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Terence Dick
Writer, Editor

December 29, 2011

Terence Dick is Akimblog’s Toronto correspondent and editor. He’s a freelance writer whose work can often be found in the publications like DesignLines or in assorted artist catalogues. He gives lectures on art and art criticism whenever he’s asked and also teaches philosophy and creative writing to high school students. Each year he takes this opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months of art, ideas, people, and culture as a way of preparing the ground for the future. Enjoy.

1. Arab Spring

Despite some predictions that history had ended thirty odd years ago, it was incredible to watch revolutions in real time as longstanding dictatorships were challenged and, in some cases, toppled across the Middle East. What was equally fascinating, particularly from a North American viewpoint, was how the Canadian and American governments responded as power balances shifted and odds were weighed on a day-to-day basis as to what would be the most strategic position to take. The complex and contradictory layers of contemporary geopolitics were clearly brought to light in the varied responses – from immediate military action to unqualified support to unexplained restraint.

2. Occupy _______

Perhaps it was the spirit of times or perhaps people were just fed up, but the Occupy Wall Street movement set off a chain reaction of equally adamantly unified-only-in-their-opposition-to troops in cities major and minor across the land. While the reasons for this dissent were pretty clear to everybody but the right-leaning press, the manner in which they were discussed and presented (the human microphone!) should inspire and engage socio-cultural-political thinkers and activists (and artists interested in non-hierarchical collective discourse) for the many battles to come.

3. Steve Jobs

It only occurred to me as my facebook newsfeed was suddenly overloaded with tributes to the late Steve Jobs that he was anything but a prominent computer huckster. The passion with which folks celebrated his contributions to the human race surprised me and had me rethinking the ubiquitous devices that now pepper my world. Despite my relatively recent indoctrination into all things Mac and the presence of the full range of iThings in my home, I can’t help but regard the uniformity, compatibility, and consumability of these products with an undeniable sense of apprehension. The Marxist in me recoils at the convenience and I experience a slight twinge of guilt with every app I download (and charge to my credit card), but it hasn’t stopped me from being a user. Consider me weak and Jobs the winner.

4. choir!choir!choir!

Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman’s ever-growing informal collective of voices raised in song lifted spirits across Toronto this year and, with their all-access aesthetic, might just be the most punk rock thing I’ve seen in a while. Don’t stop believing!

5. Sarah Sze's Portable Planetarium

It’s always good to end on a high note and one of the last works I saw this year was Sarah Sze’s wonder-full installation, 360 (Portable Planetarium), at the National Gallery. Nothing much has changed since the first time she wowed me over a decade ago at the Carnegie International, but all the elements of what I’ve looked for in 2011 and hope to see in 2012 are here in this carefully constructed assemblage that moves easily from commodities to the cosmos in her authoritative and ambitious hands.



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