Rooftop and garage of my studio, Montreal
September 12, 2009, approximately two hours

Performance presented in the context of the Animals and Children series, curated by Rachel Echenberg for Galerie B-312 – This piece was a reflection on loss, in the sense that my neighbourhood is quickly gentrifying, and erasing the history of the textiles industry that was so present even just a few years ago. I began by throwing a bucket of buttons on the street. Then I went up to the roof and projected a huge image onto the wall of the tall neighbouring building, so that people could watch from the street. The image was of my hands undoing the weave of cloth. I went down to the street where I had another projector into the depths of the garage. Through projected drawings I created a loosely-woven narrative about Leopold, an old creature who dwells in the shadow of the last remaining textile factory. We see women going to work, the repetitive markings of their sewing machines, and a creature at their feet, digging away at the ground. We are led to an underworld that is more abstract, and at times ominous. Drawings move in and out of focus, and I “enter” the tableau by going behind the paper screen, and eventually tearing through it to reveal the interior of the garage, where there is an endless pile of metal. The piece is punctuated by the following text:

I woke up and saw an entire tree in the movie producer’s garbage heap across the street. It was the tree that made me remember the burnt tree from my dream. I am finding treasures in a pile on the side of the road. Tiny carved wood details, like fragments of architectural mouldings. Beautiful old teacups too. I’m picking things up but am afraid to take them with me because they are near a tree that was on fire, still smouldering. If I take these objects I might spread the fire.

I end by rolling across the street. Lying on my back, I gesture with my hands in the air, trying to embody the tree that had been thrown away right in that spot. The sound was created by Christian Richer. His layered improvisation combined his own source material on cassettes, bass guitar, and field recordings I had made.

Materials: overhead projector, china marker on acetate, found objects (seaweed, feathers, glass…), sea grass

Photographs: John Sellakaers