ABC : MTL (2012) is an urban abecedary and open-source initiative that maps contemporary Montréal in a diversity of ways and media. Over 90 contributions including photography, music videos, sculptures and installations, drawings, models, workshops, lectures and performances have been selected from a call for submissions. These now form a lexicon of the CCA’s home city and a platform for its creative talent.

15 November
Photographer Gabor Szilasi and Hélène Samson, Curator of the Notman Photographic Archives at the McCord Museum, talk about the role of photography in documenting the everyday city. Szilasi’s past work has focused not only on Montréal but also the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and includes photographs of people, facades, interiors, streets and signs. He has been featured in numerous exhibitions in North America and Europe. His photograph La Fierté a une ville appears in ABC : MTL.

17 November
Avenue 8 lead a treasure hunt in the streets of Montréal to gather objects and documents that reflect different aspects of the reality of condos and imagination associated with them. Later time is devoted to an informal discussion among the participants on the documents and objects collected during the treasure hunt.

22 November
Graphic designer Audrey Wells invites Frédéric Dejean, PhD (urban studies), to discuss the place of sacred spaces in the collective lives of neighbourhoods. Her featured architectural illustrations attempt to unfold the complex stratification of the Park Extension area, one of Canada’s most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods.

Montreal Life Stories is one of the main projects developed by Concordia University’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling in which it gathers more than 500 interviews of Montréalers displaced by war, genocide and other human rights violations. Exhibition curator Eve-Lyne Cayouette Ashby speaks about the mission of the Centre, collective memory and Montréal identity.

Gilles Saucier of Saucier + Perrotte architectes presents the Montréal firm’s most recent projects. Their internationally acclaimed work is based on cultural centres and their awards include seven Governor General’s Medals and Awards in Architecture and many national and international architecture awards. Their recent project, an indoor soccer center in Montréal’s St-Michel neighborhood, is featured in ABC : MTL.

1 December, 8 December
A two-part workshop in which participants examine how public interfaces shape the experience of contemporary Montréal and how the design of public interfaces can improve the experience of daily life in Montréal for its citizens and visitors. The workshop is led by Neil Clavin, a strategist for the research, design and development of networked places and products. It begins with a tour around the city of Montréal documenting and discussing urban interfaces, followed by a discussion on the interfaces observed and how they alter the experience of the city. Afterwards participants explore potential solutions to challenges in the city via prototyping ideas with paper, clay and images. This workshop is part of Engaged to the Mob, a series of public workshops that investigates the ways in which citizens gather and interact with Montréal and with each other.

6 December
SYN- approach urban exploration as an occasion for intervention and research. In this presentation they take a look at the neglected, leftover and generic spaces of the city, particularly Montréal’s Underground City, which is the most developed interior pedestrian network in the world with over 30 km of concourses.

Members of the ATSA art collective speak about their artistic engagements with social, environmental and patrimonial causes. Their projects include Fin Novembre, a festive annual event that unites Montréal’s homeless with the general public in an atmosphere designed to promote solidarity.

Caroline Andrieux of the Darling Foundry, one of the key spaces for contemporary art in Montréal, looks back to a number of utopian projects and examines how art and community activism inform social change from the redevelopment of Batiment 7 in Pointe-Saint-Charles.

13 December
Artist Nicolas Baier and John Zeppetelli, curator at DHC/ART, question the links between scientific data and artistic creation. Nicolas Baier uses technology to explore the idea of reproduction. DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art is an exhibition space housed in a converted historic building in the heart of Old Montreal which exhibits art in new media.

What if the spaces of the city could be imagined as a piece of music that could be transcribed and coded like a musical score? Founded in 2008, Audiotopie blends new media, landscape architecture and electro-acoustic music. They also develop experiential tools for urban projects, including audio-guided tours but here give a sound performance.

Sound artist Jean-Pierre Aubé’s Electrosmog series searches out ambient radio activity in the urban landscape of Montréal and speculates on the political and economic issues that cause it. At this event, he gives a performance in collaboration with Elektra.

10 January
In her art, Myriam Yates presents recreational spaces or gathering places that are endangered or obsolete, while proposing an interplay between the individual, modernity and architecture. Here she presents her latest photography and video projects capturing the obsolescence of large urban development projects.

Artist Victor Arroyo and urban planner Pierre Gauthier from Concordia University talk about the social and urban development issues in the case of the Turcot interchange. As a product and symbol of the grand ambitions of Montréal in the 1960s, its physical legacy highlights many issues around the contemporary city’s relationship with its past.

Atelier Big City is one of Montréal’s most innovative architecture practices which has consistently counteracted the desertion of the public role of architecture with work that is both expressive and pertinent. Here they revisit their research on liminal and interstitial spaces.

17 January
Aaron Sprecher, Martin Bressani and students from the School of Architecture of McGill University present their research into the sensory experience of the metro stations on Montréal’s orange line, an investigation that acts as a point of departure for a psycho-geographical mapping of the city.

Award-winning Montréal firm Les Architectes FABG present their most recent projects of public infrastructure. In 2012 they won a competition to design a cultural performance venue in Montréal’s Verdun borough, including a theatre space and the redevelopment of a circus school. Their past projects in the city include Le Théâtre de Quat’Sous in the Plateau.

19 January
Select contributors share their projects and thoughts about Montréal. Featured contributors include artists David Butler, Gwendolina Genest, Robin Pineda Gould and Céline Huyghebaert, photographers Fiona Annis and Jonathan Sa’adah, and PhD candidate in Sociology Emmanuelle Sonntag.

24 January
Héritage Montréal was founded in 1975 to promote and protect the architectural, historic, natural and cultural heritage of Greater Montréal, its neighbourhoods and communities. Here the association hosts a two-part forum about the landscape of the city.

Artist Emmanuelle Léonard reflects on her photographic images and what it means to be a citizen. Her series Citoyens, which dwells on the individual identities of Montréal riot police during a protest in 2009, departs from conventional photojournalistic depictions of large-scale political confrontations and protests in urban space.

7 February
Artist Jacinthe Robillard’s work looks at how people brought up in uniform environments differentiate themselves from one another. For her project Les Jardins Mentana, she captured families living in one of the most important social housing units in the Plateau Mont-Royal. She describes the development of the project and discusses how to cultivate the trust necessary between participant and artist.

Avenue 8 and Alexandre Maltais (Ph.D candidate, INRS) discuss the recent condo boom in Montréal. They argue that in just a few years, condo developers, buyers and advertisers have substantially changed the face of Montréal, as well as the relationship Montrealers have with their city.

Maurice Martel and Maxime Moreau of Open Form Architecture discuss the architecture of a housing project designed for the orthodox Jewish community in Outremont, including the integration of a key element of Jewish culture: the sukkah.

21 February
ArchiContre is a collective of architecture students who campaigned against tuition hikes during the 2012 student protests in Montréal. Here they present a selection of their projects and interventions during the “Maple Spring”.

L’Institut des politiques alternatives de Montréal (IPAM) hosts an open forum about the role of public consultation in the urban development of Montréal. They open a discussion about the Agora métropolitaine which will take place February 28 and March 1 in conjunction with the implementation of the Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan (PMAD).

28 February
Artist Stéphane Gilot presents an overview of his work and his exhibition MULTIVERSITÉ/Métacampus, which was on view at Galerie de l’UQAM last fall. The exhibition showed multiple perspectives of the University as both a public institution and a world in its own right.

Landscape architects NIPpaysage present their ideas on how to design school yards into playful spaces. The firm uses different strategies to integrate the design of functional spaces with children’s games.

Le Collectif Raboutage leads a discussion about do-it-yourself home improvement informed by their research on informal residential developments in Montréal.

14 March
The artist Pavel Pavlov presents a selection of his projects on the suburban spaces in Montréal, sites transformed by the development of transport and communication systems in the city. Specific sites include the Victoria Bridge, the Lachine Canal and some other symbols of modernization of Montreal in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

21 March
Vladimir Topouzanov of Saia Barbarese Topouzanov architects presents the firm’s most recent projects. Specifically he discusses their work on the science campus at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), which is based on a series of void spaces around which the buildings were developed.

Vikram Bhatt, professor of architecture at McGill University, leads a round-table on urban agriculture, meals-on-wheels and the local economy with organization Santropol Roulant.

23 March
The artist-run collective DARE-DARE introduces the issues they encountered during the five iterations of the Dis/location project and discuss the limits of multidiscipinary art in public space. This round table includes André Éric Létourneau, Douglas Scholes and Julie Faubert, artist members; Geneviève Massé, Programming Coordinator; and Michel Demers, Head of the Culture division for Ville-Marie.

28 March
Catherine Gingras is a PhD candidate in Urban Studies whose research focuses on Montréal’s independent music scene. Here she leads a conversation with artists on how Montréal figures in their work and how they experience the city. The discussion includes singer and musician Sunny Duval and Yann Godbout, founding member of the band Half Baked and of the local record label A Billion Records.

Artist Vincent Chevalier reflects upon the representation of the Montreal’s queer spaces in discussion with Ryan Conrad, PhD candidate in Humanities at Concordia University’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute.

Other programs presented in conjunction with the exhibition included:

17 January
Elektra sparks debate about the creative city, computation arts and public space. The Montréal-based cultural initiative promotes avant-garde digital creation that unites creative media like music, video, cinema, design, gaming and audio or interactive installation with the latest digital technologies.

9 February
Select contributors to ABC : MTL share their projects and thoughts about Montréal. Featured contributors include Maxime Larrivee-Roy, Vincent Lalonde-Dupuy, Pierre Moro-Lin, Xavier Coulombe-Murray, Jessica Auer, Douglas Moffat and Kesso Saulnier.

23 February
A series of documentary films exploring Montréal’s popular neighbourhoods and everyday life, co-produced and distributed by the National Film Board of Canada.

1:30 pm
À St Henri, le 26 août (2011)
Immortalized by novelist Gabrielle Roy and filmmaker Hubert Aquin, Montréal’s popular St-Henri neighbourhood is brought to life again through a contemporary chronicle shot in the spirit of classic cinéma-vérité. Directed by Shannon Walsh.

3:15 pm
Le plan (2011)
In this feature length documentary film on the housing project “Jeanne-Mance”, follow the journey of director Isabelle Longtin and the compelling personal stories and social movements. Directed by Isabelle Longtin.

4:30 pm
Roadsworth : franchir la ligne (2008)
Roadsworth: franchir la ligne details a Montréal stencil artist’s clandestine campaign to make his mark on the city streets. As he is prosecuted at home and celebrated abroad, Roadsworth struggles to defend his work, define himself as an artist and address difficult questions about art and freedom of expression. Directed by Alan Kohl.

9 March
Curated by Montréal’s respected Festival du nouveau cinéma, this day of films offers three insights into how marginalized figures of Montréal’s neighbourhoods create their own value and their own society.

1:00 pm
The Street (1997)
“A raw nerve of a film” – Vancouver Sun. The Street is a gritty portrait of 3 homeless men living on the streets near Guy metro in Montreal. Made over a period of 6 years, the film follows the ups and downs of these deteriorating lives and is an intense, intimate portrait of street life. Directed by Daniel Cross.

2:30 pm
La mise à l’aveugle (2012)
Newly retired Denise feels trapped. Between her ex-husband, her contemptuous son and her inability to move on from her former position, she’s badly in need of a fresh start. But not until she decides to move back to the neighbourhood of her youth do new possibilities begin to emerge. Enter Paul, her neighbour who, each night, assembles his ragtag cast of characters around the poker table… Directed by Simon Galiero.

4:00 pm
Peace Park (2013)
As Montreal gentrifies its red light district, the city goes to war with the drug dealers, crack addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, homeless, and skaters, but they are not going anywhere. The documentary explores Montreal’s graffiti, social and urban problems, corporate greed, corruption, and the historical importance of the area surrounding Peace Park. Directed by David Bouthillier.

28 March
In 2010, multidisciplinary artist Aude Moreau illuminated the offices of the the Montreal Stock Exchange to show the word “sortir” at the top of the tower. Here Moreau discusses her recent projects with Caroline Andrieux, director of the Darling Foundry, as well as the relationship between artistic practice and urban space.

30 March
A colloquium and guided tour that address how social scientists use their senses to investigate the city. Rediscover the often overlooked sensory environment of Montreal with its varied stone textures and distinctive soundmarks. A roundtable held from 1 to 2:30 pm is led by David Howes, Martha Radice and David Szanto from Concordia University’s Centre for Sensory Studies. Following the roundtable, from 3 to 4:30 pm, there are two guided walks around the CCA. Experience Montréal with Martha Radice and explore your sense of touch. The tour is held in English. On the French tour, David Szanto explores the connections between taste and place. We discuss whether the neighborhood around the CCA has a specific terroir.

Family programs

4 November, 18 November, 2 December
Alleys, Canals, Festivals and Zambonis are important to our city. What’s important to you? Families work together to envision an augmented reality of Montreal through architectural collage. This afternoon workshop comes complete with a playlist of Montreal tunes. All collages produced go on display and were available for pick-up on Sunday 16 December at our celebratory final program of 2012.

16 December
Snow, ice and intense winds are on the forecast and it’s your job to help the citizens of Montréal get to work, school and the grocery store. We invent new ways to survive the avalanche of snow that falls on our city each winter. With screenings of La vie heureuse de Leopold Z at 12 pm and 3 pm.

20 January, 3 February, 17 February
The editor and artists of Drawn and Quarterly present three unique comic making workshops. Founded in 1989 as an independent publisher, Drawn and Quarterly became a popular book store in 2007. Chris Oliveros, Editor in Chief, presents a workshop in comic book making and binding. Tom Devlin, Creative Director, leads families in the creation of their own live-action comics. Pascal Girard, a Montreal cartoonist, takes a workshop on drawing fictional comics using elements of everyday architecture. These three different events explore themes of neighbourhood, fiction and architecture. Receive a free Drawn and Quarterly comic book at each workshop.

8 March
What could a school in Montréal look like? During March Break, families come and explore how the design of school spaces can create a feeling of belonging and inspire learning. They work together to build a model that translates dreams into reality.

24 March, 7 April, 28 April
How would you use plants, trees, water and rocks as architectural materials? Landscape architects often consider and use natural materials when designing an outdoor space. We map out an adventure playground for Baile Park and consider how built structures work together with the natural environment. We look at examples of contemporary landscape architecture and playgrounds from around the world. This free family program is inspired by the imaginative landscape architecture of Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, whose archive is kept at the CCA.

21 April
Celebrate Earth Day with us and meet our neighbors from Éco-quartier Peter-McGill. We’re presenting urbanism projects dedicated to greening Montréal.

Design and build workshop
2 – 5 pm
Join us in designing experimental objects for everyday use. Learn how people across the world reuse objects and give them new functions. Some materials will be provided, but please bring clean recyclables.

Urban agriculture workshop
2 – 3 pm
Learn a simple way to transform old buckets into functional growing containers for urban gardening.

Guided tour of Quartier 21
3 – 3:45 pm
Discover the innovative initiatives that Éco-quartier Peter-McGill is implementing in our neighbourhood, including Quartier 21, an experimental site that aims to transform a block of downtown Montréal into a model of sustainable development.

Vermi-composting workshop
3:45 – 5 pm
Build your own worm composting starter kit and leave this workshop ready to turn food scraps into soil conditioner. All materials provided.


Engaged to the Mob is a series of public workshops that investigates the ways in which citizens gather and interact with Montréal and with each other.

9 February, 10 February
A two-day workshop considering performance, architecture and spectacle with André Éric Létourneau, a researcher, performance artist and professor at the UQAM École des medias. Létourneau has contributed to the Biennale des Arts East Africa EASTAFAB-BURUNDI, the Paris Biennale, the festival InterAzioni in Italy and the Steirischer Herbst in Graz, Austria. Létourneau leads participants through a series of performance exercises that explore their subconscious experience of the spaces in Montreal’s best-known theatre. Participants critically reflect on their experience and consider how fiction and spectacle alter and create the built environment of Montreal.

23 February
Explore how the foods you prepare and consume in your home relate to Montreal, a city renowned for its engaging and complex food culture. Participants think about their city’s relationship with food through conversation, sketching and food tasting and consider how the design of a kitchen affects and reflects what and how we eat. Special guests from The Preservation Society, Pork Futures and the Bread Trade will join the conversation. This workshop is led by Rhona Richman Kenneally, a professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University, where she is a founding member of a multidisciplinary research team on food studies. Her research addresses food practices as interactions in the built environment, especially in the mid-twentieth-century home.

7 March
École de la Montagne Rouge, a group of UQAM graphic design students, mobilized fellow students during the strikes of 2012 with workshops and presentations. In a short time they developed the graphic identity of the student movement in Montréal. In this conversation on the role of design in public protest, Montagne Rouge reflects on their practice with Tina Carlisi, an artist and researcher at Concordia University who is completing her thesis École libre: Visualizing a Social Pedagogic Movement.

9 March
Place-In-Space Collaborative is a collective of researchers, architects, flaneurs and city enthusiasts who are students or recent graduates from the McGill Masters of Architecture program. The collective creates interactive installations in the uncomfortable places of downtown Montreal and fosters active engagement with the public space of the city. This presentation discusses tactical urban interventions in Montréal and internationally. We discuss and attempt to define nonplaces in the city and investigate these liminal spaces as sites of potential. The group tours spaces near the CCA. A design workshop follows to develop actions, installations or interventions for that site.

23 March
Launched in November 2012, E-180 is a social network that connects members so they may exchange their knowledge and skills. The site is led by Christine Renaud, a Montreal-based social entrepreneur passionate about self-directed and community-based learning. Christine is often invited to share her experience on peer-learning in public events such as #140edu in New York, SXSW Interactive and Ignite in Montreal. This workshop considers the role of space in collaborative learning. What city spaces do people choose to use for their learning exchanges? What does this tell us about the design and location of learning spaces in general? A living lab will be installed at the CCA where participants can take part in knowledge exchanges with each other. Snacks provided by Moitié Moitié.

CEGEP and University Programs

January to March 2013

How can newspapers engage in and inspire debate about the city? This workshop invites local postsecondary students to take on the role of citizen journalists and investigate contemporary issues addressed in ABC : MTL. The workshop treats the gallery space as a city in its own right and uses the form of an alternative newspaper to participate in urban debate. A circuit of three stations in the galleries inspire reflection on the built and social environment of Montréal. Students think visually, interview their fellow classmates and write a manifesto to the public. They produce a newspaper which is added to ABC : MTL.

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