Forensic engagements: archiving the material culture of a postindustrial landscape

Mattias taking a peek into the Wellington tunnel. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Matthias taking a peek into the Wellington tunnel. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.

 “Danger” tape, bricks, broken tiles, water samples from a dumpster, a feather, sunglasses, a rusty street sign, broken glass, fabric samples, playing cards, and more. These were just a few of the objects and artefacts collected from Griffintown’s postindustrial landscape as part of our third Points de vue urban lab: “The Postindustrial landscape lost and found: Archiving Urban Change.” Thank-you to Caroline Andrieux at the Darling Foundry for including us in the Place Publique summer series. Thank-you to members of the Points de vue team: Alyse, Cynthia, and Micheline for documentation, and Chantale and Noèmie for your participation and taking care of our water station. Special thanks to our participants: Eman, Théo, Renata, Stephen, Matthias, Anja, Catherine, Laurie, Laura, and Isabelle. You brought this workshop to life with your curiosity, playfulness, and thoughtful reflections on the processes of urban change.

Archiving urban change. Photo: Micheline Chevrier © 2014.
Archiving urban change. Photo: Micheline Chevrier © 2014.
Isabel, Tom and Cynthia archiving urban change. Photo: Renata Ribiero © 2014.
Isabel, Tom and Cynthia archiving urban change. Photo: Renata Ribiero © 2014.

Our goals in this workshop were to engage our participants in an embodied experience with the material culture and processes of urban change that surrounds the Wellington tower. Tom, Marie-France, and I each designed a particular walking route from the Darling Foundry to the Wellington tower. Our participants were divided into three groups and tasked with collecting objects and detritus while moving through the postindustrial landscape.

Marie-France collecting. Photo: Alyse Tunnell © 2014.
Marie-France collecting. Photo: Alyse Tunnell © 2014.
Mattias taking a water sample from dumpster. Photo: Micheline Chevrier © 2014.
Matthias taking a water sample from dumpster. Photo: Micheline Chevrier © 2014.
Théo looking for treasures. Photo: Noèmie Desplan-Lichtert. © 2014.
Théo looking for treasures. Photo: Noémie Despland-Lichtert. © 2014.

We provided each group with a kit of forensic tools consisting of gloves, ziplock bags, a disposable camera, a measuring tape, and jars for liquid samples. Participants were also asked to map the location of found objects, and record details about their objects such as, scale, colour, weight,  and odour.

Photo: Renata Ribiero © 2014.
Collecting urban change. Photo: Renata Ribiero © 2014.
Mattias and Noèmie measuring "new city grass." Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Mattias and Noémie measuring “new city grass.” Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Noèmie and Stephen recording details about their object. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Noémie and Stephen recording details about their object. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Isabel and Tom recording details. Photo: Renata Ribiero © 2014.
Isabelle and Tom recording details. Photo: Renata Ribiero © 2014.

The duration of each walk was about 90 minutes. All three groups reconvened at the green space next to the Wellington tower. Participants placed their bagged objects on a white tarp. We engaged the participants in a final activity and asked them to individually respond to an object. Participants were given three questions to reflect upon and asked to describe in what way an object was a relic of the past, an object belonging to the present material culture of the landscape, or an object representing the future to come. These reflections and the artefacts collected by the participants will be on display in the Points de vue exhibition, September 24th-28th, at the Darling Foundry. -SJ

Treasures from Griffintown's postindustrial landscape, collected and laid out next to the Wellington tower. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014
Treasures from Griffintown’s postindustrial landscape, collected and laid out next to the Wellington tower. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: