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Stéphane Gilot
From May 8th 2010 to June 12th 2010
La cité performative

Stéphane Gilot has been redefining our relationship to space since 2001. His hybrid constructions and imaginary locales invite us to take part in an array of situations. Dubbed plans d’évasions (loosely, “escape plans” or “plans for escapsim”), these constructions are “model worlds,” a set of autonomous units that contribute to the construction of the “performative city,” an on-going and evolving project. The presentation of these structures—drawings, models, shelters, video components—betray a marked interest in the social organization of cities, in our behavioural habits, and in a reconsidered anthropology of habitat. Now, in a curatorial synthesis of these environments, Gilot actualizes the “model worlds,” adding new neighbourhoods, and casting a reflexive gaze both on the process itself and on the authorial relationships and relationships of authority engaged with those who are called upon to inhabit the city.

Broadcast on video, the participants’ ability (or inability) to live together lays bare the imperfections of an (overcharged) modernity perceived as a living spectacle: though its playfulness is fully developed, it convincingly illustrates the frantic virtualization of a world where the accessibility and speed of information gives one the feeling of travelling the universe while standing still (an impression suggested by the rapport between exhibition space and city space). “The present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space,” Michel Foucault said in 1967. “We are in the epoch of simultaneity, [. . .] of juxtaposition, [. . .] of the near and the far, of the side-by-side, of the dispersed [. . . .] our experience of the world is less that of a long life developing through time than that of a network that connects points and intersects with its own skein.”

Such borderline areas articulating the singularity and plurality of worlds are very present in the performative city. Moreover, this observation recalls Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, the notion of a space of non-space, “[. . .] capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible.” Skillfully conjuring these intertwined spaces—like those experimented with in theatre, for instance—, Gilot takes action and assembles various utopian spaces into a single work where they serve as interfaces between reality and fiction, inverting our rapport with the real and imagination while simultaneously compelling us to recognize and trust their functionality in the organization of the city.
- Marie-Josée Lafortune

1 Michel Foucault, «Dits et écrits 1984 , Des espaces autres (conférence au Cercle d'études architecturales, 14 mars 1967)», in Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité, no. 5, octobre 1984, pp. 46-49. (Translation by Jay Miskowiec, "foucault.info").
2 Ibid, p.46

Stéphane Gilot would like to thank le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec as well as Frédéric Lavoie, the inhabitants of the performative city – Anne Bérubé, Caroline Boileau, Belinda Campbell, Caroline Dubois, Rachel Echenberg, Mathieu Latulippe, François Morelli, Alisha Piercy, Victoria Stanton, Sylvie Tourangeau et Emma Waltraud Howes.

Addition financial support from Optica enabled the realisation of this premier synthesis presentation of The Performative City.

An artist to look out for in 2010 : "Arts visuels - Entre les murs des galeries" (Jérôme Delgado, Le Devoir, January 16th, 2010).

«The Performative City» is the subject of an article by Jérôme Delgado «Cités de demain, cités d'aujourd'hui» (Le Devoir, May 22-23 2010.)

«The Performative City» is briefly mentioned in an article by Jérôme Delgado «Un monstre aux multiples têtes» (Le Devoir, September 1-2 2012.)

Originally from Belgium, Stéphane Gilot has been living and working in Montreal since 1996. His performative spaces include the following presentations of “model-worlds”:
Jeu vidéo – vitrine, UQÀM, Montréal (2004), Jeu vidéo – monde 1, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto (2005), Centre Oboro, Montréal (2006), Jeu vidéo – monde 2, Transmediale 06, Berlin (2006), Centre Cinéplastique, Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montréal (2006), Cineplastic Station, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto (2007), Cineplastic Station 2, Galerie F. Desimpel, Bruxelles (2007),Cineplastic Center 2, Salvaging Utopia, Truck Gallery, Calgary (2007), Hurricane Building, Vowles Building, Flux Gallery, New York (2007), Cineplastic Campus, Blackwood Gallery, Mississauga (2008).


Bibliographie
Delgado, Jérôme, «Cités de demain, cités d'aujourd'hui», Le Devoir, 22-23 mai 2010, p.E7.
«Portfolios: Stéphane Gilot», Esse, arts + opinions, automne 2010, no.70, p.55.