Call for proposals

Issue 125 (Spring-Summer 2020)
General information

Submissions must be sent in Word or RTF format to info [@] espaceartactuel [.] com. Unless otherwise indicated, they should comprise original and previously unpublished work. Writers are asked to include a brief biography (70-80 words for reviews, 80-100 words for other sections) and their mailing and email addresses.

The editorial committee reviews all submissions and reserves the right to accept or refuse any articles. Texts that present a potential conflict of interest between the author and subject will not be considered.

Submissions are evaluated on the following criteria: relevance to the mandate of ESPACE art actuel magazine, clarity of expression, quality of analysis and originality.

The editorial committee, overseen by the magazine’s Editor-in-chief André-Louis Paré, consists of Mélanie Boucher, Peter Dubé, Bénédicte Ramade, Aseman Sabet, Bernard Schütze and Mathieu Teasdale.

Contributors will receive $65 per 250-word page.

1. EXHIBITION REVIEWS section

Exhibition reviews should be no more than 1000 words, including endnotes. Authors must choose a recent solo or group exhibition held in Quebec, Canada or abroad.

Submission deadline: the deadline for Reviews is January 20, 2020.

2. INTERVIEWS or EVENTS sections

Please send an email to the direction of the magazine if you are interested in writing for either of these sections. Articles must be between 1500 and 2000 words, including endnotes.

Submission deadline: the deadline for Interviews and Events is January 20, 2020.

3. DOSSIER section

For this collection of essays, we would like to have original texts on this subject that cover a minimum of two or three art practices. If you would like to submit a text, we first invite you to email the editor of the magazine André-Louis Paré (alpare [@] espaceartactuel [.] com) to present a summary of your project. We will inform you promptly if your proposal is accepted. Your completed text should not exceed 2000 words, footnotes included. The honorarium offer is $65 per page (250 words). Deadline: The reception date of the final version of the text is January 20, 2020.

Dossier: “Dictatorships”
Issue 125 (Spring-Summer 2020)

Right away the idea of dictatorship conjures up a political system. Even though the etymology of the word dictatura already refers to the absolute, oppressive, tyrannical power in ancient Rome, in its modern version, a dictatorship is set up in a way parallel to democratic systems that are based on the wishes of the citizens, who freely exercise their power to elect the government of their choice. In this context, a dictator might well ask the people to decide on its governance, but they are forced to elect representatives from a single party. Thus, unlike a democracy, the dictatorship is imposed through the will of a single person or small group of people. With the support of law enforcement – police and army – order is kept, usually through intimidation or violence, to govern the country’s affairs, whether in matters of justice, economy or social organization. However, even politically, the notion of dictatorship cannot make do with this single authoritarian vision of power. In wishing to reverse the injustices that class privileges cause, Karl Marx viewed a dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessary change in order to achieve a more just and equitable common world. Others, today, faced with the urgency of radically halting global warming, are wondering if we have not arrived at the stage of imposed environmentalism, the only way to remedy the laxity of democratic systems incapable of speeding up the process to the detriment of our freedom as consumers. In other words, the dictatorship as a form of governance responds to different ideologies requiring either order or equity, but can it not also be used in a more subtle way within the democratic logic?

In our consumerist societies, certain values are imposed through marketing or “way of life.” Models of beauty and of lifestyle circulate in images conveyed through the media. This dictatorship of beauty, success and performance is often enhanced, highlighting consumer goods. According to this socio-economic logic, everyone is the other, no one is themselves. In the field of art, which many consider to be a place of freedom and originality, we endeavour to resist this mode of being in everyday life, this “dictatorship of the we” as Martin Heidegger would say. But is it that simple? As Dominique Bourg explains, for decades neoliberalism has been imposing its economic power beyond our political sovereignty (cf. Le marché contre l’humanité, PUF, 2019). Politics as a decision-making place has renounced its sovereignty in favour of the economy and technology that now control how we act, how we think. Therefore, the dictatorship within our contemporary societies has nothing to do with a system that is controlled by a single tyrant. Quite the contrary, the tyranny appears subtly through various social networks and marketing platforms, which shape our behaviour, for example, through algorithms that suggest products and activities to us. As a social phenomenon based on the other influencing the self, this dictatorship of the market is masked. And what about the values that discreetly permeate our judgments? What is to be said about the “we” when it becomes moralistic, when being politically correct imposes censorship, if not self-censoring? Transposed to the field of art and aesthetics, what might these ethical and political issues suggest?

Admittedly, still today and according to certain difficult socio-political conditions, many artists are constrained and must resist various kinds of power. This is because, from the outset, contemporary art and dictatorship do not sit well together. Indeed, art, considered a space for freedom of expression, seems to be a favourable place to criticize the many forms of dictatorship. In the feature essays for this issue of ESPACE magazine, we would like to explore some of them, such as those that interfere with our information systems. Looking at today’s artistic practices, we want to examine the various aspects of dictatorship that can be linked to diverse strategies that are implemented in the media, in particular. For a long time, the dictatorship of the market has affected our aspirations for freedom of choice. Think of the art market’s authority, which dictates its values in a precise speculative context, to which must be added the aesthetic trends that vary over time and from one place to another in the world. Elsewhere, as numerous contemporary practices indicate, the idea of dictatorship within our democratic systems includes surveillance mechanisms that are set up as security. It is also in this sense that forms of dictatorships in our market economy shape our choices and normalize our desires. This is set out as a wish to be the “same,” organizing a unified vision of reality, which stifles the field of possibilities.

If you wish to submit an article, we invite you, as a first step, to email the editor of the magazine André-Louis Paré before December 16, 2019 at alpare [@] espaceartactuel [.] com to present a summary of your proposal, including the art practices you wish to cover. We will inform you promptly if your proposal is pre-selected. Your completed text should not exceed 2000 words, footnotes included and will be submitted to the editorial board. If accepted, an honorarium of $65 per page (250 words) will be paid upon publication. The deadline for the final version of the text is January 20, 2020.