Nous sommes là | Marianne Rouche

Nous sommes là is a playful and contemplative meditation on the act of looking and being in space. Through this gentle disruption, we seek to invert the usual direction of the male gaze by turning it on its head. We positioned our bodies behind mirrors which would reflect their own image back to these men.

On Sunday October 20th 2020, I brought together a group of 5 women to go out on a performative walk with me in the desire to occupy and take up space in a playful manner. “Nous Sommes Là” is also a personal inquiry into how I would feel as a part of a women collective, and how we can gain traction and power as a group.

We walked to The Parc Linéaire du Réseau-Vert, a small Montreal public park with jungle gym which is, for the grand majority of the time, occupied by men who go there to loiter and work out.  In that same way, jungle gyms, skateparks, sports fields, are all public spaces meant to be open, accessible to all as democratic spaces, but which in practice are often occupied and dominated by male bodies. As they take up the space that they do, in the way that they do, not everyone feels comfortable to go there. Where are the public spaces where one can find thirty or forty women (without children) together ?

Following this, we decided to take our installations to the streets. We positioned ourselves in such a way that the mirrors would cover our faces, and hide our identities so that the boundaries between the self and the other, the individual and the collective became blurred. It gave rise to interesting interactions, and some very vehement reactions.”

Documentation/photos: Illiez Planche

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)