They advocate for strategic action that cuts transversally across vertical hierarchies and horizontal networks—privileging neither, in favour of an “intelligence of the situation.” They encourage us to tilt our approaches to organizing in the face of urgent situations with good faith, careful attention, and decisive action.
Decisive and unprecedented actions are being implemented by individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments. Shared concern over the spread of COVID-19 has unsteadied and inverted our world. Accordingly, as a public gallery within a university we ask: how to acknowledge this pandemic as a “matter of concern,” while responding to its broad-ranging effects across our networks of artists, writers, and cultural workers as a “matter of care”? An urgent and provisional response comes in the form of TILTING, a special digital issue of the Blackwood’s publishing platform The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). TILTING will index participants’ responses to this especially unstable moment and create expedient means for the Blackwood to support those who have been unmoored from their sources of financial resources.
This special issue, TILTING, seeks to take up themes that have animated the Blackwood’s program and mandate throughout the last several years: questions of connectivity, the challenges of public and private space, community and/in isolation; imperatives to re-structure modes and methodologies of care, including revaluing care work, confronting collective care responsibilities within colonial and capitalist structures, and engaging with the infrastructures, aesthetics, contestations, and radical possibilities of mutual aid; responses to the precarization of art, labour, and life; interest in what modes of knowledge production, circulation, and re-distribution are vital to us now, and how these networks might take new form. These urgencies continue to drive Blackwood programming (and this forthcoming publication), supporting and activating artists, curators, and writers who incite us to be responsive, critical, and answerable.
We recognize that time is tight, resources are scarce, and struggles are intense. As a university gallery with access to public funding and institutional supports, the Blackwood has responsibilities to our communities, employees, the university, and the future of the gallery. The temporary suspension of some of our operations has left us with a small but useful surplus of unspent funds. We will endeavor to maintain this special publishing initiative over the months to come in order to circulate perspectives on the crisis and to support artists and writers who have lost jobs, exhibition and publication contracts, and other sources of income. This publishing initiative evokes triage as one mode of doing in times of crisis.
1. The Invisible Committee, Now (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2017), 158.
3. María Puig de la Bellacasa, Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017).
4. See Greig de Peuter and Christine Shaw, “Gathering Arrows: Deleuze’s Return,” in TOPIA, Vol. 16 (Fall 2006) 150-153.
Eligibility and need
This call is open to applicants who self-identify as being in financial need due to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or other structural factors. We request that applicants make decisions about whether to submit based on an honest assessment of personal needs, with respect to the art community and the resources available at this time. We urge those benefitting from financial security to refrain from submitting.
Submissions are accepted by email to email@example.com with the subject “TILTING Submission.”
We encourage work that directly and indirectly addresses the pandemic—or doesn’t—although we acknowledge that the pandemic will haunt any work made or presented in this time.
Submissions should include name, contact information, and a brief (maximum 100-word) bio. Submissions of artist projects should include up to 10 jpg images (300 dpi) and a brief statement about the project (maximum 300 words). Written submissions should be a maximum of 1,500 words. Alternative digital formats (e.g. links to web-based video files) are accepted.
The Blackwood pays $500 CAD per contribution. 18 contributions per issue.
Submissions are accepted till March 31, 2020