je me souviens
For six days in May 2011, a diverse group of designers, artists and researchers descended upon Montréal to explore, investigate and question UNESCO’s 2006 designation of Montréal as the first and only North American City of Design. The framework for this collaborative analysis was provided by DesignInquiry, a non-profit educational organization devoted to researching design issues in intensive team-based gatherings. DesignInquiry: DesignCity (Montréal) prompted participants to ask: What qualities classify a city as a “City of Design”? Are these qualities designed by designers or do they evolve out of the way people use the city? Given its status as a cultural hub, does Montréal contain inherent design qualities in its topographies, citizens, and outputs?
In the search to satisfy these questions (and spur even more), DesignInquiry moved throughout Montréal on foot, metro and bicycle, capturing experiences, photographs and impressions of planned and spontaneous design in the urban environment. Expeditions to the sites of Expo67 and Olympic Park provided opportunities for reflection upon the lifespan of urban design and decay, while dérives through St. Laurent’s varied food vendors and Griffintown’s turbulent state of structural transition revealed the layering of competing cultural constructions. Even the home base of DesignInquiry in Montréal embodies the concept of design in flux: the Grey Nuns Motherhouse has functioned as a nunnery and chapel since 1861, was partially turned over to Concordia University in 2007 to be enovated for use as student residences, and will eventually house the institution’s entire Faculty of Fine Arts.
Je me souviens collects the impressions, findings and works-in-progress of DesignInquiry: DesignCity (Montréal) and coalesces them into a site-specific installation. The assembled nature of the work references the collaborative, flat hierarchy structure of DesignInquiry, which promotes cross-disciplinary contribution and the free and equal exchange of information and ideas. The diversity of artistic output (texts, drawings, photographs, videos, maps and codes) confirms the multiplicity of views gleaned from a shared experience and demonstrates the continuing synthesis of questions inspired by Montréal’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design. READ MORE
DesignInquiry is a non-profit educational organization devoted to researching design issues in-based gatherings. It brings together practitioners from disparate fields to generate new work and ideas around a single topic.
je me souviens PARTICIPANTS
Denise Gonzales Crisp
Ben Van Dyke