Life and Life Support Systems by Judith Doyle (Fuse Fall 1996)

judith doyle in transcript performance at funnel

Judith Doyle in “Transcript” performance at The Funnel

Why not download the handsome PDF? Fuse Life Support

“The old warehouse burned furiously. And with it my matches.” Patti Smith and Tom Verlaine, The Night. Aloes Books, 1976, London

In a dark space made close by the crush of people, reading after performance after art band took stage; in between were film strips – scratched castoffs from the trim bin of pop cinema, spun by Martin Heath, the archivist film DJ par excellence, o his rattling 16mm projector. It was a hot night in May 1979, at 466 Bathurst St., one of the potent array of self-funded venues and publications set up in Toronto in the late ’70s. They formed brief allegiances and working crews, used borrowed office machines and low or no-rent spaces to create telecommunications networks, storefront window exhibits, film and performance venues, programs in bars, photocopied publications and distribution networks for books, films and videos. Now, these working methods proliferate again in an environment of cutbacks and constraints.

This network of short texts – reminiscences, quotes, opinions – taps into this rich vein of Toronto history and activity, as a start for a longer project. It is also the first stage of a website I am developing. I hope it will be accessed as an archive and rendezvous point, not an artifact that “makes us history” through selective closure. But the reality of using the web is less like surfing than wading – up to your eyeballs – in a sea of junk mail. The good stuff is buried deep in cybersilt. At best, the hypercommercialized internet is an adjunct to our local, embodied contexts – word-of-mouth grapevines, rented buildings and small-run printed matter. Perhaps we can use the web, critically, as a cross-referencing tool, one among many circulation systems linking people, ideas, images, forgotten and out-of-print texts, anecdotes and forwarding addresses.

Please download the PDF to read the rest of this excellent article by Judith


Photo taken in 1978 for Only Paper Today (OPT) broadsheet, for a special issue focusing on Worldpool (an artist teleculture network based at 720 Queen St. W. Toronto). From left to right: The Founding Board of Worldpool: Sharon Lovett (community activist), Fred Gaysek (poet, co-proprietor of Rumour Publications with Judith Doyle), Willoughby Sharp (NYC based artist and Publisher of Avalanche Magazine), Judith Doyle, and Norman White (artist, roboticist and OCA Photo-Electric Arts Instructor).