Symphony of the Stones: A Research-Creation Exploration on the Animation of Heavy Metal Residues in Contaminated Urban Landscapes

By Brice Ammar-Khodja in ISEA2023 PROCEEDINGS. 28th International Symposium on Electronic Art. Ecole des arts decoratifs - PSL.

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In the late 1980s, the Canadian Pacific Railway abandoned a rail yard on the outskirts of Montreal’s Mile End district. Within a few years, the return of animal and plant species encouraged the citizen community to reinvest this site known as Le Champ des Possibles. Despite community efforts to rehabilitate this site, hydrocarbon and heavy metal pollution persists in the soils and thus requires rethinking the engagement with the imperceptible mutations of ecosystems. Symphony of the Stones was created in response to this context. This research-creation project consists of several urban art installations that activate residual metals in soils by their magnetic characteristics to make these imperceptible pollutants visible. The following paper unfolds the different processes, methodologies and strategies that led to in site interventions blending art installation, collaboration with different communities and associations and leading to a rethinking of art practices in the urban environment.

Critical Practices in
Materials and Materiality