Remembering Daniel Dion

I am mourning the passing of my dear friend, collaborator, and mentor Daniel Dion. Daniel was a new media artist, and the co-founder and long-time co-director of Oboro Gallery and New Media Lab in Montreal. He died of cancer in Vancouver on Sunday 28 September 2014, surrounded by love.

Daniel has been an inspiration to me since the day we met – over eighteen years ago now. He gave me my first job out of art school. I was the website designer and computer technician at Oboro 1996-1997. We had one computer – a Quadra 650 – and I was in charge of it. Then Daniel bought another computer on his own credit card – a Power Mac 7100 – and TechnOboro, as we called the Oboro New Media Lab in those days, was born.

In those early days of what would become the rest of my life Daniel gave me confidence, and hope, and space, and time to work as an artist. For a number of years, Daniel, his long-time partner Su Schnee, their old friend Hank Bull, and I collaborated on a series of multi-site performances using video phones. One was between Montreal and Tokyo. Even more mind-boggling to me now than the video phones part, or even the Tokyo part, is how open such long-time friends and collaborators were to inviting a young person in.

One winter Su and Daniel invited me to the chalet of another friend of theirs in the Laurentians. On our way there, the car went into a ditch. But it was a small car, so we all got out and lifted it onto the road again. This now seems emblematic of the way Daniel approached problems great and small, but maybe I’m reading too much into things.

In 2005 I returned to Oboro as an artist-in-residence at the New Media Lab. One day I asked Daniel if he would go for a beer with me, outside the building. We made it to a bar a whole block and a half away. He laughed, said people didn’t often ask him to leave the building. Why didn’t we all ask him out for beer all the time? Because he and Su were always inviting us in.

In 2006 Daniel commissioned me to make a new work for the 50th anniversary of the Conseil des arts de Montreal. Why me? There were way bigger better known names to choose from. Someone gives you a chance like that you try to do your very best. The work I made – Entre Ville – has since been shown and taught widely. I don’t know if Daniel ever knew that, thanks to him, students around the world have caught glimpses of the secret life of Montreal’s back yards and alleyways.

Daniel saw potential where others saw none, he had patience where I for one would not have. He had great faith in people, put trust in people. He had vision. Never have I met a more gentle, less cynical soul. Yet never have I met a greater leader. He led with strength rather than power. He practiced and did not preach. Transparency. Honesty. Peace.

From 2006-2010 I served as president of the board of directors of Oboro. The whole time I felt I got more than I gave. I left the board when I left Montreal. For the past five years I have missed Daniel and the whole Oboro family keenly. Yes, family.

Earlier this month my partner and I spent two weeks in Montreal. We attended the first Oboro opening of the season. It was exquisite to be in the proximity of loved ones again. It turns out I can’t write anything more present tense than that at this moment in time except to say that my heart is with you all right now, around the big table.

Daniel Dion et Su Schnee

Daniel Dion et Su Schnee, Oboro, 2007.

For information on memorial services, visit the Oboro Website.

var =storagespace[‘location’,’space’,’place’,’memory’]

Two and a half years now, I’ve rented a storage space. Four or five times I’ve visited it. Hundreds of pounds weight I’ve culled from it. Trashed, gifted, or sold. A dozen or so suitcases I’ve cargo-hold-enfolded and cabin carried from there to here. What’s left? Documents, mostly. Books, letters, photographs, tax records, artworks, notebooks. Files from a former life, lived in a former place. A string of variables.

var =storagespace[‘location’,’space’,’place’,’memory’]

In JavaScript, a variable is an amount of memory space reserved to store a piece of information. When a system does not correctly manage its memory allocations, it is said to leak memory. Three mornings in a row now I’ve willed myself to wake from vivid dreams itemizing the remaining contents of my storage space. Tomorrow I’ll fly to Montreal to attempt to empty it once and for all.

Somewhat unhelpfully, over the past two and a half years, various friends have suggested that I “just get rid of it all” because “no one needs things any more.” All information is available online. All archives can and should be made digital. These friends have garages, obviously, and/or parents with basements. Many of these friends have iPads and laptops and cars and plasma screen TVs, which they do not consider to be things. And many of these same friends publicly expressed outrage at the news that CBC has been quietly dismantling its archives of LPs and CDs across Canada – a cultural treasure trove built over decades.

If there’s anything more fetishized than vinyl in the face of the digital homogenization so many aspects of our daily lives are undergoing, it’s hand writing. And very old paper. Websites such as Brain Pickings send out a steady stream of tweets announcing the uncovering of rare and wonderful letters, drawings, chapbooks, notes, lists, maps, and other ephemera and marginalia, most often by long-dead authors, artists, scientists and medieval monks. 30 March 2012 The Guardian ran a review of As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Diaries 1964-1980 by Susan Sontag, and 30 March 2012, an article announcing: Angela Carter’s teenage poetry unearthed at old school. The current collective bravado about entrusting the production, dissemination, curation, sharing, and storage of the cultural artifacts our daily lives to digital cloud storage and social networks and the devices these live archives engender seems to be underwritten by a deep seated belief that somebody has all the hard copies in storage somewhere, and that new old things will continue to be discovered.

Archival photo: my Montreal desk, from when it was still okay to have lots of things.

Tomorrow morning I’ll fly to Montreal to sift through what’s left of my once extensive archive of notebooks, letters, postcards, hand-drawn maps, childhood diaries, grade school poetry, high school essays, art school sketchbooks, earliest dot matrix print outs from first stabs and digitally distributed networked fiction, Mac II boot discs, floppies containing the first hypertextual nonlinear narrative I made on the Amiga in – oh who can remember what years these things happened in anymore… my instinct says: BURN EVERYTHING. Because none of us knows what to keep and what to throw away.

Well Mack the finger said to Louie the King
I got forty red white and blue shoe strings
And a thousand telephones that don’t ring
Do you know where I can get ride of these things
And Louie the King said let me think for a minute son
And he said yes I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61.
Bob Dylan, Highway 61

One pallet I’ll ship to England, air cargo. The rest must be dispensed with. To jet or to jettison? Of every variable in the string var=storagespace I will ask this question. Choice items returning the result jettison will be on offer at a garage sale held indoors in the studio space of jake moore and Steve Bates. Friends help friends throw stuff out. Good friends help friends ship, sell, or otherwise find homes for no longer necessary but still functional, useful, even beautiful things.

a garage sale, but in an art studio
6250 Hutchison #404, Montreal
Sunday 15 April 2012
11 AM to 4 PM.

Please come by to say hi. It may be my last chance to see you, you clever and stylish Montreal folk. Leave with books, music, art catalogs, hand-made hand-painted dishes, storage devices such as wooden drawers and a steamer trunk and a rather fine two-door armoire, other furniture such as end tables, office supplies including and inordinate number of manila envelopes and file folders, old school art supplies like charcoal, and actual art in fact. Many of these items will be surrendered for free if you can convince me you will provide good homes for them. Come say hi and leave with art and joy in your heart.

Two New Stories Added to In Absentia

I just added two new stories to in absentia, a site-specific web-based project about gentrification and its erasures in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal, an intimate and intensely personal investigation of a neighbourhood I lived and worked in for 17 years. in absentia was presented within Dare-Dare‘s Dis/location: projet d’articulation urbaine in 2008. Two weeks after the commencement of the project, Dare-Dare‘s mobile office was evicted from the parc sans nom, the Mile End vacant lot that had been its home for 2 years. A month after the completion of the project I was evicted from the Mile End apartment I lived in for 11 years, effectively forcing me out of the neighbourhood I lived in for 17 years and contributing to my decision to leave Montreal all together, after 19 years.

J. R. Carpenter || in absentiaIronically, and somewhat painfully, dislocation from the locus of this work resulted in many opportunities to present the work around the world. The Mile End represented in in absentia has been exhibited, presented, performed and taught by myself and by others in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Banff, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, Finland, Sweden, Barcelona, Bristol, and other places I am unaware of. In each retelling of in absentia I am re-confronted with the questions that led me to creating the piece in the first place: What traces to people leave behind when they leave a place? What stories spring from absence?

Recently, I was invited to write about in absentia for Dislocation volet II de Dare-Dare, a publication celebrating projects supported by Dare-Dare during the two years they were located in Mile End. The publication project coordinator encouraged me to build on the stories in in absentia and/or write new ones. I other circumstance I would welcome the opportunity to creatively revisit a work in such a way. But in this case, I could not even begin to think about in absentia from the point of view of the person I was when I created the project. I am no longer that person. So much has changed.

The Dislocation volet II de Dare-Dare deadline is looming. I have been fretting. And then today, for whatever reason, two stories came to me – one, two, just like that. Like so many of the things I write, I had already written them, only I hadn’t noticed at the time. One comes from a series of facebook status updates I wrote whilst apartment hunting in Montreal last spring, phrased in the form of a game called: Which would you rather?

Let’s play where would you rather live: A) a god-forsaken place, or B) a dog-forsaken place? Trick question. I can live without god, not with out dog.

The full story can be read by clicking on the A Louer icon in the top left corner of the map on this page:

The other comes from a blog post I wrote at the end of last year, reflecting on Reading Interrupted:

My suitcases and I spent the summer living out of other people’s bookshelves. It turns out that a friend close enough to put you up in a time of need tends to have a book collection close enough to your own to make you and your suitcases feel at home without a home.

The full story can be read by clicking on the books icon on the left side of the map on this page:

I don’t know why the sudden arrival of these new stories from a place now past comes as a surprise to me. I have written of in absentia as a web “site” haunted by the stories of former residents of Mile End, a slightly fantastical world that is already lost but at the same time is still fully known by its inhabitants: a shared memory of the neighbourhood as it never really was but could have been. I am a former resident now, and these stories spring from that absence.


The Quebec Writers Federation has invited me back to teach another Introduction to Electronic Literature workshop, same title as last year, but this time we’ll have two days instead of one to explore and experiment with the reading, writing and performing of web-based electronic literature – very exciting as last year we had nowhere near enough time.

Two Saturdays, March 6 and March 13, 10:00am – 4:00pm
1200 Atwater Avenue., Room 2 (2nd-floor computer lab)
Registration information.

Electronic literature combines literary and new media practices, resulting in multi-media literary works that couldn’t exist in print form. Consideration of technology at the level of the creation of the text distinguishes electronic literature from e-books, digitized versions of print works, web publishing and other products of print authors ‘going digital,’ none of which will be discussed in this workshop. Unbound by pages and the printed book, electronic literature moves freely across the web, through galleries, performance spaces, and museums, yet does not reside in any single medium or institution. Electronic literature often intersects with conceptual art, web art, performance and sound art, but the reading, writing and performance of electronic literature is situated within the literary arts.

This workshop will begin with a brief historical background of the genre, including a discussion of some of the pre-web literary forms that digital writing evolved from. We will focus on looking at, reading and understanding a wide range of electronic literature produced in various media over the past 20 years. I will show how some of these works were built, give an introduction to HTML, provide a number of web resources and tool for further investigation, then propose a number of ways for beginners to approach the web medium for the creation and dissemination of texts. In particular, we will look at ways to use existing Web 2.0 structures to create distributive literary works. Writing exercises will include: collectively creating a hypertext narrative, remixing Python story generators, writing 140-character stories in Twitter and plotting postcard stories in Google Maps. There will be some technical discussion and experimentation, but prior knowledge of web programming is not required.

This workshop is ideal for experienced writers interested in expanding their existing practices to include web-based forms of non-linear, interactive, intertextual and/or networked literature and media artists exploring textual practices in digital work. If participants have electronic literature projects in mind, we can discuss strategies for creating these works. Visual and new media artists who use are using text in their work and wish to learn more about the literary aspects of digital writing will also find this workshop useful, as will avid readers of experimental literature from Calvino to Borges, and anyone interested in audio/video mashup, performance, remix culture, etc., who wishes to learn about this exciting new hybrid, hypermedia genre.

A list of links to online resources, further technical resources and venues for reading and submitting electronic literature will be provided.

Two Saturdays, March 6 and March 13, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
1200 Atwater Avenue., Room 2 (2nd-floor computer lab)
Workshop leader: J.R. Carpenter
Visit the Quebec Writers Federation Website for Registration information:
. . . . .

Reading List 2009

2009 was a year of reading interrupted. It started with an eviction notice. An amazing number of books can accumulate in 11 years. My bookcases and I had a long talk and we decided that a few hundred of our friends would have to go. Many were sold, many more were given away. The rest fit into 32 boxes. Finding a home for those boxes was hell. Two weeks after finally signing a lease on a new apartment, my marriage ended suddenly. As a reader, I didn’t see it coming. There was no foreshadowing or anything. As a writer, I would have done things differently.

My books moved without me. My suitcases and I spent the summer living out of other people’s bookshelves. It turns out that a friend close enough to put you up in a time of need can also be counted on to have a book collection close enough to your own to make you and your suitcases feel at home without a home. It turns out there are lots of books in the world. We merely move amongst them. Friends, on the other hand, are one-of-a-kind and impossible to replace.

My books and their cases are now housed in a storage locker in Montreal. I miss them very much. Especially the ones written by friends. There are many friends’ book in this photo of one of my Saint-Urbain Street bookcases before its dismantling:

On the up side, my suitcases and I are now ensconced in an 18th century Palladian country house situated on a promontory in a bend in the River Dart in South Devon. We’re catching up on our England reading. I am glad I saved Wuthering Heights until after visiting a moor, even though it’s set on a different moor than the one I went too, and Waterland until after visiting Somerset, even though it’s set on the Fens. Next up, Dart, by my new neighbour Alice Oswald, about my new neighbour The River Dart.

Here, in reverse chronological order, are the books I read in 2009:

  • Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading
  • Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
  • Graham Swift, Waterland
  • Sutherland and Nicolson, Wetland: Life in the Somerset Levels
  • Jerome Fletcher, Alfreda Abbot’s Lost Voice
  • Charles Bernstein, Dark City
  • Nicolas Evans, The Divide
  • Clarice Lispector, Soulstorm
  • Philippe Soupault, Last Nights in Paris
  • Stacey May Fowles, Fear of Fighting
  • Lisa Moore, Degrees of Nakedness
  • Medlar Lucan & Durian Grey, The Decadent Traveler
  • Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses
  • Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head
  • Roddy Doyle, Paula Spenser
  • Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
  • Tom Standage, The Victorian Internet
  • Jerome Fletcher, Degringolade
  • Kate Pullinger, The Mistress of Nothing
  • Edna O’Brein, The Country Girls
  • Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the SUperheroes
  • Steven Ross Smith, Lures
  • Anne Simpson, Quick
  • Elizabeth Bishop, The Collected Prose
  • William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  • Oana Avasilichioaei, Feria: a poempark
  • Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology
  • Agota Kristof, The Notebook, The Proof, and The Third Lie
  • Nigel Peake, Maps: Fields, Paths, Forests, Blocks, Places and Surroundings
  • John Berger, About Looking
  • Francis A. Yates, The Art of Memory
  • William Gibson, Spook Country
  • Mary-Ann Ray, Seven Partly Underground Rooms and Buildings for Water, Ice and Midgets
  • Jerome Fletcher, Escape from the Temple of Laughter
  • Mark Haddon, The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • William Gaddis, Carpenter’s Gothic
  • David Gutterson, East of the Mountains
  • A.S. Byatt, Little Black Book of Stories
  • Shirley Jackson, The Lottery
  • Merce Rodoreda, The Time of the Doves
  • Gary Lutz, Stories in the Worst Way
  • Daniel Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
  • Akira Mizuta Lippit, Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife
  • Andrew Hood, Pardon Our Monsters
  • Arjun Basu, Squishy
  • Jacob Wren, Families Are Formed Through Copulation
  • Chandra Mayor, All the Pretty Girls
  • Harold Hoefle, The Mountain Clinic
  • Beryl Bainbridge, Another Part of the World
  • Lydia Davis, The End of the Story
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin
  • Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum
  • Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo
  • Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
  • Italo Calvino, Why Read The Classics?
  • Alejo Carpentier, The Chase
  • Nell Freudenberger, Lucky Girls
  • Irene Gammel, Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada and Everyday Modernity

. . . . .


If I were in Montreal tomorrow evening, Wednesday, November 11, from 5 pm to midnight, I would be at Librairie Le Port de Tête (262 Mont-Royal E) for the long awaited launch of Le Livre de Chevet. In English, this book might go by the name The Bedtime Book of Falling Asleep. In it are gathered powerfully hypnotic, narcotic and somnambulic texts from 24 writers. I have contributed a text called Les huits quartiers de sommeil. Those of you already familiar with La Table de Matières productions (design by Feed) will have an inkling of how gorgeous this book is.

Le mercredi 11 novembre prochain, de 17h00 à minuit, LE LIVRE DE CHEVET, troisième et ultime ouvrage de la collection La table des matières, apparaîtra de ce côté ci du sommeil, au Port de tête, librairie sise au 262, Avenue du Mont-Royal Est. Il est publié à l’enseigne du Quartanier.

Vous êtes conviés à son lancement, qui est aussi celui de deux ouvrages amis, et anglais, EXPEDITIONS OF A CHIMAERA, livre bicéphale de Oana Avisilichioaei et Erin Moure, et THE ROSE CONCORDANCE, d’Angela Carr, tous deux publiés par l’éditeur torontois BookThug. Si LE LIVRE DE CHEVET était anglais, il s’intitulerait THE BEDTIME BOOK OF FALLING ASLEEP, mais non.

Quelques précisions et encouragements: il y a deux années et demi que je travaille à la réalisation, avec mes complices du studio FEED, du LIVRE DE CHEVET. L’ouvrage, qui fait suite à CITÉ SELON, sur la ville (il faut bien habiter quelque part) et LA TABLE DES MATIÈRES, sur la nourriture (il est mieux de manger quelque chose) est encore une fois consacré à un sujet véritablement universel, accessible à tous, grand public et tout : dormir. Les deux ouvrages précédents se sont mérités quelques trophées de design, ce qui aide ou n’aide pas les ventes, on ne le sait pas vraiment.

Lorsqu’elle se penche sur des sujets d’intérêt public comme le sommeil, la littérature, contrairement à ce que l’élite populiste voudrait nous faire croire, apparaît comme l’affaire de tout le monde. Vous entendez le langage passer en vous? Maintenant, voyez comme il peut avoir fière allure, lorsque vous vous y attardez un peu plus. D’ailleurs, le conseil d’administration de La table des matières croit fermement que tout le monde, et surtout les insomniaques, peut trouver son compte dans LE LIVRE DE CHEVET: le livre, dont le papier est doux comme la lumière d’une veilleuse, plaira même à ceux qui préfèrent ne pas lire.

LE LIVRE DE CHEVET, comme une princesse de conte, a sommeillé longtemps, s’additionnant peu à peu la substance rêvée de 24 textes, librement associés à 12 collages (Annie Descôteaux) et 12 dessins (Pol Turgeon), 2 paysages improbables (Annie D et Pol T), 2 schémas, 4 photos (Daniel Canty) et 24 calligraphies (Léon Lo), le tout distribué sur 240 pages dont la substance emprunte à celles du jour et de la nuit. Vous verrez. Les littérateurs vous l’avaient dit: la nuit est parfois d’encre. Et on verra, grâce au LIVRE DE CHEVET, qu’elle sait tomber partout, même entre les pages d’un livre. Les fantasmes d’un pornocrate sans emploi, dans un cahier à la tranche scellée, étanche à la curiosité infantile (sauf si l’enfant est habile et sait manier le couteau), complètent le tout.

LE LIVRE DE CHEVET ressemble à un livre pour enfant qui aurait grandi, mais qui se souvient, oh se souvient, des nuits passées à rêver la vie à venir, à la lumière d’une lampe de poche.

La lumière est comme de l’encre.
Tout ce que je dis est vrai.
Vous êtes des dormeurs.
Soyez des nôtres.



De 17h à minuit, le mercredi 11 novembre,
au Port de Tête, 262, Mont-Royal est
Lectures entre 19h et 20h
Concert de fin de soirée: 44 Ensemble


. . . . .

Book Launch Tonight: Leonard Cohen You’re Our Man

I have a poem in this fine book. If I were in Montreal I’d be reading at the launch tonight. If you happen to be in Montreal, check it out.

7:30 PM
Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009
Westmount High School Auditorium
4350 Ste. Catherine St. West
Westmount/Montreal, Quebec
Tickets are $5 and available at the door.
Doors open at 7 P.M.

Poets reading tonight include:

Ann Weinstein, Jason Camlot, Ann Lloyd, David Solway, Donna Yates-Adelman, Michael Mirolla, Jeffrey Mackie, Angela Leuck, John Fretz, Grace Moore, Meredith Darling, Rona Feldman Shefler(a classmate of Cohen’s,) Sue Borgersen(arriving today from Nova Scotia,) erika n. white, Sandra Sjollema, Ryan Ruddick(Westmount High teacher,) Brian Campbell, and Eleni Zisimatos, Ehab Lotayef, Lesley Pasquin, and standing in for Margaret Atwood will be Westmount High Student, Elisha Hill, reading Atwood’s poem, “Setting Leonard to Music.”

Proceeds from this event will support the Foundation for Public Poetry’s “Leonard Cohen Poet-In-Residence” program at Westmount High(Cohen’s old high school.) This initiative is a collaboration between Westmount High School, the Foundation for Public Poetry, and the Westmount High Alumni Association.

Books are $25 and will be available for sale and signing.

More info:
. . . . .

Vallum Cafe/Culture Reading Series – July 23, 7pm

I will be reading some of my most poem sounding prose in Montreal this Thursday when Vallum: contemporary poetry reading series Cafe/Culture returns with fantastic lineup of Oana Avasilichioaei, J.R. Carpenter, Holly Luhning and Anne Cimon grace the ultra-cool Le Zigoto Cafe, 5731 du Parc (just below Bernard). Door prizes and a surprise musical guest! It all starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009.

. . . . .

OBORO’s 25th Anniversary – April 18 – May 2, 2009

To celebrate the creative energy that has been flowing through OBORO over the past 25 years and, most of all, to express our deep gratitude to our community, artists and partners, we are organizing a great party with an opening banquet, performances, a garden-exhibition, a day for children, an art auction, an outdoor ceremony and many more surprises.

Let the festivities begin… and continue!

Banquet and Gallery Opening
Saturday, April 18, 2009, at 5pm

You are invited to a banquet launching our 25th anniversary festivities! Join us in celebrating the creative energy that has been flowing through OBORO over the past 25 years as we express our deep gratitude to our community, artists and partners.

Spring winds have breezed into our preparations: on the night of April 18th, OBORO completes its transformation into a lush and cheerful garden. Multicoloured platters will carry succulent fragrances and exquisite morsels as an offering to guests and friends. Throughout the evening, bustling performances, sparks of music and magical winks will flutter by, and each visitor will receive a special edition work created for the occasion.

Masters of Ceremony: Pierre Beaudoin and Claudine Hubert

Opening banquet performers: Yves Alavo and Mehdi Benboubakeur, Choeur Maha, Raf Katigbak, Cheryl Sim, Roger Sinha, Ziya Tabassian

Oboros’ Art Auction
Saturday, April 18, 2009, 5pm to 11pm

The works created for the exhibition will be on auction from 5pm to 11pm on Saturday April 18th. Proceeds of all sales will go towards OBORO’s endowment fund, created so that OBORO can continue its significant support of artists and the art community over the years to come. For a sneak peek of the works you’ll have a chance to bid on, visit: oboros album

Saturday, April 18, 2009 – Saturday, May 2, 2009

From April 18th to May 2nd, the gallery will be transformed into a luxuriant garden, populated with oboros grown from the imagination of more than a hundred artists. While meandering through the exhibition, visitors will discover surprising and engaging works of every stripe and be offered a flavourful cup of hot tea served by no less than the world-famous “Trolley Bus,” master of ceremonies of the World Tea Party. And somewhere in the middle of the garden safari, the small exhibition room will await inspired visitors who wish to create their own oboro.

Children’s Day
Saturday, April 25, 2009, at 2pm

On Saturday, April 25, from 2pm to 4pm, parents and children are invited to drop by the workshop and create an oboro in the company of a facilitator. In order to rejuvenate creative perspectives and quicken critical eyes, the children, following their whims, will offer guided tours of the exhibit to the adults.

Performance by Claude-Marie Caron
Saturday, April 25, 2009, at 4pm

Inspired by Lautréamont’s famous words “beautiful as the fortuitous encounter of an umbrella and a sewing machine on a dissection table,” Beau comme is constructed as an allegorical self-portrait of Claude-Marie Caron as he celebrates 25 years of OBORO. Inventor of the name and member of OBORO’s first Board of Directors, Claude-Marie Caron is a multidisciplinary artist, a performer, a tailor and a master-teacher of Tai-Chi.

Closing Ceremony
Saturday, May 2, 2009, at 3pm
at La Fontaine Park (corner of Rachel and Parc-La Fontaine)

For the Closing Ceremony, OBORO’s garden relocates to Parc La Fontaine, where everyone is invited to join for an outdoor picnic and to attend a planting of a tree in the parc. As an inspiration to future decades and an offering to the community, this tree encompasses OBORO’s mission: to contribute to our collective heritage and to a culture of peace.


For the 25th Anniversary, artists and close collaborators of OBORO have banded together to create the Manifestoboro, a collaborative nursery-rhyme/drawing/poem/manifesto for your pleasure and inspiration:

OBORO est un salon
OBORO is peace
OBORO is possibility
OBORO est un souffle
OBORO is an art family
OBORO est alimentaire
OBORO est l’arbre et la forêt
OBORO est un terrain de jeu
OBORO est un processus in process
OBORO is an ocean-in-motion
OBORO is a very old jade plant
OBORO est une tête chercheuse
OBORO is a big table in the sunlight
OBORO is a series of concentric circles
OBORO is living art, looking and listening
OBORO est tout ce qui n’est pas OBORO
OBORO is a bucket of toys waiting for kids
OBORO est un gâteau d’anniversaire rose et jaune
OBORO is a refreshing cup of tea served up in porcelaine
OBORO is food for thought and a feast for the eyes
OBORO is curious, challenging, déroutant et impromptu
OBORO est un « o » entre deux « o », un grand cercle, un oeil
OBORO est le lieu où se décline gracieusement ou furieusement le temps
OBORO de vie

Download the Manifestoboro (pdf)


Make a donation and receive an official receipt for income tax purposes!

For each dollar raised between now and July 30, 2009, OBORO will receive an additional $2,50!
Thanks to the support of the Placements Culture program at the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Canadian Arts and Sustainability Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. All proceeds will go towards OBORO’s endowment fund to help us continue supporting artists and the art community over the years to come.
. . . . .


Early Saturday morning, March 28, 2009, I packed a suitcase full of books and headed down to the Atwater Library to lead a six-hour long workshop on electronic literature. For the record, although the Atwater Library is the oldest lending library in Canada, their computer lab is state of the art. Also worthy of note: even the smallest of suitcases, when full of books, is way too heavy to carry up and down the perverse number of stairs leading in and out of the Montreal Metro.

NON-LINEAR NARRATIVES & MULTI-MEDIA POETICS: AN INTRODUCTION TO ELECTRONIC LITERATURE was a one-day workshop presented by the Quebec Writers’ Federation. This being the QWF’s first venture into the realm of electronic literature, I had no idea who, if anyone, would sign up. The turnout was excellent, and students’ backgrounds extremely varied. Which was both exciting and terrifying. Picture it: A poet, a printmaker, a journalist, a video artist, an installation artist, an anthropologist, a professor of Intermedia and a Pearl programmer walk into a room. And I’m standing there with a suitcase full of books.

It’s amazing how quickly six hours can fly by. We covered some but not all of the course outline and discussed many more things besides. I referred excessively to my own work, and pillaged bits and pieces of talks and workshops taught by friends. A subjective chronology of electronic literature from Stuart Moulthrop here, a dash of film history from jake moore there. Victoria Welby’s notes on animation and remediation sure came in handy. A remixology writing exercise lifted from Mark Amerika crossed with an intro to HTML led to a re-mix of Nick Montfort’s The Purpling, a poem recently published on the Iowa Review Web.

The Purpling has ten pages, each with eight to nine sentences, each sentence linked to a different page. We were nine in the class, so we each re-mixed a page and left the index page the same. The only rules, that the first sentence of the re-mixed page start with the same first two words as the original (to correspond with Nick’s file naming system), and that the re-mixed page have the same number of sentences as the original. We took blueing as our theme: blueing of mood, of sky, as whitening agent. And here’s what we came up with: The Blueing.

Thanks to all the re-mixers and re-mixees, and to Lori, at the QWF, for bringing e.lit into the mix.
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