Traversée de L’imageinaire (Maison de la culture
Marie-Uguay, Montreal, Summer 2002)
I moved into my St-Henri
apartment 21 years ago, and southwest Montreal still inspires
me. Now that the Lachine Canal has been re-opened and expensive condos, some with private marinas, are being built on the canal, St-Henri is undergoing a gentrification which
may be good for the middle class but the poor and the working-poor are left out in the cold.
The poor and working-poor are being forced out of their appartments to make way for more expensive ones which they cannot afford thus leaving many homeless. Some have lived in the same place for generations and now they have nowhere to go. The government is very slow when it comes to helping these people.
I explore aspects
of this situation in Tour St-Henri. A video installation
consisting of six television monitors stacked in a 9ft metal
structure which symbolizes St-Henri’s industrial
past, a period that has come and gone.
The videos installed in the structure consist of digital
paintings of St-Henri and an original sound track, all of which
will highlight the social and political developments taking
place in this rapidly-changing area.
The still images in the videos are transformed digitally to emulate paintings, thus adding
a poetic aesthetic to them, calling
into question the veracity of any political work that claims
to be representational. The ever-running videos display how
the area’s residents are attempting to create a new urban
identity for themselves in southwest Montreal.
My multimedia video
installation has obvious social implications: Governments and
corporations must not just spend money on refurbishing the Lachine
canal and subsidizing nearby condo developments. Those in power
must make sure that the poor are not driven out into the streets. I hope to use my work to create new relationships between the
poor and the rich in Staint-Henri, as well as in similar, neglected
areas in other Canadian cities.
I believe that the
latest trends in contemporary art (use of computer graphics,
DVD, the internet etc) offer new modes of expression for artists
who need to do original work. New art styles have always been
influenced by their predecessors. Cubist painters, like artists
in the generation before them, created portraits, still life
and landscapes, but their works ’ execution-related characteristics
were truly original. Similarly, digital art has not, cannot
and will not exist in a vacuum.
The first examples
of digitally-created art date back 20 years. Old dot-matrix
printers without postscript capabilities could only produce
unrefined digital art. Today computers are giving artists a
new canvas upon which they can create works of a quality that
rivals that of the classics. I believe the new art movements
have made tremendous advances and are now forcing the contemporary
art establishment to take notice.
project explores new uses of technology,
the work ’s main focus is sociopolitical.
I would like this video installation to be a poetic
reminder of lost ideals, something that will encourage us all
to contribute meaningfully to our communities.