movin’ the charter – july 1st, 2019 – jake moore, michelle lacombe, sarah chouinard-poirier and sheena hoszko

July 1, 2019

movin’ the charter
karen elaine spencer

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Sending a sign to the Régie du logement:

“Dans movin‘ the charter, karen elaine spencer propose de disséminer dans l’espace public des extraits de la Charte des droits et libertés du Québec, qu’elle a retranscrits sur de grands panneaux de bois. En invitant des groupes de participant.e.s choisis à sélectionner des passages de la Charte qui résonnent particulièrement pour eux/elles, l’artiste s’approprie ensuite ces extraits afin de réaliser des écriteaux aux formats imposants, dont elle fera ensuite don à l’équipe de participant.e.s. Il y aura dans cette transaction un transfert de propriété, ainsi que des responsabilités qui y sont assignées.”
- excerpt from introductory text by collectif L’Araignée

As the fourth gesture of Movin’ the Charter, Sarah Chouinard-Poirier, Sheena Hoszko, Michelle Lacombe, and jake moore will be delivering a panel bearing item number 7, from CHAPTER I of the Quebec Charter; FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS, to the Régie du logement. It has been translated into Kanienʼkéha preceding the two colonial languages of French and English.

7. Sanònhskon nón:we senònhste.
7. La demeure est inviolable.
7. A person’s home is inviolable.

The order of the languages is indicative of time of arrival on this land, and each is preceded by the number that indicates its priority within the Charter. While we are completing our gesture by depositing the panel at the Régie on what is known to be ‘national moving day’ in Québec, we have been actively engaging the text and the physical object for several months in a practice of movement, labour, and dialogue. These actions take place between ourselves, partners and those that share our homes, neighbours, and multiple publics as we negotiate this weight between one another and throughout the city space. The panel and its text are cumbersome, they interfere with swift movements, cause delays and demand attention. This slowness and the difficulty of these collective efforts actualize the responsibility of care for rights and freedoms currently under direct attack by our government.

Upon delivery of the panel from karen elaine spencer, we have moved the object between each of our own homes. Going in one door and out the other, we were affectively stitching the homes together as we labour our way across the city. We are deeply aware of the complexity of the idea of home and our own implication in both the occupation of built structures understood as home in increasingly gentrified neighbourhoods, but also of our own implication in violation as settlers on this land, specifically as white cisgendered women. We have been reversing the cartography of the European occupation of Montreal/Tiohtià:ke/ Moonyang, from Rosemont to Petite Italie, to Ville Marie to Hochelaga and then drawing/walking the final line, or stitch, to the office of the Régie du logement at the “Olympic Village”. The building was originally constructed as housing for athletes in the 1976 Olympic Games under Mayor Drapeau, and has since also served as temporary housing for refugee claimants crossing the border of the land now called Canada. Thus its architectures, meaning both built and social, suggest a through line of impulses as themselves fraught and cruel.  These architectures are symbolic of access to housing based on idealized bodies validated though ableism, class, gender, nationality, white supremacy, and racism.

The artists would like to acknowledge the kind participation of Hilda Nicholas for providing the translation of this fundamental freedom and right into Kanienʼkéha, Paul Litherland for his sensitive documentation to come, and exceptional skill, collectif L’Araignée for their productive generosity, dare-dare for their ongoing support and presentation of critical spatial practices and performative gestures, and of course, karen elaine spencer for putting the motion forward.

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n.b. all photos in this communique have been taken by the collective members: Sarah Chouinard-Poirier, Sheena Hoszko, Michelle Lacombe, and jake moore. Paul Litherland will document the final delivery at the Régie du logement with a 4×5 camera. The colour negative he produces will be gifted to karen elaine spencer.




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