Anyone who has kept up with my Editor’s Notes will know that I love nostalgia. I love revisiting old Discorder features and CiTRisms, and sneaking them into my writing like the chewy bit in a Tootsie Pop. But, nostalgia isn’t always sweet.
As I write this Editor’s Note, I am listening to CiTR / Mint Records’ Pop Alliance Vol. 2 from 2011. It takes me back to that era of Vancouver pop music — lazy-romantic song lyrics that lean hard on the quotidian; an unresolved tension between classic guitar-driven pop and electronic dance pop; and more than anything, the artists’ ambitions to become that band that defines West Coast sound. Though I hear Vancouver in the music and I love it, I don’t have the same fondness for the art.
The original cover art for Pop Alliance Vol. 2 is a totem pole with the likenesses of local musicians in place of traditional figures and spirits. Although the artist wrote a statement (included in the record sleeves), there is no justification for cultural appropriation. The cover art is harmful in its trivialization of Northwest Coast Indigenous culture. It is my personal view that not only is the cover art a gross misrepresentation of the vinyl, but it also contradicts the values of decolonization that both CiTR / Discorder and Mint Records strive towards. Our organizations are making a renewed commitment to educating ourselves on Indigenous cultural appropriation, and holding workshops that will be open to CiTR / Discorder members and our community at large. You can find our statement and apology online, and on page 4 of this issue.
Why now? Over the past year, CiTR / Discorder have been working on how to address the harm of this cover art, and also an instance of artistic cultural appropriation that Discorder published in the April 2017 issue. Discorder is complicit is the creation and dissemination of an illustration that appropriated the work of an Anishinaabe artist. As a magazine and media organization, we take responsibility for the ways we have failed our contributors and community, and we want to keep this conversation open.
June is National Indigenous History Month, culminating in celebrations on the Summer Solstice, June 21. I encourage Discorder readers to take some time to reflect on the land you occupy and the people for whom the land means life. Seek out education on local Indigenous issues, and show up where you can.
In this issue of Discorder, you’ll read about the Indigenous burlesque group, Virago Nation; emerging hip hop artist, Rude Nala; DIY artist-run space, Duplex; Dim Cinema’s experimental moving-art programs; Moniker Press’ experimental risograph printing; toxic masculinity as defined by WAVAW, and so much more. Pull out the June event calendar and flip it over for the Music Waste Festival schedule (June 7-10).
I would also like to welcome Sydney Ball as the new Under Review Editor, and extend a thank you to Alex Lenz for guest editing Real Live Action.