A musician’s world. Photo by Ludovic Alarie
Tracé/Mapped: Trajectories of musicians in Montreal is a “georeferenced auto-documentary,” a collection of photos and videos by 25 local musicians. It’s a peek at the city’s creative community through the eyes of the artists themselves, documenting rehearsal spaces, recording studios, live music venues, streets and neighbourhoods.
The exhibit was organized by professors from INRS-UCS, and PhD student Catherine Gingras, along with local musicians/designers Conor Prendergast and Mitz Takahashi.
“The project started with the idea of having Montreal musicians look at their city,” says Gingras. “We hear so much about Montreal being a city of music, we’ve talked about it a lot in recent years, but it’s hard to pin down what this relationship is really made of, so we end up always talking about it in the same way. We thought that by asking people to really document their experience on site with a GPS and a digital camera on a typical day, we could have a new view of how musicians relate to their environment. We have a section that’s all about musicians capturing their neighbourhood, the streets they are the most familiar with. It’s also interesting to see where the paths of these 25 musicians cross or do not cross.”
Among the many many bands and solo acts depicted in Tracé/Mapped are Tonstartssbandht, Tops, Jef Barbara, les Breastfeeders, Plants and Animals, Random Recipe and Vulgar, You! Don’t expect to the lifestyles of the rich and famous here — sorry, no Celine — but despite all the musicians being more or less indie, the musical styles, everyday lives and backgrounds of the artists are diverse, a more representative sampling of the local scene than you might expect from a Mile End exhibit.
“Many of the artists expressed a real interest in showing what their daily life was made of,” Gingras says. “I think they liked the fact that they were in control of the camera. So the pictures and videos they took also reveal aspects of music making we often don’t get to see as much: recording, rehearsing for a show, meeting up with your bandmates or people who are going to record your album, working another job, which is the case of most of the musicians we met.” ■
The vernissage for TRACÉ/MAPPED: Trajectories of musicians in Montreal, with music by Mitz Takahashi and Isabelle Ouimet, happens at Espace Pop (5587 Parc) today, Thursday, April 24, 6 p.m., free. The exhibit is up through Sunday, April 27