17：Last October, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal celebrated its 10th incarnation with an opening night bash in the recently renovated Video Rooms, located in the working-class neighbourhood of Saint-Henri. It marked the first time the month-long contemporary-photography biennial had featured a major series of exhibitions this far west, in an area of town considered the cradle of Canadian industrialization. With approximately 30 solo exhibitions and public-space interventions gathered under the banner “Replaying Narrative,” this year’s event sought to chart the blossoming landscape of narrative oriented contemporary photographic art.
As the event’s guest curator, Marie Fraser, explains, “Replaying Narrative” alludes to “the act of taking up and putting back into play, as if it were more relevant to begin with already existing elements than to produce new images.” Situated explicitly in the wake of concerns about the dissolution of grand narratives, Le Mois de la Photo spoke as much about new narrative styles as it did about the “postproductive” condition of visual culture today.
Inside the former Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in Saint-Henri, the Quebec artist Josée Pedneault installed five video projectors that cast images both still and moving high onto the chancel walls. (The chancel is the raised, stage-like area of the church where religious services are carried out.) Murmures (2007) evoked the bucolic, intimate landscapes of a previous generation of Québécois photographic artists; it also organized experience into ever changing constellations of narrative thought. Pedneault employed a randomizing computer engine that could “pick up” and “put back into play” her own very diverse selection of photographic matériel. One could sit for hours in the church pews, waiting for an order to appear, though none arrives.
Marie Fraser. Explorations Narratives Replaying Narrative Le Mois De La Photo A Montreal 2007. Mois de la photo à Montréal, 2007. ISBN: 9782980802010