John Paul Ricco and Adam Barbu in conversation on Instagram Live

John Paul Ricco and Adam Barbu in conversation on Instagram Live

Vtape presents

In conversation

on Instagram Live
Friday August 7, 2020 @ 2pm EDT

In this conversation, Adam Barbu and John Paul Ricco return to Barbu’s recent exhibition Empty History (Vtape, 2019), now in the context of the COVID pandemic, and the current and ongoing degradation and dispossession of so many lives. Juxtaposing two theorists: Eve Sedgwick on “paranoid and reparative” reading, and Gilles Deleuze on “living in a world without others,” Barbu and Ricco discuss an ethics and aesthetics of queer solitude as non-paranoid and non-reparative modes of being in the world.

Instagram: @vtapevideoart

Late in 2019, Vtape presented the exhibition Empty History curated by Adam Barbu. This exhibition questioned histories of queer singularity and progress and was an elegant exploration of what he referred to as the “everyday”.

This conversation is a chance to revisit that exhibition and consider it in relation to the unprecedented conditions that surround us all. There is a short video on the Vtape website now that is a walk-through of the exhibition when it was installed in November-December 2019 in the Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space at Vtape.

Works in the exhibition
DEIRDRE LOGUEHome Office, video, 2017, 03:33
LUCAS MICHAELFixed Kilometer, video, 2018, 46:35
LUCAS MICHAEL – Audiences Fortunas Iuvat, sculpture, 2011
PAUL WONG – Perfect Day, video, 2007, 7:30

Adam Barbu is an independent writer and curator based in Ottawa. He holds an MA in Art History from the University of Toronto. In 2015, he was the recipient of the Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators. Some of his past exhibitions include The queer feeling of tomorrow, Art Gallery of Guelph (2015-2016), A minimal doubt, Videofag, Toronto (2015), and The Circle Won’t Be Broken, Visual AIDS, New York City (2015). He has contributed to publications such as Canadian Art, Esse, Espace art actuel, Momius, and the Journal of Curatorial Studies.

John Paul Ricco is a theorist and writer working at the intersection of contemporary art, queer theory, and continental philosophy. As Curator in Residence at V-Tape in 2007-08 he organized the two-part exhibition: Love in a Time of Empty Promises; and Sex Is So Abstract. Ricco is the author of The Logic of the Lure, and The Decision Between Us: art and ethics in the time of scenes and is currently working on two book projects: The Intimacy of the Outside; and The Collective Afterlife of Things. He is Professor of Art History, Comparative Literature and Visual Culture at the University of Toronto.


401 Richmond St., suite 452
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8
416 351-1317

Our offices are closed now due to the COVID 19 regulations but our programming, screenings, conversations and other activities have all moved on-line – either on our website or on Instagram Live.

Vtape acknowledges the generous support of all of our funders including The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.


image: Audiences Fortunas Iuvat, sculpture, Lucas Michael, 2011