Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

Imagination Should Not Be Hijacked by Culture

Posted on | August 10, 2010 | No Comments

We often boast in Quebec of our viable, lucrative, and widely exported cultural industry, fed by the fertile imagination of a creative people (and interwoven by a more or less nationalistic rhetoric). The international success of Celine Dion, of the Cirque du Soleil are cited as examples, and hearts swell to the sound of Arcade Fire, Simple Plan, in earlier days of Bran Van 3000 or older MSO recordings.

This said, we tend to confine our imagination and sense of innovation to cultural products. Actually, these two talents should both be applied to the whole spectrum of human activity, as we have been reminded by a group of American architects and this project.

The two architects at Choi+Shine have transformed the usual pylon, a familiar and somewhat boring sight of Québec’s landscape, into a humanoid, polyvalent and deeply moving work of art. We can easily envision the impact of such a project here.

This said, the idea isn’t so unconventional in itself. But it requires the necessary strength or conviction to abandon common, ordinary, usual and easy habits and step into the unknown. In this case, it was necessary to question the very meaning of a pylon and realize that, beyond its basic useful structure, it is most of a all an important visual artefact (just ask all these landowners who refused to see them grace their fields, and were expropriated with each energy transport line project).

We often discuss the Quebec way, while we can’t exactly define what it is. So why not make of our imagination, this characteristic of which we are so proud, the future foundation of such a way? Each project has social, visual, useful and historical meaning. If we were required to innovate on one or more of these aspects with each call for proposals, we could transform this province overnight, focus international attention on it, and use it all as a calling card to attract foreign investment and professionals

We simply need to take a different look at things. And we need to take a different look at imagination itself.


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  • Photographie par Patrick Meunier

    Tous droits réservés, Patrick Meunier, 2010

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