fallen

December 3, 2005

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paris, 2005

last night i dreamed i walked in the shadows to avoid being seen.

bread bed @ paris (4)

December 1, 2005

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this view shows the length of corridor. my room was right above here, and this is where the seed for the project dream listener germinated. the men who slept here, below my room– i started to see them as dream images, ephemeral with no physical trace of their existence. and i started to wonder what dreams they were dreaming while sleeping below me…

bread bed @ paris (3)

December 1, 2005

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this is patrick bending down to talk with me. this place on the corridor was his spot (we rented it from him for 20 euros for the three hours of the “performance” with the condition that he could have the bread when i was finished.) i remember feeling touched when he jokingly asked me if i was o.k. and if there was anything he could do for me. lying on the ground as people walk right by you is a very vulnerable position and i started to feel almost invisible. patrick then told me this concern is very rarely given to him when he is on the ground. i asked him what it felt like, to see people respond to “wasted” bread on the ground in contrast to how people respond to him when he is on the ground. he got excited and exclaimed “so that’s what you’re doing!” and then he started to engage with the people around us and share with them how he had become homeless.

bread bed @ paris (2)

December 1, 2005

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this outdoor corridor at the cité internationale des arts in paris was “home” to between eighteen and twenty men. when night fell the “guys” would come and claim their place. some had cardboard and sleeping bags, some did not. every morning the corridor was hosed down and all traces from the night before would be washed away. in the day you would never know the ground you walked on was occupied each night.

bread bed @ paris

December 1, 2005

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victor didn’t think i was doing a very good job on my own… so he helped. i do have to admit he was faster and better at lining up the slices.

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this is a handbill (english version because many of the artists staying at the cité did not speak french, but did speak english) victor gave to people (again victor thought we needed help and again he was by far the most proficient) walking along the corridor on their way to the opening at the cité’s gallery. the handbill mimics the “official” invitation the cité produces to advertise their exhibits… except for the addition of the text “bread bed” and the “arrow” and the “little poem.”

so… i appropriated the cité’s gallery invitation and placed the bread bed along the corridor which led into the gallery. i was, at one point, officially invited to exhibit in the gallery at this particular exhibition…so my name was on the official invitation. however, ever since the first month of staying at the cité i had been trying to obtain the directors permission to create a performance with the men sleeping along the corridor. i had wanted to have real beds installed for one week, (permission refused even for one night and removed promptly in the morning) i had wanted to cook and serve a community supper in the corridor (permission refused) i had wanted to make a bed bread (permission refused) and then in the space of the gallery i had wanted to print a text (like the one printed on the handbill) on napkins and hand out cheese and wine (permission refused.) so, finally in frustration at what i considered to be a lack of generosity towards my artistic practice (after all they had accepted me to be a resident) i did the canadian thing and just did it…

although, like a typical canadian i created a lot of anxiety for myself about the “ethical” considerations of being a guest and betraying a code of hospitality, of appearing “ungrateful” and disregarding authority. but in the end my desire to open a space of communication, however unwanted, won out. naturally i had to make the work “site specific” and locate the work within the context of my experience at the cité internationale des arts.

so, voila…there you have it.

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