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2006 06 14
Shanghai Missive, Part 2
Photo: AGOTW

by Emmanuel Madan

Across the river in the old part of Shanghai, I spent a bit of time walking around through some much more classic architecture. Most of Shanghai is not very old, although it has some gardens which were first built in the 1500s and then restored after being bombarded during the opium wars. Nevertheless, walking through lane-ways and happening upon full-on outdoor markets or sidewalk noodle joints gave me the feeling that this was a style of life that people had spent considerably longer developing and getting used to. The tiny streets can accommodate bicycles single file, but as the distances are not great most people just walk.

The overwhelming smells and sights made my travelling companion think of this area as a "slum", but for me the dominant feeling was a kind of displaced nostalgia. Having read about all the old traditional neighbourhoods which are being demolished at breakneck speed up in Beijing and in other cities across the country, I had to wonder how much longer this area would survive as I looked up at the skyscraper apartment buildings looming not 2 kilometres further south.

Setting up the show at the museum was a fascinating ( more...)
[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 06/14
2006 06 13
Shanghai Missive
Image: AGOTW

Montreal resident Emmanuel Madan recently travelled to Shanghai to install an artwork called Ondulation. He sent us a series of dispatches about his experiences and we thought these were perfect for our feature on Shanghai. We will serialize them here over the next few days.

"Pudong New Area is the suitably science-fiction-like name for a very surreal place. Shanghai's history is tied up with European imperialism and was basically founded around the time of the Opium wars, in the mid-1800s. From that time until about ten years ago, Shanghai existed essentially on the west bank of theHuangpu river. Everything east of the river was reserved for farmland, supplying the city's millions of people with most of its produce. All that changed about ten years ago when city planners decided to open Pudong up to urban development. It has since become the banking centre of China, competing withHong Kong for financial dominance of the "New China".

Pudong New Area is where I spent more than half of my time in China, and I don't think I could have picked a more unrepresentative place. The model is familiar if unsavory: a vast agrarian area outside an existing city is appropriated, its ( more...)
[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 06/13
2006 06 11
Image: Pmorgan

Officially, Shanghai is Montreal's sister city. In a spirit of familial goodwill, we have decided to devote a week to looking at our "sister" city.

To start, here are a few facts about Shanghai:

Shanghai is located on the east coast of China. Most flights there from Montreal take about 27 hours.

Canada oldest consular mission in the East, established in 1908, is in Shanghai.

Shanghai is China's largest city, estimated to be about 18 million. It is growing at a rate of 30,000 new inhabitants a day.

In 2002 trade between Canada and China was valued at just under 20 billion dollars. Just 4 billion of that was exported from Canada.

[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 06/11
2006 06 09
Pedestrian Charter
Just steps from our house an eight year old boy was killed by a car last weekend. The shock of incident can still be felt in our neighbourhood: furtive discussions in the dep and on the sidewalks relay tales of those who tried to help and a sense of disbelief. The police's spraypainted "incident" marks are still on the intersection pavement.

The boy was on a bike. The driver was on a cellphone.

It makes this story seem all the more urgent.

[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 06/09
2006 06 08
Archive of the Almost
"Réflexion", projet lauréat présenté par André Fournelle, Simon Bouffard et Claude Chaussard

Projects developed during architectural competitions represent a particularly unknown and neglected architectural heritage. Many non-winning projects - “potential architecture” - continue to influence the practice and transfer of architectural ideas in ways that can sometimes be more influential than built projects themselves. By definition, the competition environment is rich in critical, reflective, innovative, and sometimes impossible, proposals.

More often than not, however, the public rarely sees these proposals... the ones that almost made it.

All this is slowly changing, though, through the efforts of Jean-Pierre Chupin, the editor of the Canadian Competitions Catalogue. This nascent, bilingual database is devoted to the archiving, analysis and history of contemporary architecture specifically through the collection of competition proposals. An interactive publication under permanent construction, this documentary initiative emerges from the Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle. The Canadian Competitions Catalogue (CCC) currently provides access to more than 4000 reproductions of documents of architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism. The CCC is one of the few databases and research engines entirely devoted to competitions.

Each of the competitions documented in the Canadian Competitions Catalogue generated tens, and at times hundreds of projects. For example, The ( more...)
[email this story] Posted by Rebecca Duclos on 06/08
2006 06 07
Clean Dirt

While taking the dog on his usual perambulation around 'our' section of the Lachine Canal, we usually walk by a strange office-type building. The place is called the Centre d'Excellence de Montréal en Réhabilitation de Sites (CEMRS).

Today, on a whim, we finally decided to go in a have a look around. The sort of 'tradeshowish' looking displays inside tell the story of how the soil outside the building has been, and is being, reconditioned. Turns out the "office" is actually a research facility devoted to soil remediation.

One of the unfortunate remnants of the Lachine Canal's long and illustrious industrial history is a nasty earthbound chemical cocktail that continues to release its polutants. Diesel fuel, heavy metals, dioxins, and other treats await anyone interested enough to start digging.

In conjunction with the Lachine Canal's conversion to a National Park, some of the areas adjacent to it are being used as test sites by CEMR in an innovative, years-long experiment in cleaning the soil known as phytoremediation. This process involves the selective propagation of plant species that have the capacity to "clean" the soil as they grow.

Drop into the museum to learn more. It's about a five minute walk west ( more...)
[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 06/07
2006 06 06
Go Hunting
detail: jake moore, DGC-CGA

As the fine weather pervades the senses, the shackles of work seem to loosen somewhat, and the urge to pursue adventure only increases in strength - think of the thrill of the Hunt. Only, in this city, you won't do damage to a fox or a hound or a horse or your fashion reputation. No need for tight breeches or black leather boots (unless, of course, you have some handy next to your crop hidden in the closet) because at Galerie Yergeau, tucked away at number 2060 rue Joly, you can see another fabulous urban-referenced creation by Leisure Projects - the curatorial team of Meredith Carruthers and Susannah Wesley. The Hunt Ball features work by Erica Eyres, The Discriminating Gentlemen’s Club, and jake moore. The show is up until September 2 so put it somewhere in your social calendar to attend.

Chien 1/16, 2006
Erica Eyres
Acrylique et crayon sur papier
28 x 22 cm

The Hunt Ball exhibition captures the complex and lavish celebration of beauty and violence played out in the annual Montreal Hunt Ball held at the Ritz Carleton throughout the 1950s. This combination of elaborate festive décor (which included papier-maché polka-dotted horses, flowered ( more...)
[email this story] Posted by Rebecca Duclos on 06/06
2006 06 05
5 1/2 part 2
Back in April we posted the Voir appartment listings in anticipation of the Big Move on July 1.

Our intention was originally to update the stats on May 1, but, well, we got a little bogged down. So, in a sort of conciliatory, better-late-than-never fashion, here are this week's stats from Voir.

The earlier listing first, followed by the most recent.

EST DE L'ÎLE: 1/21
SUD-OUEST: 54/49
RIVE-SUD: 2/na
[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 06/05
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