Defile: Trading Places
Toronto, Canada: YYZ Artist's Outlet/Art Metropole, 2003
52 pp., 28 x 20.5 x cm., staplebound
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies
Defile began as an idea from Art Metropole’s bookstore manager Jordan Sonenberg, (presumably) to both honour and parody FILE magazine, to which Art Metropole owed it’s origins. The notion was to publish a single issue a year, handing over the content entirely to a single artist or collective. They could serve as editors, or provide all of the content themselves. I approached Terada with the parameters and he quickly responded with the premise that was to become the first (and second last) issue. He wanted the entire magazine to consist of advertising, most of which would be made in trade with other periodicals.
We contacted every major art publication and twenty-one agreed to provide ads in return:Afterall (Issue 7), Artforum (Issue 6), Art Monthly (Issue 264), Art on Paper (Issue 5), Art Papers (Issue 2), Border Crossings (Issue 85), C Magazine (Issue 77), Cabinet (Issue 10), Camera Austria (Issue 81),Canadian Art (Issue 1), CV (Issue 60), Exit (Issue 9), Flash Art (Issue 229), Frieze (Issue 73), Kunst-Bulletin (Issue 1/2), Parachute (Issue 110), Parkett (Issue 67), Prefix Photo (Issue 7), Springerin (Issue 1),Teme Celeste (Issue 96), Zingmagazine (Issue 18).
This makes Defile magazine one of the best advertised art magazines ever (certainly the best advertised pilot issue of an art magazine) but the issue itself contains no content, only the closed circuit loop. The cover graphic, too, was part of an exchange. In order to use the stock photograph, we traded the photographer an ad on the back of the issue.
Titled Trading Places, the glossy periodical serves as both a snapshot of a month in the art world, a parody of a readership that consumes art magazines primarily for the advertising, and a trading of art world discourse real estate (Terada had previously funded a monograph of his work by selling gallery wall space to donors).
The trade edition of 950 were given away or sold for $5.00 (I can’t remember) but the signed edition remains available at Art Metropole, here, for $25.00.
Five years later the artist produced a 2008 poster called Have You Seen This Kitten?, a supplement to the project which served as a call to locate and collect the twenty-one back issues featuring the kitten advertisement. The collector was invited to document a stack of the periodicals and send two copies of the photograph to the artist, who would sign them and return one, as authentication of the collected sculpture.