“The accuracy of the wave”: a walk in the margin

«La précision du vague»: marcher dans la marge

Photo: Carole Lévesque
Carole Lévesque, “The accuracy of the wave, 2019

Precise and vague at the same time : the thing is possible, and even richly informative, depending on what currently offers the design Centre of the UQAM. The exposure accuracy of the wave does not merely play with words. It says a lot about our lives and on our cities made of blank(s) and full(s), rejections and attractions, of the need (s’)abort as that of (is) discipline.

Consisting of drawings, photo collages, videos, objects, specimens and data collection, the expo is a little monotonous. Its clean layout draws in the alternation between empty and full, which defines an urban landscape, even in a context of great density.

The accuracy of the wave is the result of a search as meticulous as broad, Carole Lévesque, professor at the School of design. It must be said that its subject, the wastelands of the island of Montreal, calls the contrary. It is believed to know what it is, yet, it contains more of a surprise.

«La précision du vague»: marcher dans la marge

Photo: Carole Lévesque
Carole Lévesque, “The accuracy of the wave, 2019

According to the explanation of the word “wave” in one of the texts displayed on the walls, ” it would be a relationship of exclusivity between the representation and what is represented, rather than something vague in itself. These spaces are vague, are they not just so named because they do not respond directly to the expectations that we have of the urban landscape and its land values ” ?

Hours and hours

The approach around these spaces on the margins of our daily activities is without doubt a place of critique of the urban development is oriented towards the valorization of the beautiful, new, clean. But the researcher does not denounce. The one who identifies himself also as “créateure” (rather than artist) invites all subtlety to make a break with our us consumption. In it, the observation, the idleness and patience are paramount.

Six-day, 42-hour power, 5000 photographs, 144 minutes of film and audio capture… The figures speak for themselves. Figures in the field. Because after, what are 1800 additional hours that have been devoted to the realization of the two series of drawings. Idleness is not necessarily synonymous with passivity.

Between the scientific protocol and the creative process, the project was led by Carole Lévesque, sometimes at the head of a team, sometimes alone. The result is the atlas of ground wave, in two parts. In the documentary, or face realistic, follow a map of the island sectioned into six time (of the “west-west” to ” is-is “), a computer station, which gives details of each zone (soil type, dimensions, safety devices, animals, garbage, topography…), as well as material evidence (native flora, objects found on-site).

Raise the landscape

The second part is open to interpretation and even to the imagination of the teacher-artist. There are sketches, performed in front of the subject, but trivially valued. The importance is given rather to topographical views of the twelve courses to be visited, placed in the heart of the room. This set of ” drawings perspective “, finely-plotted to the point where they disappear almost in the brightness of the Center of design, is, nevertheless, the pragmatism of the architectural practice.

Six other drawings, large format aligned as a result of narrative, are the antithesis of those in perspective, both the exuberance of their compositions is striking. Richly darkened, the sheet of paper given to see here sites fully manned, contrary to the idea of emptiness associated with the vacant and abandoned.

These spaces are vague, are they not just so named because they do not respond directly to the expectations that we have of the urban landscape and its land values ?

— Carole Lévesque

Beyond their appearance, whimsical, desirable, of course, these drawings are known as elevations, or elevations of the landscape, have their raison d’être. They meet on a same plane folded the whole extent of the ground wave, not without conflating or even confusing, the scales, the near and the distant, the obvious and the secret, the industrial and the natural.

Architects also use this type of representation, in particular for detailing a façade. Those of Carole Lévesque, however, have been made to the old, hand-held, and not with the software now. Their retro look and feel, or their familiarity with the Art deco, probably has to do with this technique.

Highlight of the expo, these designs are born under an accumulation of data collected in the field. As if, in the end, what was there was not banal. And are worth as much as a downtown building and its high land value.

The montreal project is accompanied, in the preamble, by extracts from a series taken by Carole Lévesque in Beirut. Finding Room in Beirut carries on the idea of the ground wave to speak of a neighbourhood in the city centre excluded ” from the urban imagination, and of the great operation of reconstruction of a city battered by war.

The accuracy of the wave

At the Centre de design de l’UQAM, 1440, rue Sanguinet, until 14 April.

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