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SID LEE
                    COLLECTIVE
                    The Sid Lee creative incubator and its projects




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NOM DE LA SECTION
SID LEE
                    COLLECTIVE
                    The Sid Lee creative incubator and its projects. / Another SID LEE fanzine

                    SID LEE COLLECTIVE - 4


                    ALVARO PÉREZ DEL SOLAR - 12


                    SID’S KITCHEN - 16


                    SCHLOF - 18


                    GLOBOLOGOS - 20


                    MARS ET AVRIL - 26


                    BLACKBOARDS - 30


                    SIT! BY SID - 36


                    SID [LOVES] TURBO - 38


                    SECRET SOCIETIES - 40


                    SUCC - 44


                    SID LEE AND MUTEK - 50


                    MONTREAL: UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN - 54


                    NEXT, PLEASE! - 61


                    CREDITS - 62




NOM DE LA SECTION
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NOM DE LA SECTION   NOM DE LA SECTION
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SID LEE COLLECTIVE   SID LEE COLLECTIVE
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Think of Sid Lee Collective as an incubator           As the term “collective” suggests, accepted
that allows our team to push the boundaries of        projects can draw in designers and creative
creativity even further, by initiating cultural       directors from the wide range of staff at Sid
and commercial projects in the fields of the          Lee, to push the idea to the finish line and give
visual arts, industrial design, music, publishing     it exposure. Sid Lee’s infrastructure allows these
and more. The predecessor of this incubator was       ideas to materialize amid the company’s daily
an in-house project called After Hours, through       activities—a win-win situation for everyone!
which employees could submit personal projects              Sid Lee Collective also owns and operates
to a committee and, if accepted, receive a bursary.   a Creatvity Emporium in Amsterdam. Open
                                                      to the public, the space caters to creative minds
                                                      with its store, gallery and café/bar.




                     SID LEE COLLECTIVE                                    SID LEE COLLECTIVE
                           - 8 -                                                 - 9 -
Since the beginning of the initiative, two paths
have gradually come to intersect at Sid Lee
Collective. One is artistic, allowing the creators
to pursue their flights of fancy through
publications, installations and exhibitions
throughout Montreal and on to New York City,
Amsterdam and farther still.
      The other path, which has grown stronger
in the last year, is commercial. It includes the
development of furniture, kitchenware and
T-shirts, for starters, which will find their way
to the shelves of the new Sid Lee Collective
boutique in Amsterdam. The purpose of this
busy activity is to ultimately give birth to a
distinct Sid Lee Collective brand, versatile
enough to incorporate fashion and furnishings,
music and videos.

                     SID LEE COLLECTIVE              SID LEE COLLECTIVE
                           - 10 -                          - 11 -
Art
         whILE
        YOU waIT
            Alvaro Pérez del Solar
             AT SID LEE COLLECTIVE GALLERY


Even a short wait in the reception area of most
businesses can be a trying experience. It’s hard
to relieve tedium with magazines that seem as
though they were purposefully written to be as
boring as possible, and only a botanist can stare at
a potted fern for longer than a few seconds.
     This isn’t the case at Sid Lee’s Montreal head­
quarters. Along the wall of the hallway facing
the reception desk is what’s called the Sid Lee
Collective Gallery, and its rotating exhibitions by
artists from inside and outside Sid Lee would put
many a full­scale art gallery to shame.
     The notorious Roadsworth, a clandestine
Canadian street artist whose clever, guerrilla­style
alterations of public spaces—walls, sidewalks,
civil structures—are in the tradition of the U.K.’s
celebrated Banksy, had his works on display at the
Sid Lee Collective Gallery.
     More recently, it’s the paintings of Alvaro
Pérez del Solar, an art director at Sid Lee, that
have filled the walls. Hailing from Lima, Peru,
Montreal­based Pérez del Solar draws on the
folk art and magic realism of his Latino roots
and weaves that together with a very current and
global graffiti sensibility, and a knack for lively,
vivid compositions. His works will also hang at
the Sid Lee Collective gallery in Amsterdam in
November 2008.
     “My work explores the dark side of the human
experience with a characteristically surreal sense
of humour,” says Pérez del Solar, “creating worlds
that are often disturbing—but delightfully so.
Body parts are sliced off with childlike abandon,
vibrant colours fly in the face of mortality, and
terror, never tamed, is unbridled to the point of
something resembling joy.”
     The title of Pérez del Solar’s exhibition at
Sid Lee Collective Gallery is Lindas Pesadillas.
“The name translates to ‘pretty nightmares,’” he
explains. “The work, therefore, represents that
constant juxtaposition of beauty and terror, joy
and hideousness. ‘O death, where is thy sting?’ In
my exhibition, death is far more likely to ask you
to dance.”




                  COMPLEXGEOMETRIES
                   NOM DE LA SECTION                   ALVARO PÉREZ DEL SOLAR
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ALVARO PÉREZ DEL SOLAR   ALVARO PÉREZ DEL SOLAR
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the concept
                THE SID LEE COLLECTIVE SCOOTER
                Hugely popular amongst scooter aficionados,
                the MP3 is an engineering marvel.
                Design­wise, it could use a little help.

                What if a gang of creatives had their way
                with it?

                This project is the fruit of a collaboration
                between Sid Lee Collective, the R&D
                department, and the über­creative Sid Lee
                team. Hand in hand, a group of artisans
                from our Montreal office set out to reinvent
                the MP3.

                The end product: Cyclop.




MARS ET AVRIL                      MARS ET AVRIL
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MARS ET AVRIL   MARS ET AVRIL
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Food for Thought,
                      ThOUGhTS
                         FOR
                        FOOD
                                       Marie-Elaine Benoit
                                            ON SID’S KITCHEN


Perhaps you remember those special bowls and            “We brainstormed about everything we could
dishes from your childhood, the ones your mom           put on them, and settled on quotes, illustrated
used to dupe you into eating unwelcome dinner           quotes on nutrition and food.”
choices. Maybe they had a clown or a bunny rab­              Benoit, a native of Granby, Quebec, who’s
bit printed at the bottom—eat all the pureed            been with Sid Lee since 2002, isn’t the type to
squash and you’ll see the bunny! A dirty trick,         leave the type plain. “When I was young, I was
but an effective one, time and time again.              always drawing typefaces and logos in my note­
     Hopefully you’re enjoying your dinners             books for school.”
more today, but it’s still fun to find a surprise            That explains why the dishes use handcraf­
hidden underneath. In the case of the Sid’s             ted typefaces and graphics, playfully knitted
Kitchen line of tableware, you’ll uncover a little      together. “The quotes were chosen for being
food for thought.                                       visually inspirational, for telling a story about
     “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it         food or digestion. The idea at first was to invite
to food,” says one piece, borrowing a bon mot           a lot of illustrators to draw the different quotes
from old­time American comedian W.C. Fields,            and collections, but finally we only did two
renowned for his fondness for alcohol.                  different collections.”
     Other pieces quote celebrated American                  Benoit herself handles one group, using a
writers like Mark Twain (“Part of the secret to         subtle grey­on­grey scheme, while the other, more
success in life is to eat what you like and let the     colourful line was crafted by Valerie Picard.
food fight it out inside”) and Ambrose Bierce                “The dishes are made in Portugal, good
(“Good to eat and wholesome to digest, as a             porcelain—high­class dishes,” says Benoit.
worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a         “They’re dishes you can use every day, but on
pig, a pig to a man, a man to a worm”).                 special days too.”
     “We decided to design a collection of                   The final test came when Benoit dined off
dishes—plates, bowls, coffee cups,” says                the dishes herself. “I tried it,” she says, “and I
Sid Lee’s Marie­Élaine Benoit, a key player             liked it!”
in the creation of the Sid’s Kitchen lines.



                                                SID’S KITCHEN                                                SID’S KITCHEN
                                                   - 20 -                                                       - 21 -
Pillow
                                  Talk
                                                 Eva V den Bulcke’s
                                                      an
                                                          SCHLOF


                       “You could even have people who are politicallY opposed and put
                            them in the same bed, because we’re equal in our sleep.”
              It’s perhaps unsurprising that an art project          Straddling her subjects, Van Den Bulcke would
         on the theme of sleep should have sprung from          snap a few shots before her subjects opened their
         a bout of insomnia, from which Eva Van Den             eyes—in some cases, it was their first meeting.
         Bulcke suffered several years ago. “Whenever I         While pondering possible presentations of her
         was sleeping with friends or boyfriends or whate­      portraits—oversize prints on blankets, hung ver­
         ver, I would always watch them because I couldn’t      tically, perhaps—Van Den Bulcke ran a few tests
         sleep,” says Belgian­born Van Den Bulcke, who’s        on pillowcases. The bulkiness gave the images an
         been with the Sid Lee team for a decade and a          artificial depth—“a trompe l’oeil effect”—and she
         partner for three.                                     realized she’d found her medium.
              “I envied them because they could sleep,               “It’s not like art that you only see in a gal­
         but on the other hand, it was interesting to look      lery. It becomes an object you can play with, an
         at them without them knowing. They had no              everyday object. The funny part is the part I like,
         expressions. I thought that was kind of pure, I felt   because art can be too serious.”
         I could see them as they really were for once.”             The series of pillowcase portraits was chris­
              A photographer since her early teens (“by 13,     tened Schlof, and a store­window exhibition on
         I had my own darkroom and spent all my time            Boulevard St­Laurent in Montreal spun out into
         in there,” she recalls), Van Den Bulcke recogni­       on­the­spot commissions. While the industrial
         zed what inherently fascinating, honest and coo­       turnover and faked sleep of her subjects were
         perative subjects sleeping people might be. She        hardly ideal, she’s proud of the funds she raised
         gradually established a pattern for portrait shots,    for Dans La Rue, a Montreal organization for
         many of which were of complete strangers—an            homeless youth. Installations in New York City
         etiquette for an intimate, even invasive process.      and Quebec City followed.
              “They would know I was coming several days             Van Den Bulcke hasn’t put Schlof to bed quite
         before, I would have a key or they would leave their   yet. The idea of taking the process abroad appeals
         door unlocked. I would arrive when the sun was         to her. “You could even have people who are
         rising, go into their room very quietly, open the      politically opposed and put them in the same bed,
         curtains to have natural lighting, and then—well,      because we’re equal in our sleep.”
         some people sleep very deeply and others are very
         anxious in their sleep, they wake up very easily.”




SCHLOF                                                     SCHLOF
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Website of
OUTTa-SIGhT
 INSIGhTS
 Jacques Languirand and Kristian Manchester
               ON GLOBOLOGOS.COM




                   GLOBOLOGOS                 GLOBOLOGOS
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“Interesting, useful and amusing—            the Expo 67 World Fair in Montreal.              Among that target demographic,        13 years and I did about eight years of
in any order.” That’s what renowned                Since 1971, Languirand has hos­       Languirand attracted the attention of      purely Web stuff,” says Manchester.
Montrealer Jacques Languirand requi­         ted his radio show, Par 4 chemins, on       the Sid Lee team’s Kristian Manchester,    “I saw all kinds of experimental sites
res each of his many creative efforts        Radio­Canada. Formerly a nightly fix­       who proposed a highly interactive web­     that unfortunately were often based on
to be, whether on stage, on air, on film,    ture on French­language radio, it’s now     site drawing based on Languirand’s         cool graphics, nice visuals, and a small
on paper or now, in the case of the          a weekly, four­hour Sunday broadcast.       writings, themes and ideas.                idea—no substance. So the goal was to
globologos.com website on which he           Supplemented with musical moments,               “I liked their approach, I found it   grab good substance and make a nice,
collaborated with Sid Lee, online.           it’s an unhurried hike through a lands­     very interesting, and I was flattered,”    experiential site which had that candy­
     Reclining amid the lush greenery        cape of ideas, from the social to the       recalls Languirand. “It would be a good    coated approach where you want to dive
on the rooftop patio of his Westmount        ecological and on to the spiritual. Par 4   way to reach young people. I left [the     in and have what Jacques calls an ‘ini­
home/archive/studio, Languirand is too       chemins has such a firm following that      Sid Lee team] complete liberty. They       tiatory voyage,’ where you get lost and
humble when he calls himself “a jack­        it’s earned, yes, a Guinness record for     were the ones who chose the themes.        learn stuff.
of­all­trades, master of none.”              the longest­running show by one host        For me, it was very stimulating and             “We want to trick the consumer.
     This playwright, professor, essayist,   on one station.                             helpful, leading me to be more rigorous    People see it and say, wow, that’s just
broadcaster, actor and explorer of ideas,          “It’s become something—not a          with my show—I said to myself, if these    a great Flash site, but all of a sudden,
is a recipient of the Order of Canada.       phenomenon, but something a bit out of      people need this information, I have to    they’re confronted with these thought­
He took to radio at 18 while “in exile” in   the ordinary,” muses Languirand. “The       work hard on it.                           provoking texts.
Paris in 1949, and since then has made       idea is to be useful and agreeable. I use        “I don’t intervene much in the             “Nobody would ever hear of this
his mark as a maverick intellect across      the show as a platform to pass along lots   concepts they bring out. I react, but      project seeing the light of day, as there’s
the spectrum of print, broadcast and per­    and lots of information. I have many        I don’t interfere, because it’s their      no economic value or purpose, no payoff
formance media in Quebec and Canada,         older listeners, of my generation, but my   concept, their project.”                   other than just giving content back to
among other things with his projects at      target is really the young people.”              “I’ve been in communications for      the Web. That’s why I’m so happy about




                                       GLOBOLOGOS                                                                             GLOBOLOGOS
                                         - 26 -                                                                                 - 27 -
Sid Lee Collective having the vision to   the condensation of the texts.”             were submitted for most themes, exam­         All the local directors and a couple of
back me up on this.”                           “Of course we’re not covering the      ples being the fascinating subculture         artists got together—it was very organic
     The initial challenge was distil­    subjects entirely,” says Languirand, “but   photos of Louis­Thomas Pelletier’s hila­      and fresh. We’d like to have it be part
ling Languirand’s wide­ranging and        the major things are there, and they can    rious short film for “Self­Indulgence” and    of a couple of different festivals. We’re
expansive ideas to their essence, and     be useful—tools to think!”                  Julien Vallée’s confounding, delightful       trying to export this little group and
dividing them into a series of themes          “And all the hyperlinks are there,”    animated clip for “Insanity.”                 see how other, international artists can
of human experience, each defined by      adds Manchester, referring to the “fur­          Some themes, however, offer only         graft themselves to it. It’s one of those
a single word—Action, Hope, Chronos,      ther reading” links each theme includes.    a “submit artwork” link, and it’s there       things where you’ve planted it, you hope
Adaptation, Consumption, Destiny and           The next step was a structure that     that the real purpose of globologos.com       it grows and adds up, and we’re already
14 more.                                  made exploring the themes fun. That         becomes clear. It’s not their website, it’s   seeing that.
     The name “Globologos” means “a       quite literally evolved from the idea,      theirs and yours and everyone’s.                    “I don’t want to give the impression
world of ideas and meaning,” and the      relating of each topic to a cute micro­          “We kind of want it to be another        that we have all the knowledge, that we
meaning of each word is taken very        organism, creating a playful cartoon        form of Wikipedia,” says Manchester,          know about everything,” says Languirand.
seriously. “A lot of people just grab     landscape of neat characters represen­      “where people can contribute to the the­      “We know about some things here and
a word, take the first level of meaning   ting the themes. The critters and their     mes, send artwork and new links, and          there, but please, if you have something to
and use that to sell something,” says     world were crafted by Spanish artist/       build up this community­based thing.          say, say it. Express yourself!”
Manchester.                               designer Martin Allais, and an evocative    What we need now is a way to commu­
     Not so with Globologos. “Each        yet unobtrusive soundscape was added        nicate that, to get it out in the open.”
word could have a 10­page document at­    by Simon Williams.                               A good start in that respect are
tached, but we wanted it to be concise,        The completed realm of Globolo­        public, in­the­flesh events. “We created
for the Web format. That was a challen­   gos wasn’t the final product, but really    this evening at the SAT (Societé des
ge for Jean­François Alain, who did all   just the beginning. Interesting artworks    Arts Technologiques, in Montreal).




                                    GLOBOLOGOS                                                                                GLOBOLOGOS
                                      - 28 -                                                                                    - 29 -
The two volumes of the Mars et Avril           Jacob Obus, an aging musician beloved
                      books written—and, one is tempted to           for his romantic tunes but, paradoxi­
                      add, directed—by Montrealer Martin             cally, a man who has never known the
                      Villeneuve seem scientifically enginee­        love of a woman.
                      red to create headaches for librarians              In addition, Villeneuve netted ac­
                      and bookstores. On which shelf does            tress Marie­Josée Croze (who’d appea­
                      one rack a hybrid, a chimera, a clever         red in Atom Egoyan’s Ararat and

Lives on
                      mingling of theatrical script, comic           Spielberg’s Munich) and actor/musician




MaRS
                      book, romantic photo­novel, philoso­           Paul Ahmarani, the star of Philippe
                      phical treatise, graphic design exercise       Falardeau’s 2000 film La Moitié gauche
                      and science fiction novel about the            du frigo. The second Mars et Avril book,
                      conquest of Mars?                              À la poursuite du fantasme (released in
                           “At first, to be frank, I didn’t know     2006 alongside a new edition of the
                      what medium would best serve the               first volume) upped the ante with the
                      story that I was writing,” says Villeneu­      inclusion of no less than Robert Lepage,
Martin Villeneuve’s
    MARS ET AVRIL
                      ve, who was barely out of his teens            internationally renowned for his
                      when, almost a decade ago, the seeds           groundbreaking theatre work.
                      of the first Mars et Avril book, ultima­            While he wasn’t worried about
                      tely launched in 2002, were sown. A            inflated egos, Villeneuve did recognize
                      student of both cinema and graphic             the creative potency of his participants
                      design, he sought something in                 as something he couldn’t simply ignore
                      between—and beyond.                            or suppress.
                           “Once I wrote a first draft,” Ville­           “I tried to stay open to the indivi­
                      neuve says, “I asked myself, okay, is it       duals I was working with, as much as
                      going to be a comic book, a film, a no­        possible, because these people are uni­
                      vel? At one point, I said, man, it could       verses in themselves. They’re strong
                      be a combination of all those. The per­        personalities, and I played with that in
                      fect medium would be a book, because           the writing.”
                      with books, you can control your ele­               “The best gift someone can give
                      ments in a creative way without dealing        you is their time,” Villeneuve conti­
                      with a big machine, as with cinema or          nues, “so that time must be well used.
                      theatre. Just as a practical fact, as a        When Robert Lepage came in, he was
                      20­year­old, I wasn’t able to aim for          in transit between London and Singa­
                      such things.”                                  pore, so he spent a ‘white night’ with
                           Which isn’t to say that Villeneuve        us—a nuit blanche. He didn’t sleep for
                      didn’t aim high, almost absurdly so, in        32 hours or so because of the project.
                      selecting the talent he’d work with. Ra­       He’s used to that kind of schedule.
                      ther than round up a few college friends       From what I’ve heard, he’s not the kind
                      as his “actors,” he sought out several ge­     of guy who sleeps a lot, but at the same
                      nuine cultural icons of Quebec.                time, what kind of generosity drives
                           “I had Jacques Languirand in mind         these people to give up their time?
                      as the main character, and I was naïve         That really touches me.”
                      enough to approach him,” Villeneuve                 The actors weren’t the only angels
                      says. Intrigued, the noted broadcaster         on Villeneuve’s shoulder. A crisis less
                      and thinker accepted the lead role of          than 24 hours before his photo shoot




      MARS ET AVRIL                                          MARS ET AVRIL
        - 30 -                                                 - 31 -
with his actors—a one­time opportu­                       He wouldn’t have to, not with a
nity—nearly doomed Mars et Avril in                 new publisher, Montreal’s La Pastèque,
its infancy.                                        in his corner. “They keep things simple
      “It was the day after the Prix Jutras         and elegant, and make editorial choices
[Quebec film industry awards], and                  that are very strong. You have a book
Croze and Ahmarani had both                         from La Pastèque in your hands, you
won awards. I was looking at the TV,                know it’s from La Pastèque.”
thinking, man, are these people even                      La Pastèque’s Martin Brault and
going to show up? I was staring to freak            Frédéric Gauthier—the latter now
out. Then I got a call from the photo­              the director of Sid Lee Collective—
grapher. He said, ‘I won’t be there                 could provide the production quality
tomorrow. I won’t make a fool of                    Villeneuve sought, but not the funding.
myself in front of two people who just              That’s where Sid Lee stepped in.
won the Jutras.’                                          Villeneuve had been an art director
      Luckily, an old friend was at                 with the firm since 2002, and now hin­
Villeneuve’s place, and suggested her               ted he might have to leave to pursue
ex­boyfriend Yanick Macdonald, who                  Mars et Avril. Rather than see him out
Villeneuve had never met. They left                 the door, though, Sid Lee agreed to
a message and he set to calling two                 fund the project through the firm’s
dozen other potential photographers.                After Hours grants (the predecessor to
No dice. “The whole thing was hanging               the Sid Lee Collective).
by a spider’s thread. I was literally                     Sid Lee’s Roxana Zegan (whose Sit!
crying. Suddenly, around midnight, the              series is profiled elsewhere in this
phone rings.”                                       magazine) was tasked with the graphic
      It was Macdonald, who inciden­                design, and Macdonald returned to
tally had just been told by his girlfriend          outdo himself in the photo department.
that he was soon to be a father. He gave                  “When Robert Lepage read the
Villeneuve just five minutes to pitch               text for the second book, he asked me
the project—and was sold.                           if I’d ever thought about making a mo­
      “It came as a surprise,” says Villeneuve,     vie of it,” says Villeneuve, but the truth
“how positively it was received. I was              was, he hadn’t. However, he was soon
overwhelmed. We didn’t have that                    talked into the idea. Once funding for
many copies going around, but it got                the scripting stage was secured, there
good reviews. People were generally                 was no going back.
enthusiastic about it.”                                   Shooting begins in earnest in the
      Enthusiastic enough to prod                   spring of 2009, but pre­production is
Villeneuve toward a second book. The                already well underway. Despite the
first had an open ending, but Villeneuve            scope of the undertaking, Villeneuve
hadn’t considered a continuation, and               isn’t letting it go to his head. “We’re
certainly not under the same circums­               going to make it in a handcrafted, inde­
tances. “It wasn’t a small student project          pendent way,” he says, “just like the
anymore. I’d invested so much money                 books were.”
and energy of my own in the five years
it took to make the first one, I didn’t
see myself doing it alone again.”




                                            MARS ET AVRIL                                        MARS ET AVRIL
                                              - 32 -                                               - 33 -
“A lot of boards for a short amount of
                                      time.” That’s how Grogore Kibishi of
                                      Paris­based art group ShoboShobo
                                      summarizes the experience of par­
                                      ticipating in Sid Lee Collective’s
                                      ongoing Blackboard project. Shobo­
                                      Shobo’s collective style, a raw and
                                      rather childlike aesthetic packed
                                      with energy and off­the­cuff ideas,
                                      is well suited to the task that Sid Lee
                                      Collective has laid before them.
                                           A number of wall spaces in Sid
                                      Lee’s Montreal headquarters, some as


                    ChaLK
                                      high as two floors, have been painted
                                      with special black chalkboard paint,
                                      and international artists are brought

                        &             in for a week or so to fill them. Their
                                      improvised efforts remain for a few


                    awE
                                      months, then are erased to free the
                                      walls up for the next artists.
                                           Hailing from Seattle, WA, and
                                      based in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
                                      illustrator Nate Williams is the one
                                      who inaugurated the blackboards
                     Nate Williams    with his drawings, playful figures and
                     Team Macho       forms that draw on classic ’50s and
                                      ’60s kiddie­books and album art. He
                      ShoboShobo      says the experience was “very strange
                      ON BLACKBOARD
                                      and very cool.
                                           “At first I thought it was strange
                                      that they would fly me halfway across
                                      the world to draw on chalkboards,
                                      but once I was there, I realized that
                                      it wasn’t just about drawing on chalk­
                                      boards. It was about sharing pers­
                                      pectives and motivating each other
                                      creatively—creating a memorable
                                      experience for everyone involved.”
                                           Lauchie Reid, of the Toronto,
                                      Canada, collective Team Macho, may
                                      not have flown as far but was still ini­
                                      tially dazed by the idea, calling it “a




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bit surreal” and “a bit hard to wrap
our heads around.”
     Any doubts were soon dispelled.
“Our reception at Sid Lee was no­
thing short of amazing,” says Reid.
The Sid Lee offices themselves were
inspiring, he recalls. “It was kind of
like Tom Hanks’ apartment in Big.
Remember? Well, like that, but with
a couple hundred people working
really hard on strange and wonderful
things. Everyone was lovely and gene­
rous, and very helpful with tips regar­
ding hot dogs.”
     “Working in chalk wasn’t so stran­
ge,” recalls Williams. “What was less
common for me was working in such
a huge scale, having people watch me
while I worked, drinking a beer on a
ladder, looking at an aerial view of an
agency’s work environment and liste­
ning to people speaking French.”
     Reid, for his part, notes that while
certainly familiar from the school
days of their youth, chalk wasn’t
exactly a frequently used medium for
him and his Macho teammates.
     “We were actually really scared,
because, as our working style dictates,
we can’t really sketch out ideas befo­
rehand. So we were going in blind,
with no certain ideas and tools that
we had no idea how we would use. It
ended up being an incredibly infor­
mative process. I think a lot of new
approaches and forgotten old ones
showed up and got figured out in a
way that may not have been possible
on a smaller, less chalky scale.”
     Kibishi, meanwhile, found that
one very mundane aspect of the
materials stuck with him. “Chalk




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                                                - 36 -              - 37 -
creates chalk dust,” he says, “which
                    makes you sneeze.”
                          Most recently, the blackboards
                    were turned over to Spain’s Martin
                    Allais, who created the graphics for
                    the globologos.com website (also pro­
                    filed in this publication). His drawings
                    will also eventually be erased, but fear
                    not, Sid Lee Collective is overcoming
                    the ephemeral nature of the project
                    by assembling a beautifully presented
                    Blackboard book.
                          For the artists, the best Black­
                    board memories couldn’t be captured
                    by cameras. Williams rattles off a
                    list: “Meeting the people of Sid Lee,
                    seeing other people’s creative envi­
                    ronment, being in Montreal, listening
                    to French, trying new foods.”
                          Reid says that each of the Team
                    Macho members participating pro­
                    bably has a different take on what
                    made their visit so worthwhile. “I
                    think a common thread would be the
                    complete freedom, interest and sup­
                    port of everyone at Sid Lee. No ideas
                    needed approval, there was room for
                    a lot of creative spontaneity and no
                    subject was out­of­bounds. And it was
                    great meeting a lot of the characters
                    working at Sid Lee and getting to in­
                    clude references to our interactions
                    with them.
                          “Also, we really appreciated the
                    opportunity to travel to Montreal for
                    professional reasons. It’s nice every
                    once in a while to escape your context
                    and do what you do in a different place.
                    Especially a different place with such
                    good hot dogs.”




NOM DE LA SECTION                                              NOM DE LA SECTION
    - 38 -                                                         - 39 -
“this is reallY fun because i’d alwaYs dreamed of having


  Seat
                                    mY undies exposed in a gallerY in new York citY!”
                    “Some people were offended, some just              a new couch for the bistro, where we always
                    found it funny, some found it inspiring,”          lounge, sit around and take our little breaks.




CONCEITS
                    Roxana Zegan recalls of the debut of the Sit!      The first draft was just one big, white couch,
                    by Sid furniture line that she designed, at        and the only thing written on it was, ‘Get
                    the CITE Gallery during the ICFF (Inter­           your ass back to work.’
                    national Contemporary Furniture Fair) in                “Starting from that point, I thought,
                    New York City. “It’s boring when stuff is          there are so many funny expressions, such an
                    plain,” she continues, but as the reactions        interesting vocabulary revolving around the
  Roxana Zegan’s    she mentioned can attest, the backless             theme of the ass. Some are insults, some are
     SIT! BY SID
                    settees of Sit! had people sitting up and          just funny, but there’s a whole universe of ex­
                    taking note.                                       pression and cultural presentations—there
                         “It was my first attempt at a furniture       must be something to do with that. So it’s a
                    series,” says Zegan. Born in Romania to an         bit of an encyclopedia of everything around
                    Italian­Russian mom and a German­Polish            that subject.”
                    pop, she’s been a Montrealer since age 13               Other pieces take a similar approach to
                    and an art director at Sid Lee for four            the idea of the chair (“One of the most
                    years now.                                         iconic objects in design—everybody has an
                         “I’ve always had a very sarcastic and         interpretation or a drawing or an idea about
                    witty sense of humour,” she says, which            the chair, and this is mine”). Others still
                    explains her penchant for clever contrasts         appear to be stained. “They’re playing with
                    and juxtaposition.                                 the idea of having these really white spots,
                         “Taking this furniture that’s very clean,     these sterile environments, and coming with
                    nice and geometric, and printing something         these big drips of colour. It’s about putting a
                    on it that’s completely funny and outra­           smile on people’s faces and having them
                    geous. There’s a tendency in design, this          interact with the furniture.
                    over­pure, over­designed, over­simplified               “The other little series that I really
                    stuff. I’m against it. I’m making fun of mi­       had fun doing was about the lost object. It’s
                    nimalism.”                                         basically cushions that are white on the out­
                         And a lot more besides—or maybe               side, but when you turn them around, it’s a
                    behinds? The most immediately attention­           collection of the usual objects that you’d lose
                    grabbing Sit! pieces are covered in references     in your couch—your keys, your remote
                    to the human posterior, something that             control, your undies.
                    sprang to life when Sid Lee’s Montreal head­            “This is really fun because I’d always
                    quarters were being whipped into shape.            dreamed of having my undies exposed in a
                    “The first mandate that I had was to design        gallery in New York City!”




      SIT! BY SID                                               SIT! BY SID
       - 40 -                                                    - 41 -
Sound
                            DECISIONS
                                        Turbo Recordings’ Thomas Sontag
                                                   ON SID [LOVES] TURBO



                    “It’s a small, independent, mainly          we do, and they haven’t interfered in
                    electronic record label,” says Thomas       any way with the musical selections.”
                    Sontag of Montreal’s Turbo Recor­                 On the other hand, Sid Lee
                    dings, co­founded a decade ago by his       Collective offered Turbo a chance
                    brother, the globetrotting star DJ/         to pursue projects that would break
                    producer Tiga, and Mark Dillon,             away a bit from its distinctively stark
                    who’s now with Montreal’s Neon party        and minimal design aesthetic esta­
                    crew. “We’re very independent­min­          blished by the label’s original gra­
                    ded and I’d say pretty idiosyncratic in     phic designer, Benno Russell (who
                    our tastes.”                                went on to craft the unmistakable
                         Turbo’s got good taste, how­           branding for American Apparel).
                    ever idiosyncratic. Since establishing            The Sid [LOVES] Turbo link led
                    themselves with the Montreal Mix            to a compilation CD, a Valentine’s
                    Sessions discs, Turbo and its offshoots     party/photo exhibition with Paris ar­
                    Fabergé and White Leather have              tist Sweetlight, a video for Tiga and,
                    pushed the witty electro­cool of Tiga,      most importantly, the podcasts found
                    synth­funk revisionists Chromeo,            at sidlovesturbo.com. Programmed
                    upscale house producer Fred Every­          and hosted by different talents from
                    thing, Swedish tech­house titan Jes­        Turbo and its extensive spread of
                    per Dahlback and French Touch icon          like­minded friends, the podcasts are
                    Philippe Zdar—among many others,            graced by eye­popping visuals indica­
                    mostly in the vinyl format.                 ting the number of each episode,
                         “We don’t really stick to one for­     created by the Sid Lee Collective.
                    mula,” Sontag continues, “which can         Each episode now tallies thousands
                    often be a disadvantage. It’s difficult     of downloads.
                    to rack it and identify what it is. But           “As soon as I was on board at
                    I’m proud of that diversity and eclec­      Turbo, I suggested that we do a pod­
                    ticism, and it’s nice to work in an         cast together,” Sontag says. “Anytime
                    environment where the only pressure         there’s anyone who’ll push you to dif­
                    is self­imposed, and the decisions are      ferent crowds that you wouldn’t
                    all our own.”                               otherwise reach, especially in the
                         As 2007 rolled around, Sid Lee,        realm of advertising and marketing,
                    recognizing Turbo’s sky­high stan­          it’s a very helpful association.”
                    dards of quality and relevance, rea­              A helpful hook­up, and a durable
                    ched out to the label. On one hand,         one. “The audience is growing,” says
                    the hook­up would offer an audio            Sontag, “and we’ve reached that cri­
                    reflection of Sid Lee’s sensibility.        tical mass where we have a nice
                         “I think it’s ultimately much          archive and a good roster of artists
                    more interesting for them to be doing       who’ve done podcasts. We want it to
                    something a little risky, something         grow—where it goes from here, I
                    truly edgy,” Sontag observes, “and not      can’t really speculate on, but I have
                    just stuffing another Buddha Bar            no doubt that we’ll be doing more
                    down people’s throats. I respect that       projects in the future.”
                    move on their part. They value what



SID [LOVES] TURBO                                     NOM[LOVES] TURBO
                                                      SID DE LA SECTION
      - 42 -                                               - 43 -
Parallel
universes
                      Jean-François Bouchard’s
                               SECRET SOCIETIES


There’s an immediately diso­               I could see people doing high fi­
rienting quality to the photos in          ves—I thought of that as a tribe.
Jean­François Bouchard’s series               “I started going to strange
and exhibition Secret Societies.           events, and noticed that over
On the one hand, there’s an in­            and over again. Once, I went to
tense and vivid realism to them—           Las Vegas, to a porn convention,
even more so when presented                and I realized that some people
vastly oversized, their subjects           there—not people from the in­
life­size or larger.                       dustry, but consumers, fans,
    On the other hand, the images          however you call them—actually
couldn’t possibly be real, could           knew each other and would plan
they? These figures, whose ap­             their holidays to visit these
pearance, garb and behaviour               conventions. They formed a tribe,
seem utterly outlandish, like              albeit a very peculiar one.”
some strange cinematic hybrid                 The medievalists, fetishists,
of B­movie cool, operatic fantasy          porn and tattoo aficionados
and softcore sleaze, come to life          Bouchard captures on film
and run amok.                              constitute extended tribes. So
    The inhabitants of Secret Societies    do the pilgrims to events like
are real enough. Bouchard has              Burning Man in the Nevada de­
been among them, and who                   sert, or Mexico’s Day of the
knows, some of them might live             Dead. “Of course there are locals
right next door to you.                    that do this,” says Bouchard,
    “Nowadays, because of how              “but also people from all over the
communications and transporta­             world who keep coming back.”
tion technology have evolved,                 They’re just not tribes in
people can get together to share           the traditional anthropological
very peculiar interests,” Bouchard,        sense, dictated by blood, faith
the president of Sid Lee, obser­           or patches of land. They trans­
ves. He’s long been intrigued by           cend boundaries of race, lan­
gatherings of diverse crowds for           guage, creed and class. And they
reasons that might seem bizarre,           are growing.
even shocking to the general                  Which isn’t to say their doors
public—and their potential for             are wide open. Bouchard called
an intrepid photographer.                  the series “Secret Societies” for a
    It was at a tattoo convention          reason. “Some of these groups are
that the true picture became               quite easy to penetrate. Others
clear to Bouchard. “I realized             are quite opaque. They’re hard to
people had traveled from all over          get access to with a camera.”
the world to gather for this thing.           Some of these “tribesper­
Some of them knew each other,              sons” are escaping the burdens
but from two ends of the world.            of their ordinary lives, and har­




                                  SECRET SOCIETIES                               NOM DE LA SECTION
                                      - 44 -                                         - 45 -
“i immersed mYself in
                     those groups, and i felt
                     the viewers had to
                     immerse themselves too.”
                    dly want the outside world              realize that a secret, or parallel,
                    intruding on their sacred turf.         world exists.”
                    Others, conversely, are exposing            In February, 2008, Bouchard
                    their true selves to the world.         presented his work at Montreal’s
                    Such exhibitionism isn’t always         noted Fonderie Darling gallery,
                    in Bouchard’s favour. “You try          a spacious converted foundry.
                    to photograph people in their           “The whole place was transfor­
                    natural state, and all they’re          med. It was quite beautiful. Eve­
                    doing is trying to show off for         rything had been thought of,
                    the camera.”                            the musical soundtrack and all,
                        The bottom line is that trust       to set the mood.”
                    has to be earned, and that means            Most importantly, the photos
                    insinuating yourself into the           themselves were towering over­
                    community. No, Bouchard didn’t          sized prints, inescapable in their
                    get full sleeves of ink to put the      scope. “I immersed myself in
                    tattoo fans at ease, but…               those groups, and I felt the
                        “Sometimes it’s pretty close        viewers had to immerse them­
                    to that,” he says. “The medieva­        selves too.”
                    list people—if you don’t dress              The closing night fell on
                    like them, they don’t admit you         Saturday, February 28—the date
                    to the site. I had no choice. You       of the Montreal High Lights
                    have to walk the walk. If you           Festival’s Nuit Blanche all­nigh­
                    don’t, people don’t respect you.        ter across Montreal. The show
                    You’re a tourist, and they don’t        had two­block line­ups until
                    want to be photographed.”               dawn crept near. “My idea was
                        A fan of classic photojourna­       to make it even more mysterious
                    lism, Bouchard was adamant              by having people visit the exhi­
                    about sticking to black and white.      bition in the dark, with red flas­
                    “In that sense, my work is old          hlights.”
                    school,” he says, “but the subject,         Taking the exhibit to galle­
                    and how I approach it, is more          ries in Europe is just the begin­
                    progressive. Colours would dis­         ning of Bouchard’s plans for
                    tract from what I want to show.”        Secret Societies. He has some inte­
                        Bouchard also intentionally         resting ideas about presenta­
                    avoids explaining the specific          tion—they’ll remain for now,
                    whos, whats and wheres of his           appropriately enough, secret.
                    pictures, amplifying the enig­          And there are certainly more
                    matic nature of the images,             strange groups to investigate.
                    which can be seen online at             Bouchard says, “I don’t think
                    www.societessecretes.ca. “When          I’m ever going to photograph
                    you look at them as a whole, you        anything but this.”




NOM DE LA SECTION                                  SECRET SOCIETIES
    - 46 -                                             - 47 -
Fleeting
SEaTING
THE SLIGHTLY UNCOMFORTABLE CHAIR COLLECTION
by Louis-Thomas Pelletier and Gabrielle Saint-Pierre




                                               SUCC     SUCC
                                              - 48 -   - 49 -
waLLET FaCTOR SUGaR FIX                                                 GOTTaGO                              SPaCE INVaDER                  ROCKOCO                             TaLKING hEaD
“The seat is angled right to        “There’s one leg shorter than       “The back of the chair is at a bad   “It basically invades your     “It’s like a rocking chair but in  “It’s very, very low so there’s
left, so if you carry your wallet   the other ones, so you can fix it   angle, so you’re always on your      private space—you don’t want   the inverse way. It’s fun because only your head at the table.”
in your back pocket, it will        with a few packets of sugar.”       toes, as if you’re about to leave.   a chair to go there.”          it doesn’t stay. You have to put   - Louis-Thomas
equalize you. You’ll be stable.     - Gabrielle                         The perfect excuse—you’re            - Louis-Thomas                 it up to use it, and then you have
Your comfort depends on the                                             already in a position to go, so it                                  to keep it stable. Just looking at
thickness of your wallet.”                                              helps you make the move.”                                           it down on the floor, you know
- Louis-Thomas                                                          - Louis-Thomas                                                      it won’t be comfortable.”
                                                                                                                                            - Gabrielle




                                                   SUCC                                                                                                    SUCC
                                                  - 50 -                                                                                                  - 51 -
“Meetings are too long,”             “I remember when I was           would be very funny,” recalls        between the two (other than                The SUCC was unveiled at       in the fall of 2008, and in Milan
says Louis­Thomas Pelletier,         a kid, there was a rumour—I           Pelletier, “but then when we         that they’re both uncomfortable).     the 2008 SIDIM (Salon Interna­      next year. Could the SUCC,
a Rimouski­born Montrealer           don’t know if it was true—that        met with the people at Sid Lee       We wanted the chairs in the col­      tional du Design d’Intérieur de     with the discomfort dialed
who’s worked with Sid Lee            at McDonalds, the benches             Collective, they insisted—and        lection to look mostly the same,      Montréal) to surprisingly posi­     down a touch, become com­
for eight years, handling such       were made so that you wouldn’t        it made sense—that they also         but with slight differences.”         tive reactions. “We had some in­    monplace? “I think they’ll re­
contracts as Loto­Québec and         spend too much time there.”           be something very artful, some­            “They’re nice alone,” conclu­   terest, people pointing at them     main as uncomfortable as they
Societé des Alcools du Québec.            From that thought came           thing that would be worthy of        des Saint­Pierre, “but nicer with     and laughing,” Pelletier recalls.   are right now,” says Pelletier. “I
     “I became a creative direc­     the idea for the Slightly Uncom-      design magazines. Not only this      their family.”                        “Some guy said to me, ‘Man, I       don’t think we’ll compromise on
tor a few years ago and I realized   fortable Chair Collection. “It’s an   weird idea, but something for­             The trick was generating        smoke pot and have long hair,       that. But I can see corporations
that increasingly, I was spending    evolution of that, but with an        mally beautiful.”                    mild irritation, not outright tor­    but you’re crazy!’ Some people      buying some for their conferen­
a lot of time in meetings. Even­     artistic twist.”                           “We had a choice for the        ture. “I like the fact that some­     asked to buy them, perhaps in       ce rooms and boardrooms—to
tually, I thought, we should find         Pelletier’s idea was convin­     design,” says Saint­Pierre, “to go   times the discomfort is physical,     different colours, and how much     make a point, a reminder to their
a way to make them shorter. We       cing enough that his superiors        more aesthetic or more concep­       like with the Rococo, rocking         they were, and we didn’t know       employees. There is a potential
waste a lot of time in meetings.     at Sid Lee suggested he bring         tual. We chose to go conceptual,     side to side,” says Pelletier, “and   what to answer yet.”                market for it, a niche market—
That’s obvious to anyone who’s       it to fruition with the help of       that’s why the chairs are so slick   sometimes it’s psychological, like         “A woman came up to me,”       but I don’t see them being dis­
ever worked at an agency. We         Quebec City­born Gabrielle            and archetypal. Really, really       the Talking Head, which makes         says Saint­Pierre, “and said,       tributed through Ikea.”
would gain a lot of productivity     Saint­Pierre, a new designer at       simple. I asked to have that         you the dwarf at the table.”          ‘Oh… my… God. That’s what I’ve
if we had shorter meetings.”         the company who, like Pelletier,      slick finish, a classy element to          “That’s the concept—slightly    been looking for. I sent a letter
     That got Pelletier to thin­     has a knack for making the best       contrast with the uncomforta­        uncomfortable. Just a bit,” says      to my company to say that mee­
king about the direction of­         of physical spaces. A key fac­        ble aspect.”                         Saint­Pierre. “At first, you’re not   tings are too long.’ She’d made
fice furniture was taking—in­        tor for the SUCC was that the              “We wanted them to look         that bad, but after five minutes,     a financial plan to explain how
creasingly soft and pneumatic        chairs should be uncomfortable        like they’re a family,” Pelletier    it’s really uncomfortable.            much money they lost during the
chairs that one could easily fall    but not ugly.                         points out. “We didn’t want to             “A meeting should be just       meetings. That was perfect.”
asleep in (“Sometimes I have,             “We started working and          make one chair and then another,     as long as you can sit on those            The SUCC appears at the
actually,” says Pelletier).          came up with many models that         and you wouldn’t see the link        chairs,” adds Pelletier.              new Sid Lee store in Amsterdam




                                                   SUCC                                                                                                                SUCC
                                                  - 52 -                                                                                                              - 53 -
hI
                    TECh,
                    LOw
                    TECh,
                    NEw
                    TECh
                     Alain Mongeau
                     ON SID LEE AND MUTEK




NOM DE LA SECTION        SID LE AND MUTEK
    - 54 -                    - 55 -
Since 2000, Montreal has been hosting the                    “We benefited from that by having Shobo­
annual MUTEK festival, a smorgasbord of cut­           Shobo programmed into the festival. We did a
ting­edge, often highly experimental electronic        night with them, co­presented by Sid Lee and
music and arts. It was initially an offshoot of        MUTEK, and during that same night, Sid Lee
the city’s International Festival of New Cinema        Collective also oversaw a stuffed­toy workshop,”
and New Media, or FCMM, of which MUTEK                 Mongeau says with a chuckle. Not an obvious
founder Alain Mongeau was artistic director,           choice, perhaps, but the low­tech, hands­on par­
but it quickly became its own beast, bringing          ticipatory element played a nice counterpoint
in such notable talent as Pole, Coil, Matmos,          to MUTEK’s highly digitized and at times
Señor Coconut, Richie Hawtin and Ricardo               distanced programming.
Villalobos.                                                  “This year, we did somewhat the same
     By 2005, MUTEK had branched out to                thing. The collaboration happened from the
creating events internationally, notably in New        Wednesday to the Friday, in the happy­hour
York City, Berlin and across Latin America. But        slot.” Plans to bring up an Argentine art collective
in 2007, the festival team decided they needed a       fell through, but the Sid Lee Collective team did
facelift of sorts. That’s where Sid Lee came into      their part, conducting a fanzine workshop.
the picture.                                                 “The intersection with Sid Lee Collective
     “We approached them to relaunch, in a way,        hasn’t existed very long, but what’s interes­
our image, our graphic signature,” says Mongeau.       ting is how it opens up new dimensions for us.
“We wanted to refresh it, make it more dynamic.        The exchange between Sid Lee Collective and
Each year, they put new resources at our disposal.     MUTEK is much bigger than it appears. We
We feel very well handled by their contributions,      trade ideas and connections. Last year, for ins­
by both their reading of what MUTEK could be,          tance, we brought in the Pictoplasma people
and what they’ve delivered.”                           from Berlin, and they’ve stayed in touch since.
     With Sid Lee Collective, which Mongeau            We also put Sid Lee in touch with the Trimarchi
calls the marketing firm’s “creative incubator,”       DG (a design convention in Argentina).
the cooperation has gone beyond just ad and                  “It’s a young relationship, so I think we’ve
Web design. In 2007, as part of their Blackboard       just scratched the surface of what’s possible. Sid
project, the collective brought French art group       Lee has a certain flair, and so does MUTEK, and
ShoboShobo to Montreal (read more about it             I think the two are compatible, so we can enrich
elsewhere in this zine).                               each other.”




                                             NOM DE LA SECTION                                                NOM DE LA SECTION
                                                 - 56 -                                                           - 57 -
The citing                                                   that Montreal is the only North          changed my mind and said, may­

 IS ON ThE waLL                                                                  American city with a municipal­
                                                                                 level design commission, on top
                                                                                 of its numerous design events
                                                                                                                          be it would be good to expose
                                                                                                                          them in the middle of the street
                                                                                                                          during an event. Each year, we
                             Hélène Godin                                        and institutions.                        have a big fashion and design
                     ON THE SID LEE COLLECTIVE POSTERS                                Don’t bust out the cham­            event called the Fashion Week.”
              FOR MONTREAL’S UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN DESIGNATION                   pagne just yet, though. “To me,”              Negotiations with the di­
                                                                                 says Godin, “it’s more of a spring­      rectors of Fashion Week quickly
                                                                                 board than an award. Like, we’re         bore fruit. “We approached it as
Every city worth its salt has               creative director and partner at     proud but we can’t just sit back.        a mini­exhibition, where people
its own code, its idiosyncratic             Sid Lee, where she’s worked for      No, it’s a challenge.”                   were given information about
cryptography of catchphrases                eight years), Godin prefers to get        A challenge Godin was all           each design. You know, they we­
and collective memories, places             around by bicycle, weather per­      too eager to accept. “The award          ren’t for advertising, so someti­
and personalities. Such a code              mitting, as do many other Mon­       doesn’t mean anything if people          mes, you could look at them and
can’t be cracked with a pocket­             trealers.                            don’t do anything with it.               think, wow, it’s nice—but what
sized guidebook. No, one has to                  “Those are my creative mo­           “It’s a way to be seen by other     does it mean?
gradually absorb the details of             ments,” Godin says of her daily      cities. We’re not the capital of              “We went, the whole gang,
the city, connecting the dots and           commutes on the city’s criss­        design yet, but we have the peo­         with our white jumpsuits and
interpreting the patterns that              crossing bike lanes. “I’m in my      ple and the creativity here in this      glue buckets, to paste them up
emerge.                                     creative bubble.”                    city to become more visible.”            by hand on plywood sheets. We
      Montreal, in the Canadian                  In a bubble, but not unaware.        As anyone from the grimiest         made an event of it on the spot.”
province of Quebec, is certainly            Her sidelong glances register        punk­rock promoter to the slic­               Architects and industrial
worth its salt—and one can find             countless clues and signals—         kest liquor importer can tell you,       designers might scoff at the no­
plenty of the useful mineral,               buildings and landmarks, gran­       one of the best means of achie­          tion that something as scrappy
melting away the road­top ice               diose graffiti and plastered pu­     ving visibility is the poster—so         and ephemeral as a pasted­up
brought by the heavy winters                blicity, colourful characters and    a poster series, celebrating             poster could be a key player in
that are among Montreal’s many              familiar faces. “You understand      UNESCO’s nod to Montreal, is             constructing a city’s long­term
defining characteristics. Another           the culture of a city through tho­   what Godin proposed to the Sid           identity. Godin would strongly
is its intricate tapestry of langua­        se things,” she says.                Lee team.                                disagree. To her, graphic design,
ges, faiths and cultures. French is              In 2006, UNESCO—the                  “The first idea was heading         often underappreciated, is an es­
predominant, but it leaves room             United Nations Educational,          out with glue and putting them           sential component.
for everyone else—trilingual                Scientific and Cultural Orga­        up around the city,” Godin re­                “It’s a part of the persona­
residents abound.                           nization—ranked Montreal as          calls, “but we didn’t want to get        lity of the city. Think of New
      Hélène Godin certainly                only the third, after Berlin and     arrested! We would have had to           York City with its yellow cabs.
knows Montreal’s code. A life­              Buenos Aires, of its “Cities of      get permits and everything. So I         Someone, somewhere, decided
long resident of the city (and a            Design.” A wise choice, given




                           MONTREAL: UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN                                                      NOM DE LA SECTION
                                      - 58 -                                                                        - 59 -
that the cabs would be yellow.              “Expo 67 changed the face
Now they’re icons.                     of the city. It was a 180­degree
     “It’s more difficult to spot      turn. After that, people around
the icons in Montreal, but sure        the world could put Montreal
enough, they’re there.”                on the map, in terms of design.”
     The Sid Lee team was                   One poster has a portrait of
tasked with finding and cele­          Mayor Jean Drapeau, in office in
brating those icons in a series        1967, laid over a collage of Expo
of posters. Some chose subjects        67 postcards. “For some people,
that were mundane, maybe even          he was a great mayor, for others,
a bit trashy. Montreal’s dubious       the worst,” Godin shrugs. “But
delicacy, poutine—French fries         today, we can say he did some­
with cheese curds and gravy,           thing.”
popular with late­night party­              Drapeau did several things,
goers—earned a poster, as did          actually. He green­lighted the Big
the city’s notorious potholes.         O, the stadium built for the 1976
Sid Lee’s Roxana Zegan, paint          Summer Olympics. That impo­
and brushes in hand, literally hit     sing structure, and also architect
the street to conjure beauty out       Moishe Safdie’s bizarre, blocky
of cracked asphalt.                    Habitat 67 apartment com­
     “We usually see potholes          plex, are cleverly shown anew
as an accident, or something           as assemble­yourself kits, not
unpleasant, so these,” she says,       unlike Ikea instruction sheets,
holding up Zegan’s trio of abs­        on two of the Sid Lee posters.
tract photo­posters, “are ano­              Other posters are more
ther way to see them.”                 current, capitalizing on what
     Other designers had hi­           Godin calls “our vernacular lan­
gher, even historical intentions.      guage of design—with an accent
A key resource was the vesti­          on our multiculturalism.” One,
gial remains of Expo 67, the           for instance, offers a series of
World Fair hosted by Montreal          flags. The black one bisected
in 1967. The fair’s various pan­       by a green bar with a white
national pavilions, so futuristic      dot in the middle? That’s from
in appearance, still capture the       Montreal’s Métro, or subway
imagination.                           system, maps. The red, white
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            QUAND LES DESIGNERS S’AFFICHENT,             CATHERINE LAPORTE / HÉLÈNE GODIN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MONTRÉAL VILLE UNESCO DE DESIGN S’AFFIRME.




                                                                                   D101989_0000_Affiches_72x96_Lapo4 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                      07-05-23 15:08:07




                                                                                               CYAN                       MAGENTA                     YELLOW              BLACK            Affiche 6’ x 8’                             InDesign    CS1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   CS2
                                                                                   D101989_0000_Affiche_72x96_Laporte JP/PG                                                                	          Montage à 25 % du format final
                                                                                   SIDLEE COLLECTIVE                  PAGE                                                                            Épreuve à 58 % du montage         Typo vérifiée
                                                                                                                                                                                               Impression finale à 400 %                 Photos vérifiées
                                                                                   22.05.2007                         ÉPREUVE 1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         R.‑C.
                                                                                      Rédaction              Directeur    Direction     Service à       Client   Production   Correction                     Commentaires
                                                                                                            de création   artistique   la clientèle                           d’épreuves                                                 Collecté sur CD
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Catherine Laporte
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Envoyé sur FTP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Date : 00.05.07




                             NOM DE LA SECTION                              MONTREAL: UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN
                                 - 60 -                                                - 61 -
and blue stripes are taken from     them at a design conference in
                                  the jerseys of the Canadiens,       Argentina. “There was a second
                                  the local hockey team. Two          life for them in Buenos Aires,
                                  orange stripes framing a white      and there might be a third life
                                  space—hey, that’s from the sign     too—I’ve started up another
                                  of the famous Schwartz’s deli on    poster project. Maybe we’ll get
                                  Boulevard St­Laurent, the city’s    to Berlin to present those!
                                  main thoroughfare.                       “We just did it to celebrate
                                       Further posters employed       Montreal, and whoops,” she
                                  design language, such as serif      laughs, “it became something
                                  and sans serif typefaces, re­       even bigger!”
                                  created out of elements of the
                                  Montreal cityscape—a frag­
                                  ment of the Champlain Bridge,
                                  for example. Others still drew
                                  stark, black­on­white abstracts
                                  out of sections of the city map,
                                  such as the Turcot interchange
                                  and trainyards.
                                       Several posters were in fact
                                  pages from various ethnic com­
                                  munity newspaper pages, with
                                  Montreal icons silkscreened
                                  on them—“the links between
                                  all these communities,” says
                                  Godin, who has since been invi­
                                  ted to be on the administrative
                                  board of Heritage Montreal,
                                  the city’s municipal preserva­
                                  tion commission.
                                       Links, in fact, are the true
                                  motive of the UNESCO City of
                                  Design initiative, one that Sid
                                  Lee didn’t miss out on, taking
                                  the posters down to present




MONTREAL: UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN
           - 62 -
NEXT,
                    PLEaSE!
                    WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
                    FOR SID LEE COLLECTIVE

                    Freaky furniture,                        Rather more mysterious,          by the inviting Blackboard bar,
                    innovative art,                     and very guerrilla in approach,       a great place to grab a coffee or
                                                        is Sid Lee Collective’s enigma­       perhaps a beer, and the Sid Lee
                    cool collaborations,                tic assemblage of public pranks       Collective boutique. That’s the
                    wonders of the Web                  and puzzling performance art,         place to shop for the unmista­
                                                        les Fourmis (“the Ants”). The         kable housewares, clothing, pu­
                    —in two short years, Sid Lee        less said the better, but citizens    blications and more that come
                    Collective has conjured up a ca­    of Montreal and beyond can ex­        care of the Sid Lee Collective.
                    valcade of creativity. The story    pect to soon be confronted by         Choose your favourites and
                    doesn’t end here, though, not by    strange little alterations of their   take them home in our distinc­
                    a long shot.                        day­to­day environment, desi­         tive shopping bags—count on
                         Several of the projects des­   gned to confuse, provoke and          stares of jealousy on the street,
                    cribed in this zine continue        perhaps even enlighten.               though!
                    to evolve. The world hasn’t              The Blackboard project is              Among the worthy products
                    seen the last of the Slightly       by its very nature a fountain of      on display, you may well spot Sid
                    Uncomfortable Chair Collec­         perpetual possibilities, and whi­     Lee Collective’s new Doodle
                    tion, which will be on display      le what’s been drawn so far will      lamp series. Don’t worry, no
                    in Milan in the spring of 2008.     have been erased by the time          small burrowing mammals were
                    The globologos.com website is,      you read this, the works have         harmed—the lampshades are
                    if anything, only getting star­     been preserved in the forth­          caked with sketches and scrib­
                    ted—if you’ve got crazy creative    coming Blackboard book.               bles drawn from the Moleskin
                    ideas of your own, don’t hesitate        Where can you find the           notebooks Sid Lee staffers are
                    to upload them, it’s your website   book—and even a blackboard            often seen scribbling in when
                    as much as anyone else’s.           bar, to chalk up a few funny          brainstorming.
                         Another round of posters       ideas of your own? At the Sid               You might also soon grab
                    saluting Montreal’s UNESCO          Lee Collective space in Amster­       one of Sid Lee Collective’s sar­
                    City of Design designation is in    dam, itself the biggest news of       donic Bone Dry Greetings cards,
                    the works too. Speaking of pos­     the moment for the collective.        for that not­so­special person in
                    ters, when in Montreal, keep an          Painstakingly designed to        your life—a close friend or im­
                    eye out for another such pro­       be both sleek and crafty, the         minent enemy, someone who
                    ject, uniting Sid Lee Collective    space is far more than just a         deserves a poke in the eye rather
                    with Mouvement Art Public,          European business outpost for         than a pat on the back. Hallmark,
                    a non­profit initiative to bring    Sid Lee.                              watch your back!
                    high art to the general popula­          Tread its cozy timber floors           Whether shopping for your
                    tion using mass­media methods       and you’ll find an art gallery with   home, soaking up some fascina­
                    usually reserved for advertising.   pieces by staffers and friends        ting art or just grabbing a quick
                    Some 800 public display spaces      of Sid Lee—Shary Boyle’s fan­         espresso with a friend, the Sid
                    in Mexico—bus shelters, subway      tastical porcelain works, Julie       Lee Collective creative space is
                    station walls—will be graced by     Doucet’s wild collages and Team       the place to do it. Expect qua­
                    works that include 10 new pos­      Macho’s twisted doodles among         lity, originality and above all the
                    ters from Sid Lee Collective.       them. The gallery is bookended        unexpected!




NOM DE LA SECTION                                                    NEXT, PLEASE!
    - 64 -                                                             - 65 -
CONTACT INFORMATION

Ateliers:	      Montreal
                75 Queen Street, Suite 1400
                Montreal, Quebec
                H3C 2N6
                Canada
                Phone: +1 514-282-2200
                Amsterdam
                Gerard Doustraat 72
                1072 VV Amsterdam
                The Netherlands
                Phone: +31 (0) 206 623030
                Paris
                12 rue du Sentier
                75 002 Paris
                France
                Phone: +33 (1) 44 88 83 90
                Toronto
                55 Mill Street
                Building 5 , Suite 500
                Toronto, Ontario
                M5A 3C4
                Canada
                Phone: +1 416 ­ 421-4200
                Austin
                Suite D­102
                3601 South Congress
                Austin, Texas 78704
                United States
                Phone: +1 512 ­ 444-3533

Websites:       sidlee.com
                sidleearchitecture.com
                jimmylee.tv




                                              NOM DE LA SECTION
                                                  - 67 -
fanzine
Another




          NOM DE LA SECTION
              - 68 -

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SID LEE COLLECTIVE | Presentation

  • 1. SID LEE COLLECTIVE The Sid Lee creative incubator and its projects - 1 - NOM DE LA SECTION
  • 2. SID LEE COLLECTIVE The Sid Lee creative incubator and its projects. / Another SID LEE fanzine SID LEE COLLECTIVE - 4 ALVARO PÉREZ DEL SOLAR - 12 SID’S KITCHEN - 16 SCHLOF - 18 GLOBOLOGOS - 20 MARS ET AVRIL - 26 BLACKBOARDS - 30 SIT! BY SID - 36 SID [LOVES] TURBO - 38 SECRET SOCIETIES - 40 SUCC - 44 SID LEE AND MUTEK - 50 MONTREAL: UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN - 54 NEXT, PLEASE! - 61 CREDITS - 62 NOM DE LA SECTION - 2 -
  • 3. NOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 4 - - 5 -
  • 4. SID LEE COLLECTIVE SID LEE COLLECTIVE - 6 - - 7 -
  • 5. Think of Sid Lee Collective as an incubator As the term “collective” suggests, accepted that allows our team to push the boundaries of projects can draw in designers and creative creativity even further, by initiating cultural directors from the wide range of staff at Sid and commercial projects in the fields of the Lee, to push the idea to the finish line and give visual arts, industrial design, music, publishing it exposure. Sid Lee’s infrastructure allows these and more. The predecessor of this incubator was ideas to materialize amid the company’s daily an in-house project called After Hours, through activities—a win-win situation for everyone! which employees could submit personal projects Sid Lee Collective also owns and operates to a committee and, if accepted, receive a bursary. a Creatvity Emporium in Amsterdam. Open to the public, the space caters to creative minds with its store, gallery and café/bar. SID LEE COLLECTIVE SID LEE COLLECTIVE - 8 - - 9 -
  • 6. Since the beginning of the initiative, two paths have gradually come to intersect at Sid Lee Collective. One is artistic, allowing the creators to pursue their flights of fancy through publications, installations and exhibitions throughout Montreal and on to New York City, Amsterdam and farther still. The other path, which has grown stronger in the last year, is commercial. It includes the development of furniture, kitchenware and T-shirts, for starters, which will find their way to the shelves of the new Sid Lee Collective boutique in Amsterdam. The purpose of this busy activity is to ultimately give birth to a distinct Sid Lee Collective brand, versatile enough to incorporate fashion and furnishings, music and videos. SID LEE COLLECTIVE SID LEE COLLECTIVE - 10 - - 11 -
  • 7. Art whILE YOU waIT Alvaro Pérez del Solar AT SID LEE COLLECTIVE GALLERY Even a short wait in the reception area of most businesses can be a trying experience. It’s hard to relieve tedium with magazines that seem as though they were purposefully written to be as boring as possible, and only a botanist can stare at a potted fern for longer than a few seconds. This isn’t the case at Sid Lee’s Montreal head­ quarters. Along the wall of the hallway facing the reception desk is what’s called the Sid Lee Collective Gallery, and its rotating exhibitions by artists from inside and outside Sid Lee would put many a full­scale art gallery to shame. The notorious Roadsworth, a clandestine Canadian street artist whose clever, guerrilla­style alterations of public spaces—walls, sidewalks, civil structures—are in the tradition of the U.K.’s celebrated Banksy, had his works on display at the Sid Lee Collective Gallery. More recently, it’s the paintings of Alvaro Pérez del Solar, an art director at Sid Lee, that have filled the walls. Hailing from Lima, Peru, Montreal­based Pérez del Solar draws on the folk art and magic realism of his Latino roots and weaves that together with a very current and global graffiti sensibility, and a knack for lively, vivid compositions. His works will also hang at the Sid Lee Collective gallery in Amsterdam in November 2008. “My work explores the dark side of the human experience with a characteristically surreal sense of humour,” says Pérez del Solar, “creating worlds that are often disturbing—but delightfully so. Body parts are sliced off with childlike abandon, vibrant colours fly in the face of mortality, and terror, never tamed, is unbridled to the point of something resembling joy.” The title of Pérez del Solar’s exhibition at Sid Lee Collective Gallery is Lindas Pesadillas. “The name translates to ‘pretty nightmares,’” he explains. “The work, therefore, represents that constant juxtaposition of beauty and terror, joy and hideousness. ‘O death, where is thy sting?’ In my exhibition, death is far more likely to ask you to dance.” COMPLEXGEOMETRIES NOM DE LA SECTION ALVARO PÉREZ DEL SOLAR - 12 - - 13 -
  • 8. ALVARO PÉREZ DEL SOLAR ALVARO PÉREZ DEL SOLAR - 14 - - 15 -
  • 9. the concept THE SID LEE COLLECTIVE SCOOTER Hugely popular amongst scooter aficionados, the MP3 is an engineering marvel. Design­wise, it could use a little help. What if a gang of creatives had their way with it? This project is the fruit of a collaboration between Sid Lee Collective, the R&D department, and the über­creative Sid Lee team. Hand in hand, a group of artisans from our Montreal office set out to reinvent the MP3. The end product: Cyclop. MARS ET AVRIL MARS ET AVRIL - 16 - - 17 -
  • 10. MARS ET AVRIL MARS ET AVRIL - 18 - - 19 -
  • 11. Food for Thought, ThOUGhTS FOR FOOD Marie-Elaine Benoit ON SID’S KITCHEN Perhaps you remember those special bowls and “We brainstormed about everything we could dishes from your childhood, the ones your mom put on them, and settled on quotes, illustrated used to dupe you into eating unwelcome dinner quotes on nutrition and food.” choices. Maybe they had a clown or a bunny rab­ Benoit, a native of Granby, Quebec, who’s bit printed at the bottom—eat all the pureed been with Sid Lee since 2002, isn’t the type to squash and you’ll see the bunny! A dirty trick, leave the type plain. “When I was young, I was but an effective one, time and time again. always drawing typefaces and logos in my note­ Hopefully you’re enjoying your dinners books for school.” more today, but it’s still fun to find a surprise That explains why the dishes use handcraf­ hidden underneath. In the case of the Sid’s ted typefaces and graphics, playfully knitted Kitchen line of tableware, you’ll uncover a little together. “The quotes were chosen for being food for thought. visually inspirational, for telling a story about “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it food or digestion. The idea at first was to invite to food,” says one piece, borrowing a bon mot a lot of illustrators to draw the different quotes from old­time American comedian W.C. Fields, and collections, but finally we only did two renowned for his fondness for alcohol. different collections.” Other pieces quote celebrated American Benoit herself handles one group, using a writers like Mark Twain (“Part of the secret to subtle grey­on­grey scheme, while the other, more success in life is to eat what you like and let the colourful line was crafted by Valerie Picard. food fight it out inside”) and Ambrose Bierce “The dishes are made in Portugal, good (“Good to eat and wholesome to digest, as a porcelain—high­class dishes,” says Benoit. worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a “They’re dishes you can use every day, but on pig, a pig to a man, a man to a worm”). special days too.” “We decided to design a collection of The final test came when Benoit dined off dishes—plates, bowls, coffee cups,” says the dishes herself. “I tried it,” she says, “and I Sid Lee’s Marie­Élaine Benoit, a key player liked it!” in the creation of the Sid’s Kitchen lines. SID’S KITCHEN SID’S KITCHEN - 20 - - 21 -
  • 12. Pillow Talk Eva V den Bulcke’s an SCHLOF “You could even have people who are politicallY opposed and put them in the same bed, because we’re equal in our sleep.” It’s perhaps unsurprising that an art project Straddling her subjects, Van Den Bulcke would on the theme of sleep should have sprung from snap a few shots before her subjects opened their a bout of insomnia, from which Eva Van Den eyes—in some cases, it was their first meeting. Bulcke suffered several years ago. “Whenever I While pondering possible presentations of her was sleeping with friends or boyfriends or whate­ portraits—oversize prints on blankets, hung ver­ ver, I would always watch them because I couldn’t tically, perhaps—Van Den Bulcke ran a few tests sleep,” says Belgian­born Van Den Bulcke, who’s on pillowcases. The bulkiness gave the images an been with the Sid Lee team for a decade and a artificial depth—“a trompe l’oeil effect”—and she partner for three. realized she’d found her medium. “I envied them because they could sleep, “It’s not like art that you only see in a gal­ but on the other hand, it was interesting to look lery. It becomes an object you can play with, an at them without them knowing. They had no everyday object. The funny part is the part I like, expressions. I thought that was kind of pure, I felt because art can be too serious.” I could see them as they really were for once.” The series of pillowcase portraits was chris­ A photographer since her early teens (“by 13, tened Schlof, and a store­window exhibition on I had my own darkroom and spent all my time Boulevard St­Laurent in Montreal spun out into in there,” she recalls), Van Den Bulcke recogni­ on­the­spot commissions. While the industrial zed what inherently fascinating, honest and coo­ turnover and faked sleep of her subjects were perative subjects sleeping people might be. She hardly ideal, she’s proud of the funds she raised gradually established a pattern for portrait shots, for Dans La Rue, a Montreal organization for many of which were of complete strangers—an homeless youth. Installations in New York City etiquette for an intimate, even invasive process. and Quebec City followed. “They would know I was coming several days Van Den Bulcke hasn’t put Schlof to bed quite before, I would have a key or they would leave their yet. The idea of taking the process abroad appeals door unlocked. I would arrive when the sun was to her. “You could even have people who are rising, go into their room very quietly, open the politically opposed and put them in the same bed, curtains to have natural lighting, and then—well, because we’re equal in our sleep.” some people sleep very deeply and others are very anxious in their sleep, they wake up very easily.” SCHLOF SCHLOF - 22 - - 23 -
  • 13. Website of OUTTa-SIGhT INSIGhTS Jacques Languirand and Kristian Manchester ON GLOBOLOGOS.COM GLOBOLOGOS GLOBOLOGOS - 24 - - 25 -
  • 14. “Interesting, useful and amusing— the Expo 67 World Fair in Montreal. Among that target demographic, 13 years and I did about eight years of in any order.” That’s what renowned Since 1971, Languirand has hos­ Languirand attracted the attention of purely Web stuff,” says Manchester. Montrealer Jacques Languirand requi­ ted his radio show, Par 4 chemins, on the Sid Lee team’s Kristian Manchester, “I saw all kinds of experimental sites res each of his many creative efforts Radio­Canada. Formerly a nightly fix­ who proposed a highly interactive web­ that unfortunately were often based on to be, whether on stage, on air, on film, ture on French­language radio, it’s now site drawing based on Languirand’s cool graphics, nice visuals, and a small on paper or now, in the case of the a weekly, four­hour Sunday broadcast. writings, themes and ideas. idea—no substance. So the goal was to globologos.com website on which he Supplemented with musical moments, “I liked their approach, I found it grab good substance and make a nice, collaborated with Sid Lee, online. it’s an unhurried hike through a lands­ very interesting, and I was flattered,” experiential site which had that candy­ Reclining amid the lush greenery cape of ideas, from the social to the recalls Languirand. “It would be a good coated approach where you want to dive on the rooftop patio of his Westmount ecological and on to the spiritual. Par 4 way to reach young people. I left [the in and have what Jacques calls an ‘ini­ home/archive/studio, Languirand is too chemins has such a firm following that Sid Lee team] complete liberty. They tiatory voyage,’ where you get lost and humble when he calls himself “a jack­ it’s earned, yes, a Guinness record for were the ones who chose the themes. learn stuff. of­all­trades, master of none.” the longest­running show by one host For me, it was very stimulating and “We want to trick the consumer. This playwright, professor, essayist, on one station. helpful, leading me to be more rigorous People see it and say, wow, that’s just broadcaster, actor and explorer of ideas, “It’s become something—not a with my show—I said to myself, if these a great Flash site, but all of a sudden, is a recipient of the Order of Canada. phenomenon, but something a bit out of people need this information, I have to they’re confronted with these thought­ He took to radio at 18 while “in exile” in the ordinary,” muses Languirand. “The work hard on it. provoking texts. Paris in 1949, and since then has made idea is to be useful and agreeable. I use “I don’t intervene much in the “Nobody would ever hear of this his mark as a maverick intellect across the show as a platform to pass along lots concepts they bring out. I react, but project seeing the light of day, as there’s the spectrum of print, broadcast and per­ and lots of information. I have many I don’t interfere, because it’s their no economic value or purpose, no payoff formance media in Quebec and Canada, older listeners, of my generation, but my concept, their project.” other than just giving content back to among other things with his projects at target is really the young people.” “I’ve been in communications for the Web. That’s why I’m so happy about GLOBOLOGOS GLOBOLOGOS - 26 - - 27 -
  • 15. Sid Lee Collective having the vision to the condensation of the texts.” were submitted for most themes, exam­ All the local directors and a couple of back me up on this.” “Of course we’re not covering the ples being the fascinating subculture artists got together—it was very organic The initial challenge was distil­ subjects entirely,” says Languirand, “but photos of Louis­Thomas Pelletier’s hila­ and fresh. We’d like to have it be part ling Languirand’s wide­ranging and the major things are there, and they can rious short film for “Self­Indulgence” and of a couple of different festivals. We’re expansive ideas to their essence, and be useful—tools to think!” Julien Vallée’s confounding, delightful trying to export this little group and dividing them into a series of themes “And all the hyperlinks are there,” animated clip for “Insanity.” see how other, international artists can of human experience, each defined by adds Manchester, referring to the “fur­ Some themes, however, offer only graft themselves to it. It’s one of those a single word—Action, Hope, Chronos, ther reading” links each theme includes. a “submit artwork” link, and it’s there things where you’ve planted it, you hope Adaptation, Consumption, Destiny and The next step was a structure that that the real purpose of globologos.com it grows and adds up, and we’re already 14 more. made exploring the themes fun. That becomes clear. It’s not their website, it’s seeing that. The name “Globologos” means “a quite literally evolved from the idea, theirs and yours and everyone’s. “I don’t want to give the impression world of ideas and meaning,” and the relating of each topic to a cute micro­ “We kind of want it to be another that we have all the knowledge, that we meaning of each word is taken very organism, creating a playful cartoon form of Wikipedia,” says Manchester, know about everything,” says Languirand. seriously. “A lot of people just grab landscape of neat characters represen­ “where people can contribute to the the­ “We know about some things here and a word, take the first level of meaning ting the themes. The critters and their mes, send artwork and new links, and there, but please, if you have something to and use that to sell something,” says world were crafted by Spanish artist/ build up this community­based thing. say, say it. Express yourself!” Manchester. designer Martin Allais, and an evocative What we need now is a way to commu­ Not so with Globologos. “Each yet unobtrusive soundscape was added nicate that, to get it out in the open.” word could have a 10­page document at­ by Simon Williams. A good start in that respect are tached, but we wanted it to be concise, The completed realm of Globolo­ public, in­the­flesh events. “We created for the Web format. That was a challen­ gos wasn’t the final product, but really this evening at the SAT (Societé des ge for Jean­François Alain, who did all just the beginning. Interesting artworks Arts Technologiques, in Montreal). GLOBOLOGOS GLOBOLOGOS - 28 - - 29 -
  • 16. The two volumes of the Mars et Avril Jacob Obus, an aging musician beloved books written—and, one is tempted to for his romantic tunes but, paradoxi­ add, directed—by Montrealer Martin cally, a man who has never known the Villeneuve seem scientifically enginee­ love of a woman. red to create headaches for librarians In addition, Villeneuve netted ac­ and bookstores. On which shelf does tress Marie­Josée Croze (who’d appea­ one rack a hybrid, a chimera, a clever red in Atom Egoyan’s Ararat and Lives on mingling of theatrical script, comic Spielberg’s Munich) and actor/musician MaRS book, romantic photo­novel, philoso­ Paul Ahmarani, the star of Philippe phical treatise, graphic design exercise Falardeau’s 2000 film La Moitié gauche and science fiction novel about the du frigo. The second Mars et Avril book, conquest of Mars? À la poursuite du fantasme (released in “At first, to be frank, I didn’t know 2006 alongside a new edition of the what medium would best serve the first volume) upped the ante with the story that I was writing,” says Villeneu­ inclusion of no less than Robert Lepage, Martin Villeneuve’s MARS ET AVRIL ve, who was barely out of his teens internationally renowned for his when, almost a decade ago, the seeds groundbreaking theatre work. of the first Mars et Avril book, ultima­ While he wasn’t worried about tely launched in 2002, were sown. A inflated egos, Villeneuve did recognize student of both cinema and graphic the creative potency of his participants design, he sought something in as something he couldn’t simply ignore between—and beyond. or suppress. “Once I wrote a first draft,” Ville­ “I tried to stay open to the indivi­ neuve says, “I asked myself, okay, is it duals I was working with, as much as going to be a comic book, a film, a no­ possible, because these people are uni­ vel? At one point, I said, man, it could verses in themselves. They’re strong be a combination of all those. The per­ personalities, and I played with that in fect medium would be a book, because the writing.” with books, you can control your ele­ “The best gift someone can give ments in a creative way without dealing you is their time,” Villeneuve conti­ with a big machine, as with cinema or nues, “so that time must be well used. theatre. Just as a practical fact, as a When Robert Lepage came in, he was 20­year­old, I wasn’t able to aim for in transit between London and Singa­ such things.” pore, so he spent a ‘white night’ with Which isn’t to say that Villeneuve us—a nuit blanche. He didn’t sleep for didn’t aim high, almost absurdly so, in 32 hours or so because of the project. selecting the talent he’d work with. Ra­ He’s used to that kind of schedule. ther than round up a few college friends From what I’ve heard, he’s not the kind as his “actors,” he sought out several ge­ of guy who sleeps a lot, but at the same nuine cultural icons of Quebec. time, what kind of generosity drives “I had Jacques Languirand in mind these people to give up their time? as the main character, and I was naïve That really touches me.” enough to approach him,” Villeneuve The actors weren’t the only angels says. Intrigued, the noted broadcaster on Villeneuve’s shoulder. A crisis less and thinker accepted the lead role of than 24 hours before his photo shoot MARS ET AVRIL MARS ET AVRIL - 30 - - 31 -
  • 17. with his actors—a one­time opportu­ He wouldn’t have to, not with a nity—nearly doomed Mars et Avril in new publisher, Montreal’s La Pastèque, its infancy. in his corner. “They keep things simple “It was the day after the Prix Jutras and elegant, and make editorial choices [Quebec film industry awards], and that are very strong. You have a book Croze and Ahmarani had both from La Pastèque in your hands, you won awards. I was looking at the TV, know it’s from La Pastèque.” thinking, man, are these people even La Pastèque’s Martin Brault and going to show up? I was staring to freak Frédéric Gauthier—the latter now out. Then I got a call from the photo­ the director of Sid Lee Collective— grapher. He said, ‘I won’t be there could provide the production quality tomorrow. I won’t make a fool of Villeneuve sought, but not the funding. myself in front of two people who just That’s where Sid Lee stepped in. won the Jutras.’ Villeneuve had been an art director Luckily, an old friend was at with the firm since 2002, and now hin­ Villeneuve’s place, and suggested her ted he might have to leave to pursue ex­boyfriend Yanick Macdonald, who Mars et Avril. Rather than see him out Villeneuve had never met. They left the door, though, Sid Lee agreed to a message and he set to calling two fund the project through the firm’s dozen other potential photographers. After Hours grants (the predecessor to No dice. “The whole thing was hanging the Sid Lee Collective). by a spider’s thread. I was literally Sid Lee’s Roxana Zegan (whose Sit! crying. Suddenly, around midnight, the series is profiled elsewhere in this phone rings.” magazine) was tasked with the graphic It was Macdonald, who inciden­ design, and Macdonald returned to tally had just been told by his girlfriend outdo himself in the photo department. that he was soon to be a father. He gave “When Robert Lepage read the Villeneuve just five minutes to pitch text for the second book, he asked me the project—and was sold. if I’d ever thought about making a mo­ “It came as a surprise,” says Villeneuve, vie of it,” says Villeneuve, but the truth “how positively it was received. I was was, he hadn’t. However, he was soon overwhelmed. We didn’t have that talked into the idea. Once funding for many copies going around, but it got the scripting stage was secured, there good reviews. People were generally was no going back. enthusiastic about it.” Shooting begins in earnest in the Enthusiastic enough to prod spring of 2009, but pre­production is Villeneuve toward a second book. The already well underway. Despite the first had an open ending, but Villeneuve scope of the undertaking, Villeneuve hadn’t considered a continuation, and isn’t letting it go to his head. “We’re certainly not under the same circums­ going to make it in a handcrafted, inde­ tances. “It wasn’t a small student project pendent way,” he says, “just like the anymore. I’d invested so much money books were.” and energy of my own in the five years it took to make the first one, I didn’t see myself doing it alone again.” MARS ET AVRIL MARS ET AVRIL - 32 - - 33 -
  • 18. “A lot of boards for a short amount of time.” That’s how Grogore Kibishi of Paris­based art group ShoboShobo summarizes the experience of par­ ticipating in Sid Lee Collective’s ongoing Blackboard project. Shobo­ Shobo’s collective style, a raw and rather childlike aesthetic packed with energy and off­the­cuff ideas, is well suited to the task that Sid Lee Collective has laid before them. A number of wall spaces in Sid Lee’s Montreal headquarters, some as ChaLK high as two floors, have been painted with special black chalkboard paint, and international artists are brought & in for a week or so to fill them. Their improvised efforts remain for a few awE months, then are erased to free the walls up for the next artists. Hailing from Seattle, WA, and based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, illustrator Nate Williams is the one who inaugurated the blackboards Nate Williams with his drawings, playful figures and Team Macho forms that draw on classic ’50s and ’60s kiddie­books and album art. He ShoboShobo says the experience was “very strange ON BLACKBOARD and very cool. “At first I thought it was strange that they would fly me halfway across the world to draw on chalkboards, but once I was there, I realized that it wasn’t just about drawing on chalk­ boards. It was about sharing pers­ pectives and motivating each other creatively—creating a memorable experience for everyone involved.” Lauchie Reid, of the Toronto, Canada, collective Team Macho, may not have flown as far but was still ini­ tially dazed by the idea, calling it “a NOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 34 - - 35 -
  • 19. bit surreal” and “a bit hard to wrap our heads around.” Any doubts were soon dispelled. “Our reception at Sid Lee was no­ thing short of amazing,” says Reid. The Sid Lee offices themselves were inspiring, he recalls. “It was kind of like Tom Hanks’ apartment in Big. Remember? Well, like that, but with a couple hundred people working really hard on strange and wonderful things. Everyone was lovely and gene­ rous, and very helpful with tips regar­ ding hot dogs.” “Working in chalk wasn’t so stran­ ge,” recalls Williams. “What was less common for me was working in such a huge scale, having people watch me while I worked, drinking a beer on a ladder, looking at an aerial view of an agency’s work environment and liste­ ning to people speaking French.” Reid, for his part, notes that while certainly familiar from the school days of their youth, chalk wasn’t exactly a frequently used medium for him and his Macho teammates. “We were actually really scared, because, as our working style dictates, we can’t really sketch out ideas befo­ rehand. So we were going in blind, with no certain ideas and tools that we had no idea how we would use. It ended up being an incredibly infor­ mative process. I think a lot of new approaches and forgotten old ones showed up and got figured out in a way that may not have been possible on a smaller, less chalky scale.” Kibishi, meanwhile, found that one very mundane aspect of the materials stuck with him. “Chalk NOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 36 - - 37 -
  • 20. creates chalk dust,” he says, “which makes you sneeze.” Most recently, the blackboards were turned over to Spain’s Martin Allais, who created the graphics for the globologos.com website (also pro­ filed in this publication). His drawings will also eventually be erased, but fear not, Sid Lee Collective is overcoming the ephemeral nature of the project by assembling a beautifully presented Blackboard book. For the artists, the best Black­ board memories couldn’t be captured by cameras. Williams rattles off a list: “Meeting the people of Sid Lee, seeing other people’s creative envi­ ronment, being in Montreal, listening to French, trying new foods.” Reid says that each of the Team Macho members participating pro­ bably has a different take on what made their visit so worthwhile. “I think a common thread would be the complete freedom, interest and sup­ port of everyone at Sid Lee. No ideas needed approval, there was room for a lot of creative spontaneity and no subject was out­of­bounds. And it was great meeting a lot of the characters working at Sid Lee and getting to in­ clude references to our interactions with them. “Also, we really appreciated the opportunity to travel to Montreal for professional reasons. It’s nice every once in a while to escape your context and do what you do in a different place. Especially a different place with such good hot dogs.” NOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 38 - - 39 -
  • 21. “this is reallY fun because i’d alwaYs dreamed of having Seat mY undies exposed in a gallerY in new York citY!” “Some people were offended, some just a new couch for the bistro, where we always found it funny, some found it inspiring,” lounge, sit around and take our little breaks. CONCEITS Roxana Zegan recalls of the debut of the Sit! The first draft was just one big, white couch, by Sid furniture line that she designed, at and the only thing written on it was, ‘Get the CITE Gallery during the ICFF (Inter­ your ass back to work.’ national Contemporary Furniture Fair) in “Starting from that point, I thought, New York City. “It’s boring when stuff is there are so many funny expressions, such an plain,” she continues, but as the reactions interesting vocabulary revolving around the Roxana Zegan’s she mentioned can attest, the backless theme of the ass. Some are insults, some are SIT! BY SID settees of Sit! had people sitting up and just funny, but there’s a whole universe of ex­ taking note. pression and cultural presentations—there “It was my first attempt at a furniture must be something to do with that. So it’s a series,” says Zegan. Born in Romania to an bit of an encyclopedia of everything around Italian­Russian mom and a German­Polish that subject.” pop, she’s been a Montrealer since age 13 Other pieces take a similar approach to and an art director at Sid Lee for four the idea of the chair (“One of the most years now. iconic objects in design—everybody has an “I’ve always had a very sarcastic and interpretation or a drawing or an idea about witty sense of humour,” she says, which the chair, and this is mine”). Others still explains her penchant for clever contrasts appear to be stained. “They’re playing with and juxtaposition. the idea of having these really white spots, “Taking this furniture that’s very clean, these sterile environments, and coming with nice and geometric, and printing something these big drips of colour. It’s about putting a on it that’s completely funny and outra­ smile on people’s faces and having them geous. There’s a tendency in design, this interact with the furniture. over­pure, over­designed, over­simplified “The other little series that I really stuff. I’m against it. I’m making fun of mi­ had fun doing was about the lost object. It’s nimalism.” basically cushions that are white on the out­ And a lot more besides—or maybe side, but when you turn them around, it’s a behinds? The most immediately attention­ collection of the usual objects that you’d lose grabbing Sit! pieces are covered in references in your couch—your keys, your remote to the human posterior, something that control, your undies. sprang to life when Sid Lee’s Montreal head­ “This is really fun because I’d always quarters were being whipped into shape. dreamed of having my undies exposed in a “The first mandate that I had was to design gallery in New York City!” SIT! BY SID SIT! BY SID - 40 - - 41 -
  • 22. Sound DECISIONS Turbo Recordings’ Thomas Sontag ON SID [LOVES] TURBO “It’s a small, independent, mainly we do, and they haven’t interfered in electronic record label,” says Thomas any way with the musical selections.” Sontag of Montreal’s Turbo Recor­ On the other hand, Sid Lee dings, co­founded a decade ago by his Collective offered Turbo a chance brother, the globetrotting star DJ/ to pursue projects that would break producer Tiga, and Mark Dillon, away a bit from its distinctively stark who’s now with Montreal’s Neon party and minimal design aesthetic esta­ crew. “We’re very independent­min­ blished by the label’s original gra­ ded and I’d say pretty idiosyncratic in phic designer, Benno Russell (who our tastes.” went on to craft the unmistakable Turbo’s got good taste, how­ branding for American Apparel). ever idiosyncratic. Since establishing The Sid [LOVES] Turbo link led themselves with the Montreal Mix to a compilation CD, a Valentine’s Sessions discs, Turbo and its offshoots party/photo exhibition with Paris ar­ Fabergé and White Leather have tist Sweetlight, a video for Tiga and, pushed the witty electro­cool of Tiga, most importantly, the podcasts found synth­funk revisionists Chromeo, at sidlovesturbo.com. Programmed upscale house producer Fred Every­ and hosted by different talents from thing, Swedish tech­house titan Jes­ Turbo and its extensive spread of per Dahlback and French Touch icon like­minded friends, the podcasts are Philippe Zdar—among many others, graced by eye­popping visuals indica­ mostly in the vinyl format. ting the number of each episode, “We don’t really stick to one for­ created by the Sid Lee Collective. mula,” Sontag continues, “which can Each episode now tallies thousands often be a disadvantage. It’s difficult of downloads. to rack it and identify what it is. But “As soon as I was on board at I’m proud of that diversity and eclec­ Turbo, I suggested that we do a pod­ ticism, and it’s nice to work in an cast together,” Sontag says. “Anytime environment where the only pressure there’s anyone who’ll push you to dif­ is self­imposed, and the decisions are ferent crowds that you wouldn’t all our own.” otherwise reach, especially in the As 2007 rolled around, Sid Lee, realm of advertising and marketing, recognizing Turbo’s sky­high stan­ it’s a very helpful association.” dards of quality and relevance, rea­ A helpful hook­up, and a durable ched out to the label. On one hand, one. “The audience is growing,” says the hook­up would offer an audio Sontag, “and we’ve reached that cri­ reflection of Sid Lee’s sensibility. tical mass where we have a nice “I think it’s ultimately much archive and a good roster of artists more interesting for them to be doing who’ve done podcasts. We want it to something a little risky, something grow—where it goes from here, I truly edgy,” Sontag observes, “and not can’t really speculate on, but I have just stuffing another Buddha Bar no doubt that we’ll be doing more down people’s throats. I respect that projects in the future.” move on their part. They value what SID [LOVES] TURBO NOM[LOVES] TURBO SID DE LA SECTION - 42 - - 43 -
  • 23. Parallel universes Jean-François Bouchard’s SECRET SOCIETIES There’s an immediately diso­ I could see people doing high fi­ rienting quality to the photos in ves—I thought of that as a tribe. Jean­François Bouchard’s series “I started going to strange and exhibition Secret Societies. events, and noticed that over On the one hand, there’s an in­ and over again. Once, I went to tense and vivid realism to them— Las Vegas, to a porn convention, even more so when presented and I realized that some people vastly oversized, their subjects there—not people from the in­ life­size or larger. dustry, but consumers, fans, On the other hand, the images however you call them—actually couldn’t possibly be real, could knew each other and would plan they? These figures, whose ap­ their holidays to visit these pearance, garb and behaviour conventions. They formed a tribe, seem utterly outlandish, like albeit a very peculiar one.” some strange cinematic hybrid The medievalists, fetishists, of B­movie cool, operatic fantasy porn and tattoo aficionados and softcore sleaze, come to life Bouchard captures on film and run amok. constitute extended tribes. So The inhabitants of Secret Societies do the pilgrims to events like are real enough. Bouchard has Burning Man in the Nevada de­ been among them, and who sert, or Mexico’s Day of the knows, some of them might live Dead. “Of course there are locals right next door to you. that do this,” says Bouchard, “Nowadays, because of how “but also people from all over the communications and transporta­ world who keep coming back.” tion technology have evolved, They’re just not tribes in people can get together to share the traditional anthropological very peculiar interests,” Bouchard, sense, dictated by blood, faith the president of Sid Lee, obser­ or patches of land. They trans­ ves. He’s long been intrigued by cend boundaries of race, lan­ gatherings of diverse crowds for guage, creed and class. And they reasons that might seem bizarre, are growing. even shocking to the general Which isn’t to say their doors public—and their potential for are wide open. Bouchard called an intrepid photographer. the series “Secret Societies” for a It was at a tattoo convention reason. “Some of these groups are that the true picture became quite easy to penetrate. Others clear to Bouchard. “I realized are quite opaque. They’re hard to people had traveled from all over get access to with a camera.” the world to gather for this thing. Some of these “tribesper­ Some of them knew each other, sons” are escaping the burdens but from two ends of the world. of their ordinary lives, and har­ SECRET SOCIETIES NOM DE LA SECTION - 44 - - 45 -
  • 24. “i immersed mYself in those groups, and i felt the viewers had to immerse themselves too.” dly want the outside world realize that a secret, or parallel, intruding on their sacred turf. world exists.” Others, conversely, are exposing In February, 2008, Bouchard their true selves to the world. presented his work at Montreal’s Such exhibitionism isn’t always noted Fonderie Darling gallery, in Bouchard’s favour. “You try a spacious converted foundry. to photograph people in their “The whole place was transfor­ natural state, and all they’re med. It was quite beautiful. Eve­ doing is trying to show off for rything had been thought of, the camera.” the musical soundtrack and all, The bottom line is that trust to set the mood.” has to be earned, and that means Most importantly, the photos insinuating yourself into the themselves were towering over­ community. No, Bouchard didn’t sized prints, inescapable in their get full sleeves of ink to put the scope. “I immersed myself in tattoo fans at ease, but… those groups, and I felt the “Sometimes it’s pretty close viewers had to immerse them­ to that,” he says. “The medieva­ selves too.” list people—if you don’t dress The closing night fell on like them, they don’t admit you Saturday, February 28—the date to the site. I had no choice. You of the Montreal High Lights have to walk the walk. If you Festival’s Nuit Blanche all­nigh­ don’t, people don’t respect you. ter across Montreal. The show You’re a tourist, and they don’t had two­block line­ups until want to be photographed.” dawn crept near. “My idea was A fan of classic photojourna­ to make it even more mysterious lism, Bouchard was adamant by having people visit the exhi­ about sticking to black and white. bition in the dark, with red flas­ “In that sense, my work is old hlights.” school,” he says, “but the subject, Taking the exhibit to galle­ and how I approach it, is more ries in Europe is just the begin­ progressive. Colours would dis­ ning of Bouchard’s plans for tract from what I want to show.” Secret Societies. He has some inte­ Bouchard also intentionally resting ideas about presenta­ avoids explaining the specific tion—they’ll remain for now, whos, whats and wheres of his appropriately enough, secret. pictures, amplifying the enig­ And there are certainly more matic nature of the images, strange groups to investigate. which can be seen online at Bouchard says, “I don’t think www.societessecretes.ca. “When I’m ever going to photograph you look at them as a whole, you anything but this.” NOM DE LA SECTION SECRET SOCIETIES - 46 - - 47 -
  • 25. Fleeting SEaTING THE SLIGHTLY UNCOMFORTABLE CHAIR COLLECTION by Louis-Thomas Pelletier and Gabrielle Saint-Pierre SUCC SUCC - 48 - - 49 -
  • 26. waLLET FaCTOR SUGaR FIX GOTTaGO SPaCE INVaDER ROCKOCO TaLKING hEaD “The seat is angled right to “There’s one leg shorter than “The back of the chair is at a bad “It basically invades your “It’s like a rocking chair but in “It’s very, very low so there’s left, so if you carry your wallet the other ones, so you can fix it angle, so you’re always on your private space—you don’t want the inverse way. It’s fun because only your head at the table.” in your back pocket, it will with a few packets of sugar.” toes, as if you’re about to leave. a chair to go there.” it doesn’t stay. You have to put - Louis-Thomas equalize you. You’ll be stable. - Gabrielle The perfect excuse—you’re - Louis-Thomas it up to use it, and then you have Your comfort depends on the already in a position to go, so it to keep it stable. Just looking at thickness of your wallet.” helps you make the move.” it down on the floor, you know - Louis-Thomas - Louis-Thomas it won’t be comfortable.” - Gabrielle SUCC SUCC - 50 - - 51 -
  • 27. “Meetings are too long,” “I remember when I was would be very funny,” recalls between the two (other than The SUCC was unveiled at in the fall of 2008, and in Milan says Louis­Thomas Pelletier, a kid, there was a rumour—I Pelletier, “but then when we that they’re both uncomfortable). the 2008 SIDIM (Salon Interna­ next year. Could the SUCC, a Rimouski­born Montrealer don’t know if it was true—that met with the people at Sid Lee We wanted the chairs in the col­ tional du Design d’Intérieur de with the discomfort dialed who’s worked with Sid Lee at McDonalds, the benches Collective, they insisted—and lection to look mostly the same, Montréal) to surprisingly posi­ down a touch, become com­ for eight years, handling such were made so that you wouldn’t it made sense—that they also but with slight differences.” tive reactions. “We had some in­ monplace? “I think they’ll re­ contracts as Loto­Québec and spend too much time there.” be something very artful, some­ “They’re nice alone,” conclu­ terest, people pointing at them main as uncomfortable as they Societé des Alcools du Québec. From that thought came thing that would be worthy of des Saint­Pierre, “but nicer with and laughing,” Pelletier recalls. are right now,” says Pelletier. “I “I became a creative direc­ the idea for the Slightly Uncom- design magazines. Not only this their family.” “Some guy said to me, ‘Man, I don’t think we’ll compromise on tor a few years ago and I realized fortable Chair Collection. “It’s an weird idea, but something for­ The trick was generating smoke pot and have long hair, that. But I can see corporations that increasingly, I was spending evolution of that, but with an mally beautiful.” mild irritation, not outright tor­ but you’re crazy!’ Some people buying some for their conferen­ a lot of time in meetings. Even­ artistic twist.” “We had a choice for the ture. “I like the fact that some­ asked to buy them, perhaps in ce rooms and boardrooms—to tually, I thought, we should find Pelletier’s idea was convin­ design,” says Saint­Pierre, “to go times the discomfort is physical, different colours, and how much make a point, a reminder to their a way to make them shorter. We cing enough that his superiors more aesthetic or more concep­ like with the Rococo, rocking they were, and we didn’t know employees. There is a potential waste a lot of time in meetings. at Sid Lee suggested he bring tual. We chose to go conceptual, side to side,” says Pelletier, “and what to answer yet.” market for it, a niche market— That’s obvious to anyone who’s it to fruition with the help of that’s why the chairs are so slick sometimes it’s psychological, like “A woman came up to me,” but I don’t see them being dis­ ever worked at an agency. We Quebec City­born Gabrielle and archetypal. Really, really the Talking Head, which makes says Saint­Pierre, “and said, tributed through Ikea.” would gain a lot of productivity Saint­Pierre, a new designer at simple. I asked to have that you the dwarf at the table.” ‘Oh… my… God. That’s what I’ve if we had shorter meetings.” the company who, like Pelletier, slick finish, a classy element to “That’s the concept—slightly been looking for. I sent a letter That got Pelletier to thin­ has a knack for making the best contrast with the uncomforta­ uncomfortable. Just a bit,” says to my company to say that mee­ king about the direction of­ of physical spaces. A key fac­ ble aspect.” Saint­Pierre. “At first, you’re not tings are too long.’ She’d made fice furniture was taking—in­ tor for the SUCC was that the “We wanted them to look that bad, but after five minutes, a financial plan to explain how creasingly soft and pneumatic chairs should be uncomfortable like they’re a family,” Pelletier it’s really uncomfortable. much money they lost during the chairs that one could easily fall but not ugly. points out. “We didn’t want to “A meeting should be just meetings. That was perfect.” asleep in (“Sometimes I have, “We started working and make one chair and then another, as long as you can sit on those The SUCC appears at the actually,” says Pelletier). came up with many models that and you wouldn’t see the link chairs,” adds Pelletier. new Sid Lee store in Amsterdam SUCC SUCC - 52 - - 53 -
  • 28. hI TECh, LOw TECh, NEw TECh Alain Mongeau ON SID LEE AND MUTEK NOM DE LA SECTION SID LE AND MUTEK - 54 - - 55 -
  • 29. Since 2000, Montreal has been hosting the “We benefited from that by having Shobo­ annual MUTEK festival, a smorgasbord of cut­ Shobo programmed into the festival. We did a ting­edge, often highly experimental electronic night with them, co­presented by Sid Lee and music and arts. It was initially an offshoot of MUTEK, and during that same night, Sid Lee the city’s International Festival of New Cinema Collective also oversaw a stuffed­toy workshop,” and New Media, or FCMM, of which MUTEK Mongeau says with a chuckle. Not an obvious founder Alain Mongeau was artistic director, choice, perhaps, but the low­tech, hands­on par­ but it quickly became its own beast, bringing ticipatory element played a nice counterpoint in such notable talent as Pole, Coil, Matmos, to MUTEK’s highly digitized and at times Señor Coconut, Richie Hawtin and Ricardo distanced programming. Villalobos. “This year, we did somewhat the same By 2005, MUTEK had branched out to thing. The collaboration happened from the creating events internationally, notably in New Wednesday to the Friday, in the happy­hour York City, Berlin and across Latin America. But slot.” Plans to bring up an Argentine art collective in 2007, the festival team decided they needed a fell through, but the Sid Lee Collective team did facelift of sorts. That’s where Sid Lee came into their part, conducting a fanzine workshop. the picture. “The intersection with Sid Lee Collective “We approached them to relaunch, in a way, hasn’t existed very long, but what’s interes­ our image, our graphic signature,” says Mongeau. ting is how it opens up new dimensions for us. “We wanted to refresh it, make it more dynamic. The exchange between Sid Lee Collective and Each year, they put new resources at our disposal. MUTEK is much bigger than it appears. We We feel very well handled by their contributions, trade ideas and connections. Last year, for ins­ by both their reading of what MUTEK could be, tance, we brought in the Pictoplasma people and what they’ve delivered.” from Berlin, and they’ve stayed in touch since. With Sid Lee Collective, which Mongeau We also put Sid Lee in touch with the Trimarchi calls the marketing firm’s “creative incubator,” DG (a design convention in Argentina). the cooperation has gone beyond just ad and “It’s a young relationship, so I think we’ve Web design. In 2007, as part of their Blackboard just scratched the surface of what’s possible. Sid project, the collective brought French art group Lee has a certain flair, and so does MUTEK, and ShoboShobo to Montreal (read more about it I think the two are compatible, so we can enrich elsewhere in this zine). each other.” NOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 56 - - 57 -
  • 30. The citing that Montreal is the only North changed my mind and said, may­ IS ON ThE waLL American city with a municipal­ level design commission, on top of its numerous design events be it would be good to expose them in the middle of the street during an event. Each year, we Hélène Godin and institutions. have a big fashion and design ON THE SID LEE COLLECTIVE POSTERS Don’t bust out the cham­ event called the Fashion Week.” FOR MONTREAL’S UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN DESIGNATION pagne just yet, though. “To me,” Negotiations with the di­ says Godin, “it’s more of a spring­ rectors of Fashion Week quickly board than an award. Like, we’re bore fruit. “We approached it as Every city worth its salt has creative director and partner at proud but we can’t just sit back. a mini­exhibition, where people its own code, its idiosyncratic Sid Lee, where she’s worked for No, it’s a challenge.” were given information about cryptography of catchphrases eight years), Godin prefers to get A challenge Godin was all each design. You know, they we­ and collective memories, places around by bicycle, weather per­ too eager to accept. “The award ren’t for advertising, so someti­ and personalities. Such a code mitting, as do many other Mon­ doesn’t mean anything if people mes, you could look at them and can’t be cracked with a pocket­ trealers. don’t do anything with it. think, wow, it’s nice—but what sized guidebook. No, one has to “Those are my creative mo­ “It’s a way to be seen by other does it mean? gradually absorb the details of ments,” Godin says of her daily cities. We’re not the capital of “We went, the whole gang, the city, connecting the dots and commutes on the city’s criss­ design yet, but we have the peo­ with our white jumpsuits and interpreting the patterns that crossing bike lanes. “I’m in my ple and the creativity here in this glue buckets, to paste them up emerge. creative bubble.” city to become more visible.” by hand on plywood sheets. We Montreal, in the Canadian In a bubble, but not unaware. As anyone from the grimiest made an event of it on the spot.” province of Quebec, is certainly Her sidelong glances register punk­rock promoter to the slic­ Architects and industrial worth its salt—and one can find countless clues and signals— kest liquor importer can tell you, designers might scoff at the no­ plenty of the useful mineral, buildings and landmarks, gran­ one of the best means of achie­ tion that something as scrappy melting away the road­top ice diose graffiti and plastered pu­ ving visibility is the poster—so and ephemeral as a pasted­up brought by the heavy winters blicity, colourful characters and a poster series, celebrating poster could be a key player in that are among Montreal’s many familiar faces. “You understand UNESCO’s nod to Montreal, is constructing a city’s long­term defining characteristics. Another the culture of a city through tho­ what Godin proposed to the Sid identity. Godin would strongly is its intricate tapestry of langua­ se things,” she says. Lee team. disagree. To her, graphic design, ges, faiths and cultures. French is In 2006, UNESCO—the “The first idea was heading often underappreciated, is an es­ predominant, but it leaves room United Nations Educational, out with glue and putting them sential component. for everyone else—trilingual Scientific and Cultural Orga­ up around the city,” Godin re­ “It’s a part of the persona­ residents abound. nization—ranked Montreal as calls, “but we didn’t want to get lity of the city. Think of New Hélène Godin certainly only the third, after Berlin and arrested! We would have had to York City with its yellow cabs. knows Montreal’s code. A life­ Buenos Aires, of its “Cities of get permits and everything. So I Someone, somewhere, decided long resident of the city (and a Design.” A wise choice, given MONTREAL: UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN NOM DE LA SECTION - 58 - - 59 -
  • 31. that the cabs would be yellow. “Expo 67 changed the face Now they’re icons. of the city. It was a 180­degree “It’s more difficult to spot turn. After that, people around the icons in Montreal, but sure the world could put Montreal enough, they’re there.” on the map, in terms of design.” The Sid Lee team was One poster has a portrait of tasked with finding and cele­ Mayor Jean Drapeau, in office in brating those icons in a series 1967, laid over a collage of Expo of posters. Some chose subjects 67 postcards. “For some people, that were mundane, maybe even he was a great mayor, for others, a bit trashy. Montreal’s dubious the worst,” Godin shrugs. “But delicacy, poutine—French fries today, we can say he did some­ with cheese curds and gravy, thing.” popular with late­night party­ Drapeau did several things, goers—earned a poster, as did actually. He green­lighted the Big the city’s notorious potholes. O, the stadium built for the 1976 Sid Lee’s Roxana Zegan, paint Summer Olympics. That impo­ and brushes in hand, literally hit sing structure, and also architect the street to conjure beauty out Moishe Safdie’s bizarre, blocky of cracked asphalt. Habitat 67 apartment com­ “We usually see potholes plex, are cleverly shown anew as an accident, or something as assemble­yourself kits, not unpleasant, so these,” she says, unlike Ikea instruction sheets, holding up Zegan’s trio of abs­ on two of the Sid Lee posters. tract photo­posters, “are ano­ Other posters are more ther way to see them.” current, capitalizing on what Other designers had hi­ Godin calls “our vernacular lan­ gher, even historical intentions. guage of design—with an accent A key resource was the vesti­ on our multiculturalism.” One, gial remains of Expo 67, the for instance, offers a series of World Fair hosted by Montreal flags. The black one bisected in 1967. The fair’s various pan­ by a green bar with a white national pavilions, so futuristic dot in the middle? That’s from in appearance, still capture the Montreal’s Métro, or subway imagination. system, maps. The red, white QUAND LES DESIGNERS S’AFFICHENT, CATHERINE LAPORTE / HÉLÈNE GODIN MONTRÉAL VILLE UNESCO DE DESIGN S’AFFIRME. D101989_0000_Affiches_72x96_Lapo4 4 07-05-23 15:08:07 CYAN MAGENTA YELLOW BLACK Affiche 6’ x 8’ InDesign CS1 CS2 D101989_0000_Affiche_72x96_Laporte JP/PG Montage à 25 % du format final SIDLEE COLLECTIVE PAGE Épreuve à 58 % du montage Typo vérifiée Impression finale à 400 % Photos vérifiées 22.05.2007 ÉPREUVE 1 R.‑C. Rédaction Directeur Direction Service à Client Production Correction Commentaires de création artistique la clientèle d’épreuves Collecté sur CD Catherine Laporte Envoyé sur FTP Date : 00.05.07 NOM DE LA SECTION MONTREAL: UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN - 60 - - 61 -
  • 32. and blue stripes are taken from them at a design conference in the jerseys of the Canadiens, Argentina. “There was a second the local hockey team. Two life for them in Buenos Aires, orange stripes framing a white and there might be a third life space—hey, that’s from the sign too—I’ve started up another of the famous Schwartz’s deli on poster project. Maybe we’ll get Boulevard St­Laurent, the city’s to Berlin to present those! main thoroughfare. “We just did it to celebrate Further posters employed Montreal, and whoops,” she design language, such as serif laughs, “it became something and sans serif typefaces, re­ even bigger!” created out of elements of the Montreal cityscape—a frag­ ment of the Champlain Bridge, for example. Others still drew stark, black­on­white abstracts out of sections of the city map, such as the Turcot interchange and trainyards. Several posters were in fact pages from various ethnic com­ munity newspaper pages, with Montreal icons silkscreened on them—“the links between all these communities,” says Godin, who has since been invi­ ted to be on the administrative board of Heritage Montreal, the city’s municipal preserva­ tion commission. Links, in fact, are the true motive of the UNESCO City of Design initiative, one that Sid Lee didn’t miss out on, taking the posters down to present MONTREAL: UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN - 62 -
  • 33. NEXT, PLEaSE! WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR SID LEE COLLECTIVE Freaky furniture, Rather more mysterious, by the inviting Blackboard bar, innovative art, and very guerrilla in approach, a great place to grab a coffee or is Sid Lee Collective’s enigma­ perhaps a beer, and the Sid Lee cool collaborations, tic assemblage of public pranks Collective boutique. That’s the wonders of the Web and puzzling performance art, place to shop for the unmista­ les Fourmis (“the Ants”). The kable housewares, clothing, pu­ —in two short years, Sid Lee less said the better, but citizens blications and more that come Collective has conjured up a ca­ of Montreal and beyond can ex­ care of the Sid Lee Collective. valcade of creativity. The story pect to soon be confronted by Choose your favourites and doesn’t end here, though, not by strange little alterations of their take them home in our distinc­ a long shot. day­to­day environment, desi­ tive shopping bags—count on Several of the projects des­ gned to confuse, provoke and stares of jealousy on the street, cribed in this zine continue perhaps even enlighten. though! to evolve. The world hasn’t The Blackboard project is Among the worthy products seen the last of the Slightly by its very nature a fountain of on display, you may well spot Sid Uncomfortable Chair Collec­ perpetual possibilities, and whi­ Lee Collective’s new Doodle tion, which will be on display le what’s been drawn so far will lamp series. Don’t worry, no in Milan in the spring of 2008. have been erased by the time small burrowing mammals were The globologos.com website is, you read this, the works have harmed—the lampshades are if anything, only getting star­ been preserved in the forth­ caked with sketches and scrib­ ted—if you’ve got crazy creative coming Blackboard book. bles drawn from the Moleskin ideas of your own, don’t hesitate Where can you find the notebooks Sid Lee staffers are to upload them, it’s your website book—and even a blackboard often seen scribbling in when as much as anyone else’s. bar, to chalk up a few funny brainstorming. Another round of posters ideas of your own? At the Sid You might also soon grab saluting Montreal’s UNESCO Lee Collective space in Amster­ one of Sid Lee Collective’s sar­ City of Design designation is in dam, itself the biggest news of donic Bone Dry Greetings cards, the works too. Speaking of pos­ the moment for the collective. for that not­so­special person in ters, when in Montreal, keep an Painstakingly designed to your life—a close friend or im­ eye out for another such pro­ be both sleek and crafty, the minent enemy, someone who ject, uniting Sid Lee Collective space is far more than just a deserves a poke in the eye rather with Mouvement Art Public, European business outpost for than a pat on the back. Hallmark, a non­profit initiative to bring Sid Lee. watch your back! high art to the general popula­ Tread its cozy timber floors Whether shopping for your tion using mass­media methods and you’ll find an art gallery with home, soaking up some fascina­ usually reserved for advertising. pieces by staffers and friends ting art or just grabbing a quick Some 800 public display spaces of Sid Lee—Shary Boyle’s fan­ espresso with a friend, the Sid in Mexico—bus shelters, subway tastical porcelain works, Julie Lee Collective creative space is station walls—will be graced by Doucet’s wild collages and Team the place to do it. Expect qua­ works that include 10 new pos­ Macho’s twisted doodles among lity, originality and above all the ters from Sid Lee Collective. them. The gallery is bookended unexpected! NOM DE LA SECTION NEXT, PLEASE! - 64 - - 65 -
  • 34. CONTACT INFORMATION Ateliers: Montreal 75 Queen Street, Suite 1400 Montreal, Quebec H3C 2N6 Canada Phone: +1 514-282-2200 Amsterdam Gerard Doustraat 72 1072 VV Amsterdam The Netherlands Phone: +31 (0) 206 623030 Paris 12 rue du Sentier 75 002 Paris France Phone: +33 (1) 44 88 83 90 Toronto 55 Mill Street Building 5 , Suite 500 Toronto, Ontario M5A 3C4 Canada Phone: +1 416 ­ 421-4200 Austin Suite D­102 3601 South Congress Austin, Texas 78704 United States Phone: +1 512 ­ 444-3533 Websites: sidlee.com sidleearchitecture.com jimmylee.tv NOM DE LA SECTION - 67 -
  • 35. fanzine Another NOM DE LA SECTION - 68 -