During the months of May, June, and July 2020, with the onset of covid-19 I used my research as an opportunity to get out of my apartment and engage with the physical and material world rather then the screen. I focused on familiarizing myself with the area surrounding the Saint Laurent Metro Station. I visited several times a week to watch people (see illustrations to the right), record audio and walking the streets. This was when I created the backbone of the map over the course of several weeks.
May-July 2020 / Site Visits
On occasions when visiting the site I would bring a friend along. Having a second pair of eyes and hands allowed me to take more documentation, skip rope, and freed me from some of my social anxiety when engaging with pedestrians. I played with different methods of interacting with the space and human inhabitants by skipping rope, chatting, and using chalk.
During these site visits I played with graphical ways of tracking movement. Instead of sketching the inhabitants themselves I tracked their movement with lines, as you can see to the left and below.
These site visits also involved capturing audio snippets, whether it be personal reflections or ambient noise. The use of audio to convey thoughts, feels, and a sense of place later evolved into the creation of the remote audio walk, which replaced my initial pre-covid plans of conducting in-person walking tours. Below are a few of the audio clips for you to listen to.
August-September 2020 / Ethics & Paper Making
This situated material became embedded in the paper, mapping the Quartier Des Spectacles neighbourhood using site itself. The unpredictability of paper making allowed, to some extend, for the materials to interject their own agency into the process. Pebbles sank to the bottom, leaves hid within the pulp, plastic bags came to the surface.
The submission of the researcher's ethics application took over the majority of August and September 2020.
At this point, I began to get bored with how I was engaging with the neighborhood. I also realized although I was observing humans in the space, I was granting the other inhabitants very little attention (with the exception of the pigeons). I also started to consider alternative methods of map making, and at the same time was introduced to paper making. All of this came together as I began playing with the method of paper making to engage with not only the materials of the site, but the overlooked refuse materials.
The discarded cigarette butts, packaging from syringes, leaves, gravel, and everything else in between found its way into the paper. I grabbed materials from several intersections: Saint Laurent & Maissoneuve, Saint Laurent & Ontario, Montigny & Clark, and St. Dominique and St. Catherine.