june 22nd, 2017
noemi mccomber, helena martin franco, jack locke and i carried, from my studio in st. henri to the open door in westmount (the open door is a homeless shelter housed in st. stephen’s anglican church that is being forced to move due to the sale of the church,) a 5 x 4 foot plywood panel.
painted on the panel is a portion of chapter 1, fundamental freedoms and rights of the quebec charter of rights and freedoms:
Toute personne a droit à la sauvegarde de sa dignité,
de son honneur et de sa réputation.
noemi and helena lifted the panel (holding onto the handles that had been screwed into the backside of the plywood) and carried it out of the studio, down the stairs to lacasse street to then head east on st. antoine. jack was filming and i was taking photographs.
i wasn’t sure how people would respond (as in would anyone even try to decipher the text?) so i was happy to overhear a woman reading the sign out loud while walking down the sidewalk with two young children.
we stopped for lunch at fang chi restaruant and left the panel outside facing the sidewalk. before heading into the restaurant we conversed with four young men about the sign, the quebec charter, with one of the men saying he would have liked to help us carry the panel but he had to go back to work.
knowing the panel was heavy and awkward to carry, we had decided to all take turns, with each one of us engaging in the physical labour of holding up and moving the weight of the charter. in this way the charter was held up and moved by all of us.
we made our way along st. antoine to turn up atwater street till we reached the open door. here we placed the panel against the tree on the front lawn while i went inside to gain permission from the director to leave the sign on their premises. speaking with three men from the open door, each one taking a turn to comment on how yes, the words of the charter made perfect sense and it would seem like a good thing to remind people of, we decided to leave the panel propped up against the wall of the church.
later that night, while walking by the church, i noticed the panel was still in place.
this work of “movin’ the charter,” is part of an ongoing project of rendering our rights and freedoms, as inscribed in the charter, visible in the public domain.