The New Issue of DRAIN with BRENDAN A. de MONTIGNY, and CHRISTOPHER PAYNE, MFA's '12

RUIN

Ruins are everywhere, yet can we be certain of exactly what they might be? Do they constitute figure or ground? How is the ruin given its figuration and from where does it garner a sense, if any, of grounding? Can we regard them as ever-changing archives? Are figure, ground, style, substance, taste, and form even significant markers when attempting to tie the study of the ruin (and ruination) to aesthetic practice?

The ruin can, as well, be a situated, sited and cited entity in the visual field, given an affective value or measure—historical, cultural, socio-political—structured upon the very tentative gesture of how one looks on such spatial decay. It is as much about looking and seeing—both in regards to the presence of unruly fragments and to the absence of what does not remain after, or in the aftermath of, loss—as it is about sense and perception, and remembrance and forgetting. What remains, might be a central question to consider when thinking about how the ruin addresses both loss and subsequent redemption from within the scene of this loss. Alternate to a sense of loss that the ruin might signify is this sense of the redemptive that it promises—a looking forward, as such, from the moment of the present and from within a sense of immanent presence, on to what might be materially viable and spatially ephemeral or livable. Speaking on terms that are redemptive, how, then, would the ruin be situated within conversations that concern urban and social planning, and within discussions about how architecture and architectural theory might respond to decay and it aesthetic representation? As such, urban decay, ecology, environmental reconstitution and technological ruination add to the broader dialogue regarding how the ruin might be configured and experienced as sites of both livability and abandonment.

Furthermore, can the ruin become metaphor, especially within the scene of aesthetic practice? In a sense, spatial and architectural imaginaries might limit the capacity of the ruin to be thought differently. Can we think of it otherwise—as ruined time, as in the case of the photograph and photographic time? Or a ruin further localized to address the corporeal body and embodiment itself? Consequentially, in aesthetic practice, is it possible to resist the urge, always already existent, to convert it into fetish object? -- Celina Jeffery, Editor

Work shown: Brendan A. de Montigny and Christopher E. Payne, A Call and Response to the Non-Visual Aesthetic of the New Canadian Landscape: A Walkabout in Ruins (October 2013 - January 2014)

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