jessica maccormack (and me) at viva! art action 2011,
October 11, 2011
an action performed (by me) as an invited participant in jessica maccormack’s art work for viva! art action 2011. « work equals worth equals innocence » at place émilie-gamelin, montréal, québec. please check out jessica’s full project here:
photo by: jessica maccormack
i hear the motor start up. i do not look behind. i wait. will the police car back up and drive away? no. coming from behind the police car pulls up beside me. close but not that close. the window rolls down. i do not move. the officer talks. i can barely hear, but i don’t want to leave my spot. i don’t want to walk over to « them. » i want « them » to get out of the car and walk over to me. doesn’t happen. leaning a bit further out the window he asks me if i am o.k. if i plan on sitting on a bench. i answer yes i am o.k. i answer no, i am not planning on sitting on a bench. he asks if i plan on standing there all day. i answer, yes.
i answered yes i am o.k. but no. no, i am not o.k. i am not o.k. with a police car driving up into this square and parking their car in the middle of the park and sitting there. inside the car. an act of what? a show of what? force? surveillance? power? who else can drive and park their car here?
i saw the police car drive into the park. i thought, if i am going to wear this shirt, here, then this is who i am talking to. this shirt that jess made for her project reads, « i have mental health problems with oppression & stigma.» the words « mental health » struck through with a black line. french on one side of the shirt, english on the other. these words directed at those bodies that enact the « law » as prescribed by those currently in power. and so, i put the shirt on over my hoodie, pull my hood over my head and walk over to stand in front of the car. i stand with my back to the car. i give you my back, i give you my indifference.
i stood. i watched. i watched the man on the bike get off his bike. he glanced right and then left and then pissed against the wall. i watched the woman in the knee-high boots take jeans and shoes out of her bag and offer them to a group of men sitting around a bench. i watched an older man offer his drink in the brown paper bag to the woman. i watched the man washing windows high above the ground dangling next to the highrise across the street. i watched the older man in the grey suit and black leather shoes walk by. the police car behind me. police still in car. police not getting out of car to talk or sit with the people. police protected from the people. enclosed in the car.
i stand and wait. i think i may be standing here a long time in front of the police car. but not that long. i hear the motor start up behind me…