Dueling Engagements: Vancouver vs. Regina2007
by Darren O'Donnell
I went to two conferences in October 2007, both happening on the same weekend, one in Regina, and one in Vancouver. Regina was called Open Engagement: art after aesthetic distance and was organized by grad student Jennifer Delos Reyes as part of her masters thesis while Vancouver was Live in Public: the art of engagement, was organized by committee - my contacts being Glenn Alteen and Paula Jardine - and was sponsored by Grunt Gallery.
Because of the over-lap, I was only able to partially attend each, spending two days in Regina (October 13, 14) and one in Vancouver (October 15). So, with that in mind, I think it's safe to say that anything I write will be under-informed and ripe with a plump scattering of assumptions, mistaken beliefs and half-baked observations.
But as the only (I think) person to attend even bits of both, I want to make some attempt to contrast them because they were quite different - much more different than I expected - and this difference was instructive and indicative, I think, of emblematic differences that affect all of us who are critical of the way the world is and haunted by the desire to participate in making things better.
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