carlwagan

THURSDAY JUNE 28, 2012

Come celebrate the launch of CAMP NANO and the Student Gallery’s SUMMER CAMP with a full day and evening of programs. Earn badges, sit by the campfire and nosh on smores and trailmix. 

The OCADU Student Gallery is launching its inaugural SUMMER CAMP program! Each week until August 24 will feature a unique set of events including underwater photoshoots, friendship bracelet workshops, outdoor movie screenings and urban canoe trips. Check the Student Gallery website (www.studentgallery.ocad.ca) for details weekly.

// PROGRAM OF OPENING EVENTS // THURSDAY JUNE 28 //

WORKSHOPS // @ Carl Wagan in Butterfield Park (12-2pm)
PARTY // Celebrate at the Student Gallery (6-11pm)
CAMPFIRE // Get cosy by the fire in Butterfield Park (after sundown)

CAMP NANO brings together the diverse publications of students in NANO PUBLISHING, a hands-on course in OCADU’s Printmaking department that examines the nature, history and politics of independent publication with an emphasis on active community engagement, distribution models, and strategies for working outside of frameworks offered by mainstream media conglomerates and retailers. Using a variety of studio techniques including letterpress, screen, digital printing, and book arts, Art and Design students make zines and artists’ multiples, organize a public exhibition of their work, participate in local book related initiatives, and establish consignment relationships with local galleries and shops.

THE CARL WAGAN BOOKMOBILE is a traveling campervan of cosmic proportions. It is a gallery, printshop, studio, library, reading room, classroom, and community project—all contained within a 1988 VW Westfalia. CARL WAGAN promotes active engagement with book-based cultural activity such as self-publishing, zine-making, screen-printing, and bookbinding. Subtitled “The Spaceship of the Imagination,” CARL is partly a loving homage to the innovation of astronomer Carl Sagan whose passion for dreaming continues to inspire generations of thinkers. CARL WAGAN is an experiment in radical pedagogy—bringing the strategies, materials, ideas and dialogues of independent publishing to a wide variety of audiences.

**CAMP NANO and SUMMER CAMP are both generously supported by Aboveground Art Supplies**

My Nano Publishing students recently travelled down to North Adams, Massachusetts to conduct a performance-reaction to the 2012 exhibition, Oh, Canada. We travelled with Symon, Antonio, Lisa and Eunice of ALSO Collective, Vanessa and Caroline of the OCADU Student Gallery, Graham Nicholas (Carl’s number one music man), and Luke Painter, Chair of Printmaking. While in town we held a party at Melanie Mowinski’s PRESS and visited darling Grover at GJ Askins Books.

The students are currently working on a book about our experiences. Below (and above) is my contribution. It’ll give you a sneak peek of the sincerity and amazement included in their work. The book, called BEAVER FEVER, launches Thursday 29 November at 10 pm at (where else?) The Beaver

Here’s my essay:

(page one)

 A Brief Reflection on 100 % True Love, Followed by a Short Piece about Paper Cuts, Magic and Going Places. By Shannon Gerard.

 I’m so grateful—overwhelming grateful—that the Carl Wagan Bookmobile has brought me closer to so many wonderful folks. I’ve tried to draw their faces for you, because drawing people’s faces is an act of utter love for me. And I want the students who came with us to North Adams to see how much love can result from the effort it takes to move art forward. 

 Thank you, ALSO Collective. Thank you, Vanessa and Caroline. Thank you, Graham. Thank you Lukey P. Thank you, Grover. Thank you, Melanie. And thank you, thank you, Nano Publishing class of 2012.

 (then some drawings)

 (then this essay)

 I love to read books. I love to make books. I love to play.  Books and Play are two of my most passionate interests. Book objects are playful objects. They make great noises when we open them. They imply performative leaps between their pages. Their pages can cut us. We remember, long after reading books, the relative balance of those pages in our right hands and our left hands. At the ends of dear books, we hold them against us.

 Books are a journey and the Carl Wagan is a ramblin’ man.

 Carl was born from the central research questions that motivate most of my work: How does the social position of art affect the way in which we value it? In other words, does where we tend to encounter art mediate what it means to us? Can art in fact become a social experience that changes the way we operate in the world?

 We have some long-held notions about where to find art most readily—galleries, art school, monographs, catalogues, concert halls, design studios. Most of the students I work with arrive at art school with a set of reasonable expectations about the system—I’m going to give them an assignment. They’re going to try to communicate an idea. I’m going to grade it. Repeat. Through this process, they are going to grow.

 But that is not really a human interaction. Surely institutions should offer us more than a set of satisfied expectations. They should give us other people. They should give us permission to try something we would not have otherwise tried. And it should be safe to fail a lot within that context.

People do not want to fail. But I know we want to try. And I know we want to find each other.

 Do you know the work of Olafur Eliasson?

 He dyed the rivers of Los Angeles, Stockholm, and Toyko green. He suspended a giant sun in the midst of the Tate Modern and made it shine down on visitors like magic. He emphasized that the world is a place we inhabit and influence, not an image we consider on a postcard. So why should art be something we merely look at on the walls?

 His excellent 2009 TED Talk poetically illustrates his idea that cities should not just be pictures to us. We should go places. My favourite part of what he says in that talk is this: “Art can actually evaluate the relationship between “What does it mean to be in a picture?” and “What does it mean to be in a space?” and “What is the difference?” The difference is between thinking and doing.”

 For many years I worked at the U of T Bookstore and a friend of mine there kept a package of band-aids in her desk for the frequent treatment of paper-cuts, which she called an “occupational hazard.” I just love that.

 You gotta get out there. You gotta try. And you gotta get your fingers sliced up a little bit.

 

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More detailed post about the Carl Wagan Bookmobile and Camp Nano coming soon. Here’s one of the most magical moments of the day: Taikun and Jackie’s impromptu band!!

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With the love and support and amazing design of ALSO Collective, I’ve launched an ambitious Indie Gogo campaign to help take the Carl Wagan Bookmobile from Toronto to Newfoundland.

Check it out!

What are the dreams closest to your heart?

Take a minute to consider your wildest dreams, the things you have always wanted to make, the places you have always wanted to go. The Carl Wagan Bookmobile can help you articulate those dreams through art making.

Partly motivated by the passionate work of astronomer Carl Sagan, The Carl Wagan Bookmobile is a manifestation of my highest ideals—play, imagination, rigour, and outreach.

Carl is a mobile gallery, publications studio, library, classroom, and dream machine—all contained within a 1988 VW Westfalia camper van.  Through Carl, I teach workshops in screenprinting, bookbinding, zine making, and creative writing, collaborating with various communities to tell stories and to generate artists’ books. Participants come away with self-published works, new studio skills, and a sense of the possibilities that can emerge when we come together to make art!

The Mission

In July and August of 2013, the mission is to drive Carl from Toronto to Newfoundland, stopping at artist-run centres, community spaces, educational initiatives, print shops, arts and literary festivals, bars, homes—you name it—to lead workshops, produce publications, meet people, and inspire new ideas!

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I am so blessed to know such amazing, creative people. 

ALSO Collective are working on a short movie about the Carl Wagan and we gathered with the incomparable Graham Nicholas last night to record some tracks for the film. Antonio’s friend Darryl played harmonica too! What a capital evening!