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PVN – Jardin de Saint-Roch

live video installation within a public park

Related to Parasitic Video Network

Parasitic Video Network was installed throughout the Jardin de Saint-Roch during the Mois Multi Festival in Quebec City, Canada.

About Saint-Roch Neighbourhood

The neighborhood of Saint-Roch has a history of economic decline and also revitalization.

Formerly known as the city’s downtown, the neighborhood experienced an economic decline in the 60s with the expansion of Quebec’s suburbs. Businesses and stores closed and there were high residential vacancy rates. The construction of a new highway, which sliced through part of the neighborhood, also contributed to its decline. To try to compete with the suburban malls, business owners in collaboration with a city created an enclosed pedestrian shopping mall, along St. Joseph Street. The introduction of this enclosed corridor attracted a population of elderly and homeless but also drug dealers and prostitutes. It also cut the street off from the rest of the neighborhood and disfigured many of the more historical and beautiful fa├žades.

After 1989, Jean-Paul L’Allier, the newly elected mayor, proposed yet another revitalization effort, this time trying to create a synergy being high-tech industry, art, culture and education sectors as well as the introduction of new housing incentives. One of the results was the creation of a public garden – the Jardin de Saint Roch – intended as a strong image of the direction the city wanted to go. The construction of the Meduse complex, a renovated building which houses many of the cultural organizations of the city including the organizers of the Mois Multi Festival, was another of the results of this period. The appearance of new boutiques, restaurants and bars has been greeted with mixed views. On one hand the changes in Saint-Roch are viewed as a positive revitalization to the area. For others, it is an increasingly gentrified area in which the older residents can no longer afford to live.

view of park from above

The Jardin de Saint-Roch, where the Parasitic Video Network was installed, attracts a daily population of both local residents and people working or studying in the area and coming from different economic levels. There is a cascading waterfall at one end and rows of shaded benches and banks which provide plenty of places to sit. Many people come to the park at noon to eat their lunch, either sitting on the benches or on the grass. There are large flower beds along three sides of the park, containing a mixture of different plants, trees and herbs. The park is surrounded by a forest-like area of trees and bushes. This area attracts a population of homeless and street youth, who use the concealed areas for drug dealing and use. A green gazebo, located in the north-east corner, also functions as their hang-out spot and unofficial border between them and the rest of the park.  Several older homeless men make their daily rounds, picking cans out of the trash cans through from the bushes. One in particular likes to tell all the women that they are beautiful. The police sometimes patrol the area, but mostly everybody is just left alone.

Parasitic Video Network was installed in the park for nine days.

Produced for the Mois Multi Festival, Quebec City.

More portraits

exploring the video network
Jardin Saint-Roch - camera set up
video stills from some of the walks

More video stills