Desire Lines. Displaced Narratives of Place (2023), exhibition view. Curator: Felicity Tayler © Paul Litherland for Artexte.

Desire Lines. Displaced Narratives of Place

An exhibition curated by Felicity Tayler

January 20 - March 25, 2023

Opening — Thursday, January 19, 2023 – 6 p.m. @ Artexte


Desire lines are paths that are created as people move through open urban areas. Well-worn tracks in the dirt show us an everyday that is determined by overlapping drive and intent, spaces carved out in collectivity and in defiance of the structural forces invested in infrastructure and landscaping greenery. Similarly, arts magazine publishing in Toronto, from the 1970s onward, has been a space criss-crossed by lines of desire for access to print as a communication medium with political effect; for organizing labour through mentorship and kinship structures; and for new forms of representation through an analysis of gender, class, and race. 

Curated by Felicity Tayler, the exhibition Desire Lines. Displaced Narratives of Place highlights these lines, bounded by metadata describing three magazines published in Toronto between 1978 and 1987 :  Fireweed, Border/Lines, and Fuse (formerly known as Centerfold), as well as their network of artists and writers who have mobilized around them. If little distinction is made between magazine founders or attention accorded to the fame of their contributors; the emphasis is instead on connectivity through accumulated co-publishing relationships. These relationships, however, are an incomplete representation of the multiplicity of communities from which these writers emerged; and to wish for comprehensiveness is an expression of desire that looks toward a utopian horizon.

— Felicity Tayler, curator


Consult the exhibition booklet HERE


With artworks and contributions of: Luis Jacob, Tomasz Neugebauer, Pamila Matharu, Clive Robertson, and Felicity Tayler.


Felicity Tayler, MLIS, PhD lives with her family on unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin Anishinaabe territory. She is the Research Data Management Librarian at the University of Ottawa, was the Interim Head, Research Services (Arts and Special Collections), 2021-2022, and an Information Specialist at Artexte, 2010-2016. Her research, artistic, and curatorial interests include art historical metadata modeling, data visualization, and the print culture of artistic community. The Desire Lines. Displaced Narratives of Place exhibition first took form as part of a Fellowship in the Department of History of Art at the University of Toronto. It is informed by her work as co-applicant on the SSHRC-funded SpokenWeb partnership, which foregrounds a coordinated and collaborative approach to literary historical study and digital development, with diverse collections of spoken recordings from across Canada and beyond. Tayler’s critical and scholarly writing has been published widely and related exhibitions have been funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and have taken place at the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, among other venues.