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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Elizabeth Simcoe, St-Helene - Montreal, ca. 1792-1796

23 mai 2008, Espace Mobile, Vox, Montréal
Elizabeth SIMCOE, “St Helene – Montreal” Cahiers d’esquisse de Elizabeth Simcoe, 1792-1796. Panorama 58-59. Bibliothèque David M Stewart. Fonds Simcoe.

It rained. I was outside for 20 minutes in the Place de la Paix before it poured rain and I had to run inside.

The square is an interesting place. It seems to be so empty. Constructed like modernist sculpture with space in the middle but nothing to encourage people to fill it. Despite this, it is a space that has a great deal of movement and variety. Everything from skater kids using the curb for tricks, or students from the nearby university residence playing soccer in the middle, to the street-involved population stopping for a rest or to congregate and pass some time.

In the brief time I was there I met a woman who I see coming in and out of the peep shows down the block. She has some prison tattoos. She spoke so softly, but wanted me to know that she thought the pink painting of the mountain view was “really pretty.” It began to rain and she disappeared before I could offer it to her.

I also watched from afar as one of the women I met the first day out was “courted” by a man in a car. In the end she didn’t go with him. But later I think she was accosted by another man on the block, he had ripped open the front of her dress in front of everyone and she was really angry. When I first met her, she told me that she paints to express her emotions to the universe.

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Elizabeth Simcoe, View of Montreal, ca. 1792 given in exchange for the stories and time and the chance to hear Montangnais.

05 mai 2008, Espace mobile, Vox, Montréal
Elizabeth SIMCOE, View of Montreal. ca. 1792. Watercolour. Archives of Ontario, Simcoe Family Fonds, F47. Reference code F47-11-1-0-58. (http://www.archives.gov.on.ca Accessed 10 May 2008 ) Given for stories and time and the chance to hear Montagnais spoken for the first time in my life.

À l’instant même où je m’installais dans l’espace, un homme se reposait sur un des blocs de béton. Il est resté avec moi durant toute la durée de la performance. Quelques passants ont cru que je peignais son portrait. Ce monsieur était accompagné de son fils. Après une demi-heure à partager l’espace, nous avons commencé à dialoguer. J’ai leur demandé s’ils aimaient la peinture paysagiste. Le monsieur a répondu “Je suis un paysage.” Quand j’ai demandé de clarifier sa déclaration, il a ajouté “Je suis toujours dans la nature.” Il avait un bon sens de l’humour. Lorsqu’il parlait, il passsait parfois du français à un langage que je ne connaissais pas. L’homme m’a dit que c’était du Montagnais, sa langue d’origine. J’ai lui dit que c’était la première fois dans ma vie que j’entendais le Montagnais. Son fils m’a dessiné une carte m’indiquant l’emplacement d’une murale, un portrait d’un Chef Montagnais. Cette œuvre se trouve sur la rue St-Hubert.

Ils sont tous les deux de la réserve Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, près de Sept-Îles. J’ai demandé si c’était loin de Montréal. Il a répondu quelques heures par auto… et cinq jours par canoë! Nous avons tous rient et l’homme m’a raconté que jadis ses parents faisaient le voyage en canoë de Sept-Îsles à Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue dans les années 1950… (more…)

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Elizabeth Simcoe, Isle au Soeurs, July 31, ca. 1792

16 mai 2008, Espace mobile, Vox, Montréal
Elizabeth SIMCOE, Isle au Soeurs, July 31. ca. 1796. Watercolour. Archives of Ontario, Reference code F 47-11-1-0-262. (http://www.archives.gov.on.ca Accessed 02 May 2008 )

I’m facing the Living Monument Project. A mural pained by a coalition of sex workers and allies. It was created in 2003 in honour of the 60+ in Vancouver who were murdered or no longer to be found. A lot of people from the Native Friendship Centre (on the corner of Ontario and St-Laurent) also took part, as many of the women who were murdered were aboriginal. Since then it has been mostly covered over with graffitti but you can still see the original skyline peeking out over the top… (more…)

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13 mai 2008, Espace mobile, Vox, Montréal
Elizabeth SIMCOE, View near Montreal. ca. 1792. Watercolour. Archives of Ontario, Simcoe Family Fonds, F47. Reference code F47-11-1-0-60. (http://www.archives.gov.on.ca Accessed 10 May 2008 ) Traded for a critical analysis.

Denis Longchamps is doing his PhD in Art History on the sketchbook imagery of Elizabeth Simcoe (1762-1850). He is arguing that the sketches she made all along her journey through Upper and Lower Canada in the 18th century were done in order to further the colonialist project of her husband, Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe. Denis’ research has been an integral part of the development of this phase of Pictorial Propaganda in the Quartier des spectacles. My research has been based on his astonishing indexing of all of her sketches among disparate collections on Canada and Europe, as well as his scholarly view of her work as colonialist propaganda.

Denis has offered to make a critical analysis of Pictorial Propaganda (as it reproduces the original watercolours of Elizabeth Simcoe) within the context of his own PhD research.

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Art production and acts of generosity are fundamentally generative, but nonlinear, expenditures of time and resources. In this way they contradict the accepted functions of production and utility that are associated with meeting societies basic needs, or the process of its expansion. Each could therefore be seen as potential processes of liberation from the inevitable progress of production…Arguably, it is around this kind of expenditure or value system that culture is defined, arising out of the surplus or excess generated by a society. — Kate Fowle and Lars Bang Larsen “Lunch Hour : Art Community, Administrated Space, and Unproductive Activity” in What We Want is Free : Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art. Ed. Ted Purves (Albany, NY : State University of New York Press, 2005), 17

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ConStellation

I made a visit to Stella today to pick up some copies of their excellent bilingual independent magazine ConStellation. I had a warm welcome, and as usual enjoyed reading their literature. The magazine is full of strong writing, insights and multifaceted nuances, with a very professional presentation. It generally makes me think about what it means to be human and working – and the commitment it takes to publish your own voice. (more…)

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Under capitalism, all is spectacle. Branding is the antithesis of neighbourhood. How can the symbolic language inherent to branding adjust to a process that includes the local community: the residents who study and work in a neighbourhood, plus the daily flux of permanent and temporary occupants.” — dAb Collective, “Urbanism versus Branding for Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles” Fuse Magazine 29, no 3 (2006), 24.

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