Septembre 24-28, 2008

From noon till midnight @ MONOPOLI, architecture gallery
181 Saint-Antoine Street West, Quartier International de Montréal (QIM), Place d’Armes metro station

After the Craig Pumping Station, the Des Carrières Incinerator, and the Grande Bibliothèque, CHAMP LIBRE continues its exploration of Montreal’s significant public spaces in transformation in this 8th edition of its international biennale. This year’s event, FOREST, explores more than ever the meeting of art, architecture, public space, and technology by associating for the first time artists and architects in collaborative artworks, which occupy, question, and explore public space in all meteorological conditions, and at all times of the day and night.

During the afternoon of the three Journées de la Culture (Friday, September 26 – Sunday, September 28), a team will conduct creative workshops, conferences, and roundtables for the general public and specialists alike. Limited spaces available!

Cécile Martin, Champ Libre’s general and artistic director, has played a major role in the creation of the artworks presented within FOREST. During the Spring of 2008 and following an international call, to which more than 100 projects were submitted, the programming committee composed of Mirko Zardini, director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Sophie Gironnay, director of the MONOPOLI architecture gallery, Andrée Duchaine, director of Groupe Molior, and Jean Gervais, director of Hexagram UQAM, named Cécile Martin supra curator of the event, bestowing her the mandate to select the artists and architects for the event. Martin, herself a trained architect (MArch) and artist, invited and orchestrated encounters between creators whose work or approach had already explored the theme of the forest. The goal of these meetings was to reveal and link different contemporary stances, views, approaches, and spaces of exploration constituting the four axes of the organization’s mandate: art, architecture, new technologies, and public space.

The thematic of the FOREST has enabled the creative process of public spaces to be questioned, obliging both artists and architects to position themselves in their personal creative approaches. These have been married to create a field of exploration at the heart of the contemporary physical and imaginary public space.

The pavilions of the 8th Manifestation Internationale de Champ Libre will be presented in the heart of the QIM’s interior and exterior space, an innovative inhabited bridge structure that spans a rift within the city, on the former banks of the Saint-Martin River.
Micro-architectures integrating avant-garde technological explorations that service art are proposed within the framework of the event. Each installation is positioned within a common approach defined by its immediate environs - the QIM and its urban forest - as well as, in a broader sense, by our contemporary vision of nature and the city.

Beyond the contemporary preoccupation that limits our view of the forest to one of a resource whose management we have inherited, and inspired by the thematic that served in the creation of the QIM’s public space at the dawn of the new millennium, FORÊT/FOREST: 8th MANIFESTION INTERNATIONALE of CHAMP LIBRE honors the complex history of a neighborhood whose landscape has witnessed a succession of major interventions over the past centuries. The perfect example of this is the Saint-Martin River, the largest river crossing the island of Montreal, that runs past the walls of the old city, and now continues its flow underground, below what has become a metro line, a highway, and the Quartier International de Montréal. The QIM, an internationally acclaimed prize-winning architectural urban project and home to Quebec’s main financial district as well as many headquarters of the province’s major companies and numerous international organizations and corporations, constitutes an emblematic window for contemporary Quebec.

By revisiting the thematic of the forest and its contemporary significance, new perspectives on the future of 21st Century public space are being proposed within the context of Champ Libre. While questioning the use of thematics in creative urban design projects as well as our use of technology, artists and architects have joined forces to propose a new vision of the forest. The goal was not to transpose a natural entity into a cultural site, but to explore the meeting of approaches and a specific site. The forest reveals a collective subconscious full of hopes and fears, transforming it into new spaces of architectural and artistic experimentation, at the heart of the public domain, by using the most recent innovations in new technology.


General and artistic director - Cécile Martin

Programming committee - Mirko Zardini, André Duchaine, Sophie Gironnay and Jean Gervais

Programming consultants - Christopher Salter, Julie Méalin and Hal Ingberg

Production director - Margot Brethez

Technical director - Yves Deschènes

Scenography coordinator-Graphic designer - Émilie Graves

Graphic Designer-Webmaster - Julien Berthier

Director's assistants - Vincente Lhoste, Bika Bokenda and Stéphanie Rétière

Accountant - Catherine Lévesque

Outreach coordinator - Adeline Dekeukelaire

Press agent – Adrian Gonzalez


Board of directors
Chair - Emmanuel Sévigny
Secretary-Treasurer - Bertrand Émard
Administrator - Louis-Charles Lasnier
Administrator - Gisèle Caron
Administrator - Cécile Martin


Conseil des Arts du Canada
Patrimoine Canadien
Ville de Montréal
Conseil des Arts de Montréal
Ministère des Affaires Municipales et des Régions

Palais des Congrès de Montréal
Fonderie Darling
Topological Media Lab
Shanghai E-Arts Festival
Les Journées de la Culture
Cirque du Soleil