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Studio 303





Studio 303, Michael Toppings & Productions Margaret Rind


a literary work by Michael Toppings

May 26th - June 17th 2012
Neighbourhood Watch (interventions): May 28th - June 3rd 2012

Jeanne Mance st. (Prince-Arthur/Pine) // FREE!

Montreal, April 25th 2012 - Diary of a Neighbourhood utilizes a series of apartment fronts, notably the windows, to "publish" a self-penned literary work.  It is a community-based initiative, implicating the residents of one street in one Montreal neighbourhood. Envisioned as a trans-disciplinary project, Diary of a Neighbourhood encompasses public art, print art, installation, street theatre and performance but remains, in essence, a literary work.

Diary of a Neighbourhood is designed to appear as if an entire neighbourhood arose one morning compelled to express, by writing in their windows, their most heart-felled convictions - a fictional privacy made public, a vehicle for opinion, confession, disclosure, and revelation. The texts have been written to reflect difference and to lay bare a multitude of voices - in effect, a neighbourhood consisting of a diversity of residents (gender, race, social class and generations). The overall texts are a mix of observations, opinions, slogans, confessions, poetic and political musings, facts and viewpoints, the bulk of which have been written by Michael Toppings. Dispersed throughout these fictitious texts are quotations from a large pool of disparate sources - David Wojnarowicz, Hart Crane, WU LYF, Nietzche, Jeanette Winterson to name a few. Texts will be predominantly in French with certain sections in English, Spanish, Arab, Chinese and in Braille.

This event will take place on Jeanne-Mance Street, between Prince-Arthur and avenue des Pins, encompassing apartment buildings and co-ops on both sides of the street as well as the Strathearn Centre.

Neighbourhood Watch from May 28th - June 3rd
This production includes a series of interventions (Neighbourhood Watch) realized over a 7-day period that take place on the sidewalks, balconies, front porches and the stairwells of each participating building. Performers include Gordon Allen, Heather Mah, Zohar Melinek, Jean-Denis Olharan, Caroline Pelletier, Moheb Soliman, Mireille Tawfik, and Mary Williamson. Dates and times for all performances will be listed via Facebook as of the 26th of May.

These interventions, with titles that include Lost, Vente de vie, My head is an animal, Crieur public, and Man with hose, are designed as both lion and lamb, voluble and still, either overtaking a neighbourhood like a running of bulls or slipping in on tiptoe, barely discernible. With the actual neighbourhood as stage, performers infiltrate by assuming the role of resident, rendering portrayals of the everyday and the banal alongside deconstructions and gender inversions of film and theatre classics such as Network and A Streetcar Named Desire. Stealthy, unsanctioned, blithe and unassuming!

About the artist
Michael Toppings is a text-based, language artist born and raised in Quebec though having lived nearly half of his life elsewhere. Since 1988, he has created a body of work that attempts to amend the reading experience - to coerce the role of the reader into that of viewer, of listener and of active participant. His art practice is also, therefore, about blurring a line between publishing and exhibiting. Works are mash-ups of the varnished and of the unvarnished, of popular cultural references and of social realism, oscillating between the sublime and the pedestrian, between the factual and the fictional.

Produced and presented by Studio 303, Michael Toppings and Productions Margaret Rind
Jeanne Mance st. (Prince-Arthur/Pine), Montreal

Information : (514) 393-3771 / www.studio303.ca / www.michaeltoppings.com

Studio 303 372 Sainte-Catherine Ouest #303
Montréal, Qc H3B 1A2
www.studio303.ca info@studio303.ca
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Sources : Julie–Andrée Poitras, Communications Coordinator, 514–393–3771, communications@studio303.ca