Current and Upcoming

Back by popular demand… Autotheory: the screening

Back by popular demand… Autotheory: the screening

Curated by Lauren Fournier

Available for online viewing Nov. 20, 2018-Jan. 26, 2019. Total running time: 70 minutes.

Evan Tyler, fear, irony, and curating in the 90s, 2011, 04:35, colour and sound (English)

Andrew James Paterson, The Walking Philosopher, 2001, 03:30, b&w and sound (English)

Hiba Ali, Postcolonial Language, 2016, 25:00, colour and sound (English)

Thirza Cuthand, Lessons In Baby Dyke Theory, 1995, 03:00, colour and sound (English)

Madelyne Beckles, Theory of the Young Girl, 2017, 04:21, colour and sound (English)

Deirdre Logue and Allyson Mitchell, Hers is Still a Dank Cave: Crawling Toward a Queer Horizon, 2016, 24:32 colour and sound (English)

Martha Wilson, Art Sucks, 1972, 01:25, b&w and sound (English)


Autotheory bridges Lauren Fournier’s immersion in Vtape’s video art holdings with her doctoral dissertation research on “autotheory” as a post-1960s feminist practice across media. While doing an internship at Vtape Lauren was able to conduct her research on-site, viewing many works to put together her program which screened in May 2018.

On November 20, 2018, Autotheory was made available on the Vtape website for a one-month extended exhibition, as Vtape’s newest audience outreach project. Back by popular demand… gives audiences around the world a chance to see some of the beautifully guest-curated programs that we regularly present at Vtape.

Autotheory bridges my immersion in Vtape’s video art holdings with my doctoral dissertation research on “autotheory” as a post-1960s feminist practice across media. “Autotheory” is a term that has emerged to describe contemporary works of literature, art, and art writing that integrate autobiography and other explicitly subjective and embodied modes with discourses of philosophy and theory in ways that transgress genre conventions and disciplinary boundaries. Auto-theory is an emergent term, one which began to trend after the publication of Maggie Nelson’s 2015 book The Argonauts, where Nelson, riffing on Paul B. Preciado’s use of the term “auto-theory” in Testo Junkie, inscribed a particularly performative mode of citation alongside a kind of post-memoir, queer feminist life writing text. And yet, auto-theory as an impulse can also be traced through earlier feminist performance art, body art, and conceptual art practices, as well as intersectional feminist writings by women of colour like Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga, and Audre Lorde. One could argue that the entire history of feminist theory and practice is one of auto-theory, though the resonances of “auto-theory” as a twenty-first century term bears consideration, particularly when it comes to the twenty-first century context of neoliberalism, late capitalism, and the post-confessional technologies of social media. I approach auto-theory as a practice of performing, embodying, enacting, processing, metabolizing, and reiterating philosophy, theory, and art criticism. With this screening, Autotheory takes performance for video as a ripe space to reflect on the aesthetics, politics, and ethics of “auto-theory” as an often self-reflexive and performative practice in the post-medial present.Lauren Fournier, guest curator

Lauren Fournier’s extended essay on Autotheory is available in our Featured Writing section.

Dr. Lauren Fournier is a curator, writer, and artist. Her research is focused on the histories and practices of “autotheory,” contemporary feminist art and literature, and experimental approaches to narrative, theory, and art writing. She is the recipient of the 2018 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators, and is currently editorial resident at Canadian Art. A practicing artist herself, her video work is distributed through Vtape.


The Researcher Is Present 2019-2020: two new participants

The Researcher Is Present 2019-2020: two new participants

In 2018, Vtape officially launched The Researcher Is Present, a new residency program that welcomes writers, curators, artists and all hybrids of these to inhabit our space on a regular basis, usually once a week for a few months. We are offer this open-ended space for contemplation in order to see what happens. Sometimes a screening will emerge, or an exhibition; sometimes some writing will surface. We ask for a brief *idea*of what might be investigated, thought about, channelled during this residency. The outcome of this residency is usually determined after a few weeks have passed.


As a fall/winter 2018-19 research resident, curator Adam Barbu explores how the specific material qualities of video can alter the narrative conventions of queer historical thought. The aim of this project is not simply to unearth stories of marginalization and objection. Rather, it seeks to highlight the essential surplus that lies at the heart of the term “queer history.”

Through this lens, the project focuses on works thatcannot be assimilated into grand narratives about shared queer progress. The resulting programs will explore scenes of repetition and non-transcendence – namely, scenes of unspectacular everyday resilience. At stake here is the imaging of that inassimilable excess as the trace empty history. This is an unrestricted territory where queerness itself begins to fade into a state of meaninglessness.

This research follows theorist William Haver’s claim that “the only historical question is the question of the historical.” In this retreat from canonical thought, common assumptions about identity are challenged while alternative modes of curatorial ethics are proposed. What does it mean to pursue the unworking of queer history as a queer curatorial endeavor?

Working title: Empty History   Scheduled for fall 2019.


 Darryn Doull has been coming in weekly throughout the fall 2018, to make use of the Research Commons and view work from the Vtape distribution collection. While digging through periodicals, he became intrigued by issues of Parallelogram (the ANNPAC periodical published from 1976 – the 1990s) and the particular focus on collective organization in the centres and the regions. This began to open a window into the genealogies of the artist-run movement in Toronto and beyond, capturing groundbreaking organizations and their founding members at a crucial moment.

Research is now focused on the underlying social and political conditions that precipitated key organizations and collectives through archival research, interviews with the original founders/writers/thinkers, and looking at the collection of posters, cards and ephemera that were produced from the late 1960s into the 1980s. Hopes for the final project include a segmented written component highlighting select organizations alongside interviews with founding members and an exhibition featuring films from the Vtape collection and archival materials.

Working title: Objects in mirror are closer than they appear?  Scheduled for early 2020.

Image credit: Parallelogram, Vol 3, No. 1 1977-78