Palm Grove

    Thursday, August 23, 2001 to Thursday, September 27, 2001

    Opening
    • Thursday, August 23, 2001
    An Urban Concept (future site of outdoor sculpture no.3) is an impossible concept proposed for the city of Ottawa by artist Trevor Gould. Located in front of Gallery 101, an anonymous, nearly unmarked and apparently empty building, Gould's billboard intervention announces to passers-by the coming of a new urban concept, including palm trees and a “saltbox” style two-storey house to be built on a site that never could accommodate them. Playing on our expectation of urban development projects so common in zero-vacancy cities like Ottawa, the Palm Grove billboard fulfills our need to access something new, or even impossible. Though some will find comfort knowing Palm Grove is coming, the promise will never be fulfilled. The innocence which once allowed for the development of Utopian suburbs has given way to something based more overtly on notions of expanding profit in which "Pictorial Living" verges on extinction. In a previous work, Maison Promenade Bellerive (Montreal, summer 2000), Gould created a "real" saltbox-style house, but one in which the proportions were skewed in order to heighten the fictitiousness of its construction in a park. Two figures standing on balconies raised questions of public and private, proximity and distance, open and closed space. Like Palm Grove, this house was also illusory, an advertisement of sorts for something viewers could never truly access. This irony played back on itself when Gould invited local film and video collectives to screen works on the structure's white walls, thus creating illusions on top of illusions — but also creating "community". For this exhibition, Gould has invited the Montreal video collective Buzz to screen a video program on the night of his opening in Dundonald Park (on Somerset in between Lyon and Bay). Like Gould, Buzz is interested in shaping informal situations in which people feel comfortable to freely exchange ideas. Both projects thus fulfil several functions for the public, with theatrical mannerisms—serving as spectacle, as mise en scene, but also as open forums where questions may be asked.