Door to Door
(5th edition)
Adam David Brown and Nancy Nowacek

September 24 - 30, 2012

Curated by Christof Migone

A new series pairing up artists for week-long interventions throughout Mississauga. The starting premise for this itinerant series is to temporally and spatially splinter and dislocate the gallery in order to present work that delivers itself to you. In other words, if you cannot come to the gallery, the gallery will come to you.

Exhibition Statement

To Door, A Verb

Do not knock.(1)
Theodor Adorno

Following two editions of The Projects: Port Credit (the off-site exhibitions in Port Credit, Mississauga in the summers of 2009 and 2010), Door to Door is the Blackwood Gallery’s new series of off-site interventions set to include Mississauga as a whole. Door to Door will consist of ten invited artists creating works to be delivered door to door. Door to Door brings the off-site thrust of the Blackwood's summer programming to its logical extreme: if you cannot come to the gallery, the gallery will come to you. Inspired in part by Lucy Lippard's famous curatorial projects 557,087 and 995,000 whose numbered titles corresponded to the population of the city where the project was being presented (respectively Seattle in 1969 and Vancouver in 1970). Here, the impossible goal is to reach every resident of Mississauga, population 704,000 (according to the highway sign). Needless to say, the goal will not be reached but completion is not the principal purpose, rather it is the staging of one-to-one encounters and exchanges.

The curatorial premise of Door to Door is unabashedly utopic, it engages frontally with the implicit article of faith that art can act as a force of engagement, a conversation trigger, a tool for creative reflection. There is no naive presumption that reception will always be positive, or that we will be welcomed. There is no fetishization of the encounter. As the title suggests, The Projects: Port Credit placed an accent on the proposal or propositional stage of a work (what might or could happen). In other words, the focus was on change, plans for change. Door to Door shifts the question to one of exchange. In his classic ethnographic study, The Gift, Marcel Mauss summarized the practice of gift exchange as one containing "three obligations: to give, to receive, to reciprocate."(2) The set of rules in our case will of course be less rigid and regulated. With this particular frame, the economy that is applied requires no reciprocity, nor even reception. It is the gesture of giving that is exhibited, the rest is beyond our control.

Myriad questions arise as soon as the tangible aspects of realization are considered: if someone answers the door once knocked, is the art shown, heard, given, or performed? Or is the art to be left at the unknocked door. If so, how many objects at each door, or how many objects total? How are the doors selected? What if the gift is refused? These questions are largely alien in a traditional exhibition. The givens of an exhibition have vanished; this is outreach, literally, a reaching out. The choice of dispersal activity becomes integral to the artwork. Questions for the participating artists become: Delivery by car, on foot, by mail? How are the addresses selected? How many and for how long? Is it. a day long dérive or a week of 7am wake up calls? Is an object given or just shown? Is a performance presented? Is it in an upscale neighborhood or a strip mall? Everyone who’s last name starts with P or every blue door? Are you presenting yourself as a Jehovah’s Witness, an encyclopedia peddler or, blatantly and transparently, a contemporary artist? Or is the doorbell rung and you run?

Arising from this adventure are a multitude of ethical and legal questions. We acknowledge them not as hindrances, but as fascinating encapsulations of the societal conditions which regulate exchange. The aim is not to endanger but to astonish, albeit in an intimate manner. It may be the case that deliveries will need to be pre-arranged, but even if the element of surprise or furtiveness has to be removed this roaming exhibition still stands as a unique context through which to produce work and engage with an audience. With Door to Door we are heeding part of Brian O'Doherty's call in the very last sentence of his "The Gallery as a Gesture" essay: "Or the gallery itself could be removed and relocated to another place."(3) Here the gesture is even more radical, it is not longer off-site, but site-less. Or, it could be said that it invokes the gallery site every time that the artist shows up at the door and knocks on the door or rings the bell. A radical curatorial premise perhaps, though, however oddly, one that is simultaneously quaint, even neighborly. An exhibition home delivery service. A cumulation of instant sites. An exhibition of moments. We are dislocating the gallery through a spatial and temporal splintering process. It is here and there, and there, and there, ... Mapping projects by artists do abound. As well, the street is often sought as a venue for it is perceived as a context where the public is at its most random and least contrived. Door to Door belongs to both of these lineages, but investigates the specificity of where public space meets private domicile. The audience is no longer the passersby but the resident, the occupant, the one who answers the door.

Door to Door, an exhibition which knocks on your door and delivers itself to you.

- Christof Migone, Director/Curator, Blackwood Gallery

(1) Theodor W. Adorno, Minima Moralia, trans. E.F.N. Jephcott. London: Verso, 1974, 40 [entry 19]. The entry is titled Do not knock and it proceeds as follows: Do not knock. -Technology is making gestures precise and brutal, and with them men. It expels from movements all hesitation, deliberation, civility. It subjects them to the implacable, as it were, ahistorical demands of objects. Thus the ability is lost, for example, to close a door quietly and discreetly, yet firmly. Those of cars and refrigerators have to be slammed, others have the tendency to snap shut by themselves, imposing on those entering the bad manners of not looking behind them, not shielding the interior of the house which receives them. The new human type cannot be properly understood without awareness of what he is continuously exposed to from the -world of things about him, even in his most secret innervations. What does it mean for the subject that there are no more casement windows to open, but only sliding frames to shove, no gentle latches but turnable handles, no forecourt, no doorstep before the street, no wall around the garden? And which driver is not tempted, merely by the power of his engine, to wipe out the vermin of the street, pedestrians, children and cyclists? The movements machines demand of their users already have the violent, hard-hitting, unresting jerkiness of Fascist maltreatment. Not least to blame for the withering of experience is the fact that things, under the law of pure functionality, assume a forn that limits contact with them to mere operation, and tolerates no surplus, either in freedom of conduct or in autonomy of things, which would survive as the core of experience, because it is not consumed by the moment of action.

(2) Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The form and reason for exchange in archaic societies, trans. W.D. Halls. New York: W.W. Norton, 1990, 39.

(3) Brian O'Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999, 107.
Artists' Biographies & Project Descriptions
Adam David Brown – There’s No Place Like Home (2012)

There’s No Place Like Home. These are the magic words Dorothy utters so that she can return home from OZ. Like the Emerald City of OZ, Mississauga has become a place where people arrive from lands far away; it is a place to escape to, a place to create a new home and a place to run away to. Once thought of as a bedroom community it has become a “home–away–from–home” to generations of migrants, immigrants, industrial workers and commuters. There are few who are native to this place.

The project will take place in the evening of Friday September 28 at Mississauga's Living Arts Centre as they launch their theatre season. Performance patrons will be able to take a balloon home and participate in a social sculpture that reflects the entropic nature of the various and overlapping communities of this city. As the balloons disperse the phrase There’s- No- Place- Like- Home will become fragmented and scattered, dissolving to the far corners of the city. Each adopted balloon is a reminder of our distant origins, every one of us hails from someplace else and that indeed there is no place like home.

Adam David Brown was born in Mississauga in 1969 but never actually lived there. He is a multidisciplinary artist and educator living in Toronto. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, he completed his Masters of Fine Art at the University of Guelph. Guided by the principle of “less is more”, Adam’s work is frequently generated by his interest in silence, ephemerality and erasure. Intentionally spare, his work attempts to find a balance between emptiness and form, mark making and absence. Adam has exhibited work in Canada, Europe, Central America and the United States. His solo exhibition at MKG127 in 2009 was reviewed by Artforum and Canadian Art and brought his work to the attention of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts who awarded him their 2009 Artist Prize. He was recently awarded an Artist Grant by the Ontario Arts Council and a Project Grant by the Canada Council For the Arts.

The artist would like to acknowledge the territory of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation.

Nancy Nowacek – Not From Here (2012)

Not From Here is a performance of urban and individual identity via the universal and basic needs of the tourist: where to go and how to get there. Rooted in a series of exchanges—between tourist and local, production and consumption, and between assumption and imagination—the performance will turn conversation into action. Starting at Square One, local shoppers will be asked for suggestions of sights that should be seen and places to go in Mississauga, and for directions by foot. Once suggestions have been gathered, the performance will take to the streets, to experience Mississauga, step by step, at 5K an hour. The performance will take place during the day on Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday Sept. 30.

Based in New York City, Nancy Nowacek cross-trains 6 days a week in order to pursue a practice that includes carrying heavy things, building unreasonable structures, and unlikely ways to redefine modern body schema. Expanding beyond exercise to the grammar of movement, physical labour, and architecture, Nowacek's practice incorporates principles of situated experience and embodied learning, using the body as a tool, an object, a channel, and ultimately as a site of imagination. Her work has been shown in New York, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Europe and Canada.

Project Images

Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Related Projects


Door to Door (1st edition)
Germaine Koh & Gordon Hicks and Camilla Singh
May 30 - June 5, 2011

Door to Door (2nd edition)
Alexander Irving and Micah Lexier
September 26 - October 2, 2011

Door to Door (3rd edition)
Karen Kraven and John Marriott
Monday December 12 - Sunday December 18, 2011

Door to Door (4th edition)
Gina Badger and Tazeen Qayyum
Monday April 23 - Sunday April 29, 2012

Door to Door (6th edition)
Sandy Plotnikoff and Nathalie Quagliotto
April 29 - May 5, 2013