Tuesday, June 15, 2010


As the city in which I live is being rapidly transformed by the impending descent of reporters, security forces, leaders of the G8/G20 summit and their entourage; as I continue to hear my friends, fellow artists and activists, referred to in chilling terms, their bodies represented in the corporate media as dangerous, treacherous and therefore destroyable; as I simultaneously follow the ongoing damage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (otherwise known as the Macando blowout!); as Toronto Pride moves further and further away from grassroots action and celebration, and begins to impose censorship on its participants; as I continue to see the erosion of civil rights occur around me, ‘justified’ if at all by the imminent proceedings and/or disaster; I find myself in desperate need of a collaborative project to make sense of and intervene in a most troubling set of social, political, economic and ecological circumstances.

To this end I am inviting you to participate in a series of embodied poetic acts between June 18 and July 5th. You might find yourself at a march in downtown Toronto, in a pub in London England watching the WC and glancing briefly at a newspaper account of the BP oil spill, marking an interminable stack of papers in NYC, you might even find yourself in South Africa or in Surrey BC. Wherever you are, take a few moments to register how any of these events is affecting you and use poetic means to transfigure your experience. Whatever poetic strategies you have at your disposal (or new ones you want to try!) apply them to the language at hand (your own or the words found in media reports).

How it words:

Send 8 to 20 lines of poetry, flash-fiction, or micro creative non-fiction to “shanmaguire” c/o gmail by 8:20pm daily (kidding, midnight, will be just fine!) and I will post each poetic response here to create a collective poem along with a brief introductory comment by early in the AM.

Then: each morning, pick your favourite line (or lines…recombination is encouraged!), print (it, them) on stickers, write ‘em up on blank price-tags (the kind with the handy little strings that you can tie to fences, barricades, the backs of bus-seats…) and take the language back out into the world. You may want to document this…and fire the data my way. You might include a note about what you chose, why and how you took the aesthetically processed language back out into the world. I will post these stories (again of 8-20 lines please!) along with photos etc as a 10 o’clock post. Invite your friends to take part in any or all steps! Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Have fun!

The goal is to create a massive feedback architecture that can take incoming information (from eye-witness accounts, to the language circulated in the media), and make sense of it artistically, then feed it back out into the world to attempt to see things afresh, notice major contradictions between expectations and what is actually present to the senses. Towards a future that is unpredictable, thus possible, hopeful!

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