Somewhere out of a memory

2012 – 2013

I discovered the Quartier Dix30 and the surrounding real estate developments in the course of a video shoot in Brossard in 2008. It was late November and it was bone-chillingly cold; the barren vistas I was taking in seemed all the more forbidding. I took pictures of these ephemeral landscapes, knowing they would disappear within a few months. These worksites and wastelands are ambiguous: they still show us what was there before, while giving us a sense of what is coming. This in-between state has always interested me, as it bears witness to the upheavals that habitats are undergoing. The mutation of these periurban territories is irrevocably transforming the dynamics of our communities.

I have been there a few times between 2008 and 2013 to document their metamorphoses. On the Chemin des Prairies, farmland is giving way to a field of dwellings. 32,000 hectares of farmland have thus disappeared in the outskirts of Montreal to make way for real estate developments. What is now growing on this fertile soil is luxury houses, so-called “prestige houses” that are often termed “Monster homes”, “McMansions” or ”Starter castle”. You will find there projects such as “Parisian Village” and “Gates of London”; their streets bear names such as “Limoges”, “Liverpool”, “Lausanne”, “Lugano”… One is entitled to wonder what they have to do with local culture (or what is left of it). Between 2008 and 2011, fifteen heritage houses have been demolished; only Monsieur Brossard’s house has been spared amidst this waste. Oddly contrasting with its surroundings, it forms an enclave amidst a series of identical condos. The residents’ peaceful life is also a thing of the past, since the arrival of the vast DIX30 commercial megacomplex has significantly increased car traffic. More recently, new problems have arisen: heat islands, street gangs…

I can still see myself in 2008, filming through the window of the self-consciously “cool” ALT Hotel at dusk. These places look like so many others… I feel a little as if I am in a suburb of Denver or Omaha, in Lorraine or in Repentigny… Inevitably, I come across this territory from “nowhere and everywhere”… And yet, there exists another America, and it is still possible.

17 medium and large formats images. These works were created for “Québec Décapé”, a project curated by l’Espace F (Matane, Québec)