A Potential Toronto │October Event Schedule

Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street East (w. of Broadview)

Thurs., Oct., 11, 7:30pm
Housing Rights, Safe Spaces, Creative Actions
Exposing the connections between poverty, violence and homelessness in women’s lives, Shiri Pasternak talks with Jennifer Plyler (Women Against Poverty Collective) about their campaigns and direct actions to create safe, controlled housing for women at risk in Toronto. WAPC believe that in order for housing to be sustainable, it must be safe, and in order for housing to be safe, it must be controlled by women for women. WAPC will screen their film “Women’s Housing Takeover,” which documents the June 3rd 2007 takeover of a long-abandoned downtown house by WAPC members and allies.

Thurs., Oct., 18, 7:30pm
Youth Generated Autonomous Spaces

Catch da Flava Youth Magazine, E.Y.E. Video, Transmission Zine, and Handy Trans are just a few of the creative projects, programs and services created by and for youth at Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre and Trans_Fusion Crew (Supporting Our Youth). These youth-driven centres are autonomous spaces for racialized and marginalized youth to explore their identities, voice their experiences and create their own narratives of self. Coordinators and participants of these programs will join Sue Ruddick (University of Toronto) to talk about the possibilities and challenges youth encounter in acts of self-representation. Catch da Flava will launch the September/October Election’s Issue of their Youth Magazine.

Tues. Oct. 23, 7:30pm
Migrants, Borders, Citizenship

How are politicized groups of non-status migrants transforming established norms of citizenship? How are regularization campaigns addressing human rights and migrant safety? What networks of affinity are emerging between self-organising non-status migrants? How are municipal legalization campaigns like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell contributing to a new security for Toronto’s non-status residents? Peter Nyers (McMaster University, Citizenship Studies Media Lab), Cynthia Wright (York University), Patricia Díaz Barrero (Colombian Forced Migration Project), and members of No One Is Illegal (Toronto) open a collective conversation about how citizenship is being rethought.

Mon. Oct. 29, 7:00pm
Abandonment Issues

Join a group of Toronto activists in a panel discussion about mapping the wasted and abandoned buildings, lots, and spaces in the city. Their maps and research support a campaign for a ‘Use It or Lose It’ bylaw that would push for abandoned buildings and underutilized public spaces to be expropriated by the City and redeveloped as badly needed affordable housing and social centres. For more information see Abandonment Issues.

IN THE GALLERY – October 27 – November 10, 12-5pm Wednesday to Saturday

24 Hour Gallery (window):
‘Common Sense Revolution’ – Scott Sorli

Lower Level:
‘Toronto’s Urban Unconscious’ – Adrian Blackwell, Tina Chung, Andrea Gaus, – Davide Gianforcaro, Kim Ligers, Andrea Macecek, Graeme Stewart, and Geoffrey Thun. Projects from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.

Upper Level:
A Potential
Toronto info-shop and library.

Commons | Reading Group

Call for Participation
Part of A Potential Toronto

Mondays, 8-10pm, Oct. 1 to Dec. 3, 2007
Location TBC

Copies of readings provided.

Facilitated by Shiri Pasternak

What are the commons and why has the idea emerged again, everywhere, in popular culture and political theory? What kinds of questions does the concept of commons seem to answer amidst the clamour of social and environmental crisis today? This reading group will approach the commons by asking questions about the nature and histories of enclosure. We will be asking: How do property regimes affect social order; how do they foreclose or fuel commons and common space? What is the relationship between sovereignty, property, and the commons? We will also look at the way the concept of the commons is being co-opted by neo-liberalism and competing hegemonic regimes and explore the relationships between information commons and place-based commons.

Week 1
Cole Harris. “How Did Colonialism Dispossess? Comments from an Edge of Empire” (2004), Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 94:1, 165-182.

Nicholas Blomley. “Law, Property, and the Spaces of Violence: The Frontier, the Survey, and the Grid” (2003), Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 93:1, March 2003, 121-141.

Week 2
Farshad Araghi. “The Great Global Enclosure of Our Times: Peasants and the Agrarian Question at the End of the Twentieth Century,” Chapter 8 in Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the Environment, eds. Fred Magdoff, John Bellamy Foster and Frederick H. Buttel. Monthly Review Press Books, 2000.

Week 3
Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite. Information Feudalism. “Introduction.” Earthscan Publications Ltd., 2002.

Watch, if you can: Sonic Outlaws – documentary film by Craig Baldwin

Week 4
John Willinsky. “The unacknowledged convergence of open source, open access, and open science,” First Monday, volume 10, number 8 (August 2005).

Week 5
Margaret E.I. Kipp. “Software and seeds: Open source methods,” First Monday, 10:9, (September 2005).

Week 6
Anthony McCann. “Enclosure Without and Within the ‘Information Commons.'” Information and Communications Technology Law 14(3):217-240 (October 2005).

Week 7
Constantine Caffentzis. “A Tale of Two Conferences: Globalization, the Crisis of Neoliberalism and Question of the Commons.” Borderlands, 11:2 (2012).

Michael Goldman. Privatizing Nature: Political struggles for the global commons. Chapter 1. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1998.

Week 8
Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen and Maria Mies. The Subsistence Perspective. Chapter 6, “Defending, Reclaiming, and Reinventing the Commons.” Zed Books, 1999.

James McCarthy. “Commons as Counter-Hegemonic Project.” Capitalism Nature Socialism, 16:1 (March 2005).

Week 9
J.K. Gibson-Graham. A Postcapitalist Politics. Chapter 5, “The Community Economy.” University of Minnesota Press, 2006.

A Potential Toronto | Launch: Thurs. 27 Sept. 2007

A Potential Toronto
Initiated by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI)

27 Sept. – 10 Nov. 2007
Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street East [map]

Fear disciplines. Capital divides. States order. Creativity sells. Cynicism saturates. Against the persisting ethos of the ‘Common Sense Revolution’ are dots that puncture the city’s territory. Where are they? A Potential Toronto is an event series and exhibition spotlighting alternative economies, minor spaces, and organizing strategies. What experiments and proposals are out there for democratizing space, cracking constraints, and co-operating differently? What works, and why? What blocks an alternative from flourishing? What concepts help us think through it? Exploring these questions, A Potential Toronto is a preliminary step in a longer-term counter-cartography project which would render currents of radical energy visible, audible, and tactile.

LAUNCH: Thurs. 27 Sept. 2007
6:30pm: Opening for ‘Common Sense Revolution’ / ‘Toronto’s Urban Unconscious’
7:30pm: ‘A Potential Commonism’ – A talk by Nick Dyer-Witheford

‘A Potential Commonism’ – A talk by Nick Dyer-Witheford [author of Cyber-Marx]
It has been said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Does the widespread interest in ‘commons’ by environmental, labour, and open-source activists draw a new line of fight and flight pointing beyond capital? Nick Dyer-Witheford presents a talk on the concept of commonism.

‘Common Sense Revolution’ – Scott Sorli
This information graphic tracks Ontario welfare income for a single person against the number of homeless who have died on the streets of Toronto over the past two decades. The year 1995 is particularly striking, the year that welfare income begins to plummet, the year that homeless deaths begin to jump, the year that the Harris Conservatives were first elected.

‘Toronto’s Urban Unconscious’ – Adrian Blackwell, Tina Chung, Andrea Gaus, Davide Gianforcaro, Kim Ligers, Andrea Macecek, Graeme Stewart, and Geoffrey Thun. Projects from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design
This design research project focuses on Toronto’s Western Rail triangle, an area of urban fabric that suffers from both social and physical isolation from the rest of the city. We argue that this territory acts as Toronto’s urban unconscious, divided from other spaces by ravines, railways, highways, and industrial fabric. These seven architecture and urban design projects make use of the area’s existing potential to imagine useful and pleasurable spaces for daily life.


YOUTH [18 oct.]
WORKER CO-OPS [10 nov.]

A Potential Toronto [CFC]

A Potential Toronto (working title)
Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry series


14 September – 27 October, 2007
Toronto Free Gallery and various sites throughout the city.

Another city is possible. But what is to be done? Better, what is being done? How are individuals and groups organizing themselves to do it?

A Potential Toronto is the working title of a 6-week event series. We invite you to join us in conceiving, refining, organizing, and animating the series. It is a preliminary step in what we hope will be a more long-term counter-cartography initiative. Researching and mapping some of the city’s alternative economies and minor spaces is the substance of this project: wild spaces, free services, co-operatives, community currencies, off-grid housing, informal systems of mutual aid… Where are they? How do they work? Do they connect? How might we map them as a local area network?

In order to map sites and tactics of difference, dissent, deviance, and refusal it is necessary to invent concepts and create ways of working. This requires cooperation of minds and bodies engaged in the self-organization of a collective event. The process of mapping, or of cartography, we are proposing to mobilize does not just mean surveying a territory from above, or representing a process that has unfolded in the past, but instead, effectively fleshing out the contours of a living social dynamic, of an event which bears the future, of potential.

Each of the six weeks will traverse a series of shared concerns: work, housing, ecology, health, sexuality, creativity, mobility, space, history… Every Friday evening we will gather at Toronto Free Gallery for a collaboratively generated event. Event formats could range from walking tours to collective dinners to informal conversations. Gatherings will involve participants in and theorists of alternative economies and minor spaces.

At each event we invite participants and guests to leave behind a trace—an image, a tip, a guide, directions, a piece of writing, a web link, a recommended resource… These will be added in the gallery to a collaborative emergent map of another Toronto.

Every Monday night throughout the series there will be concurrent reading groups addressing the commons, migration, counter-cartography, dynamic networks, and the art of organization.

A Potential Toronto is motivated by our desire to learn more about and raise the profile of various alternative social, economic, and subjective experiments underway locally. Our practical hope is to increase the use of these alternatives so that in our everyday lives more of us might reproduce what we value rather than what we oppose. From this, a counter-network may become visible, and, we hope, lay some groundwork for next steps towards a counter-cartography of Toronto.

Call for Collaboration [CFC]

Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry is in the midst of mobilizing a counter-cartography initiative and we need you! A Potential Toronto is a first-step towards mapping alternative economies and minor spaces within Toronto. It begins this fall with a 6-week event series and we invite you to join us in conceiving, organizing and animating the event series.

Join us at an Open Assembly to learn more and become involved:

Open Assembly #5:
Monday 17 September
8:00 – 10:00
Tequila Bookworm
512 Queen West

Open Assembly #4:
Park, Potluck, Plan
Wednesday 15 August
7:00 – 9:00
Scadding Court / Alexander Park (Bathurst & Dundas)

Open Assembly #3:
Tuesday 31 July
6:30 – 8:30
Alterna Room (large boardroom on 4th floor)
Centre for Social Innovation
215 Spadina Ave, Suite 120

We will be looking at examples of counter-cartography that have been points of inspiration. Bring yours to share over a potluck dinner.

Open Assembly #2:
Tuesday 17 July
6:00 (potluck dinner)
Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street East

Open Assembly #1:
Moderated by Darren O’Donnell
Sunday 8 July
Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street East

Come out and share what you are doing with your hearts and minds, your bodies and organs, your spaces and flows and how you are living in your neighbourhoods, in your city, in your corporeal and technical networks.

[Go here for project description.]

Political Acts of Love

An informal conversation with Michael Hardt

Sunday 20 May 2007
2:00 – 4:00
Tequila Bookworm (upstairs)
512 Queen Street West

With Michael, we want to take up the question: Can love act as a political concept? In the final pages of Multitude, Hardt and Negri approach the concept of love as what is needed to grasp the constituent power of the multitude. They end by writing, “We can already recognize that today time is split between a present that is already dead and a future that is already living — and the yawning abyss between them is becoming enormous. In time, an event will thrust us like an arrow into that living future. This will be the real political act of love.” (Multitude, 358)

It is with these last words that we would like to begin our conversation on how to construct a new concept of love — a love that is both personal and political; a love capable of constructing new networks and new subjectivities; a love that is learnt and developed in relation to the network; a love based on differences; a love that creatively experiments with singularities; a love that is ontologically productive. Michael Hardt will begin with a few thoughts on why the concept interests him as well as the advantages, problems and limitations he sees with the concept. Together, we will move outwards from there.

In anticipation of the conversation we suggest reading the following texts:
Hardt and Negri, Multitude, 348-358
Hardt, “Conclusion: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy,” in Gilles Deleuze, 112-122

Autogestión: Self-Management in Argentina

A conversation with Mario Alberto Barrios
General Secretary of the National Association of Self-Managed Workers of the Industrial Federation, Argentina Workers’ Central


Monday, April 16, 7-9 pm
Tequila Bookworm
512 Queen St. West, Toronto

In Argentina, especially since the socio-economic crisis of 2001-02, an array of grassroots groups has been carrying out experiments in autogestión, or self-management. To self-manage is not only to organize and produce cooperatively. It is also to transform traditional economic relations into ‘social economies’ that foster more equitable, humane, and horizontal relations among individuals and groups. Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry invites you to join us for a conversation about self-management with Mario Alberto Barrios, who is active in struggles for the rights of self-managed workers in Argentina. This conversation is a continuation of TSCI’s Laboratory Latin America series, a series built on the exchange of collective experiments in the production of new forms of working, living, and creating

See other events and writings in Laboratory Latin America series: Recovering and Recreating Spaces of Production | Recovery! Recreation!

Recovering and Recreating Spaces of Production | Writing

A Virtual Roundtable with Protagonists of Argentina’s Worker-Recovered Enterprises Movement

by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry

This article is made up of excerpts from a series of exchanges, during the summer of 2005, between protagonists in Argentina’s worker-recovered enterprises movement (movimiento de empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores, or ERT) and Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry. These voices are assembled here, in a virtual roundtable, as a narrative about struggles over spaces of production. This act of assemblage is a contribution to the circulation of critical analysis, joyful affects, affirmative statements, and creative actions.

We hear from: Pablo Pozzi, an Argentine labour and guerrilla-movement historian and Chair of US History at the University of Buenos Aires who works as a radical pedagogue in numerous villas de emergencias (shantytowns) and unions across Argentina; Eduardo Murúa, an organizer of the autonomist ERT collective Movimiento Nacional de Empresas Recuperadas (National Movement of Recovered Enterprises, or MNER), who is currently in the midst of various workspace recoveries while forging links with the ERT movement across Latin America; Edith Oviedo, former journalist, educational book publisher, and member of the Editorial Cefomar workers’ co-operative; Plácido Peñarrieta, the current president of the Artes Gráficas Chilavert workers’ cooperative and a housing-rights activist; Cándido González, a Chilavert worker, spokesperson for MNER, and an activist who assists recovered enterprises in their crucial moments of struggle; Manuel Basualdo, an experienced book-binding specialist at Chilavert; Walter Basualdo, Manuel’s son, an apprentice machinist who has worked at Chilavert for three years; and Martín Cossarini, an apprentice machinist at Chilavert who has been active in setting up cultural spaces in workers’ cooperatives.

With these protagonists our collective shares common questions: How do bodies insulate themselves from reactive forces? What new forms of constituent sociability, subjectivity, in short, composition, are emerging today? “What alliances might be forged while under siege?” What are bodies, in practices of intentional cooperation, capable of? What does it mean to make subjectivity a locus of struggle? What tensions exist between a strategy oriented towards the reclamation of work and one based on the refusal of work? How might creative assemblages keep lines of affinity moving without freezing their fluid material?

We write from Toronto. These voices speak from Buenos Aires. We visit. They stay. We find ourselves recalling a closing line in an email we received from one of the protagonists who speaks in these pages: “The greatest support you compañeros from the North can offer us here in Argentina is for you to continue to struggle against the system in your own localities, where you live.”

The voices gathered here speak across the theme, “occupy, resist, and produce.” The last term is, perhaps, the key term, the catalytic force coursing throughout: production not just of goods, but of desires, of affinities, of communities—all circumscribed by struggle, ‘lucha,’ undertaken in response to an urgent need, to produce autonomous spaces.


Post-Fordism | Reading Group

Mondays, 7:30-9:30pm
22 January – 26 March 2007

What forces brought an alleged ‘post-Fordist’ regime into being? What is its composition? What are the possibilities and limits of this concept? How is it manifesting in labour, the city, cultural production…? How, and with what effects, are flexibilization and decentralization operating as new forms of control? How do these forms of control coexist with centralized command? How does it relate to neoliberalism? What radical proposals and potentialities are emerging under conditions of advanced post-Fordism?

Reading List

  • Bob Jessop. “The Regulation Approach.”
  • David Harvey. “Fordism” and “From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation.”
  • Michel Aglietta. “The Transformation of the Wage-Earners’ Conditions of Life.”
  • Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello. “The Formation of the Projective City” and “1968: Crisis and Revival of Capitalism.”
  • John Holloway. “The Great Bear: Post-Fordism and Class Struggle.”
  • Bob Jessop. “Post-Fordism and the State.”
  • Antonio Negri. “Archaeology and Project: The Mass Worker and the Social Worker.”
  • Thomas Atzert. “About Immaterial Labor and Biopower.”
  • Gilles Deleuze. “Postscript on the Control Societies.”
  • Brian Holmes. “The Flexible Personality.”
  • J-K Gibson-Graham. “Post-Fordism as Politics.”
  • Linda McDowell. “Father and Ford Revisited: Gender, Class, and Employment Change in the New Millennium.”
  • Kathi Weeks. “The Refusal of Work as Demand and Perspective.”
  • Andrea Fumagilli. “Ten Propositions on Basic Income: Basic Income in a Flexible Accumulation System.”
  • David Harvey. “Neoliberalism and the Restoration of Class Power.”

Defining States. Mattering Differently.

A Conversation with Brian Massumi and Erin Manning

A Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry Event

Saturday, November 25, 2006
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Rm 066, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design [Building]
University of Toronto

230 College Street

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. Nation state. Rogue state. Natural state. State of exception. State form. Head of state. Police state. State of grace. State of mind. State variable. State of fear. State of emergency. Indeterminate state. Nascent state. Static. State your point. Mental state. Emotional state. Altered state. State jurisdiction. State of the union. State of affairs. State your name. Stately. Statism. Subject of the statement. State your purpose. Smattering. Grey matter. Anti-matter. Love matters. Matter and energy. Matter and memory. Matter of principle. Reading matter. Matter of minutes. Matters of the heart. Matter of course. Matter of opinion. For that matter. Money matters. What does it matter? Mind over matter. Fecal matter. No matter what. Matter-form. Matter of fact. Matter of habit. What’s the matter? Matter of life and death.

“… the question is not how to elude the order-word but how to elude the death-sentence it envelops, how to develop its power of escape.”
–Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

What can be done in the face of states of domination that are able to thrive on the assaults against them? Can we defy these states? Can we matter differently? Join us for an intimate conversation around these questions with Brian Massumi and Erin Manning.

Brian Massumi specializes in philosophy, media theory, and visual culture. He is the author of Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation and A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari. His translations from the French include Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus. He teaches in the Communication Department of the Université de Montréal, where he directs the Workshop in Radical Empiricism.

Erin Manning is a philosopher, visual artist and dancer. She is assistant professor in Studio Art and Film Studies at Concordia University and director of The Sense Lab, an interdisciplinary research-creation laboratory. She is the author of Ephemeral Territories: Representing Nation, Home and Identity in Canada and Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty.