The drums from some distant encampment grow louder on the Main, in the
background, as I round the corner in the rain. In the alley behind Biftek, there
is a table, left as alleyway junk that has magically become the bistro for The
Dumpster Dive Art Drive, adorned with 2 bottles of white wine, plastic wine
glasses, some brie and havarti cheese, grapes and fresh bread. An interactive
art display, people are invited to make art out of finds in the alley, a send up
of the expensive art gallery scene and the ostentatious throw away culture.
There were 4 of us huddled around the table eating grapes and cheese, drinking
wine and talking. Karen called out to a couple under an umbrella “Come to the
Dumpster Dive Art Drive” lost cats in the rain, they unceremoniously continued
on their way. We chatted around the table about how high the rents have become
in Montreal in the last few years, some nearly doubling or tripling in price.
And how the police have become on occasion rather brutal, Laurence said “This is
the only part of town where they will have a festival of music but arrest people
for making too much noise.” The young artist from Philadelphia tells the story
of how they were playing music in the street and his friend, a street person was
harassed by the police, and how Nikolai took their hat, full of coins and shook
it at the police officers.
The “artworks” were interesting and enigmatic, the tags written in pen and crayon;
Title: Corporate Takeover
Artist: Coca-Cola Fringe Tm
Materials: scale, box, can of paint
Description: Art for People in suits
Cost: $666,666 per pound.
Title: No Borders Here
Materials: Lattice Work Fence
Description: the difference between private and public space
Cost: my sanity
Title: The magic carpet bag
Artist: The littlest Hobo
Materials: Magic bag, 20 bottles of wine, stuff for home
Description: Mary Poppins goes home for Xmas
Title: Wine – O
Artist: A wine O
Materials: Bottle of wine
Description: Bottle of wine
Cost: give us a bottle of wine
amongst other “artworks”.
As I was down the alleyway making art, a patron showed up, he talked a little, I became engrossed in my art project. I came back to the table a few minutes later and said “what happened to the patron” "did he even have any wine" Karen said “he had some wine and left”, we laughed. There were a couple more people who came by we talked to in passing. We talked a little about graffiti, how “it takes on the story of the people” makes an ordinary brick wall come alive, without graffiti “it would just be a brick wall.” (I said in reverence to seminal art how real stone walls should probably not be tagged). How the first graffiti was probably created by Hobos in the Depression years of the 1930’s. When they would ride the rails they would leave signs in paint on the railway cars to talk with other Hobos, telling them their experiences – one of the signs was a large “O” with a line through it, that meant “Sky’s the Limit” – that Hobo had a good time in that place. A friend named Maggie showed up (with a bone crunching hand shake) and first Jason and then Donovan arrived. The rain was getting a little chill and I had need of soup, so I bid a fond farewell to my artist companions and headed down the Main into the dark waters of early evening.
infringement Festival Montreal 2013