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Sylvia Winkler, Stephan Köperl
From May 8th 2010 to June 12th 2010
Urbang

Sylvia Winkler and Stephan Köperl’s interventions in public spaces offer critical perspectives on urban planning in the cities they visit. They produce video commentaries about them, composing socially engaged songs that playfully critique real estate projects and their implementation, deconstructing promoters’ messages, and alerting us to the processes of uniformity and appropriation at work in citizen space. Jin Bi Lu (1997), 3rd Space (2007), and Make No $mall Plans (2008) are videos that testify to the transformations of urban life in the cities of Kunming and Chengdu, in China, and in Montreal’s Griffintown district.

Jin Bi Lu (1997) deals with the exodus of once well-off families from the old neighbourhoods of Kunming, in southern China. The subsequent demolition of the historic, but run-down, vacated buildings reflects the region’s deteriorating economy and social fabric. Wandering through the ruins on a tricycle, Köperl sings “Gold-Jade-Avenue” (Jin Bi Lu), to the tune of a song that was popular at the time.

3rd Space (2007) is the commercial name given to one of the many real estate projects under way in downtown Chengdu. Wanting to validate the project on solid intellectual grounds, the promotional brochure cites the writings of Virginia Woolf and conjures the social and urban philosophy of Jürgen Habermas and Ray Oldenburg. Adopting the tone of a broadcast announcer, Winkler recites the entire text at three different locations in the area.

Make No $mall Plans (2008) was produced after public demonstrations against development plans in the Griffintown neighbourhood. Impressed by the scope of the debate, Winkler and Köperl made the controversial question an integral part of their work during an international Canada Council of the Arts residency at the Darling Foundry. Set to the tune of a Deep Purple song released when Griffintown began to transform into its current state, the words they sing as a duet comment on the situation and show their support for the activists; the title and refrain, however, refer to the real estate company’s mission statement.
- Geneviève Bédard + Marie-Josée Lafortune

Works presented in the gallery
Jin Bi Lu, People’s Republic of China, 1997, 7 min.
3rd Space, People’s Republic of China, 2007, 2 min.
Make No $mall Plans, Montreal, 2008, 5 min. 30 sec.
Goethe-Institut


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

Sylvia Winkler and Stephan Köperl have formed and an artist duo since 1997. Graduates of the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts, their site-specific urban interventions develop from observations in public space which they transform into actions where the initially observed situation remains recognizable while various modifications establish a new context.

On April 22, Winkler and Köperl presented PPR Experience, an installation-presentation-animation presented as part of Earth Day at Square St-Louis, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., and then at the Goethe-Institute, from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.


Bibliographie
- Delgado, Jérôme, «Cités de demain, cités d'aujourd'hui», Le Devoir, 22-23 mai 2010, p.E7.
- Roy, Christian, «Interventions locales à l'échelle mondiale: Des quartiers chinois au Griffintown», Vie des arts, no 219, été 2010, p.102.