September 18, 2008
There are submissions from veterans, mid-career people, up-and-comers and even people outside of the ARC milieu. Labossiere says it’s a good cross-section of people with different relationships with artist-run centres.
“One of the challenges for a book like this, is you can’t get everyone. There is probably a thousand people who should have contributed to it”
The book took almost a year to make, and is available in both French and English. Getting a translation goes a long way to bridging the divide between ARC’s in Quebec and the rest of Canada.
The mini essays are a mix of anecdotal history, discussion of current problems and what the future holds for ARCs. But Labossiere’s favourite ones are the pieces filled with biting criticism.
“I really did encourage them to let it rip, not hold back and write what they felt. It was important to have that because we all know that there are criticisms, so it would be silly to publish a book and not include them.”
Most overwhelming for Labossiere was the unrelenting idealism in the pieces. It seems no matter how many persistent problems ARCs have, those involved always go back to the original idea of artist collectives.
“In many pieces you’ll find a “yeah, but it’s so great that we manage to get through it. That idealism is part of the reason why we are continuously impoverished. It’s nice, but it’s Utopian and not pragmatic. So there’s probably another book to do that wrestles with that.”
Decentre will be launched at Calgary’s New Gallery Sat September 20 from 2-5pm. You can also find more details and order the book here.
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