I Dream of Billboards Burning is a website and blog about my creative practice. It has a blog to share the work of others who practice undisciplinary artivism. I hope to strike a match between justice-based activism and oppositional cultural practice.
The “Burning Billboard” theme was inspired by a silk-screened patch I picked up at Expozine a few years back that captivated my objections to the omnipresence of advertisement in public spaces, hounding me for no other reason than to promote a lifestyle I don’t want. Genuine public discourse has no place in the public sphere where everyone is a consumer whose sole purpose is to provide profits for greedy capitalists. I actually do dream of billboards burning. During waking hours, I sometimes have an affinity to reclaiming public space with messages of dissent in opposition to injustice.
I don’t know who the artist of the patch actually is but I’d like to give thanks, in absentia, for capturing the sense of rage that comes from the over-exposure of lying commercial messages that promote over-consumption, which is a growing and acute affliction these days.
The blog component weaves audio, video, still imagery and written articles into personal reports, editorials, exposés, reviews, etc., that reflect my understanding of the world’s complexities as I meander through them. Some topics are initiated locally or regionally, while others find their source across the country and around the world.
I am a self-proclaimed undisciplinary artivist, archivist, cartographer and multimediator. I’m interested in oppositional art and try to make as much of it as I can. I’m now working on a series of protest banners under the signature of La Brigade MTL.
My 2014 installation project, “Printemps CUBEcois“, was exhibited twice at Concordia University. It is the first of a trilogy of works that consider the three phases of Victor Turner’s ritualistic performance theory: separation/rehearsal, performance and reaggregation/debreifing. I am currently working on the second installment of the trilogy: “Sous le pavé”, an interactive video installation where I perform a character in a state of revolt who practices a diversity of tactics using projected images as the interface between visualization during rehearsal and projected reality of performance.
I co-edited a French-language book of posters and artefacts from Québec’s student movement : “À Force d’imagination: affiches et artéfacts du mouvement étudiant au Québec 1958-2013” (Lux Éditeur 2013) and a bilingual (French and English) book of posters of Québec social movements: “Picture This: Posters of Social Movements in Québec 1966-2007” (Lux & Cumulus Press 2007). Another book I co-edited with Frédéric Dubois and Marc Tessier, “Extraction!: Comix Reportage”, a book about Canadian mining practices in the world. The work of of comix journalism is now republished in second edition (Ad Astra Comix, 2016). I was a founding member of the vide@ctivist collective, Les Lucioles (2002-2007) which screened more than 400 socio-political shorts during its 5-year span. At Cumulus Press, I published 20 titles as its publisher during its ten years: 1998-2008, of which he co-authored four titles.
I am a long-time “décorateurs engagé.e.s”, with others who practice “engaged decorating” as a means of reclaiming public space to denounce injustices. My involvement in media include in a voluntary capacity as on-air technician, radio host of the Friday Morning After and within the collective management of campus/community CKUT Radio. While completing my MA Media Studies in the Communication Studies Department at Concordia University, I sat as Chair of the board at Community University Television – Concordia CUTV) during turbulent times. My MA research-creation project focused on the archiving of oppositional artefacts from Québec’s historic 2012 student strike and the enriching role these artefacts have during debriefing periods following protest movement action. I am also a founding organizer of Expozine (Montréal’s annual small press, comics and zine fair), which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012! In 2009, I visited South Sudan as a project of mobile journalism to get first-hand information about the post-civil war in the region and to share the under-mediated story with others. Three interesting video profiles of South Sudanese NGO workers who tell their life stories. Watch them on my video page.
contact: widge [@] burningbillboard [dot] org