Sep 29, 2001

Omegapax (2001)

TRUNK75, collaboration with Valerie LeBlanc, ACAD, Calgary, AB

Jun 30, 2001

Foundwealth (2001)

• Artcite, Windsor, ON, May 25 June 30, 2001


About foundwealth
What really got me going with the FOUNDWEALTH project is a quote I read from the Canadian investor Andrew Sarlos, who was called the “Buddha of Bay Street”. He was quoted as saying, “I like gold, real estate, and floating rate instruments”. I thought, “so do I,” even though I did not know what he meant by a floating rate instrument. From the Buddha of Bay Street, I met Pope Leo the 13th who, in a 1891 encyclical letter, wrote on the condition of the working classes. The letter underlined the duties of the rich and the duties of the poor. I read the amazing story of John Sutter who was in the process, through his sawmills, of becoming one of the wealthiest men on the Pacific Coast. The discovery of gold on his own property in 1848 ruined him. I got interested in the similarity between the gold rush and the tech rush. I saw, floating in the market, in the office towers, the invisible hand that Adam Smith. He was the Scottish Economist who, in 1776, published his theories: An inquiry into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

FOUNDWEALTH is not a linear story. There is no particular story, only a collection of stories. It is about money and it is about the relationships between people. It is about the gap. It is about the pursuit of happiness and the idea that joy springs up from the consumption of products. It is about consumerism and society’s danger of self-combustion. It is a choice of events and moments, of fragments that I have put together to help me understand what is going on. I wanted the installation FOUNDWEALTH to be a poetic reflection, a kind of frontal collision-relationship of the rich and the poor. I had an image of a bridge made of burning rags that were thrown over the abyss where the river called Economy runs furiously. I wanted the carpet cleaning trainee to talk to the capital risk investor; maybe they could find some common ground?

I have tried to matched high end materials of beveled glass, a light table, thick carved glass with elements of a lower denomination: dirty oil, broken glass, discarded objects, raggedy assemblages. I was attracted to the showcase idea, similar to the ones found at the Gold Museum in Bogotá. I wanted to have inserts in the walls of the gallery; to suggest a relation between the installation and the building that is similar to the relation of the Economy with Society. I wanted the light to be seen and to indicate both the end of a journey and the beginning of a certain degree of hope. I felt that the moment where the light was seen was a moment where space and time were crunched together into a new thing; the split second where choices are made. I wanted the installation to be about that moment where everything could happen. This moment of decision, or indecision looks a lot like our point in time. It seems as if we are moving into a corridor of weightlessness. Acting like astronauts in a tube, we have to look, while lost in the dark, at the light that may come through the cracks; to guide us and to inspire us to continue forward, to believe that there is some worth in everything and that maybe wealth is not what we thought at first.

The installation is composed of seven works: Wealth Maker; Fake Wealth, Found wealth, Seven Seas, The Invisible Hand of Adam Smith, Huge Promises, and Snake Oil (every thing will be OK). The number 7 has always held a powerful and mystical place in the world; we have only to think of the seven seas, those navigable waters of the world; roads to treasures and adventures. The Seven Marvels of the World included: the lighthouse in Alexandria; the Seven Deadly Sins (Envy among them); the Seventh Heaven where God and the most exalted angels dwell; and the Seven -Eleven, a place where you can buy a 6-49.

Is wealth something that one can find? How can it be found and how can it be maintained? Maybe it happens simply, by fortune. Maybe it happens by ingenuity. Perhaps it is a bit of both, luck and skills, patience, timing and audacity. The final answer belongs to Machiavelli:

“Without that opportunity the strength of their spirit would have been extinguished, and without that strength the opportunity would have come in vain.”


My personal brush with wealth

•Winning a Mini-trail Bike
At the time I was 14, I went to a Shopping Mall in Moncton, NB. My attention was suddenly captured by this shiny and beautiful bright blue Honda 50cc mini-trail bike. One of the men, at the Lion’s Club booth, asked me if I wanted to buy a ticket. Without hesitation I bought three. I was sure to win. I visualized myself riding full throttle on the trails around town. A few days later, early on a Saturday morning, I heard a big commotion upstairs in the kitchen. I heard people shouting the loudest that they could: YOU WON! YOU WON! I was pleased but not surprised. I had a strange feeling that the bike was mine when I bought the tickets.

• The Gold Museum in Bogotá
In 1978, after high school, I went into the Canada World Youth Program. The country I had chosen to go was Columbia. It was an important and an amazing experience for an 18 year old. We were 15 Canadians and 15 Columbians living together, first in Montreal for the Canadian segment, and then in Medellin for the Columbian segment. One night in the countryside around Medellin, I remember to have met other people of my age that were guerillos with the armed group M -19. They had rifles and looked very serious. On another day, my group was invited by a woman into her home. She lived with her family. The home had just one room, with just one bed and a dozen babies and kids sitting on it. The house was made with cardboard and pieces of tin. The structure was literally holding up with strings. The woman offered us coffee to drink. I remember thinking that all of the coffee she was offering us would be coffee they would not have at the end of the week or at the end of the month. A few weeks later our group visited the Museum of Gold in Bogotá. At the Museum the group was broken in small units. Soldiers with automatic rifles took us into a corral like anti-chamber. A set of doors opened up, and we were permitted to enter a dark room. Four of the guards came with us. They closed the doors and then slowly, in a dramatic manner, lights went up. The room was made of four walls covered with windows. The cases were filled with gold of the Incas. When the lights rose to full intensity, we were all bathing in the gold light, in a surreal silence. It seems that we had become gold nuggets ourselves.

• My Old UIC Office in Calgary
I was getting UIC at some point in Calgary, and the office that was in charge of my case was located on Fifth Avenue in the North West of the city. Just before moving out of Calgary I notice that the building was for sale. A few years later, I was watching the news about the fraud and collapse of the famous gold mining company BRI-X. I was stunned to see my old UIC building as the BRI-X headquarters. I was amazed to see the ‘now dead’ president of the BRI-X gold mining company entering that building. His building, where I used to fill my cards with the now infamous YES, YES, NO, YES, YES, YES. Lately, I was walking front of the building known simply today as the One Nineteen. From the street one can see that the letters are made of bricks painted gold. It is relatively ironic when you know that the scandal that rocked BRI-X was centered on false claims relating to gold deposits


Mega Merger or Meager Merger?
Money is like a sixth sense, essential for the complete use of the five others.
Sir Winston Churchill

Before wealth the most ordinary sentiment is not respect it is envy
Fustel de Coulanges

I am not an economist but I am interested in the Economy. I am interested in Economy because it is everywhere and it defines everything, it touches everyone. In other words, I am interested in it because we are surrounded by economies of all kind: large, small, growing, struggling, abusive, miraculous, reckless, inventive, greedy; ever expanding like a big bang of its own origin. It is at the root of human experience: glorious and tragic; our relation to the world is often understood on an economic level. We are reacting to the Economy or to the absence of Economy. According to Jacques Adda, in La mondialisation de l’économie, we have arrived at the ultimate finality of an economic system invented 1000 years ago, by the mercantile cities of the Mediterranean. 1

News of the economic world has invaded our lives. We are saturated, over inundated by it. We are mesmerized by the growth of the economy, by the expansion of economy; we have become obsessed by the power of industries. There was a time when there was no mention of economic indices on television news. It was considered uninteresting to the public. Today, the Dow Jones, TSE, CBOT, NSDAQ, and NEKEI are all necessary, are all important, and unavoidable. We need them. They mean something. Somehow investment has become fun and sexy. RSSP=SEXY. GROWTH OF FUNDS=GROWTH OF FUN. And sometimes it is possible to have the impression that ‘it is working’ for everyone. In fact, it is working very well, but for a small percentage of the population; 86% of bull market gains in the past four years have benefited the richest 10% of the population. Are they the ones that driving the new cars? Now it is possible to go into a parking lot and have a Jeep Cherokee in front of you, a Jeep Cherokee in back of you, a Jeep Cherokee on your left, and a Jeep Cherokee on your right; and if you really look around, you will notice that you are trapped. We have become sophisticated consumers with surprisingly few tastes. Actually consuming goods has become a spiritual activity and heaven is a wasteland ready for condo development.

According to a Warvick University research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of Britain, the price for happiness is at least $2 million. This amount can, according to the study, give “a significant boost to well being.” 2 In 1999 Monopoly was adding its first new piece in 47 years. A sack of money joined 10 others playing pieces that come with the classic board game: a battleship, cannon, dog, horse and rider, iron, shoe, thimble, top hat, wheelbarrow, and race car. Monopoly held an election asking fans to choose between the sack of money, a biplane, and a piggy bank. About 1.5 million people voted at toys stores, by telephone and on the internet. Monopoly was invented during the great depression in 1935. 3 As of 1999-2000 there were seven million millionaires in the world. Since World War II we have had 9 recessions. There are a lot more millionaires than recessions.

Falling Through the Cracks
Study after study reveals that the economic Gap between individuals in society is being defined more clearly. The official position seems to be a desire to close the Gap, but behind the closed doors of power, its function is recognized, maintained, expanded, praised and enjoyed. The existence of the Gap must be a proof in itself that it is a wanted situation. Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that the first person that fenced off a field and said: “This is mine”, and found people to believe him, was the true founder of the civil society. He went on to say that the world would have been spared crimes, wars and murders if only one person would have taken the stake out of the ground and filled the hole, while shouting to everyone, “Beware of this impostor, you are lost if you forget that the fruits belong to everyone and that the earth is owned by no one! ” 4

Here we are now, like a tribe that lives on a land being ripped apart by a giant earthquake while all of the members can only look at the crevass getting deeper and wider every day. From time to time one can hear: “Watch out! Look out! Step back from the GAP! Become self-sufficient: Sell a kidney!” But most of the time it is too late. The ones on the edge are diving headfirst, sliding into the man-made Grand Canyon. We have taken the custom of saying, “They fell through the cracks.” The only hope, for the ones that are falling, is that the hole will have no bottom. This absence would make the fall eternal, it would be like a gentle slide through the cracks with no one ever being hurt.

The Gap in the Head
Four kids, well dressed, riding BMX bikes, jump from the train station onto the street. The backdrop is a row of taverns and social services agencies blend together in a kind of neo post geo gothic architecture that means nothing to the people who inhabit it. The kids yell to some customers “You can’t even walk on your own legs, bunch of dirt, fucking scum bags! ” The Gap is in their heads as well as in their hearts. It has allowed them to distance themselves from others, and at the end of the day, from themselves. It is easy to see who is holding the shitty end of the memory stickä. The Fabulous Four left the scene, filling the sunset with all the dust they could make with their tires. The Gap is a serious phenomenon that invites exclusion. This is why we have television shows, which reflect the popular psyche, shows such as Survivor, The Mole or The Weakest Link. They are teasing our Roman excitement for the kill. The basic bottom line is that in order for wealth to exist there has to be a lot more sad faces than happy ones. In 1970 the French President Georges Pompidou was asking what was to be done with the high unemployment level that was crippling the French State at the time. One of his advisors told him that is was not a problem but a solution.

Engulfing Gap
An ad on television reminds me of the kids on the BMX bikes. The high end / low-end spot features the famous Formula One driver: Jacques Villeneuves. Jacques (high end) drives a yellow Honda Civic to a streetlight. He is soon surrounded by group of squeegie kids (low-end). They start to work on Jacques’ windows with ardor in role-playing that is reminiscent of the pit workers at a car race. A clock calculates their performance like at Macdonald’s or at Burger King. Jacques looks at them furtively, with distance, like a Russian Tsar floating above the little people. He is protected by the armour of his car; his own little gated community on wheels. He is absorbed by the glory of his class and enveloped by a grand solitude. The kids are done, the time is up. It seems like a good performance. One of the kids opens one of his hand toward Jacques. He his asking for his due, pay for the work he has done. Jacques does not look at him, nor does he pay him, he simply drives away. And then from a distance he looks briefly to his rear view mirror. If you superimpose the gap between people and the gap within one individual does it create a moiré? Will it give you a headache and split your head in two parts like a ripe fruit?

According to an article recently published in The Globe and Mail, the rich are enjoying their wealth more than ever and are not shy about displaying it. The Politically Correct era in which being rich was a burden is finally over! The shareholders are standing firmly on their ground. Example: a recent poll on the Netscape homepage asked people if the pharmaceutical company should offer AIDS drugs at a lower cost to poor countries in Africa stricken with AIDS. The response to the poll by those surveyed was no. (64%)

Such repulsion for humanity is ultimately contributing to the creation of radical organizations such as the Earth Liberation Front who are setting the symbols of suburban success ablaze, “We can no longer allow the rich to parade around in their armoured existence, leaving a wasteland behind in their tire tracks”. 5

The Gap has just gotten a lot bigger, a lot more spectacular. We recently witnessed a US millionaire businessman, Dennis Tito, becoming the first space tourist. 6 Tito paid $20-million US for the trip and fulfilled, we all hope, his wildest childhood fantasy. The chosen few can now float anywhere they want, even around the cracks. From a distance they are free to do a little anthropological study of how falling people wrestle with gravity. One man’s holiday (20 million US) is the collective amount that 100,000 people can expect to earn in one year in Madagascar. 7 It is telling of how wealth is being distributed. Mr. Tito might be a nice person, the fact that he can afford to mingle in the International Space Station (ISS) has no real bearing on his individual qualities. No offence toward Mr. Tito, but with space there is always a symbolic value. We were told that a stroll on the moon was a giant leap for mankind. For the poor, Tito’s vacation in the ISS will stand as a monument to the Gap. In order not to see the poverty, and the misery, and the dirty streets of this world, it might become easier to go into space. It might also be harder for groups such as ELF to blow up space stations.

Notes Towards New Economic Symbols
When I started to write these notes, I wanted to create something positive. This feeling was confirmed and reinforce by another Globe and Mail article, this one by Alan Freeman : Activists’ intimidation a threat to democracy itself. 8 Freeman’s article was written in the wake of the Summit of the America’s. The article talks about an Animal Activist group called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. According to Freeman the group is conducting a campaign aimed to shut down the Huntingdon Life Sciences Group PLC, a laboratory that performs tests on animals. Alan Freeman talks about the Animal Activists’ violence and destructive mindset. He also mentions their chilling web site, but forgets to give an address. What is chilling, is the vigor with which opposition is met.

The timing of the article is not a mistake, Freeman and others are trying hard to depict all activists in the same light. Small groups of resistance or protest are a threat to democracy itself. Democracy must crush them as soon as they appear. Will Democracy need to silence every voice of opposition in order to survive? As Capitalism expand and test the limits of tolerance, the demand on nature will increase. There will be people to take the stakes of the fences out of the ground and to fill the holes saying that the earth belongs to no one person.

Personally I do not want to be a threat to democracy itself. This is why I am contributing a new interpretation of these economic symbols in an unthreatening manner. I hope that they can be used in a meaningful way for the common good of humanity.

• The Bear and the Bull

The Bull
We say of people that they have balls; what we mean by that is that they have the reproductive capacity of a bull. That is why those people usually wear loose fit pants to accommodate their huge sexual attributes. They are ready to mate, anytime, anywhere; they can directly invest in stocks on the go using their laptops and cell phones. In brief, their own briefs are full of potential and that confidence is showing all the way. The fight between the Bull and the Matador in the Spanish Corrida is a beautiful expression of the sexual energy and the confidence attributed attached to these animals. To excite the Bull, the Matador waves a red cape. He also wears this glamorous costume with blinding tinsel and sparkles. The Matador starts to dance and the Bull charges, the Matador teases and dodges. In the dusty arena you can see the Matador arching his back and thrusting his sex in the Bull’s face. The Bull is mad now but the Matador has that thing called confidence. And you know that he is confident when you realized that his genitals are covered only by a thin silk opaque pantyhose! The fight goes on and if the Matador usually wins. He will plunge his sword into the flesh of the wounded Bull. At that moment when the hard metal penetrates the Bull’s insides the crowd chants, “To the Vagina! Vagina! Vagina!”

To understand the dynamic on the floor of the stock market it is useful to remember the Matador’s mindset and to never forget that he wears the tight silk pantyhose.

•The Bear
The Bear was adopted to symbolize slowdown of Economy, mainly because it hibernates. When consumers hibernate they don’t drive to the malls to buy stuff that they think they need. Instead they stay home and they slowly burn the goods they have already accumulated. For fear of waking up, they don’t even put the lights on. They don’t shovel the snow that is slowly falling outside their houses, burying them and transforming them into coffin-igloos. Everything stops, even the television broadcasts, the only light now illuminating the sarcophagus, are slowing down. Show Hosts can hardly pronounce the names of the guests. The whole fabric of the world is inexorably freezing over. Fear installs itself deep inside the hearts and the mind of consumers. Wild thought patterns starts to emerge: Will I lose my job? Will we lose our house? Will spring ever come back? Will I stay on top of a high speed train when ‘hobo times’ come back? And then the whole depression era thing, the dust bowl, the soup lines comes haunting us.

Solitary by nature the Bear roams on a huge territory, but unlike the Cow-Bull, he is a wild animal. His freedom is what really fuels our fear for the beast. From time to time we hear stories of people being killed by bears. Tourists, runners, walkers in the woods become slow moving targets. A Bear runs faster than the fastest man on earth, it can climb trees faster than the most fit of monkeys. When it stands on his back legs, it rises as tall as Paul Bunyan himself. It can smell food that is placed inside hermetically sealed bottles immersed into the water of a river. This is probably why there is no Corrida with Bears. The Matadors would have their pretty costumes chewed up in no time. But luckily, they go to sleep every year, it is good news for us but bad news for the Economy.

Hibernation is a funny thing; it is seen as a form of laziness. That does not fit very well into protestant work ethics. At the same time, studies have shown it is a way to live long. How can it be good for the individual but harmful to the collective?

Tales From then and Tales From Now
Throughout History, people have always placed sacred value or character on the killings of animals. The killing was sometime seen as a way to ensure good harvest or a way to obtain the virtue of a specific organ. Courage is in the heart, intelligence in the brain, sexual prowess in testicles or the penis, etc. At the same time, there is the whole tradition of excluding all but man from the realm of divine grace. One thinks, for example, of Pope Pius IX’s refusal to permit a particular society to be organized in Rome. The group wanted to protest the slaughter of bulls for sport and amusement. “… an animal,” he declared, ” has no soul and thus has no claim on man’s moral sympathies.” 9

• June 15, 1637 11:47

“…The Laps consider the Bear the King of beasts and all men who take part in the slaughter are regarded as unclean, and must live by themselves for three days in a hut or tent made specially for them, where they cut up and cook the bear’s carcass…” 10

• May 22, 2000 3:33 PM

The broker that loses his shirt and his customer’s shirt in a bad investment is considered unclean and must live by himself for a few days before he can trade again.

• September 4, 1783, 9:02 AM

In the baptism (of blood) the devotee, crowned with gold and wreathed with fillets, descended into a pit, the mouth of which was covered with a wooden grating. A bull, adorned with gold leaf, was then driven on the grating and there stabbed to death with a consecrated spear. Its hot reeking blood poured in torrents through the apertures, and was received with devout eagerness by the worshipper on every part of his person and garments, till he emerged from the pit, drenched, dripping, and scarlet from head to foot, to receive the homage, nay the adoration, of his fellows as one who had been born again to eternal life and had washed away his sins in the blood of the bull. 11

• February 9, 2000 10:28 AM

In the morning the broker stepped out of the train into the pit of the stock exchange. He donned his colored vest and the number assigned to him. He threw himself into the pit, surrounded by a multitude of screens, sounds and numbers. A deal, which looked good all along became marvellous. In the speed of light the deal was signed and a profit was turned for investors. Papers were falling from the sky. With devout eagerness, the broker received his cut for the transaction. At the end of the day, he emerged, drenched and dripping, almost fluorescent from having been reborn to the eternal life of good times.

New Symbols
Now that the fear of Foot and Mouth disease, and Mad Cow disease is spreading, it seems that the Bull poses more threat than the Bear, which has flat feet. But the Bear, like many wild animals, is known to have worms, which are very difficult to get rid of. Even cooking the meat at high temperature might not kill all of the worms. It seems obvious that diseases and parasites have rendered those folkloric symbols challenged and irrelevant. In the future, biotechnology might offer our economic symbols a new lease on life, but right now it is imperative to revamp the imagery. The Bull symbol could be replaced by a human symbol, perhaps a ‘Blonde Woman Driving a Black BMW’ or a ‘Blonde Woman Driving a Fast BMW in a particularly dusty and poor section of a city’. The Magpie could be another potent animal symbol for an aggressive market. The bird has this obsession of stealing stuff from everybody else. This can only encourage the market toward producing more goods, the basis of the invisible hand proposition referred to by Adam Smith. 12 By searching to fulfill his own personal needs and desire for pleasure, the Magpie, like the rich, is doing society a favor. That would mean that the Director of the Beaverbrook Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick, was accurate when he said the Nazi loot of artworks during the Second World War was a blessing in disguise. They protected the works from being destroyed. 13 By satisfying their own greed, and by annihilating the previous owners, the Nazi served the greater good of mankind?

The Bear symbol, with all its worms, has definitely run its time. We need something closer to our human reality. A human symbol to replace the Bear might be the ‘Blind Man Falling into a Manhole’ or ‘The Blind Man Falling into a Manhole, accompanied by a Laugh Track.’ The squirrel could certainly be the animal symbol of choice. I realized it was a perfect fit while watching a special about retirement on CBC television. One of the couples interviewed on the documentary was talking about building their nest to achieve retirement at age 55. They were pointing out, with much pride, that they were not relying on the Canadian Pension Plan system to provide for the quality of life they have come to expect. They were a cast above the cream of the crop. They were doing it by themselves, not relying on anybody, a bit like Jacques Villeneuve. They are the financial survivalists of a new era. As I looked at them, I saw the faces of squirrels stuffing their jowls appear on the screen, in a subliminal manner. It struck me how perfect the squirrel is if a new ‘animal’ symbol is used to replace the bear; squirrels semi – hibernate in the winter, and in bad economics times, they can be eaten. Their flesh is said to taste like chicken.


oversized teenagers are falling from the billboards

into the GAP that was set for them


the wiser of the group says that he is

a cultural reference impossible to ignore

an opera of Purcell by himself

his khaki soul is a viscous trap made of 10W40


jeep Cherokees

caught in the mud

are gliding slowly downstream

the occupants are calming their terror

by thinking of Fitzcaraldo’s boat

and the greatness of the vessel reassured them


a man in his Rodeo

deeply seated in his sense of adventure

levitates in a terrible silence

his one-seater is a mausoleum of crystal

his destiny crumbles like chalk on a sidewalk


in a parking lot

another man disarms his yukon

in the chrome of his bumper

the distorted reflections of his face

are dancing by themselves


his hands are sweaty

he holds a molotov cocktail

the streets are flooded with lights


by himself he has become a genre of vietnam

his truth belongs between the building logo

his heart floats in a liquid that resembles napalm


he likes the lines that are pure and simple

of architectures that are clear and calm

the blue of the sky has become his cerulean azure

and the whiteness of the ground a fragile marble

on which the foundation of his ivory tower rests


he is at the cutting edge of the technology

while being heavy in his own heart

he lives a kind of numeric schizophrenia

in a tight and mediocre choreography

his publicity is a reality of anorexia


Falling More

standing at a distance

in the model garden of sterilized culture

under the glass pyramids of the great capitals

gardeners dressed in pale green outfits

work hard to preserve everything that has moved


the odor of vinegar is proof

of the immortality of all movement

of the impossibility of any advance

the cultural security that they have concocted

is a testament without leg

a plastic tree that collects the dust


in the humid greenhouse

a document of complex research is distributed but the data has no meaning

to divert the attention a one legged dancer is brought forward

a woman with three heads toast her hats up in the air

while underlying the historic moment of the ceremony

a man-bloodsucker puffs himself up and takes off


a live camera broadcast on a giant screen

the picture of a crowd in distress


Falling Ever More

the food banks are now managed by a few cannibals

they seem to invite with success the hungry ones

to come and rest in their ossuary in blossom


their intelligence is a warehouse lighted with cool fluorescents

one can hear Elvis Presley singing full blast

I did it my way


on permanent display in the coloured stands of the vampires

under the polymer palm trees

there is a scale model of a grand project

the oasis is said to resemble a large macramé with the drawing of an owl in the middle


and while the storm is raging

the gardeners extraordinaire

have written in yellow tulips

onto the green lawns of the dominant tribes

y’a de la joie 14


in the frequent mud slides

that are happening in the unprotected zones

hundreds of lost heads

are floating away

their mouths open

singing together in chorus

il était un petit navire 15


1. Jacques Adda, La mondialisation de l’économie, La découverte 1998

2. Calgary Herald, March 2001, page A1

3. The Globe and Mail March 17, 1999 P. A21

4. Du Contrat Social, Discours sur les origines de l’inégalité, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Édition 10/18 (1963) p. 292

5. The Globe and Mail, Fighting suburban sprawl with fire, Doug Saunders, April 24, 2001

6. The Globe and Mail, Astronauts approve of space tourist, Melanie Seal April, 30 2001

7. Website : L’Agence de la Francophonie :

8. The Globe and Mail, Activists’ intimidation a threat to democracy itself, Alan Freeman April 25, 2001

9. Nature’s Economy, Donald Worster Cambridge University Press 1994 p.27

10 .The Golden Bough Hunters tabooed The Macmillan Company 1943 p 222

11. The Golden Bough The myth and ritual of Attis tabooed The Macmillan Company 1943 P.351

12. Métaphore due à Adam Smith et qui est depuis devenue courante chez les économistes; toutefois, pour ceux-ci, la main invisible est devenue une autre façon de désigner le ” mécanisme des prix ” (encore une métaphore…), alors que ce n’est pas à cela que Smith pense losqu’il utilise sa métaphore. Les quelques (rares) fois où Smith fait allusion à la main invisible, c’est pour désigner un résultat positif (bon pour la communauté) qui peut découler des actions et des comportements des individus, sans que ceux-ci aient cherché délibérément un tel résultat. Ainsi, dans le Traité des sentiments moraux, Smith écrit : ” Une main invisible semble forcer [les riches] à concourir à la même distribution des choses nécessaires à la vie qui aurait eut lieu été donnée en égale portion à chacun de ses habitants ; ainsi, sans en avoir l’intention, sans même le savoir, le riche sert l’intérêt social et la multiplication de l’espèce humaine. (p. 184 de l’édition de Glasgow des œuvres d’Adam Smith). Dictionnaire d’analyse économique, La découverte 1997 Bernard Guerrien p. 302

13. Calgary Herald, Gallery director apologizes, January 5, 2001

14. Y’a de la joie is a song of happiness written by Charles Trenet during World War Two.

15. Il était un petit navire is a folkoric French Song.

* excerpt from : Le couteau suisse ©2001 Daniel Dugas presented in a poetry-performance at the Symposium d’art actuel Moncton, NB 1999


©Daniel Dugas, Calgary May 2001


Edited by Valerie Leblanc


Daniel Dugas was born on October 29, 1959, exactly 30 years after the Stock Market crash of October, 1929. Between the time this exhibition was first presented, and now, DD saw the shadow of bankruptcy looming over his shoulder. But the shadow left with a shifting wind.



Dugas Takes message to the streets

by Sharon Navarro
Room # 108
May 24 – June 6, 2001


May 6, 2000

Le tapis rouge – The Red Carpet (2000)

• Artcite, Windsor, ON, May 25 June 30, 2001
• Symposium d’Art Actuel, Moncton, NB, 1999

May 6, 2000

A Needle in a Hay Stack (2000)

• Installation : Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton, NB, 2000
• Performances : Sackville, NB, Scoudouc, NB, Charlottown, PEI, 2000


A Needle in a Hay Stack is based on the following two premises:

1. In French to say to have hay in the boots means to have a lot of money. The word boots (bottes) also refers to a stack as in haystack

2. To look for a needle in a haystack is to look for something impossible to find.

My intention is to use the search for the needle to represent a search for money, as a search for few minutes of reprieve in the endless task of making a living. Of course, that is the way the game is designed, some people have to work much longer hours just get by. I want to question the degree of ease or difficulty to find that something. (The needle and the hay serve as references for money or wealth). I also want to question the value of that something, its degree of reality and its degree of truth. I have been working on individual and collaborative projects based on the Economy for the last 10 years. What attracted me to that theme was how much it was grounded in the reality, of everyday life, in its fantasies and in its tragedies. The Economy is the thing that interconnects us all. Economy is a mirror of the world and like birds, many of us are fooled by the reflection. Many of us are asking who is the most beautiful. In this case the needle is found inside the stack etched on a mirror, allowing people to see themselves in the Economy. Money is never a problem but always a solution and so on.

As a performance artist I see a lot of similarity between the theme of Economy and my personal performance art practice. Both are embedded in the real world and deal with pragmatism and imagination. It is my desire to be involved in projects that share this idea of being in the world. In the Needle in the Hay Stack, I give myself the stage name: Dannylonglegs, which is a blend of the Daddy Long Leg spider; my first name; and the spider/web type of project that this is. I decided to dress as a new mutant of our age: half businessman, half scarecrow. The front of my three-piece suit is the businessman and the back being is the scarecrow. My task is to ask people if they have seen the Needle. An encounter would go like this:

Dannylonglegs: Hello, my name is dannylonglegs.
Passerby: Hello dannylonglegs.
Dannylonglegs:I am looking for a needle.
Passerby: A needle?
Dannylonglegs: Yes, a needle in a hay stack.
Passerby: Oh, I understand.
Dannylonglegs: It has one eye, one leg and it is hiding. If you see it, I could use your help.

I went to the Scarecrow Festival in Harrisville, NB; to the Confederation Center in Charlottetown, PEI; to hayfields in Scoudouc and in downtown Moncton, NB. The costume gave me the freedom to be different and to ask questions. It allowed me to approach people and to interact with them without being mistaken for an aggressor. After all everybody knows the legendary friendliness of the half business man, half scarecrow character. At the limit of entertainment, this type of performance resembles the TRUNK© experience: Ask questions, Get answer and Enjoy the ride. I have seen the good sense of humor and if the needle is sometime hard to find, it is surely the ability to laugh and to hope that it has to be found one day, which makes most of us endure a little bit more a little bit longer.

PS. I suffer from hay fever. Actually I suffer from conceptual hay fewer, hay do not seems to be involve in my attacks, what I fear is rag weed. But nobody says rag weed fever. My allergies are considered severe and I subscribe to Reactine, Claratine, Allegra D and Etc to stop the river of mucus running from my head. It starts in mid-august and lasts until the first big frost. To play in hayfields dress with costume made of hay is, if not a victory over my allergies, some kind of personal victory.

Jun 1, 1999

UFO (1999)

Jun 1, 1999

Le Tapis Rouge (1999)

• Symposium d’art actuel, Moncton, NB

Il s’agit d’une performance à propos du protocole et des conventions. Le roi (Dugas porte sur sa tête une énorme couronne en fer galvanisé qu’il attache sur sa tête) se promène entre ses deux châteaux : à l’ouest le Château à Pape et à l’est le Château Moncton. L’un est un restaurant l’autre un hôtel situé à 500 mètres. Le performeur porte des bottes aux semelles velcro et un page (Clément Dugas) déroule à un tapis rouge à ses pieds. La promenade sur le sentier est maladroite et ridicule, le tapis colle à ses chaussures.

Cette action sur le dérisoire sera répétée pendant le Symposium. Détournement de sens, mise en abîme d’un univers chevaleresque qui a perdu des plumes et qui pourtant maintient ses symboles désuets.

Between the restaurant Château à Pape and the new hotel Château Moncton, the King strolls along, in a ridiculous gait and attire. The performance includes a page (Clément Dugas) unrolling a red carpet, and acts as a comment on protocol and conventions, on a chivalrous past which has  lost some of its lustre but whose symbols endure

Lieu : sur le sentier riverain entre le restaurant Château à Pape et l’Hôtel Château Moncton
Dates : les 11, 18 et 21 août 1999
Heure : 17 h


La musique du coeur
David Lonergan au Symposium d’art actuel
L’Acadie Nouvelle, 16 août 1999

La même journée, Daniel Dugas présentait sa performance Le tapis rouge aux touristes attendant la montée du mascaret. Le Roi Dugas a arpenté douloureusement son chemin de gloire, sur deux courts rouleaux de tapis rouge que déroulait tour à tour le page et sans doute dauphin, Clément Dugas, devant Sa Majesté. Mais à l’image de la Petitcodiac, le Rayaume est manifestement en ruines; l’habit royal était plus que sobre, la couronne un vulgaire chapeau que seul sauvait sa grande dimension, et les deux trop courts morceaux de tapis rouge collaient aux chaussures du Roi, l’empêchant de cheminer avec toute la dignité. De son rang : bien au contraire, Sa Majesté s’empêtrait, tombait, s’emberlificotait, incapable de maintenir dans sa démarche son glorieux passé. Performance d’une simplicité percutante, mais qui’il faut savoir décoder.




May 6, 1999

Foundwealth (1999)

Struts Gallery, Sackville, NB March 12 – April 3, 1999
Artcite, Windsor, ON May 18 – June 16 2001

FOUNDWEALTH is about seeing the light.  To see it indicates both, the end of a journey, and the beginning of a certain level of hope.  The moment where the light is seen is a moment where space and time are crunched together into a new thing.  It is the split second where choices are made.  I want the installation to be about that moment, where everything could happen.  This moment of decision or indecision looks a lot like our point in time; the crossing of the two millenniums.  It seems as if we are moving into a corridor of weightlessness.  It seems that the EXIT and the ENTRY, the GOOD BYE and WELCOME signs do not have any particular places.  Like astronauts in a tube, we have to look, while lost in the dark, at the light that may come through the cracks, to guide and to inspire us to continue forward, to believe that there is some worth in everything and maybe wealth is not what we thought at first.
Is wealth something that one can find, like a fat wallet on the sidewalk?  How can wealth be lost?  How can it be found and how can it be maintained?  Maybe it happens simply, by fortune, while strolling down by the lake, by the river, or going home late at night.  Maybe it happens by ingenuity.  Perhaps it is a bit of both, luck and skills, patience and audacity.
FOUNDWEALTH is constructed around a few historical moments.  In 1776, the Scottish economist, Adam Smith wrote in his book An inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations about the invisible hand that comes and regulates the economy.  In 1848, John August Sutter, the man who was in the process, through his sawmills, of becoming one of the wealthiest man on the Pacific coast, was ruin by the discovery of gold on his own property.  In 1891, the Pope Leo the 13th wrote an encyclical letter on the condition of the working classes.  References to the work of Alchemists; the all-purpose curative liquid A.K.A. – Snake Oil; and the Greased Pole where goods where hung during village fairs inform this installation.
FOUNDWEALTH is a poetic reflection and a kind of frontal collision-relationship of the rich and the poor.  It is a bridge made of burning rags and thrown over the abyss where the river called Economy runs furiously.  I want the carpet-cleaning trainee to talk to the capital risk investor.  I want to know if the parents are telling the story of how the good RSSP bear grew so big in their own forest preserve.
FOUNDWEALTH is made up of seven works.  Those works bear reference to the number 7, which has always held a powerful and mystical place in History.  We only have to think of the Seven Seas; the navigable waters of the world; forming that road to treasure and adventure; the Seven Marvels of the World which included the lighthouse in Alexandria; the Seventh Heaven where God and the most exalted angels dwell; the Seven Deadly Sins (among them, Envy); and the Seven Eleven, a place where you can buy a 6-49 ticket.
Daniel Dugas, Shemogue NB February 1999


Daniel Dugas peers into a glass sculpture that is part of his recent art installation, FOUNDWEALTH

Art by Installation

Daniel Dugas’ last exhibit forced viewers to questions what it means to be wealthy
By Alison Hughes
in Sackville

LUMINOUS lighting emanates from seven surfaces in the dim room. It radiates through yellow plastic beads, shines on carved glass and illuminates messages set into plain white walls.

The exhibit’s overall effect is deceptively simple, but behind the constructions making up Daniel Dugas’ latest art installation is a complex thought process. Drawing on influences from medieval alchemy to modem economics, FOUNDWEALTH uses audiotapes, found art objects and sculpture to examine conflicting ideas about what it means to be wealthy.

A self-described “pluri­ disciplinary artist,” Dugas has been pushing the artistic envelope since completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Université de Moncton, in 1986. His resume includes 12 solo exhibitions, 24 two-person and group shows, as well as dozens of audio, video, radio and performance credits.
Dugas bas received numerous Canada Council and provincial Creation grants for his projects, along with funding from several art institutes. These have led to travel opportunities throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including a role as a Canadian representative at the 1997 Jeux de La Francophonie, in Madagascar.
While working for a year at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Dugas met and began collaborating with his partner Valerie LeBlanc. Together, they headed off to the Art Institute of Chicago.

With LeBlanc originally from Halifax and Dugas raised primarily in Moncton, the two eventually moved to New Brunswick. Here, they gained notoriety in 1996 by travelling to small towns with an exhibit known as the Trunk Gallery. People paid a dollar to look inside the hatchback of a Citation to see the couple’s custom-designed audiovisual installation. After Peter Gzowski interviewed them about this unique way of taking art to the people, they received calls from all across the country.

“A lot of people would go to a Legion, but never to a gallery,” Dugas says. “There’s also a need for more populist art. I think it’s important for an artist to have reactions from many people in order to grow.”

In FOUNDWEALTH, Dugas questions whether wealth is anything more than a marketing illusion in today’s society. The show’s first installation is a wall-mounted piece of beveled glass with the exhibit title etched elegantly into the surface. In front of this hangs a bare bulb with a symbolic and functional string attached.

As a motor on the floor turns noisily around, it moves the string and causes a shadow title on the wall to shrink and grow with rhythmic regularity. This hypnotic motion draws in the viewer, suggesting wealth’s seductive power. Simultaneously, it reveals the crude machinery working behind the scenes to create expensive polished products.

Dugas cleverly combines public perceptions with personal research in offering his insights into the origins of wealth. Central to this installation, both physically and conceptually, is a circular light table. A pole rising from the centre represents the medieval greased pole where foodstuffs used to be hung during celebrations, for those hungry, agile and determined enough to reach them.

On the table itself, seven carefully chosen found objects are displayed like jewels. Each of the items, from a broken doll to a pinecone, has a word written on the surface, forming the sentence “I always thought there were seven seas.”

“The roots of wealth were originally the seven seas,” Dugas explains. “But when I got out a globe, I counted 33 seas. It’s like the growth of wealth parallels the number of seas. That’s the terrible beauty of the free market, that it always finds a way to grow,” he says. “It’s both creativity and cancer, and the role of society is to decide the boundaries.”

A voluminous and eclectic reader, Dugas explored economic limits in the exhibit through three seemingly unrelated men: 18th-century Scottish founder of capitalism Adam Smith, late-19th-century Pope Leo the 13th and mid-19th-century California lumber baron John Sutter.

A white plaster hand mounted in an opening in the gallery wall symbolizes the “invisible hand” Smith described as regulating the free-market economy.

Sutter serves as a warning that even hard work and capability aren’t enough to ensure wealth if the timing is wrong. The millionaire sawmill owner was ruined by the discovery of gold on his property and the subsequent gold rush fever. In the exhibit, a carefully crafted walnut light table holds a pile of yellow plastic beads that look like gold, but have no inherent value.

Having lived the hand-to-mouth existence of an artist for many years, Dugas has given considerable thought to the role of money in society. Like a magpie, he picked up shiny fragments about wealth from novels, financial pages and personal observations during the year it took to assemble the show.

While this installation hasn’t been purchased by a collecting institution, as others have been in the past, Dugas considers it a success. As he begins to dismantle these pieces, though, his mind is on the multitude of other projects awaiting attention. He has just published his fourth poetry chapbook and together with Ms. LeBlanc is preparing more manuscripts for a launch later this spring. Then, there is another word-based project involving parking lots and an audio production already under way. Dugas is also a musician.

“Projects are like kids. The one that squeaks the most gets finished,” he laughs. “Valerie is a very productive artist too. Often we say ‘gee, wouldn’t it be nice to just look out the window and be bored?’ ”

As well as pursuing their own art projects, the couple runs a high-end glass-carving business, producing presentation items and architectural details. Both enjoy the freedom of working together at home in Shemogue, not far from Shediac. Dugas still feels the urgency to communicate ideas through painting, sculpture and other media. Whether the projects are about nature and civilization, media manipulation, or found wealth, he plans to continue making art that stimulates thought about challenging subjects.

“With the crossing of the two millenniums, we’re a bit like in a corridor of weightlessness; the entry and the exit signs, the welcome and the goodbye signs, we don’t seem to have a specific place,” he muses. “I think it’s very important to have a feeling of hope and of the importance of what you’re doing- that it’s of value. ”

Telegraph Journal
April 17, 1999

Jan 13, 1999

Quel est le rôle de l’avant-garde en arts visuels en Acadie? (1999)

Quel est le rôle de l’avant-garde en arts visuels en Acadie?

Lorsqu’on m’a demandé d’écrire sur le rôle de l’avant-garde en Acadie, ma première réaction n’a pas été des plus enthousiastes. Le terme avant-garde est un mot fourre-tout où se retrouve à peu près n’importe quoi. Du salon de coiffure avant-garde à l’avant-garde russe, il y en a pour tous les goûts.

Alors j’ai dû me poser la question de savoir, non pas quel est le rôle de l’avant-garde en Acadie, mais bien si l’avant-garde existait encore et si elle pouvait exister ici. Laissez-moi vous dire ce que j’ai trouvé: “Ils sont le plus souvent pendus, roués de coups, mis aux piloris, ou condamnés à divers supplices.”

C’est ainsi que Voltaire, dans son dictionnaire philosophique, parlait des prophètes. On pourrait en dire presque autant des artistes de l’avant-garde, car les deux font un peu le même métier. Tous les deux sont des tranches-montagnes sans égal.

Ils courent en ligne droite, devancent le Temps, et après avoir gagné quelques mètres d’avance, ils se retournent rapidement et font, à ce Temps inexorable, un pied de nez magistral. Mais voilà, les artistes de l’avant-garde sont le plus souvent ignorés et laissés à eux-mêmes. L’abandon est leur supplice. On a bien dit de Jeff Koon qu’il était the last bit of methane in the intestine of the dead cow of post-modernism [1] , mais en général le désintéressement est presque de rigueur.

L’avant-garde à bout de souffle

Il est impossible de parler de l’avant-garde sans parler du courant dominant – du mainstream – (est-ce à dire que le public est dominé?). Ce courant, qui nous traverse de toutes parts, aime bien l’homogénéité et la rareté d’alternatives. L’avant-garde, elle, se plaît à trouver de nouveaux sentiers, elle explore et quelquefois elle s’égare, et avec elle son public. Elle est souvent difficile à saisir parce qu’elle exige un regard critique. La plupart d’entre nous allons au cinéma ou à la galerie d’art pour nous divertir. L’avant-garde interroge. Pendant que Céline Dion cash in, Yvonne Rainer pose des questions. C’est comme ça…

L’artiste d’avant-garde a été une sorte de prophète des temps modernes. Il fut l’audace même, le précurseur, l’annonciateur qui prépare la venue. Il a souvent été téméraire, arrogant, impertinent, insolent et sans gêne. L’avant-garde a été, au fil de notre siècle, Russe, dada, surréaliste, Léttriste, SI, IMIB, Cobra, Fluxus, néo géo, etc.

Le prophète et l’artiste d’avant-garde, parce qu’il sont en avance sur leur temps, ne peuvent que prétendre jouer le rôle de précurseurs. Ce qu’ils annoncent n’est pas encore là pour leur donner raison. Le Temps est l’outil avec lequel ils fabriquent leur oeuvre et le Temps est devenu un outil de paradoxe. Si le mouvement artistique d’avant-garde s’inscrit dans le XXe siècle, il est au seuil du second millénaire, à bout de souffle et semble manquer de cette pertinence qui fut pendant si longtemps son fer de lance.

Cette perte est attribuable à un fait fondamental : Le Temps s’est dérobé sous ses pieds. L’avant-garde se bute à une élasticité temporelle qui caractérise notre époque. Car comment prédire, comment être le précurseur de n’importe quoi lorsque l’ère dans laquelle nous vivons est un melting pot de toutes les époques?

Dans les revivals des années 50, 60, 70 et bientôt 80, qu’est-ce que le futur sinon des réalités de plus en plus virtuelles, de plus en plus floues et sans attache. La vitesse à laquelle la publicité, par exemple, récupère tout ce qui est nouveau, tout ce qui est audacieux, rend l’audace moins imprudente qu’elle le semblait dans les décennies précédentes.

C’est une époque où les décorateurs de bureaux sont devenus des conservateurs d’art. Avec la chute du mur de Berlin et de l’Union Soviétique, l’avant-garde n’a cessé de glisser sur une peau de banane historique.

Une paralysie de l’audace

Nous vivons maintenant dans une ère où la réussite est tellement importante, ou le besoin d’approbation est tellement fort, qu’il s’est créé une espèce de paralysie de l’audace. Il existe des artistes en début de carrières qui parlent de la peur de commettre des erreurs. C’est aberrant. L’avant-garde est morte il n’existe que de l’art actuel, de l’art d’aujourd’hui.

C’est dans l’art contemporain que les gestes de création extraordinaires existent, ici comme ailleurs, mais comme tout, ils sont de plus en plus guidés par cet esprit d’entreprise, de stratégie et de plan d’affaires. L’art d’avant-garde n’existe plus parce que le Temps est devenu mou et ne peut plus être devancé. Il n’existe que deux choses : l’art contemporain et le folklore. Et ce qui n’est pas actuel est nécessairement nostalgique.

En Acadie les deux coexistent de façon pacifique sans faire de remous, paisiblement. L’un regarde aujourd’hui et l’autre se rappelle d’avoir vu.

L’eau qui stagne est la première à geler

La vraie question donc, est de savoir quel est le rôle de l’art contemporain en Acadie ou si la possibilité de prendre des risques existe encore pour les artistes acadiens. Malgré des limitations évidentes à plusieurs niveaux – le NB et l’I-P-E sont les seules provinces au Canada à ne pas avoir de centre de production vidéo géré par des artistes, quoique la galerie Struts de Sackville vient de créer récemment la structure de leur nouveau Media Centre mais il reste encore beaucoup à faire avant que les artistes puissent y créer – il y a ici des communautés artistiques talentueuses et il existe quelques institutions qui devraient être capables d’infuser aux artistes ce désir de repousser un peu plus loin la frontière du connu et de l’inconnu.

L’art acadien ne fonctionne pas en vase clos, il ne peut que s’insérer dans un discours qui s’articule à l’échelle mondiale. Et pour être effectif, l’art acadien doit défier les conventions, tabasser les traditions et questionner les gestes et les rêves de la société et de l’individu.

[1] Attribué à l’ écrivain et historien d’art d’origine australienne Robert Hughes.



L’auteur est artiste pluridisciplinaire et enseignant à l’Université de Moncton.
Publié: publié dans le Ven’d’est, numéro 82, janvier 1999, pp 29 – 31

May 11, 1998

La limite élastique (1998)

Avec les mots et les chansons d’une époque hédoniste, Daniel Dugas peint le portrait d’une société où l’artificiel est tellement généralisé qu’il fait partie intégrale du paysage. Dans La Limite élastique, un style ironique et humoristique contraste avec le destin tragique de l’humain tel que Dugas le peint. À la fois séduisante et trouble, la poésie de Daniel Dugas est de la plus grande actualité.


Lis-moi l’avenir

lis-moi l’avenir dans les grains d’avoines
dans les silos
dans l’Ouest

lis-moi l’avenir dans les feuilles de thé
dans le mac de café

lis-moi l’avenir
dans les nuances des couleurs
qui dansent
dans les pots des vidanges d’huile

lis-moi la peinture des maisons
qui s’écaillent
et qui sèchent au soleil

lis-moi dans les cendres des feux de forêt
dans les bouts de bois
que les charpentiers laissent
derrière eux
quand ils construisent des maisons

lis-moi l’avenir
dans le bruit des lignes électriques
qui emmène le courant là où on en demande

lis-moi l’avenir dans les sauts des animaux
qui meurent sur les routes
lis-moi l’avenir dans la nuit
qui est noire comme du charbon

lis dans la poussière
dans les livres de recettes
et dans les secrets

lis l’avenir dans les embouteillages du matin
et ceux du soir
dans les changements technologiques
que la science nous donne
dans les puits asséchés
dans les marées
dans les bars dans l’odeur du Liquid Paper

lis-moi l’avenir
quand l’inspecteur de police
parle aux médias d’une situation tendue
quelque part au pays

lis entre les lignes du slogan de Microsoft
dans les mosaïques de Pompeï
dans la musique militaire de Souza

lis-moi l’avenir et dis-moi lequel choisir
l’avaleur de sabre
l’avaleur de sable
ou l’avaleur de farine blanche

lis-moi l’avenir dans l’histoire du travail
dans l’importance de la poignée de main
dans la liberté
dans la fortune
et dans les conditions que lui impose le caractère

lis tout l’avenir possible dans les têtes de bronze des statues
lis dans les tempêtes dans les verres d’eau
écoute et dis-moi
ce que dit celui qui se noie dans un crachat

lis dans la canne de vers
qu’il ne faut pas ne pas l’ouvrir

lis-moi l’avenir du libre-marchée

Haradius Coclès dit le Borgne défendit seul l’entrée du pont Sublicius à Rome.  Il permit aux siens de couper le pont derrière lui, puis s’échappa à la nage. Il perdit là un oeil, d’où son surnom.

lis-moi l’avenir
de la stupeur à la somnolence
de la confusion au coma profond

lis l’avenir dans la précession des équinoxes
lis l’avenir
quand l’aviron touche l’eau
et que l’eau embrasse la rame et que du canoë le lac
semble être un miroir

lis-moi dans l’avenir
qu’il est possible
que quelqu’un
dans le centre-ville de São Paulo
entende une épingle tomber

lis que tout ne doit pas être modelé
sur les publicités télévisées
ou le mauvais discours politique
lis-moi l’avenir
qu’il est possible d’apprendre
à coudre
d’apprendre à nager
d’apprendre à dessiner
d’apprendre à danser
d’apprendre à vivre

lis dans l’avenir
de ce qui dit être
résolument ouvert sur le monde
mais qui est en réalité
résolument ouvert à ce que les choses
restent comme elles sont
lis tout haut
que le saint qui a donné tous ses vêtements
ne comprends rien au phénomène “Walmart”

je dis que la révolution ne veut plus rien dire
et que c’est absurde
d’aimer la musique arabe
tout en détestant l’orthodoxie musulmane

Emmanuel Bianco s’est enfoncé un pieux dans l’abdomen, il s’est coupé la gorge et s’est déchiqueté les chairs avec un rasoir.  Inondé de sang il s’est brûlé la langue avec un couteau chauffé à blanc et dans le silence de sa chambre il s’est écroulé dans un lac de sang qu’il nomma avant de mourir le lac rouge.

Emmanuel Bianco était un moraliste.

lis-moi l’avenir dans la sueur des boxeurs
dans le degré de réalisme qu’il faudra atteindre
avant de pleurer

lis dans la mission
lis dans l’intermission des marchands
qui sont devenus des idoles et des stars
qu’il faut développer le monde

lis-moi dans les infrastructures touristiques
dans les trous que les vers font dans les pommes
dans l’ombre de la tranquillité
des trous que les vers ont faits dans les pommes

lis-moi l’avenir dans l’intonation des encanteurs
dans les yeux de ceux qui pour une récompense
sont prêts à dénoncer même les plus petits criminels

Un homme dont le nom n’est dans aucun dictionnaire
s’avance dans une pièce et regarde l’audience
Il est décontracté

Il est cool
On a l’impression qu’il s’avance pour longtemps
Il met ses mains dans ses poches
et fait tourner la monnaie encore et encore

et chaque fois le bruit est merveilleux
et cet homme dans le bruit de l’argent qui tourne

tourne aussi Il s’arrête
Il regarde
Le monde est un origami qu’il déplie
Il dit :

lis dans l’avenir qui fait le pain
et qui invente la liberté

lis qu’il faut manger

lis dans l’avenir et apporte la définition d’être un GO-GETTER
quand on est devant la mer
et que le ciel et l’eau se mélangent à tel point
qu’il n’est plus possible de discerner aucun horizon

lis dans la pointe du cap
dans la nuit
quand le vertige s’empare de tout
et qu’il faut faire quelque chose
qu’il faut tenter de croire à autre chose qu’au désordre

lis dans l’avenir par les toutes petites fenêtres du grand building
dans la ville qui est une fourmilière
dans le ballet des automobilistes
qui tournent en rond dans le stationnement
dans les arbres verts
dans les rivières

lis par les petites fenêtres
qui ne s’ouvrent
que par leur transparence

lis qu’il est écrit qu’il faut s’acquitter de la liberté du monde

lis moi l’avenir d’être visible

lis moi l’avenir dans la sottise
et aussi dans la raison
qui pousse les banquiers à agir comme ils le font
dans l’avarice et dans les humeurs
dans les amis de Villon
qui sont partis du pas de sa porte
emportés par le vent

lis l’avenir dans la fragilité du monde
dans la lumière qui entoure chaque avion dans le ciel
entre deux villes
chaque enfant
entre deux gifles

lis-moi l’avenir dans le fruit du travail
qui est souvent pourri

lis-moi l’avenir dans le bruit des talons
dans les corridors des institutions
où le granite est un autel
où le savon industriel est le sang des sacrifices
où chaque prisonnier
est le gardien de sa propre peine

dans le silence de l’institution
je me tiens debout
je marche au-dessus du granite
et je souhaite la nature
j’ouvre une porte
et par la fenêtre
je vois une autre institution
où rêve sûrement
un autre ouvrier
un autre concierge
Il me voit
et il me parle
je lis avec difficulté mais je lis sur ses lèvres
Il dit :

“Le bout du monde est une pièce éclairée par une simple ampoule, et quand les rêves s’éteignent c’est d’avoir atteint la limite du monde.”

il s’arrête

nous nous regardons longtemps

je me souviens d’avoir souhaité qu’il sache nager



Read me the Future

read me the future in the grains of oats
in the silos
in the West

read me the future in the tea leaves
in the coffee grinds

read me the future
in the nuances of colour
which dance
in the buckets of used oil

read me the future in the house paint
which blisters and dries in the sun

read me the future in the ashes of forest fires
in the scraps of wood
which carpenters leave behind them
when they build houses

read me the future
in the noise of electric lines
which carry the current to the places where it is needed

read me the future in the leaps of animals
who die on the road

read me the future in the night
that is black as coal

read in the dust
in recipe books
and in the secrets

read me the future in the morning traffic jams
and those at night
in the technological changes
that science gives us
in the dry wells
in the marshes in the bars
in the smell of Liquid Paper

read me the future
when the police inspector
talks to the media in a tight situation
somewhere in the country

read between the lines of the Microsoft slogan
in the mosaics of Pompei
in the music of Souza

read me the future and tell me which to choose
the sword-swallower
or the sand swallower
or the swallower of white flour

read me the future in the history of work
in the importance of the fist
in freedom
in fortune
and in the conditions which form character

read me all of the futures possible in the heads of bronze statues
read in the tempests in the glasses of water
listen and tell me
what is being said by the one who is drowning in spit

read me in the can of worms
that you cannot but open
read me the future of the free market and the ‘UNDERPASS OF THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY’

The one-eyed Haradius Coclès a.k.a. Le Borgne, is said to have single-handedly defended the entrance of the Sublicius Bridge into Rome. This allowed his people to cut the bridge behind him, he then escaped by swimming. He lost an eye and gained his nickname.

read me the future
between stupor and drowsiness
between confusion and deep coma

read the future in the movement of the equinox
read the future
when the oar touches the water
so that the water embraces the oar
and from the canoe the lake
seems like a mirror

read me in the future
that it is possible
that someone
in downtown Sao-Paolo
can hear a pin drop

tell me that everything cannot be modeled from televised broadcasts
or poor political discourse

read me the future
that it is possible to learn
to sew
to swim
to draw
to dance
to live

read in the future
that which is said to be
absolutely open to the world
but is in reality
totally open
to that things remain as they are

read aloud
that the saint who has given away all of his clothes
understands nothing of the phenomenon ‘Walmart’

I say that the revolution does not mean anything
and that it is absurd
to love Arab music
while detesting Muslim orthodoxy

Emmanuel Bianco drove a stake into his abdomen, he cut his throat and tore his flesh ragged with a razor. Covered in blood, he burned his tongue with a white-hot knife and in the silence of his room, he fell into a lake of blood which he named Red Lake before dying. Emmanuel Bianco was a moralist.

read me the future in the sweat of boxers
in the degree of realism which must be attained
before crying

read in the mission
read in the intermission of merchants
who have become the idols and the stars
that the world must be developed

read in the touristic infrastructures
in the holes that worms make in apples
in the shadows of the tranquility
of the holes that the worms have made in the apples

read me the future in the intonation of auctioneers
in the eyes of those who
for a reward
are ready to denounce even petty criminals

A man whose name is not in any dictionary
steps forward on a stage and looks at his audience
he is laid-back
he is cool
we have the impression that he has been moving forward for a long time
he puts his hands in his pockets
and turns the loose change
over and over
and each time the noise is wonderful
and in the noise of the money turning
this man also turns
he stops
he looks
the world is an origami that he unfolds
he says: ‘I like the free-market economy, and you?’

read in the future
who makes the bread
and who invents freedom

read that one has to eat

read in the future and bring the definition of being a GO-GETTER
when one is in front of the sea
and the sky and the water become so blended
that it is no longer possible to discern the horizon

read in the tip of the cape
in the night
when the vertigo takes over
and it is necessary to do something
that you have to believe
that there are things other than disorder

read in the future by all of the little windows in a big building
in the city that is an anthill in the ballet of automobiles
which make circles in the parking lot
in the green trees
in the rivers

read by the little windows
which do not open
except by their transparence
read that it is written
that you have to discharge yourself from the liberty of the world
read me the future of being visible

read me the future in the silliness
and in the reason
that pushes the bankers to act as they do
in the greed and in the moods
in the friends of Villon
who have gone by the threshold of his door
carried by the wind

read in the fragility of the world
in the light which wraps each airplane in the sky
between two cities
each child
between each slap in the face

read me the future in the fruit of work
which is often rotten

read me the future in the noise of the high heels
in the corridors of institutions
where the granite is an altar
where the industrial soap is the blood of sacrifices
where each prisoner is the guardian of his own sentence

in the silence of the institution
I stand up
I walk above the granite
and I wish nature
I open a door
and by a window
I see another institution
where maybe
another worker
another janitor
also dreams
he sees me
and he talks to me
I read with difficulty but I read on his lips he says:
‘The end of the world is a room lit by a single light bulb, and when the dreams go out it is to have reached the limit of the world.’

We look at each other for a long time
I remember to have wished that he knew how to swim

Translation :   Valerie LeBlanc
From : La limite élastique, 84 pp.
Published in 1998 by Les Éditions Perce-Neige22-140, Botsford
Moncton, NBE1C 4X4

Feb 6, 1997

Quand l’Ouest était un océan… et Calgary une île (1994)

Quand l’Ouest était un océan… et Calgary une île.

Après un séjour de deux ans aux États-Unis l’auteur effectue un retour au Canada et le paysage politique qu’il retrouve est peuplé par les Ralph Klein et les Preston Manning. L’auteur se demande si les changements et l’assainissement des finances publiques finiront par assainir la société en général. « Quand l’Ouest était un océan… et Calgary une île » a été écrit en 1994 et, depuis, la pièce Ubu roi d’Alfred Jarry a célébré son centenaire.


Calgary, le quartier général du Parti Réformiste. Il est 6 heures du soir. Le temps est doux. Je vais marcher le long de la rivière Bow. Les pistes cyclables sont envahies par M. et Mme Performance. Ils sont jeunes, aérodynamiques, enveloppés dans du Spandex et du Velcro fluorescent. Ils courent, ils patinent, ils skient, ils pédalent, ils ont des casques, des genouillères, des gants et des montres approuvées et certifiées pour aller au fond des océans.  Toute cette activité me rappelle un livre de bandes dessinées de mon adolescence.  Sur la couverture il y a une île grouillante de crabes rouges. Il y a aussi un complexe sportif ultramoderne, vibrant avec une multitude de coureurs et de gymnastes. L’histoire est simple et familière. Un savant devient fou. Il se réfugie sur une île à l’écart du monde et là, dans la solitude, développe l’athlète de l’an 2000. Malheureusement ce développement a la tendance de rendre le cerveau de ces hommes et de ces femmes aussi mou et léger qu’un soufflé. Un de ces cobayes réalise le danger de l’expérience et avec sa compagne, l’héroïne, organise une résistance secrète. L’histoire se termine comme vous l’avez deviné. Le savant, après une lutte intense avec le héros, meurt sur la plage, dévoré par les crabes. Le héros et l’héroïne s’embrassent en regardant le soleil se coucher.

Il est 18 h 30. Le temps est encore doux. Nous nous esquivons les uns les autres avec succès. La piste cyclable longe la rivière et la Memorial Drive. Je bifurque à la gauche et emprunte l’escalier qui permet d’accéder au somment de la falaise. Le rythme est plus lent. C’est une montée ardue. L’escalier est muni de plates-formes où les usagers peuvent s’arrêter et souffler un peu ou tout simplement admirer la vue. À chaque niveau, il est intéressant de se retourner vers la piste cyclable et de voir combien la course est serrée. On se donne du coude, on fait sonner les clochettes des vélos, on siffle, on cri « À DROITE », « À GAUCHE ». Ces derniers avertissements visent les piétons, ces larves rampantes qui persistent à ralentir le flux incessant. Je grimpe plus haut et plus je grimpe, plus il fait calme. À la dernière marche sur Crecent Drive c’est le silence total. La vue est imprenable. La ville est à mes pieds, belle, facile et silencieuse. Le ciel est immense et beau comme seul un ciel de l’Ouest peut l’être. Il y a du mauve dans les nuages, du rose, du bleu, du blanc et les rocheuses sont assises à l’arrière-plan comme dans une peinture romantique.

Tout à coup voici un quartier cossu avec de jolis parcs et de petits chiens de race qui jappent quand les Jeep Cherokee ou les BMW passent. On joue au footbag et au Frisbee. Il est presque 7 heures. Cresent Drive longe la falaise qui entoure la ville, cette ville qui est le centre nerveux du Parti Réformiste et qui est aussi l’ancienne mairie de Ralph Klein. D’où je suis la ville ressemble non pas à un regroupement organique comme il se devrait, mais plutôt à une maquette, adaptable, réglable à volonté. C’est cette idée de société comme maquette, comme modèle réduit de décor de théâtre, qui m’a rappelé l’histoire du savant fou, de ses surhommes et de ces crabes rouges. Dans ma promenade tranquille, je commence à comprendre la solidité qu’on doit attribuer ici aux falaises qui surplombent la ville. Je comprends aussi la sécurité et l’insouciance peut-être, qu’il existe à spéculer sur le nouveau prototype de société qu’on est en train de créer. L’avènement du monde privé (privé comme dans privatiser) quand on a payé son hypothèque et d’autres possessions matérielles peut sans doute être envisagé sous un angle optimiste. Mais voilà, quel est ce monde privé et de quoi est-il fait ?

Calgary doit être la Biosphère numéro 3, après la planète Terre numéro 1, et après la Biosphère numéro 2 du Texas. Dans la nôtre, qui ressemble de plus en plus à celle de l’île aux crabes rouges, nous apprenons tous les jours à nous serrer la ceinture, comme on nous dit, à faire plus avec moins. Nous comprenons maintenant l’importance de toutes ces modes de conditionnement physique. Nous comprenons qu’un corps sain produira beaucoup et beaucoup plus longtemps. C’est une belle coïncidence avec la dégradation éventuelle du système de santé. Simultanément nous saisissons que notre monde nous glisse entre les doigts.

Il est 7 h 15 et le soleil descend tranquillement. Les ombres de la falaise ont déjà envahi ceux qui vivent dans le creux de l’escarpement et ce n’est pas compter ceux qui habitent dans les caves. Quant à moi je marche encore dans la lumière, dans ce quartier romantique, sur la route des réformistes.

Me voici à Calgary dans une société jeune, dynamique, agressive, gagnante et performante. Je ne peux m’empêcher de me demander si cette société sera aussi malléable que les fesses des coureurs dans leurs culottes de Spandex. Fera-t-on d’elle une chose qui pourra être contenue ? Est-ce que le gouvernement de l’Alberta conduit ses affaires comme une entreprise, comme on l’entend souvent, ou comme une compagnie de théâtre vaudeville ? Je dirais comme la seconde et j’ajouterai que la pièce qu’on présente tous les soirs est Ubu Roi d’Alfred Jarry. La mise en scène et le rôle principal sont tenus, naturellement, par l’honorable M. Ralph Klein. On a dit de cette pièce qu’elle était la synthèse absolue de tout drame historique. Voilà certainement quelque chose à quoi les Albertains peuvent s’identifier. Et qui plus est, cette pièce fut écrite par des adolescents de 15 ans, dont Jarry. Jeunes contrevenants du passé ? Dans moins de deux ans, le 10 décembre 1996, pour être plus exact, nous pourrons fêter le 100e anniversaire de la première représentation de la pièce.

Ubu Roi c’est l’histoire d’Ubu qui, poussé par l’ambition, tue le roi de Pologne et s’empare du trône. Il gouverne en dépit du bon sens. Il extermine les nobles, les magistrats et les financiers dans le seul but d’accroître ses richesses. Il se charge lui-même de collecter les impôts. Ubu le roi est finalement défait par le Czar et s’enfuit avec sa femme pour l’Espagne ou la France.

Il y a un lien je pense entre le savant de l’île aux crabes rouges, Ubu Roi et Ralph Klein. Claude Roy dans Description critiques, le commerce des classiques paru chez Gallimard en 1951 :

“Mais ce qui nous touche, en Ubu, c’est son inépuisable actualité, c’est-à-dire sa ressource active. De Hitler à MacArthur, le roi Ubu n’a pas fini encore, hélas, d’être prophétiquement ressemblant, d’être le prototype vengeur de toutes les citrouilles armées qui nous poussent ubuesquement à l’abattoir, après nous avoir décervelés… “

Voilà, il est 8 h 20. La marche s’étire. C’est maintenant le chemin du retour. Un homme est à genoux sur son gazon. Il plante des fleurs et nous nous souhaitons une bonne soirée. Les feuilles seront bientôt sur les arbres. Je vois en bas de la falaise ce que j’appelle « Candy Town ». Un nouveau développement qui inclut un YMCA, un cinéma IMAX, un marché alimentaire, un « authentique » café des années 1880 et un jongleur. Les couleurs sont criardes, l’architecture laisse à désirer comme souvent l’est l’architecture post-moderne et le jongleur semble triste. Je vois bien quelques personnes là-bas, mais elles sont si petites d’ici. On dirait un tableau de Chirico. Une ville où la bombe neutron fut utilisée. Exit à la vie sans endommager cette sacro-sainte propriété privée. Petit monde où les places publiques sont privées.

Je retourne chez moi en pensant au Père Ubu maintenant. J’accepte que le Roi Ralph soit beaucoup Ubu. Physiquement ils ont beaucoup en commun. La corpulence des représentations originales qu’Alfred Jarry nous a données du Père Ubu ressemble étrangement au Roi de l’Alberta. Moralement ils semblent compatibles. La dernière secousse ici, le dernier drame de ce qui n’est encore que le premier acte de cette pièce est sans contredit l’arrogant défi qu’il a lancé aux juges de la cour provinciale. À savoir qu’ils sont des employés provinciaux et à ce titre doivent suivre les directives du cabinet. Klein note qu’il n’est question que de réductions de salaire. Les juges et les criminels sont d’accord pour ensemble s’inquiéter. Notre bon roi n’en veut démordre. Ses conseillers, dans ce qui apparaît comme une vaine tentative, lui ont suggéré de nuancer ses propos. Une crise constitutionnelle gronde à l’horizon, l’indépendance judiciaire est en jeu, lit-on dans les journaux. J’entends résonner ici la voix du Père Ubu :

Je vais d’abord réformer la justice, après quoi nous procéderons aux finances.

Nous nous opposons à tout changement.

Merdre. D’abord les magistrats ne seront plus payés.

Que cette crise se règle c’est à n’en pas douter. Dans quelques jours, quelques semaines. Ce qui est inquiétant c’est d’avoir comme roi quelqu’un qui n’hésite pas à s’attaquer aux fondations mêmes d’une société. L’Alberta vogue peut-être vers une cote de crédit triple A, mais est-ce que le prix à payer sera d’accepter froidement l’existence humaine comme étant une ressource naturelle au même titre que la forêt ou le gaz.

Nous ne savons pas encore qui est le Czar dans notre histoire. Ce que nous savons toutefois c’est que le Roi Ralph ne s’enfuira pas en Espagne et surtout pas en France.

Il est 21 h et je descends des hauteurs, par un autre escalier. Je m’enveloppe dans la nuit qui vient, dans le merveilleux royaume de l’Alberta.




Daniel Dugas
Calgary, printemps 1994

Texte publié dans le magazine Satellite, #1 février 1997 p. 18-19


Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel H. Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Videopoésie / Videopoetry, coécrit avec Valerie LeBlanc, vient de paraître aux aux éditions Small Walker Press.

Daniel H. Dugas is a poet, musician, and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His eleventh book of poetry, co-written with Valerie LeBlanc, Videopoésie / Videopoetry has just been published by the Small Walker Press.

Date : April 2020
Genre : Vidéopoésie/Videopoetry

Videopoetry / Vidéopoésie

Small Walker Press



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