Low-Tech Sunshade | Emile Foucher

“My intervention was to create shade on an urban heat island. The chosen site is located in Marconi-Alexandra, a former industrial area with few trees and an abundance of heat-trapping pavement. On a hot summer’s day, the neighborhood is one of the hottest parts of Montreal.

It was important for me to use found materials that were handpicked at proximity from the site of my intervention. The materials that I’ve used were rusty steel rods (founded in someone’s backyard, with their permission) and white tulle, a fabric that I’ve used in the past, as part of a former art project. I live next to the chosen site.

I had some important issues with these materials while working on the site. The steel rods couldn’t support the fabric at the height I wanted to be. The wind was strong that day too. In the end, shade was created, but at a much lower height. The wind, caught in the fabric, initiated a motion that made the work move on its own.

In the end, I was more interested in the people who were stopping by to watch me work, trying to figure out what I was doing on this abandoned site.

It made the site visible to them. I'm curious to retry this intervention, with a stronger material to support the weight of the tulle, on a hot-summer day, to see how people would interact with the piece.”

The real power of site-specific work is that it somehow activates, or engages with, the narratives of the site in some kind of way. (Pearson)