Saturday, September 19, 2009

Knitting Sprawl - Montreal, Quebec, Part 2

Yesterday was one of those days I knew would come but I wasn't looking forward to experiencing. That is to say, we were all tired and cranky and getting on each other's nerves. It is/was inevitable when you are on the road, staying a little room with three other people and engaged in a complicated, yet personal, yet communal, project. I tried to notice what I was saying and doing and notice when what others were saying and doing got a rise out of me, but damn it, I was tired. Also, after days of only experiencing the good side of Quebecois culture, we suddenly started being on the receiving end of some of the more stereotypically negative behaviors - a bus driver who refused to speak any English and, thus, totally ripped us off (what gain to him, we wondered?), a clerk at a store who was beyond haughty and downright rude, and so on.

But I am still loving Montreal.



On the brighter side, we did have a fantastic visit with the people who run Galerie Diagonale, a fibre arts gallery/artist collective in a neighborhood that was reimiscent of pre-gentrification Williamsburg (Brooklyn). They are a mainly francophone organization so it was a good opportunity to speak with people with that perspective. One main point that came up was that the whole notion of "community", which is so central to my project in its many layers and definitions, is, in their opinion, an Anglo idea. It explained a lot.



Another thing that became clear was that I need to come back to Montreal. There is so much here to dig into and I feel like I am just making the connections on this trip that need to be explored on another visit. As it turns out, April is Textile Month in Montreal (gotta love a place that celebrates Textile Month!) and there are all sorts of special events and exhibitions happening then.

Pencil me in for April, Montreal.

2 comments:

OfTroy said...

re: One main point that came up was that the whole notion of "community", which is so central to my project in its many layers and definitions, is, in their opinion, an Anglo idea. It explained a lot.

WOW!this nugget of information is incredible.

and yet, quebec has sustained a common culture.. so they must have some notion of community.. some way of preserving common values.. even if they don't think or call it community. I don't think speaking french is enough.

Robyn said...

Helen, I quite agree! In fact, as we talked further I kept pointing out areas where, in fact, there was a "community" that came together around various activities. But to them, it was not how they defined it or described it.

And further, as we drove around other suburbs today we saw that developments quickly took on a very specific look that can only be described as Quebec culture...so interesting!