Felicity Tayler is the e-Research Librarian at the University of Ottawa. She was an Arts and Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History of Art at the University of Toronto (2017-2018). Her PhD dissertation at Concordia University addressed counter-national narratives in conceptual bookworks and artist’ magazines of the 1970s. Her scholarly writing has been featured in the Journal of Canadian Art History, International Journal on Digital Libraries, Art Documentation, and Art Libraries Journal.
The Image Bank International Image Exchange Directory claims to have been published by Talonbooks in 1972, but it does not feature in histories of that quintessential west coast press. As a response to this absence, this article explores the intermedial practices and social scenes surrounding the press, Vancouver’s Intermedia Society (1967-1972), and related sites where the city’s countercultures and neo-avant-garde came into contact. A visual analysis of two photographic images printed in the Directory, one urban, one rural, reveals a social imaginary for Vancouver in which the city flips into different registers of semiotic coding at local, national and transnational levels. The city features in the imaginary geographies of a neo-avant-garde interested in the psychological and cultural impact of media technologies, as per Marshall McLuhan’s “global village,” of transnational media space. Conversely, given a context of post-Centennial cultural nationalism, the Directory also indexes the city within a counter-environment where a utopian state of queer futurity could thrive.
Canadian Literature issue 235, Concepts of Vancouver: Poetics, Art, Media, is available to order through our online store.