Do or don’t? Transgression and regulation of subversive behaviours in Montreal
Photo credits: Mélissa Moriceau
What is allowed in public space, what is not? The question seems simple, but in Montreal, the answer is not obvious.
This case study examines the encounter between the transgressive practices of young people who more particularly express themselves artistically. We follow the graffiti artists who express themselves on Montreal’s walls, and who attend comedy shows organized off of the city’s most famous festival stages. More broadly, this case study looks at the interaction between regulatory mechanisms and subversive initiatives to try to identify spaces of expression accessible to young people.
Take the example of young graffiti artists: are they illegal in a city whose main artery (Saint-Laurent Boulevard) has hosted an urban art festival every year since 2012? Is it vandalism or the embellishment of common spaces? To quote Quentin Guatieri, head of this case study’s research strand: “the hybrid nature of this form of urban art makes it possible to question the three themes addressed by TRYSPACES: the transgression of graffiti artists, regulation by public authorities and the involvement of various actors (young graffiti artists, political leaders and local residents) in the research process. »
A second example is based on the creation of comedy shows on unofficial stages, in squats in Hochelaga.
Mélissa Moriceau, who is in charge of this ethnographic study, explains: “Thus, humorists have the possibility of tackling subjects considered ‘taboo’, ‘sensitive’, which are usually banned from the public sphere. The general question underlying this project is therefore to understand how the transgressive acts experimented in the artistic scenes of the squats exude the possibility of innovating and creating new discourses about oneself and society. »