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A continuous relational installation by ATSA
October 15–18 at Place Émilie-Gamelin
October 15: 4 to 10 p.m.
October 16: Noon to midnight
October 17: Noon to 10 p.m.
October 18: Noon to 10 p.m.
Take the time to come share some soup - and conversation - with us!
Through an installation that combines effective staging, a straightforward mechanism for fostering interaction, and seasoned sociocultural mediators, ATSA invites you to explore homelessness through a mix of social encounter, soul-searching and a poetic touch. Several local personalities will show you how it's done and explain to the public that it's the accumulation of such small, everyday episodes of sharing that makes a society strong and empathetic and that counters social exclusion.
A ridge serves as the event's perimeter, within which chairs are paired off. Each pair is comprised of two identical chairs, a reminder of the points their occupants have in common and of the unifying intent of the meeting. Yet one pair differs from the next, exemplifying the spectrum of individual personalities that is at the core of social diversity, of the gamut of points of view in the world, and of the infinite possibilities of meetings. The terrace becomes a stage, and the one-to-one encounters, seen collectively, take on a deeper layer of meaning.
The public is invited to take part. Members of the public are greeted and looked after by ersatz maître d's, who will assign each participant a table and a person to discover while enjoying a bowl of soup. The sit-down meeting lasts, quite literally, the time it takes to savour a soup. The latter is provided courtesy of a local restaurant or community organization. A menu of conversation starters is handed out to break the ice, get people talking about homelessness and become aware of the need for mutual listening. That said, all conversations are entirely owned by our ephemeral duos. As each pair of participants leaves the installation, a photographer will offer to take a snapshot of them and juxtapose it alongside a brief, pithy caption, written in verse (for example, a haiku) or prose, they will compose for the purpose of describing and archiving their encounter. The archives of all encounters will later be projected onto an adjacent screen, and could further serve, if the participants wish it, as source material for some Twitterature at #LeTempsduneSoupe.
By transforming the simple act of eating a bowl of soup into an interlude offering quality interaction in an esthetic setting, this installation sets the stage—the table, if you will— for social encounters on a more human and egalitarian basis. It serves as an opportunity for taking that small yet brave step toward connecting with a perfect stranger, in a world where such connections are often virtual. It allows us to discuss important topics outside our usual circle of acquaintances and to create ties within our community.
The crux of this installation—which we would like to bring to as many cities as possible throughout the world—is the way it encourages participants to keep alive their curiosity and their openness to others. In light of the mass migration of refugees the planet is currently seeing, the installation could not be more timely as it calls into question our ability to reach out to others and our capacity to continuously confront our prejudices and fears. This is not a complicated thing to do, but it is not a simple thing, either; it requires a certain degree of courage. Part of our role as artists is to create an environment that is conducive to building trust and ties, with referents that help people gain understanding and unite. We want to pierce through the wall of indifference to persuade citizens to have a keener awareness of the people in their community on a human level.
The installation lends part of its name to, and sets the tone for, the LE TEMPS D’UNE SOUPE event, produced by ATSA and the Nuit des Sans-abri de Montréal (NSA), for which it serves as the centerpiece amid the latter's non-stop programming at Place Émilie-Gamelin.
WE HOPE YOU'LL TAKE THE TIME TO COME SHARE SOME SOUP WITH US!
THANKS TO OUR SOUP PARTNERS AND DONORS!
Entreprises: La Tribu | La Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal | Hôtel de La Conciergerie | Le Bonhomme à lunette
Individuals: Marc Pronovost| Anaëlle Lepont | Brigitte Poupart | Tony Asimakopoulos | Philippe Rochette | Perrette Subtil | Catherine McDonnell | Danielle Déry