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Copycat Talks

June 10-14, 2014
The Theatre Centre
1115 Queen St. West

Copycat Talks
The Copycat Academy: A weeklong masterclass with an absent master
A project by Hannah Hurtzig
Produced by Luminato Festival

Tuesday, June 10, 8PM
Jennifer Doyle: The Politics of Emotion in Contemporary Art

In the art gallery, anger, tears, arousal, and certain kinds of laughter may appear to signal the disintegration of composure. Controversial art works—or as Jennifer Doyle prefers, difficult work, or noisy art—expands the conversation about emotion and identity. “As Theodor Adorno once observed, ‘the supreme independence’ that we experience as pure feeling, unadulterated passion or joy is ‘precisely the tool of society.’ The artists that interest me turn to emotion, feelings, and affect as a means not of narcissistic escape but of social engagement.”

Jennifer Doyle is a Professor of English and Co-Chair of the LGBIT Studies Minor at University of California, Riverside, where she directs Queer Lab. Her newest book, Hold it Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art(2013), explores some of contemporary art’s most contentious works. Refusing the discourse of controversy that has framed the reception of artists like Ron Athey and David Wojnarowicz, Doyle re-centres understanding of their work on its emotional complexity.

Thursday, June 12, 8PM
Kendell Geers: Following the Blind Man (Marcel Duchamp and the Voodoun Connection)

“In the spring of 1912, Marcel Duchamp left Paris for Munich on a three month sojourn that would ultimately change the course of twentieth century art.” This is how the lecture begins, and after it ends you will never think about Duchamp or art in the 20th century the same way! Think twice before you attend and listen! Part history, part fantasy, part channelling the spirit of Duchamp himself, Kendell Geers has invented another way of seeing the old man of history: as a shaman.

Kendell Geers is a conceptual and installation artist who was born in May, 1968 in Johannesburg, South Africa – he changed his name and birthdate officially as a political act of self-creation. In the late 1980s, he went into exile and only returned to South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. He lives in Brussels and has worked globally since 1993.

Friday, June 13, 8PM
Mårten Spångberg: Hijacking as Proactive Strategy

Mårten Spångberg articulates a genealogy of hijacking, and uses the notion as a conceptual path to understand contemporary phenomena and identify tendencies within the current neoliberal regime. “What if Derrida decided for hijacking instead of friendship. What if Barthes was in to the poetics of hijacking instead of a lover’s discourse. What if Badiou was into hijacking instead of anything else… It’s a dark activity—only at it’s darkest can it relieve us from the suffering.”

Mårten Spångberg is a performance related artist living and working in Stockholm. His interests concern choreography in an expanded field which he approaches through experimental practices in a multiplicity of expressions. These range from choreography, including the recent, MoMA-commissioned La Substance, but in English, to written works including Spangbergianism and Swedish Dance History. He also teaches, convenes networks and performs as a dancer himself.

Philip Monk’s encyclopedia on General Idea throughout the week June 9th – 13th:

Tuesday, June 10th, 12.30 p.m. GLAMOUR.THE FACE.THE WALK
Wednesday, June 11th, 12.30 p.m. EMOTION.POLITICS. THE BODY
Thursday, June 12th, 12.30 p.m. COPYRIGHT. AUTHORSHIP. CASES
Friday, June 13th, 12.30 p.m. COLLECTIVITY. DANCING

Saturday, June 14, 4PM–7PM
The Copycat Academy Open House (FREE)

Everyone is welcome to join us at The Copycat Academy Open House when we will present the future as well as the end of originality.

The Copycat Academy takes the work and biography of an artist as the model for its curriculum. Over a one-week intensive learning experience, an artist’s method of production will be hijacked and subjected to a temporary parasitic inhabitation. The 2014 pilot will start with one of the most influential artist collectives of the late 20th century: Toronto based General Idea. This is meant to be idolatry and cult. Or more precisely, an act of mimicry. Or more accurately, it is a critical test of thought and practice, a laboratory where 20 participants can observe the emergence of meaning while they occupy and replicate themselves in the host. It’s a masterclass with an absent master.

Members of the public can join The Copycat Academy participants for Copycat Talks, where faculty will deliver lectures that expand the scope of their teaching – lectures that, under certain conditions, have the potential to transform into durational events. Featuring Jennifer Doyle, Kendell Geers, and Mårten Spångberg, visit for details.

With support from The Theatre Centre