Call for proposals

Issue 120 (fall 2018)

General informations:

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 Unless otherwise indicated, they should comprise original and previously unpublished work.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 magazine, clarity of expression, quality of analysis and originality.

The editorial committee is overseen by the magazine’s editor-in-chief and consists of Mélanie Boucher, Peter Dubé, Bénédicte Ramade and Bernard Schütze.

Contributors will receive $65 per 250-word page.


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 May 5, 2018.

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 May 5, 2018.

3. DOSSIER section

If you would like to submit a text, we first invite you to email the editor of the magazine André-Louis Paré at 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. As well as an honorarium of $65 per page (250 words), we will send you a free one-year subscription to the magazine.

Deadline: Reception date of the final version of the text is May 5, 2018.

Dossier : Under The Influence
Issue 120 (fall 2018)

“For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.” — Friedrich Nietzsche 1

The theme of the current issue of ESPACE, “Under The Influence”, will explore the manifold ways in which drug culture is made manifest in various contemporary art practices. Harnessing mind-altering substances to stimulate experiences and incite new modes of perception is of course nothing new in the artistic field. The use of mind-altering substances to augment aesthetic sensibilities and provide excursions from ordinary experience has a long lineage that can be traced back to ancient times in the religious practices of various civilizations. It is particularly in the 19th century that the intersection of substance use and the artistic imagination emerged with figures such as Thomas de Quincey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Charles Baudelaire. Since then various mind-altering drug have fallen in and out of fashion to exert on influence on writers and artists and cultural movements from the early 20th century onwards, ranging from the Surrealists, to Henri Michaud, Aldous Huxley, the Beat generation, the 60s countercultural explosion, to 90s techno culture up until nowadays. With this broad history as a backdrop, this call for proposals seeks reflections on the intersection of aesthetics and mind-altering drugs in the current conjuncture. Having lost the aura of bohemian chic of small artistic circles or the emancipatory promises of the 60s counterculture, many recreational drugs are now thoroughly woven into the fabric of contemporary culture, particularly with the trend to legalize or decriminalize cannabis in various jurisdictions. In parallel we are also witnessing a renewed scientific attention being paid to the therapeutic uses of psychoactive substances to combat end of life anxiety, MDMA for PTSD, while micro dosing LSD has become fashionable in hi-tech sectors, and there is a burgeoning interest among millennials for shamanism by way of ayahuasca or DMT induced experience. On a darker and all too real note, there is the continuing abuse of a plethora of legal and illegal drugs (amphetamines, tranquilizers, opiates, etc.) the world over, the dire consequences of the opioid crises and the global drug trade with its cruel ravages. Given this global situation in which drugs figure as a pharmakon—an ambivalent status between remedy and poison, between an agent of creative mind expansion promising change and transformation and a force of self-destruction—how are artists reimagining the potential offered by mind-altering substances, all the while casting a critical eye on the the more somber aspects of intoxications in the social arena?

In view of exploring such questions, this call for proposals seeks contributions that address the role of mind-altering drugs in contemporary art practices from a variety of viewpoints. As a provisional guideline, we suggest three possible angles of approach: mind-altering drugs as subjective experimentation; as medium or substance to be crafted; or as a socio-economic process. As experimentation, substances can serve to deliberately heighten consciousness or modify perception in view of triggering a novel and, in certain cases, transcendent experience. For instance, in his recent body of work the Canadian artist, Jeremy Shaw has explored DMT and its connection shamanistic and transcendent potential. While the work Desert Now (2016), by the German artist trio made up of Julius von Bismarck, Julian Charrière and Felix Kiessling, deploys LSD and Adderall and the notion of the “trip” in a dystopian reflection on environmental degradation that contrasts with certain psychedelic tropes inherited from the 60s. As a medium, drugs are taken up by some artists to explore their material, even sculptural nature and ubiquitous presence in our everyday spaces, as in Diddo’s work Ecce Animal (2004), which features a skull sculpted entirely made of cocaine. In her series All You Can Feel (2014) Sarah Schoenfeld extends this notion of drugs as a medium by exposing recreational substances on a negative and then making photographic prints from the resulting interactions. Other practices point to the ramifications of the drug trade and its imbrications in global circuits of exchange via cryptocurrencies and the darknet. This is made apparent by the work Random Darkness Shopper (2014-ongoing) by the Swiss artist collective Mediengruppen Bitnik. An online shopping bot is here programmed to randomly buy items, including illicit substances, from the darknet and have them shipped to the artist’s gallery space for display or even consumption. Thus viewed as agents of subjective experimentations, mediums for image crafting, or vectors of socio-economic dynamics, mind-altering drugs can be said to exert an influence on contemporary art. An influence that both echoes and dialogues with the past, all the while pointing to a shift in sensibilities that is specific to our current moment and its increasingly bizarre contours.

1. Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Gods, (IX 8), translated by Duncan Large, London: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 46–47.