Réenchanter les travaux publics [Re-enchanting public works]

Article | Dessin

HAMARAT, Y. (2022). Réenchanter les travaux publics // Se réapproprier la ville [Re-enchanting public works // Reclaim the city]. in Catherine LALONDE MASSECAR. Carnets de l'Opéra-Manoeuvre [Opera-Maneuver notebooks]. Tristesse Magazine Special Issue Winter 2022, p.112-113. Montreal, Canada.

décembre 2022

In July 2022, I received a « protocol of re-mythologisation » created by Catherine Lalonde Massecar, an interdisciplinary artist and the founder of the art collective Péristyle Nomade, and also a researcher in the area of practice of the arts in Montreal, Canada. I had the chance to meet her in 2010 and create interdisciplinary installations for the urban art festival she was organising in Montreal with a very local and context-based approach. She asked if I would accept to execute, interpret or adopt one of the protocols she created based on her art-based research project these last years. End summer, between two contracts, I said yes, explored my city, took a creative break, and drew in the middle of the public works in Liege, Belgium, for this project.

Catherine’s art-research work is now published in a special issue of the Revue Tristesse that you can check here. The outcome of the six artists, including mine, are in the third section of her publication.

Below is a section of my work and a translation of the text published with the artwork [original in French].

Adapted Remythologization Protocol Applied to Public Works. An overview of my city. One hours. Nine thousand eight hundred and eighty-five steps. Twenty-one photographies drawn, superimposed, assembled. Liege, Belgium, September 2022.

Public works disturb. They disrupt our daily lives. They last forever. They became urban legends because of their slowness, length, scale, and errors. Their opacities even make us forget the reason of their existence. Yet the works are the signs and traces of something to come, but which never comes; of a better future, despite a painful present. They make the city at the same time impossible while revealing its possibilities. What if public works were a form of enchantment? A performance that keeps us awake every day, a way of “living with trouble” as Donna Haraway writes? The hatred of work, it is perhaps the only thing that creates a community between pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers. Public works is also power and money, theoretically those of citizens. But how could we celebrate public works? How to create rituals that enchant? When I start my job hunt, my body knows their locations perfectly, their magnitudes, and their shapes. It is the sensitive cartography of the city through these vital « disturbances ». Instead of them suffer and avoid, this time I seek them. I explore the city by trouble to see hope, and beauty. Gestures workers, and sometimes women workers, the textures, the color of the warnings, the imminence of the risk, the empty land, the mystery of the pipes. Remythologization cynical? Truthful? It’s up to you to decide.

[Translated from French, published in LALONDE MASSECAR, C (2022). Carnets de l’Opéra-Manoeuvre [Opera-Maneuver notebooks]. Tristesse Magazine Special Issue Winter 2022, p.112-113. Montreal, Canada.