Why am I Afraid to Love? is an artist’s book derived from the exhibition and public art project of the same name, by Monique Levesque. Street posters that were exhibited throughout Vancouver for six weeks in early 2016 are reproduced here at their original size.

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This book is a collection of the diaristic texts of Monique Levesque and intimate text message conversations with dates, which were exhibited in UNIT/PITT’s gallery space in February of 2016. These posters were also distributed around the city on street poles. The writing participates in anxiety around surveillance, secrecy, vulnerability, romance, performance and gender in digital correspondence. 

Who Am I Afraid to Love? was a project about the criticism of vernacular communication, through the interpersonal politics that occur within a dating context. It also contained an awareness of the vulnerability of making personal stories and intimate messages public. Many of these texts are indexical remnants of bizarre interactions in the digital sphere. There are moments of coercion, condescension, and also complicity in these romantic and sexual dances, but this complicity is an intimate part of being in the world. (And especially of being in the world of dating.) The whole project was undertaken with the criticism of these relationships in mind.

These texts walk the line between personal conversation and a public statement. In publishing these correspondences, does it become a fully public statement? What and who is affected by the “leaking” of your own personal communications? In what ways do personal relationships and conversations uphold systemic forms of violence? The act of putting them into the public sphere was intended to be subversive, to create uncomfortable encounters through a mixture of their familiarity, and the routine intimate violence of which they are evidence.

–Brynn McNab, Curator

ISBN 9781927394304
47 pages (printed one side), 11″x17″

Monique Levesque was raised in the Canadian prairies by two people whose love story has proved impossible to live up to, or replicate. In 2011 Levesque acquired a BFA from Emily Carr University. Working in alignment with the history of performance in various media, she has since dedicated her work to the pursuit of the romantic comedy.

Brynn McNab graduated with a BFA in Critical and Cultural Studies from Emily Carr University by way of Film Production from NSCAD University. Since then, her work has included writing, curating and editing, including the relaunch of ISSUE magazine in 2014. She is currently interested in an expanded field of writing, which incorporates casual correspondence and co-production.