Fondly reflecting on the fleet project, which was my fist foray into public art (albeit adolescent graffiti missions) and one of my first legitimate exhibitions, I feel that it was a thoroughly positive and constructive experience for all of us and disregarding the precarious weather situation, I think that the manifestation of our collective efforts could not have turned our better.

My intention with this piece was to provide a platform for the serious appreciation of urine art.  While for centuries males (maybe even females) have used the natural bodily function of urination as an art form – their genitalia as drawing medium, the closest available surface as their canvas – it is my belief that this form of creative expression has not garnered the acknowledgment or respect that it deserves. With Public Restroom, I hoped to create an environment for the free and uninhibited sharing of urine drawing ideas – a place where urine artists could come together and experience the work of their peers whilst creating new works of their own. Due to certain biological restrictions, the scale and complexity of urine-drawings has been historically limited, and in supplying my participants with spray bottles and paintbrushes, the works that they were able to produce broke down the levy of urine-drawing possibility and may revolutionize urine-art as we know it. Furthermore, the institution of urine-drawing has traditionally been an infuriatingly phallocentric and male dominated discipline and as this project was completely neutral to gender, age, race, and sexual- orientation I hope that it will serve as a discrimination-destroying, binary-bashing, patriarch-pounding, populist, post-modern death-punch.

*The intervention garnered a total of four participants.

Thomas Holmes


> > > > > public posters < < < < <

The public art event served as a framework that enabled us to sculpt, intervene and take on a prescribed public space as our project. Through the light courier event (in which passersby were asked to carry a light-emitting object from one block to the next) I came to view space as a material, as an environment that is shaped by its occupants and thus easily altered, easily marked and infused with energy. In this same context, the medium of space cannot be defined, nor can the bodies within it. Using these as raw materials provides for fleeting, malleable occurrences that leave the memory of experience as one’s final product. It allowed for a dialogue between the unusual, substitute holders of the space (us Fleet members) and the general public as our audience and collaborators. This raised interesting questions as to who dictates the use of a space; how we appropriate environments and come to manipulate them, or whether we allow them to manipulate us. Were we intruding in a normal and constant construct of space as determined by its occupants or gently persuading passersby of their ability to affect a space in which they exist as visitors? The transitional space we chose to illuminate acts most often as a funnel through which bodies pass without notice. By asking these bodies to accept and carry our work to mark their presence, we created an exchange to funnel attention onto the present moment in the existing environment. We sculpted a conscious and recognized occupying-of-space for our audience/collaborators, and for ourselves, even in our dream-like snowstorm of a place. The snow helped to bring the project alive, reflecting light, and creating a contrast in the transition between a passersby huddling introvertedly in their coat and coming out to interact both with strange people and with the air.

In creating the light-objects we considered the space and the audience as carrying them briefly, and so came to design them as adoptable tools for exploration and for the marking of human presence in the space. We used cheap and easily accessible materials (nylons, wire frames, led dollar store flashlights, wooden dowels, tape and mylar) that could be easily assembled, have noticeable but subtle effect, and be stolen without too much of a fuss (only a couple were taken). They were simple objects, without an obvious use, so as to showcase the light they housed, more so than their shape, allowing them to be easily accepted and manipulated by the public. We had a positive response for the most part in the enthusiastic and sometimes severely confused exclamations of “what is this for?” to which I shrugged. I found that a sense of urgency and a quick, precise “take this to the next corner for me” worked well to engage passersby and give the pedestrian a sense of importance.

Laura Sirois

+ + + + outdoor appliances + kitchenware + + + +

Once again my project included exploring social issues. The purpose of my piece was to have people stop and take a look at my art, scratch their heads, and ask questions. I hoped to have the public share some of their own thoughts on the social changes. The viewers were invited to use permanent markers to graffiti the pieces as they wished. The FLEET project being public art was an excellent opportunity for me to share my perspectives on resources and dollars that are blindly invested through contributing to causes around the world, with out consultation of the true needs of nations who receive financial, and the ludicrously ways that our tax dollars are used.  I integrated house hold kitchen manual appliance from the 40’s and 50’s when the social issues were not the forefront of the in our societies, the media, nor the realities everyday life. For each piece I added elements that reflected infrastructure, and financial resources. If you could imagine whole pieces of steel being grinded through a meet grinder and coming out the side as steel bars, and fifty dollar bills being grinded down until each paper particle had disintegrated to dust. The symbolism of these pieces, along with the publics’ responses to take a moment to stop and record their own ideas or concerns was a way that I thought might motivate individuals to become consciously engaged about the issues that are important to them.

I had assumed prior to the experience of presenting public art that people would not be able to resist stopping and taking a look at the unusual objects in an unusual setting on the city street. I was certain that there would be greater participation in my piece, and those of my fellow students. As I toured the corridor of Concordia and visited other public art locations it became obvious to me that the public was in fact trying to resist participating in the art that invited them to. In some cases they carried out tasks, but with little enthusiasm.

Just the same with the snow storm and lack of participation did not interfere with the collaboration, support, and amazing work that was delivered that day, and was an experience I certainly would not have given up. The snow storm I believe was an opportunity for ARTX 280 students to demonstrate their commitment to art, our education, and our group dynamic.

Brenda Norman

^_^_^_^ matt’s shack ^_^_^_^


Matthew Birrell

The purpose of my installation was to show how people use clothing as a shelter of their own appearance or as a shelter from the rest of society.  Clothing are things we can take anywhere and since we use them as a form of shelter this installation is meant to resemble a portable shelter, comically overly portrayed to add some humour to the serious message.  When I began this project I had no real assumptions to the performance aspect of my piece.  Something I should have given more thought to, however were the possible difficulties that I might have encountered, such as possible changes in the weather of the night I preformed.  The piece itself was built with a flat surface area in mind, but due to the weather I had to adept the set up of my piece by first clearing away the snow from the ground area I had selected.  Another problem the weather caused was that the snow sank into the clothes of the shelter making them somewhat heavy and at some points difficult to keep in place.

I’ve learned a lot about performance and public art with this piece, mainly about the amount of planning that goes into such work, and how the public reacts to such work.  To me this work is something that I relate to as one of my first real, professional pieces of art work.

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– – – light couriers – – –

Unrehearsed Choreography was conceived as an experiment to involve the general public as participants in a performance based art piece. Our aim was to transform the dense outdoor walking corridor on de Maisonneuve O. between Guy and Mackay into a brief and shifting stage. The public was invited to act as couriers to transport a collection of battery operated lit objects that would accentuate the patterns and movements of these ‘performers’ into unrehearsed choreography.

Three dozen flashlights converted into 24” long elegant torches and round white orbs were created, then a system to disseminate these lit objects into a continuous looping arrangement to last the course of a few hours. The rest would be up to the individual couriers as they made their way along this route.

Would interrupting the night’s typical rhythm create interesting reactions? Would everyday walking traffic accentuated by light actually make an interesting choreography? Would couriers interact with each other, would they make patterns, games, or random fun?

The night’s usual typical rhythm was already altered. On our scheduled night, wind, thick falling snow and large accumulating snowdrifts created an unusual stage for our intervention making it border on the absurd.

To some, we appeared as solicitors, vendors, even entertainers. Reactions ranged from avoidance and embarrassment to polite obliging individuals who I imagined must regularly assist those who ask from them.

As beautiful as the lights looked as they built and diminished in numbers along the route that snowy night, I couldn’t help but feel the experiment had failed. “Do I buy this” to “I don’t want to buy this” made me think the worst. That is until I saw two people step into the bank to access the bank machines with their lit torches. As I peered hidden from view, I saw them. There, in front of their twin bank machines they were deep in a dancelike duel, lunging with lit torches in reckless abandon somewhere on that snowy February night between the university and Guy metro station.

Ramona Benveniste


Reflection on Fleet – Public Art Performance

“The Delicate Sound of Light”

I appreciated the opportunity to explore this particular kind of art practice. I feel it’s different in that it’s mainly about making the art, and giving the art, when it comes to the outcome it cannot be easily anticipated. Anyway, it’s not about the outcome, or at least, much less about the outcome compared to other kinds of art.

In a certain sense, this public art experience felt very personal to me, as I had to envision the feeling I wanted to produce, and then going to the act, producing the form, which rapidly fleets away. Especially with the extra effect of blizzard, instantly erasing every trace.

But it doesn’t matter; the product and the production become one working force, wrapping my evolving presence in the act of public performance, leaving behind an intangible touch. – An Aesthetic announcement.

The light and sound I used, as well as my slow walking, was intended to bring a different pace to the rapid streets, to provoke wandering, and mostly to help open a different state of mind. Naturally, I had to go to a different state of mind in order to begin that endeavor.

I can’t say that I was surprised in anyway doing this project, it mostly unfolded, and felt, the way I had envisioned. I enjoyed the experience very much, (even that I got sick afterwards!). I walked around during the event, and then I walked away, to leave what was expressed behind to the stormy wind and snow of that evening, and possibly to few people who interacted with my act in a way or another.

I think that public performance brings to light something that is true to any kind of creation: the moment it’s produced, it keeps on the creative faculty and movement, but it no longer belongs to its creator.

Bachar Bachara