Urban Occupations Urbaines

Urban Occupations Urbaines (UOU) is a creative platform that brings together a diverse group of local and international independent artists to creatively and critically examine the cultural fertility and performative agency of urban sites in transition.

UOU’s current project site is Montreal’s historic industrial district – Griffintown. Griffintown holds an especially privileged place in Montreal’s history – once the crucible of Montreal’s urban development and resonant within Canada’s pre/industrial history. Since the 1970s, however, Griffintown has seen deep and enduring tensions between the interests of urban renewal, local residents, and heritage preservationists. UOU’s mandate is to draw out the spatial and political histories of certain sites in the built environment into public consciousness.

Within the context of Griffintown’s ruination and uncertain future, the projects and artists programmed were selected for the subjects and themes they proposed to explore. These include: absence and interruptions within the urban field; the cultural fertility of urban decay and infestation; the history of madness in the eraof Victorian Montreal and the « everyday life » in a post-industrial landscape; experiences of immigration and exile; the notion of shelter; concepts of public vs. private spaces; consumerism; and greenspace as a community amenity.

Like the projects themselves, the artistic mediums from which these projects will be created are also diverse. In this way, UOU is a multidisciplinary event that presents works fashioned from the disciplines of performance, the visual and multimedia arts, the sculptural and architectural, as well as the transdisciplinary. In some instances, the artists will be working directly with local residents and community members from Griffintown. It is in this sense that UOU also operates as an integrated community arts project. In situ performances and public art installations range from the ephemeral and discrete to the elaborate and are exhibited in a diverse array of urban spaces in Griffintown including, for example, within and on the façade’s of post-industrial warehouse spaces, a dog park, a cul-de-sac, a parking lot, a transport truck, and significant points along the Lachine Canal.

UOU was founded by Shauna Janssen, a PhD Humanities student in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture.

Read more about UOU here.

Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence