Sculpture

La chorale au Mont

arkadi lavoie lachapelle

We bequeathed a gathering point for the next 100 years

Since 2016 students in the school parliament, accompanied by the artist arkadi lavoie lachapelle and the director of spiritual guidance and community engagement at Mont de la Salle secondary school Dominique Mac Conaill, have been involved in a public art acquisition program. By means of this social and political project, they hope to retain the presence of the artwork La chorale au Mont, a cradle bench that can seat 20 people, and an item that has become a symbol of community for the students. 

Story

The story of La chorale au Mont began in 2012, driven by the energy of the Occupons Montréal and student protest movements. For the artist's generation, these public debates made room for a profound collective voice that called the educational system into question and, by extension, Quebec society. Gatherings of people took on various forms: huge demonstrations, small discussion groups, communal meals, daily marches, makeshift campsites and, most especially, physical occupation of public space.

Stimulated by that vitality but also exhausted by daily militant activity, arkadi lavoie lachapelle created La chorale, a cradle bench made of linden wood. Inspired by old rocking chairs and handcrafted with the assistance of the cabinetmaker Gilles Rivard, it is light, easily dismantled and seats 20. It is a performative space that keeps alive the memory of solidarity in social engagement and collective struggle by offering the physical experience of a shared rhythm. Getting a rocking motion underway calls for "power from within" rather than "power over" and involves negotiating (not always without resistance) with everyone on the bench, which implies that even while taking pleasure in the rocking movement, we can also share it with others. 


After some presentations in cultural centres and a few years in storage, in 2015 the artist suggested to the Verticale arts centre that it be installed in Laval in a site not usually intended for arts display. With the support of Verticale and the art teacher Fabrice Landry, Mont de la Salle secondary school agreed to place the piece in the entrance hall of the school from October 2015 to October 2016. 

The school community very quickly appropriated the piece as an integral part of the living space. At lunchtime and during breaks, both teenagers and adults would be on the bench, talking, eating, playing, reading, writing or waiting. Without being immediately aware of it, the piece generated a spirit of community. Passersby – students, teachers, visitors, the public attending concerts – would spontaneously sit on the bench, rocking back and forth together. 

The impact of that work of art in the school was such that in October 2016, sixty adolescents in the school's student parliament, who represent their peers, voted in support of a motion proposed by Édith Beatrice Alexandru (gr. 405) and seconded by Labiba Malik (gr. 501). The proposal was that the school acquire the cradle bench for permanent display, a resolution ratified by the school's board of directors. It reads in part: 

The Parlement du Mont […] hopes that, in bequeathing this work of art to future generations at the school over the next 100 years, it will continue to convey the notions of community, of living together, of sharing. 

Mont de la Salle secondary school is an international hive where 70% of students are first or second generation immigrants. La chorale thus becomes the symbol of a desire to build a harmonious community through its implicit invitation to get people to sit down together, twenty at a time, thus immediately creating a micro community.

As of spring 2018 the process of raising funds and purchasing the piece is still underway. The new version of La chorale au Mont will be built in partnership with the cabinetmaker Natacha Chamko and the Atelier Clark so that it can withstand the daily rocking of a hundred students and also last a hundred years.

Traces

Discover the Parlement du Mont's adopted resolution here.

Those who wish to donate funds to this project can do so via the Fondation du Mont and the campaign on gofundme.com. For additional information, contact Dominique Mac Conaill at dmacconaill@cslaval.qc.ca or by phone at 450 662-7000, extension 4415. 

Thank you!

MERCI!

ID card

arkadi lavoie lachapelle

arkadi lavoie lachapelle

Born in the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the massacre at the Polytechnique in Montreal, I am a settler living and practising in Tio’tia: ke (Montreal), in Kanien’kehá: ka territory. At present, my post-academic life is influenced by my years playing AAA soccer, the collective energy of the student movement of 2012, the complexity of intersectional feminism and a profound spiritual experience.

My action art practice, whether taking place in a public space, a gallery or during conferences, cultivates the paradox of the performative gesture: a gift of transformative energy that can deeply move, disrupt the established order and also be beneficial to body, mind and heart. My artistic adventures since 2010, at times anonymous and clandestine, have taken place here in this country and also in small and big towns in Russia and Europe. I am involved in organizing numerous events such as the VIVA! Art action festival in Montreal. 

I sometimes wonder if filling out a form gives me a taste for living, if a "child's menu to go, please" is pedophilia, and if queer persons have magical powers

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Sustainable communities

Coproduction et codiffusion

Verticale – centre d'artistes 

École secondaire Mont-de-La Salle 

Atelier Clark 

Remerciements

The adventure of La chorale au Mont required (and still requires) the attention, consideration and love of an incalculable number of individuals. Here are some of them: 

At Mont de La Salle secondary school: Dominique Mac Conaill, Fabrice Landry, Marie-Pierre Mailhot, Marc Laforest, Édith Beatrice Alexandru, Labiba Malik, the students in the Parlement du Mont, the maintenance team (especially Robert), all students, staff and the school administrators, as well as the parents and the visitors who dropped in from time to time. 

At Verticale – centre d’artistes: Alexis Bellavance, Charlotte Panaccio-Letendre and Lawrence Hagg. 

At Atelier Clark: Natacha Chamko, Peter King and Yan Giguère. 

For their support, advice, encouragement and elbow grease: François Rioux, Félix Chartré-Lefebvre, Michelle Lacombe, Valérie Provost, Yves Lavoie, Marie-Andrée Poulin, Guilhem Molinier, Geneviève Massé, Gilles Rivard, UQAM, Anne Bertrand and Stéphanie Chabot at the Centre des arts actuels Skol, Stéphanie Francescutti and Chloé Beaulac at the Centre culturel de Verdun, and of course the moon, happenstance and many invisible helping hands. 

Crédits de l'oeuvre

Creation arkadi lavoie lachapelle

Cabinetmaking Gilles Rivard

Maintenance and care Natacha Chamko

Vidéo

arkadi lavoie lachapelle

Photos

arkadi lavoie lachapelle  

Denis Farley  

Laurie Casaubon Rainville

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