Multiple Elementary

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Multiple Elementary


25 × 18 cm | 7 × 10 in
87 ills | 96 pages

Editors: Helen Reed, Hannah Jickling

Contributors: Lorna Brown, Sita Bhaumik, Mark Clintberg, Jack Halberstam, Sydney Hermant, Vesna Krstich, Stephanie Springgay, Maiko Tanaka


Multiple Elementary explores the elementary school classroom as a site of invention and reception of contemporary art practices. Partly an exhibition catalogue, partly an artists’ book and partly a corner store advertisement, the book reflects on the making of an artwork by Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed in collaboration with a class of sixth grade students in Toronto.

Begun as a riff on the Ontario social studies curriculum Canada and Its Trading Partners, the engagement with students evolved as a series of field trips, extended research and, finally, the making of 28 chocolates, each as an edition of ten. Explorations of trade, exchange and labour took shape as exercises in public engagement, curatorial experimentation and institutional translation. Beyond socially engaged practices and expressions of art-as-pedagogy, this book explores aesthetic and representative possibilities for process-based and publicly oriented artworks, especially amidst the complications and contradictions inherent to collaborations with children.

Within the book, newly commissioned texts take up adult–child relationships, the wildness of children and the 'contact high' they offer to artists and academics attempting to recuperate wonder, failure and queerness in their work. Other texts explore the reception of childrens’ art outside of the classroom, the unruly behavior of artist multiples, taste-making and eating in relationship to ‘the other’. Finally, a lexicon for curatorial, pedagogical and feminist-material discursivity is offered to further locate Multiple Elementary amongst larger cultural questions.

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