Octavio Rüest: Des monts, des villes

Intervention as part of CHANTIER

A project by Jean-François Prost with collaborators, presented by Skol


May 26th – July 18th, 2023 

June 10th Music event and Presentation of Octavio Rüest’s intervention

∗ (postponed in case of rain, see Facebook page)

On the vacant lot at 6919 Marconi St.


Project description

Des monts, des villes addresses the human condition through the constant transformation of our living environment. In a world in which we are constantly digging into the materials of our soil, classifying, storing, and accumulating them to generate value, bodies are systematically devalued. This obstinacy, which fluctuates with the ups and downs of capital markets, disrupts lives and crushes fragile ecosystems. The smooth new landscapes that arise from these transformations are inhospitable for diversity. Vagrancy is spreading throughout, like an obvious sign of societal breakdown. Despite the renovations, the facades are a poor cosmetic for the misery that sustains them. Beyond the ubiquitous entertainment offerings in these places, glaring issues of survival are unfolding on a backdrop of rising ambient heat, a landscape that lies mid-way between journalistic sketch and speculative fiction.

— Octavio Rüest



CHANTIER is an artistic, political and social investigation of the conceptualization and creation of a large display device situated on a vacant lot at 6919 Marconi in Montréal. For more than a year, this proposed structure will serve as a support for the realization of a series of collaborative, artistic and civic interventions.

6919 Marconi, starting point of the CHANTIER project, is located in a hybrid urban zone (residential, industrial and commercial) along a train line. For many years now, Prost individually and collectively initiated on this 1 800 ft2 lot different types of occupations, such as workshops, projections, launches and urban camping. Today, many city dwellers are challenged and drawn to this vacant lot as a space-time of stopping, slowing down and spontaneity in an era of acceleration and increased control.

Unlike entertained-animated spaces that are overly programmed and codified, as we know nowadays, the vacant lot stays wide open for imagination (without dictating how we behave, move and travel). According to the theoretician Benjamin Delmotte, this allows “multiple never-ending beginnings.”

For the CHANTIER project, Jean-François Prost will initiate an intervention offering a support on which other individuals can act and contribute to define its character and specificity in transformation. This participation and (co)definition process suggests an eventual negotiation about the land, which is vital for democracy. As the urbanist Jane Jacobs said : “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

The proposed actions will explore the theme of the vanished, existing and prospective urban diversity, as well as the vagueness of the place, and the unfinished aspect of the construction site as a vector for co-defining the city.

It is in this spirit that the CHANTIER project is being developed. More news will follow soon about the planned actions.

Discover the program HERE


We thank FEED for the design of the Adaptive Actions (AA) font and Nathalie LeBlanc for her contribution as an audio consultant.

Description /image credit: the display device of CHANTIER. Photo: Jean-François Prost