Theoretical Fiction


Who was it that came up with this term: theoretical fiction or ficto-criticism? At any rate, it was under the influence of Roland Barthes’ writing and the wave of French theory just hitting our shores in the mid-to-late 1970s. Today we might call it performative criticism. I did at the time.

This was the second path, a deviation from the work of art that became a drift of its own. The “theory” was elaborated in my pamphlet Peripheral Drift and enacted in “Exits” and “Breach of Promise.”

Soon after, this type of writing was “suppressed” as I turned my efforts to the project of creating a history of contemporary Canadian—more properly Toronto—art, which then led again to my becoming a curator and having to perform a responsible type of writing. Performativity came back into my writing in the 2000s, in Repetition, he said, she said, for instance [click to read] and in many of my books: Disassembling the Archive, and while I have been lying here perfectly still, Project for a New American Century, and Glamour is Theft.