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2005 11 15
Montréal Walkups: No. 3
By Lance Blomgren

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Image: Charles Chalmers

4289 St. Emile

Overlooking the terrace of an Italian style café from the vista of her second-story kitchen window. A young girl folds a newspaper flyer into halves. A younger girl wields the scissors, begins snipping. A moment later a chain of hearts emerges. Laundry soap, chicken breasts, a stray lip, some teeth. The two giggle as the hearts flap in the breeze, the chicken meat and lips waving like some sort of flag. Wagging lips and dancing chicken! Wagging lips and dancing chicken! Soon they’re in hysterics and the sale items look like they might come flying off the paper as the wind picks up. Then it happens. On the windowsill there’s an alarm clock blinking out the wrong time and a limp aloe plant blocking the view. The voyeur jumps up to see what’s going on. By the time she locates the scene, an unhappy looking man is pulling some soggy newsprint out of his bowl of soup—soap and teeth. The two girls are facing the other way, holding amazingly straight faces.
[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 11/15
2005 11 14
Montréal Walkups: No. 2
By Lance Blomgren

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Image: Deeelem


2120 Clark

She’s certain she set her alarm. Her baby’s diapers are so full of oopsie that she wonders how long she has slept. The eyes of the puppies have opened and the three little monsters are wagging with delight under the weight of their mother’s sagging teats. The room is not as white as it had been painted, and the mailbox is overflowing with newspaper flyers. Across the street, the old cathedral has been entirely demolished, leaving only a vacant, muddy lot where a long line of well-dressed people shift uneasily in the rain, waiting to pile into their tour-bus. She notices something moving across the room, a black line winding its way along the kitchen wall, over the counter and into the next room. A trail of black insects leads from the small hole in the back screen door, down the hall through the apartment, and out the narrow gap under the front door. In the cupboard, her can of Raid is completely empty. She winds the grandfather clock in the hallway. The phone stops ringing long enough to hear the toaster pop in the other room.

Apt. D’Amours

There’s a sense of restlessness (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 11/14
2005 11 13
Montréal Walkups: No. 1
By Lance Blomgren

walkups1

#802—10 Ontario West


Upon entering an apartment for the first time, the visitor allows his mind to walk through the rooms ahead of him, scan the layout. He wonders what the view from the balcony will provide, what the kitchen is like, the division of space. He guesses what books he’ll find on the shelves, the style of furniture, the artwork and decorations. Every apartment is a variety of vital anatomic constituents (organs) arranged in different configurations along a recognizable axis (skeleton) which, like dogs, allow for a great range of differences within the same basic classification. “Can a Doberman have sex with a beagle?” “Only if they get along.” The first-time visitor ponders the possible discerning features this new place might possess, goes searching for the differences which give the space its definition. The first-time visitor reads the rooms for clues.

This is not the case here. Studio Living, says the billboard. Here the apartment searches for you. Long before you arrive this wide-open space has been anticipating your visit. At any time you can dress formally, pick fights, eat oysters with boxing gloves, seduce, take a nap under the table, be a Roman. You look for (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 11/13
2005 11 12
Mont Real : Creation
The story of how it grew

by Pohanna Pyne

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A vessel of life.
style, language, integration, relation,
loose association and some strife.
Formed from millions of minds
shaping direction with imagination.

Every season, transition.
Culture reflects the breeze and leaves.
Brown, silver, green, gold, grey.
Skies, clouded, exposing the raw concrete way.
Blue sunshine on bright glimmers of snow.
And fat heavy air, even hotter this year
you know?

The mountain.
A magnetic pulse of tree-truth,
cools the plateau people who play and
downtown corporate heights bloom
with packed-fast urban delights.

While the river floats history.
An expression of repression,
from soft kayaks in song
to dead fish who don’t belong.

The day dims, yet always aglow.
A halo of thick pink air,
twinkling lights.
Evening fades bright -
shades of late indigo blue.

Each moment a fresh hue.

pohanna pyne just moved from montreal to honolulu. after coordinating the suoni per il popolo festival and working at ckut 90.3, among other fine projects ... it was time for a fresh perspective.

intended as a reflection on the feeling of leaving montreal, this poem became thoughts of montreal's spirit - as i drove away.

[email this story] Posted by Sophie Le Phat Ho on 11/12
2005 11 11
Ghosts of Geography and the Montreal Wireless
by tobias c. van Veen

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Montréal, your drunken streets, wandering in snowbound tracks, wrapped erotic before the chill, coming late and half-naked, blistering in heat...

That’s what I should be writing, or the ghost of Leonard Cohen, before he went Buddhist & clean, spouting epiphanies into the cheap streets of the late-night... but now the kids are into technology they tell me, and get off on USB hubs plugged into orifices of data. And given that this is a design blog of sorts, and into things of the tech-savvy sort, grant me the bytes to talk a bit about a wireless art project I recently curated in the city called SonicScene. It’s to be found on the local Île-sans-Fil network (ISF). ISF is a non-profit, community run and open source collective that sets up free wireless hotspots throughout the city of Montréal in partnership with businesses and locations (like cafes, other NPOs, libraries and the like) [see also previous post]. Modelled after groups in NYC, Sonoma County and elsewhere they’ve taken it a bit further and rewritten the opensource NoCat server software, which creates a localized network among wireless hotspots, into something called WiFiDog.

One major accomplishment is that WiFiDog runs (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Sophie Le Phat Ho on 11/11
2005 11 10
Hacking (and Defending) the City
by Michael Lenczner
As American intellectual property rights lawyer and activist Lawrence Lessig explains in his book "Code is Law", there are rules which you will never find in the law books. He is specifically talking about software and hardware, and his point is that if the software on your computer or the software that makes up the internet dictates a certain kind of use or prohibits another use, than you are constrained. It doesn't matter if you have the legal right or not. A perfect example is the digital rights management software that is built into the iPod and iTunes. It doesn't let you have more than 5 copies of a song you bought from the Apple music store even though there are no such restrictions required from the federal or provincial government. These digital rules sometimes support consumer rights, and sometimes support commercial interests.

The same holds true for cities. We can look at the built city as full of rules that exist by virtue of how they empower or constrain us in different ways. Those rules are written by developers, in conjunction with architects and municipal urban planners. Some of those rules are parks and public spaces and (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Sophie Le Phat Ho on 11/10
2005 11 09
Flâner
par Franck Le Coroller

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Deux façons essentielles de connaître une ville sont selon moi la marche et le vélo, deux médiums à momentums différents certes, mais dont la combinaison judicieuse peut s'avérer succulente. Montréal se prête particulièrement bien à ce jeu de flânerie et de vadrouille aléatoire, de jour comme de nuit, surtout si l'on prend en compte la sécurité accrue ou plutôt l'insécurité extrêmement rare qui caractérise cette métropole et si peu de ses soeurs nord-américaines. S'il est une ville à dimension humaine, c'est bien cette insulaire du Saint Laurent.

Où que l'on soit, s'engager sur la piste cyclable qui fait le tour de l'île s'avère très fructueux. La tranquillité de l'eau, les quartiers paisibles du nord-est, les parcs de l'ouest, les zones industrielles délabrées et parfois reconditionnées du canal Lachine, les rapides.... bref, des morceaux de balade à découvrir par fragments.

Dans un autre registre, plus intéressant pour moi, il y a les flâneries par quartiers ou zones de la ville. Chacun, comme Michel de Certeau le mentionne dans ses Arts de faire, se créera son itinéraire, sa "géographie seconde" ou cartographie personnelle. Chacun invente sa ville.

Le "fameux" Plateau de Montréal, cette zone de référence qui, malheureusement, s'agrandit (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Sophie Le Phat Ho on 11/09
2005 11 08
Poster Culture
by pohanna pyne

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Some people consider postering a vital promotional tool for small bands and local artists. Others consider them a form of urban vandalism that merits fines. But now an attempt to find a solution to illegal postering in downtown Montreal is being launched by the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership (QDSP), a 26-member, non-profit urban revitalization organization that unites city officials and cultural programmers. The QDSP was formed two years ago as part of the city's plan to beautify the area between Sherbrooke and René-Lévesque and from Berri to Bleury.

The project provides billboards that posterers can use to advertise their events - the kind of events that are currently subject to fines for illegal postering (fines differ from borough to borough, but range from $85 for individuals to up to $1,000 for businesses). Preliminary research found that the majority of fines in the area are given to posters related to music events, so access to the billboards will be restricted to local shows during the pilot project's six-month trial period, which begins in September.

Finding an alternative to illegal postering is part of a long-term urban renewal plan, according to Anjali Mishra, director of projects for the QDSP. Mishra (...read more...)
[email this story] Posted by Sophie Le Phat Ho on 11/08
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