Theoretical Fiction


Who was it that came up with this term? 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.