August 2018

Eds. D.T. Cochrane, Alison Cooley, Fraser McCallum, Christine Shaw
and Joy Xiang

Published by Blackwood Gallery

A serial broadsheet publication featuring commissioned essays, artists' projects, and interviews.

Issue 02: COMMUTING is now available in print and online.

Dana Prieto, This end up fragile (from the series 1:10000), 2018. Cardboard boxes, mail parcel tags, packing tape, ceramic vessels, wooden boxes. Courtesy the artist.

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) is a serial broadsheet publication produced by the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga, as part of The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea, a site-specific exhibition, public program, and publication series designed to expand perspectives on climate change through artistic practices, cultural inquiry, and political mobilization.

In order to productively collide with the present crisis, we recognize that ideas cannot be constrained by disciplines. SDUK composes and circulates an ecology of knowledge based on the relationship and antagonism of “useful” ideas. The name of this innovative platform is borrowed from a non-profit society founded in London in 1826, focused on publishing inexpensive texts such as the widely read Penny Magazine and The Library of Useful Knowledge, and aimed at spreading important world knowledge to anyone seeking to self-educate. Both continuing and troubling the origins of the society, the Blackwood Gallery’s SDUK platform brings artists, scientists, activists, and publics into an interdisciplinary, intercultural, intergenerational reassessment of the history of capitalism and colonialism and their environmental legacies in the present.

The SDUK broadsheet series brings together contributors from diverse fields in the sciences and humanities, students and faculty from across the University of Toronto Mississauga, community organizations and activists, policy makers and policy agitators, artist researchers and speculative thinkers, all to advance new forms of literacy around climate change discourse.


This SDUK broadsheet takes COMMUTING as its theme. Alongside the most familiar usage of “commuting” (moving to and from work), the contributions in this issue touch on many aspects of circulation, migration, and change that are flowing across and rumbling below the surface of the Earth. As this publication platform traces the diffusion of knowledge, this issue in particular explores the shifts, displacements, and movements we must consider in an age of rapid global change in order to commute the Earth’s death sentence.


It has been raining all day and into the warm winter night in downtown Toronto—Tkaronto in Mohawk. The water splashes off the office towers of Bay Street (Canada’s Wall Street), is collected by a storm
sewer system overtaking buried streams, and then washes out into the vastness of Lake Ontario. Office towers and other urban surfaces are covered in a thin, greasy film that attracts persistent organic pollut-
ants like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These travel in global circulations of particulate clouds, encountering office towers whose oily films act like massive pollution-collection devices. The patter of
droplets on urban glass rinses the PCBs into a chemically concentrated rainwash that returns them to the lake, a legacy dumping ground of PCBs from an era of mid-century industrial exuberance.

 - Excerpted from “Afterlife and Decolonial Chemical Relations” by Michelle Murphy in Issue 2: COMMUTING (p. 10)


Canada’s Waste Flow
Sydney Hart
Matt Hern
Am Johal
Kent Moore
Andrea Muehlebach
Michelle Murphy
Natasha Naveau
Dana Prieto
Stanka Radović
Harvey Shear
Karolina Sobecka


Publisher: Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga

Editors: D.T. Cochrane, Alison Cooley, Fraser McCallum, Christine Shaw & Joy Xiang

Designer: Matthew Hoffman

Copy Editor: Jeffrey Malecki

Printer: Thistle Printing

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge is developed in collaboration with The Climate Change Project (City of Mississauga, Environment Division).


The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.


The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded in part
through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment,
the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the additional support of the Jackman
Humanities Institute and the University of Toronto Affinity Partner, TD Insurance.


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