Installation: No Choice About the Terminology

By Jason Edward Lewis

Presented in partnership with Ryerson University School of Performance: Faculty of Communication & Design

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2018
Time: 6pm – 11pm
Location: Ryerson University, Rogers Communication Center, Northern Entrance (Across from Pitmann Hall)

The phrase “you’ve got no choice about the terminology” comes from an article in the New York Times describing an old-school ice cream parlour manager who insisted that things be called by their proper names. “A scoop of ice-cream with topping on it is a sundae.” This piece is inspired by Jason Edward Lewis’ struggle to determine what terminology to use to describe his ethnicity (Cherokee, Hawaiian, Samoan, raised in northern California rural mountain redneck culture), and his profession (artist? poet? software developer? educator? designer?), and recognizing both the danger and seduction of neat categorizations. The line inspired a series of text playing with categories, definitions and the idea that, though we might have some choice about our terminology, we have no choice about our ontology.

No Choice About the Terminology will be staged adjacent to Ryerson’s historic Kerr Hall Quad where attendees of the keynote will walk along its path. The quad’s outdoor space is a commemorative site to the institution’s namesake, Egerton Ryerson, so-named to celebrate his contributions in the development of public education in Canada–including the nation’s residential school system. As the institution works to implement the recommendations of the Truth and (Re)conciliation Act, the University continues to wrestle with issues surrounding its namesake.

No Choice About the Terminology was commissioned by the imagineNATIVE Festival for the Vital to the General Public Welfare exhibition.

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