Douglas Watt's MFA Defence: Obscene Remainder on the Shop Floor

Friday, October 27, 2023 | 1:30 PM
Room 4350 – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver

Obscene Remainder on the Shop Floor is a multi-work installation based on Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium’s original location on 1221 Thurlow Street in Vancouver, opened in 1983. The store, which sold gay and lesbian erotica, literature and pornography, was a target of censorship by Canada Customs and three bomb attacks in the midst of panic around sexual obscenity in Canada. Through critical fabulation with images, video and materials, I constructed a bird’s-eye view model of the store along with a set of conceptual sculptures based on merchandising elements from the store. In restaging a specific site of local queer history through the lens of critical theory, I sought to derive a more universal understanding of queerness and obscenity as catachresis of a structural exclusion around which aesthetic communities form their cohesion.  

Keywords: Little Sister’s, Model Making, Ready Made, Retail, Obscenity, Queerness, Aesthetics, Catachresis

October 27, 2023