David Court

How/why did you start exploring the relationship between language and space? Influences and intent?

It began as a pedagogical exercise. I was studying at the University of Toronto and wanted to learn more about architectural language as part of my studio research, which was working with space and representation in terms of the image. So it was intended to support my art work. I worked with fellow artist-student Josh Thorpe and a professor from the architecture department to learn habits of reading and talking about space. The quality of the language that came out of the in-situ conversations we would have was quite different from the texts I was reading for the same purposes, and interesting to me in its particularities. At a certain point I started to integrate this work into a site-based project I was working on. So the first iteration was recorded conversations played back as part of an installation. Then text-based collaborations with Josh, developed from recorded conversations among ourselves and with others, which was primarily editorial – selecting interlocutors and filtering their comments – which we continue to work on together.

What is the relationship between your writing and other artworks you do?

It seems necessary to write in order to carry forward my thinking in a certain way, which is always parallel with or completely enmeshed in other modes of working. I can’t prioritize one activity over the other in terms of my interest in the production of subjectivities through language, vision, sensation in general and the cognitive processes they entail. In any case the concern is with representation in relation to affect and intensity, and with the slippage or seepage between the actual and the virtual, the material and the abstract.

David Court & Josh Thorpe: On Printed Matter

Your research often includes interviews. How does this exchange affect the project, or future projects?

The interviews always open up thinking to unfamiliar ideas and materials, and on a practical level suggest new ideas, projects, paths to follow. There is a continuity with the process of collaboration, which I do fairly frequently, where you are finding or creating a common space, and also engaging in exposure to difference, to what you don’t know, think, feel, agree with, etc… and to unknown material, not being able to count in advance what a person or situation will offer up. Something that seems to recur in my projects is the effort or process of going outside, so to speak, in relation to collaborators, the public, or curatorial propositions like yours. There’s a soft risk and contingency, and an opportunity to be social. You have to negotiate something. As with the other artists in this exhibition the work is not private or internal, it is taking place in public, or working backwards from the instance of presentation or exhibition as a component of the work.


David Court is an artist and writer living in Brooklyn. He holds a Masters of Visual Studies degree from the University of Toronto, ON, and a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has exhibited solo and collaborative projects across Canada and in New York, with recent projects for Printed Matter (with Josh Thorpe), NY; Flux Factory, NY; and the Toronto Sculpture Garden.Toronto, ON. Court has also published widely.

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