How do the natural and political phenomena that are helping to redefine traditional geographical boundaries reverberate in the visual arts? In this issue, esse addresses the many ways in which geopolitical science views transversal relationships between power and domination, observing the opposing forces that are reshaping the global landscape today.


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  • Edito

    Geopolitics + Art
    Sylvette Babin

    Feature: Geopolitics

    Architecture of Network vs. Geometry of Separation
    In the era of the extra-spatial and extra-temporal pervasiveness of the World Wide Web, we still attend the conflict between two world models: one based on the concept of a wall, intended as a device producing fragmentation, ghettoization, and division, and one founded on the concept of network, in reference to the development of a virtual space of connection, based on the Internet. Today the Internet appears to be the most important device of global connection, but does it involve only a virtual connection or can it also determine a real physical linkage? Can the Internet induce a new wave in designing public space? As a democratic device, can it generate spaces of freedom?
    Lina Malfona

    After Cognitive Mapping
    In this essay, I look at Fredric Jameson’s term “cognitive mapping,” introduced in 1984 in the heat of debates on postmodernism, and trace its relevance today. The present era boasts such a concentration of mapping technologies that the key concept of mapping calls for revisiting. Nonetheless, many of Jameson’s observations about the disorienting character of capitalist globalization still ring true. I also suggest that he intended more with the term than diagrams and translations of data points. With his emphasis on the involvement of ideology in concepts of totality, the discussion opens onto other practices of representation.
    Michael Eddy

    The Surveillance Economy: Toward a Geopolitics of Personalization
    Since the Snowden revelations of 2013, wider public knowledge of online surveillance practices has led to increasingly sceptical attitudes about the corporate world’s surveillant analytics and Silicon Valley’s innovations. But these developments must be seen as part of a geopolitical apparatus that works, in part, according to a cultural logic of personalization. Two works in the exhibition End User at the Hayward Gallery (curated by Cliff Lauson, November 27, 2014–February 8, 2015)—Jon Rafman’s The 9 Eyes of Google Street View (2009–) and Liz Sterry’s Kay’s Blog (2011)—analyze the geopolitics of personalization, questioning whose bodies are made to bear the brunt of this economy’s sundry spatial transpositions.
    Emily Rosamond

    Offshore Havens and Supra-Jurisdictional Space
    The representation of geopolitics is a site of theoretical and artistic tension and, at times, contradiction. The debate around the murky ownership and power of telecommunications holds many parallels to that of art, and therefore can be used as a bridge for drawing out some vital questions about art’s struggle with its own use as a tool for geopolitical manipulation.
    Robin Lynch

    Surviving Beyond The Green Line
    During the Lebanese civil war (1975–90), the Green Line constituted a demarcation between two sectors of the capital, each defined by its own confessional identity. East Beirut was controlled by the Christian Phalangist majority, and West Beirut by Muslim parties, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and revolutionary leftists. The Green Line became the bloody battleground for fighting between Christian militia and Muslims, not to mention strategic confrontations between groups of the same faith. The article presents various modes of representation of the Green Line proposed by Lebanese artists to examine how this invisible line has survived in the post-war collective imagination.
    Mirna Boyadjian

    (Im)possible Bouquets
    (Im)possible Bouquets takes as its starting point a concept from the Dutch still-life tradition whereby flowers that could not naturally bloom together in the same season and location are painted together in a fantastical arrangement. This concept of the impossible bouquet is used to unpack recent works by Taryn Simon and Yto Barrada, in which the artists consider how the natural world has been usurped by the power mechanisms that too freely redefine our notions of place.
    Noa Bronstein

    Jimmie Durham: Decentring the World
    From 1973 to 1980, Cherokee artist Jimmie Durham interrupted his art career to defend the rights of indigenous peoples within the United Nations. This experience with international relations led him to conclude that geopolitics is always conditioned by the supremacy of politics over geography. In his installations, Durham questions this imbalance by critically examining the master narratives of nation-states and supranational entities (Building a Nation, 2006; The History of Europe, 2012) and by relativizing, to the extreme, the relationship between centre and periphery (The Center of the World or How to get at Chalma, 1997).
    Jean-Philippe Uzel

    Reading Contrapuntally: Geronimo Inutiq’s ARCTICNOISE
    Through the critical framework offered by Edward Said’s method of contrapuntal reading, I explore how video is used to represent experiences and perceptions of the Canadian North in ARCTICNOISE, a solo exhibition by Geronimo Inutiq (Madeskimo) at grunt gallery in Vancouver. Examining particularly how the artist responds to Glenn Gould’s documentary The Idea of North, I situate the exhibition as part of an urgent and critical re-evaluation of the role of media in informing perceptions of the Canadian North.
    Sydney Hart



    Architectes du quotidien
    Sandra Calvo à la Biennale de La Havane
    Cet article propose une analyse du projet de Sandra Calvo, Entropic Tropic, réalisé à La Havane en 2015. Le regard privilégié ici découle de deux postulats : l’espace est « produit », au sens où l’entend Henri Lefebvre, et la question de la justice sociale doit être posée en termes de spatialité. Envisagé dans cette perspective, Entropic Tropic incarne et révèle la complexité et la spécificité du contexte havanais dont le modèle unique de gestion suscite un appui important de la population, malgré les exclusions et les mouvements d’implosion de l’architecture domestique qu’il engendre. L’intérêt et la force d’Entropic Tropic découlent de sa posture dichotomique.
    Édith-Anne Pageot

    Samuel Roy-Bois : La pyramide
    Originaire de Québec et résidant maintenant à Vancouver, où il enseigne à l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique, Samuel Roy-Bois s’intéresse à l’univers construit. Il interroge par le biais de ses œuvres le rôle de l’architecture fonctionnelle et ses diverses implications dans notre réalité quotidienne. Mettant en scène des structures réalisées avec une grande économie de moyens, ses projets confrontent le spectateur à des mises en espace atypiques, propices aux débordements de sens. Du 11 septembre au 11 octobre 2015, Roy-Bois inaugurait la programmation de l’Œil de Poisson avec une exposition intitulée La pyramide.
    Marie-Ève Tanguay

    Take me... Drop me
    L’exposition Take Me (I’m Yours), à la Monnaie de Paris, actualise une exposition proposée par Hans Ulrich Obrist et Christian Boltanski à la Serpentine Gallery en 1995. Les commissaires, dans leur volonté de la placer « hors des circuits économiques habituels », proposent aux visiteurs de repartir avec les œuvres exposées. En examinant les notions d’échange, de partage, de don et de dispersion, ils cherchent à interroger la notion de valeur, mais oublient de lier leur propos curatorial au contexte critique, social et économique actuel.
    Nathalie Desmet

    Deconstructing Nuclear Visions
    In this essay, the author comments on a complex of projects: the exhibition Camera Atomic at the Art Gallery of Ontario and its catalogue, and the associated three-day symposium, Through Post-Atomic Eyes. The exhibition explored the topics of nuclear power, its exploitation for military uses and energy production, its effects on populations and environments, and photography’s intersection with these. The catalogue and symposium extended the subject into post-atomic military strategies. Together, the interdisciplinary components of academic scholarship, performance, and visual arts—mostly photography and film—and their attention to this explosive topic produced a rare creative dynamism.
    Jill Glessing

    Schizes en compagnie d'une garde-frontière

    Michel F. Côté et Catherine Lavoie-Marcus


    Tonia Di Risio, Parts and Labour, Toronto by Zoë Chan

    Chantal duPont, Montréal by Tamar Tembeck

    Milutin Gubash, Ordinary folk, Montréal by Sylvain Campeau

    Hajra Waheed, Asylum in the Sea, Montréal by Béatrice Cloutier-Trépanier

    Michel de Broin, La dissipation sur le virage, Paris by Laetitia Chauvin

    Maria Hupfield, Stay Golden, Montréal by Claire Astier

    Antonia Hirsch, Negative Space, Toronto by Alex Bowron

    Paul Poet, My Talk with Florence, Marseille by Vanessa Morisset

    Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup, This Duet That We’ve Already Done (so many times), Montréal by Sylvain Verstricht

    Lara Kramer, Tame, Toronto by Fabien Maltais-Bayda

    Alfred Jarry Archipelago : La Valse des pantins – Acte II, Noisiel by Vanessa Morisset

    Anne Cauquelin, Les Machines dans la tête, Paris by Nathalie Desmet

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