Furnishing Positions 00

Edited by Adrian Blackwell and Christine Shaw

This broadsheet series is part of the comissioned project Furnishing Positions by Adrian Blackwell and is produced in conjunction with the 2014 exhibition FALSEWORK

Double-sided broadsheet, 18" x 18"


Adrian Blackwell, overlay of all configurations of Furnishing Postions, 2014

Furnishing Positions is a serial publication that focuses on the paradoxical nature of public space. Its standard form is an 18”x18” broadsheet, consisting of an artist’s project on one side and a text on the other. It will be published once every two weeks for three months, starting September 15, 2014, with each issue focusing on a specific paradox. As a serial, each issue builds on earlier editions. As each issue is published, it will be hung and made available for free in the Blackwood Gallery, posted to the gallery’s website, postered in public sites, and circulated electronically. As the exhibition progresses these broadsheets will accumulate, generating and animating conversations in the space.

Project Statement:
"Six Paradoxes of Public Space," Adrian Blackwell, 2014


If we apply the emergent concepts of private property and public authority to space, we can think of public space as analogous to the public sphere, as a physical space in which private people come together in order to question both the state and the economy. In this conception, we end up with three spaces: private economic space, spaces of public authority, and “public spaces.” Given that all space in democratic capitalist society is legally controlled through the rights of sovereign or private property, public space must always be constructed on top of a space governed either by the private economy or public authority. Public space is always an appropriation, a layering of a political space over legal space. This is clear when we take a quick glance at the physical spaces in which publics have asserted their power and produced new democratic knowledge, from public squares to universities, coffee houses, and private homes. These are spaces built either by public authorities or private economic agents (or some combination of the two); public spaces only appear within them when they are actively constructed.

So what exactly is produced when a public space is made? Insofar as it is a thoroughly capitalist institution, a locus of criticism internal to capitalism, public space always involves the construction of a paradox within physical space. It is not that public space today appears contradictory, rather that spaces of public authority and private economy are themselves contradictory, and public space is the construction of a spatial and material argument that brings their contradictions to light.

-Excerpted from Adrian Blackwell's "Six Paradoxes of Public Space"

Issues in this Series

00, Six Paradoxes, 15/09/2014
Adrian Blackwell

01, Affinity / Disagreement, 15/09/2014
Abbas Akhavan | Kanishka Goonewardena

02, Representation / Presentation, 29/09/2014
Dylan Miner | cheyanne turions

03, Materiality / Immateriality, 14/10/2014
Greig de Peuter | Paige Sarlin

04, People / Things, 27/10/2014
Karen Houle | Kika Thorne

05, Privacy / Publicity, 10/11/2014
Eric Cazdyn | Charles Stankievech

06, City / Urbanization, 24/11/2014
Mary Lou Lobsinger | Scott Sørli

Artist Biography

Adrian Blackwell is an artist, designer, and urban theorist whose work focuses on the relation between physical spaces and political economic forces. His artwork and designs have been exhibited at artist-run centres and public institutions in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., and China. In Spring 2014 he showed Circles Describing Spheres in if I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution at Haverford College, Pennsylvania and Getting Rid Of Ourselves at OCAD University’s Onsite Gallery. His current writing examines the polarities of global neoliberal urbanization, using Shenzhen as a case study. Recent publications include “Forms of Enclosure in the Instant Modernization of Shenzhen” in Volume and “What is Property? Notes on the Topology of Land as the ‘Historical Precondition’ and ‘Permanent Foundation’ of Capitalist Architecture,” in the Journal of Architectural Education. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and is an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. He was a member of Toronto’s Anarchist Free School and the Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry and is currently an editor of the journal Scapegoat: Architecture | Landscape | Political Economy.


Publisher: Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga
Artist: Adrian Blackwell
Curator: Christine Shaw
Editors: Adrian Blackwell, Christine Shaw
Designer: Matthew Hoffman
Copy Editor: Jeffrey Malecki
Printer: Captain Printworks
Abbas Akhavan
Adrian Blackwell
Eric Cazdyn
Greig de Peuter
Kanishka Goonewardena
Karen Houle
Mary Lou Lobsinger
Dylan Miner
Paige Sarlin
Scott Sørli
Charles Stankievech
Kika Thorne
cheyanne turions

How To Order

The Furnishing Positions broadsheets are all available for free download. To order free printed copies of any or all of them, please send an email including title(s), number of copies, and your mailing address to: michael.dirisio@utoronto.ca


Related Projects

Furnishing Positions
Commissioned Project
by Adrian Blackwell
September 15 - December 7, 2014

September 15 - December 7, 2014
curated by Christine Shaw