Access to Print: Kass Banning, Will Straw, Rinaldo Walcott, with respondent Joy Xiang

Online conversation as part of the speaker series Desire Lines presented by the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) in coordination with Artexte and Spoken Web

Curated by Felicity Tayler and Michael Maranda, with assistance from Faith Paré
Friday, April 30, 2021 @ 2 – 3:30 pm


This network shows us how the absences, or received lack, in one publishing project generates desire for new ones. These panelists will share their personal memories of scenes and magazines as sites of discursive community, reflecting on how one magazine can emerge as a response to another. For instance, the poststructuralism and cultural theory of Border/Lines can be read as a response to the materialist politics of Fuse. Despite these formal differences, Border/Lines and Fuse emerge as two parallel discursive spaces where the language and practice of queer identity and cultural race politics were developed in the 1980s and 1990s. Further, the absence of a certain form of content creates desire for new forms that can hold new content, as these two magazines acted as points of consolidation for discourses that resonated into other socio-cultural contexts and prompted the creation of even more publishing spaces, such as Topia.

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Presenter Bios:

Kass Banning teaches at the Cinema Studies Institute, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on aesthetics and screen alterity, to include minor cinemas and new media ranging from diasporic to Indigenous to queer. Specific areas of interest include black diasporic visuality and minor Canadian moving image practice, expanded documentary, and artists’ moving image installation. Complementing her research on cultural translation and local / global intersections, her work revisits national, transnational, and planetary analytics, from theoretical and philosophical perspectives that privilege “difference.” Banning co-edited the anthology Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women’s Cinema (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), and co-founded and co-edited two Canadian quarterlies, CineAction and Border/Lines, for over a decade. Her most recent publication, co-written with Warren Crichlow, “A Grand Panorama: Isaac Julien, Frederick Douglass and Lessons of the Hour” appears in Film Quarterly, Summer 2020.

Will Straw is James McGill Professor of Urban Media Studies at McGill University in Montreal, where he teaches within the Department of Art History and Communications Studies. He is the author of Cyanide and Sin: Visualizing Crime in 50s America (Andrew Roth Gallery, 2006) and co-editor of several volumes including The Cambridge Companion to Rock and Pop (with Simon Frith and John Street, 2001), Circulation and the City: Essays on Urban Culture (with Alexandra Boutros, 2010), Formes Urbaines (with Anouk Bélanger and Annie Gérin, 2014), and The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Cinema (with Janine Marchessault, 2019). His research on periodicals has appeared in the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, Criminocorpus, Context(e)s, the University of Toronto Quarterly, Parallax, and Media History. Much of his current research focuses on the night-time culture of cities. Another of his current projects has to do with mimeography and science-fiction fanzines from the 1940s through the 1970s.

Rinaldo Walcott is Professor of Black Diaspora Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a Professor (Full) in the Women and Gender Studies Institute. and member of the Graduate Program at the Institute of Cinema Studies as well. His teaching and research is in the area of Black diaspora cultural studies and postcolonial studies with an emphasis on questions of sexuality, gender, nation, citizenship, and multiculturalism. From 2002–2007, Rinaldo held the Canada Research Chair of Social Justice and Cultural Studies where his research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust.

As an interdisciplinary Black Studies scholar Rinaldo has published in a wide range of venues. His articles have appeared in journals and books, as well as popular venues like newspapers, magazines, and online venues, as well as other forms of media. He was on the editorial committees of Fuse, Border/Lines, and Topia. His latest book the Long Emancipation: Moving Towards Black Freedom (An Essay) is forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2021. He recently published On Property (Biblioasis, 2021).


Joy Xiang is a writer, arts worker, and perpetual late bloomer born in Shanghai and based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Her work engages desire, migration, material flows, and media nostalgia and futurity. She prioritizes collaborative processes and learning ways of being together in complication and intimacy. Her first chapbook, cold blood, uses cold-blooded creatures as a metaphor for creative and survival-focused adaptation strategies. She has edited for Milkweed and re:asian; written for Mercer Union, Ada X, and Hamilton Artists Inc.; and held positions at Vtape and Blackwood Gallery. She was assistant editor at Canadian Art and is currently a member of the feminist working group EMILIA-AMALIA.

Desire Lines: the series:

The trajectory of arts magazine publishing in Toronto from the 1970s onward has always been a space criss-crossed by lines of desire. This speaker series takes an algorithmically produced network diagram of publishing metadata as a jumping off point for story-telling around personal memories.

This series is organized by Felicity Tayler, Interim Head, Research Support (Arts and Special Collections) at the University of Ottawa Library and Michael Maranda, assistant curator. New generation respondents are curated by Faith Paré, made possible by an RA-ship from the SpokenWeb partnership. The background to the series comes out of a metadata analysis of three magazines from the seventies and eighties, Fuse, Border/Lines, and Fireweed, that Felicity put together with Tomasz Neugebauer of Concordia University.

Video recordings of the series, transcripts of the speakers’ voices, and commissioned responses by the new generation writers will be published online, inscribing their depositions into the archives of local art histories. The series is functioning as a prequel of sorts for the physical exhibition Lignes de désire // Desire Lines: Displaced Narratives of Place, to be held at Artexte in Montreal. Because the exhibition is in perpetual pandemic delay, this speaker series will work as an engagement in the present, which simultaneously acknowledges a continual deferral.

For more on the series, please visit:


Artexte is supporting this series through research services and access to the physical and digital collection. Felicity Tayler’s investigation into the social, political, and geographical spaces of Canadian magazine publishing in the seventies and eighties charts new territories of knowledge within and around Artexte’s holdings. SpokenWeb has made the participation of Faith Paré possible, as well as provided necessary inspiration and methodological guidance in the process of putting this series together. We at the Gallery are grateful for the contributions of both of these institutions.


The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) is a public, university-affiliated, non-profit contemporary art gallery supported by York University, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, and by its membership.

In recognition of our place on the traditional territory of numerous Indigenous Nations, the Art Gallery of York University thanks the Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabek who have and continue to care for this land. This land is the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Covenant and Wampum between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Three Fires Confederacy (the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi), and other allied nations in an agreement to share land and its resources. We occupy land referred to in Crown Treaty 13, known as the Toronto Purchase, signed in 1805. Terms of this Treaty were not met by Canada until 2010, when the Federal Government settled the claims of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

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