Frédéric Lavoie works mostly in video, with which he has explored over the past ten years and more the notion of point of view through observation and listening. The work he is presenting at Sporobole is a follow-up to his recent video installation À l’affût et à l’écoute (2011), in which he began his visual and audio explorations of the theme of wilderness. For that work he filmed, in a documentary manner, animals in their habitat and a hunter making laconic hunting calls. These images, spread over four monitors, were accompanied by a soundtrack made out of sounds recorded in the landscape or simulated by someone making sound effects.

This time, Frédéric Lavoie has drawn on the popular culture of hunting and fishing, rummaging in the archives of the first magazine in Quebec devoted to this topic, Québec chasse et pêche (Quebec Hunting and Fishing), which was founded in 1971 and later became Sentier chasse et pêche. The work is a visual ethnographic study of the magazine’s entire range of contents (documentary photographs, titles, advertisements, graphics, insets, captions). The images taken from the 120 issues published between 1971 and 1981 are classified by theme – individual and group portraits, ecological issues, native peoples, dead and living animals, firearms, masculinity and femininity, food, curiosities, bygone practices, traditions – and analysed before being edited in the form of video animation sequences. These new assemblages, played back on several screens, underscore the abundance of the material and the impossibility of covering it all. Through this bestiary of animated images, Lavoie creates a synthetic and open narrative of Quebec wilderness in the 1970s. This decade, notable in particular for the transition to black-and-white to colour photographs in print media, provides perspective on some of the sociological and technological changes that have since taken place.

“I want to create an inventory which will represent at one and the same time the crafting of a story, a typological system in which signs are sorted and classified according to the category to which they belong and a socio-historical and iconographic reading of ‘wilderness’ Quebec in the 1970s”.

Québec chasse et pêche, la première décennie illustrates its own creative mechanism: the video image shows Lavoie’s work area, his table and his hands as he looks for new, meaningful images. This strategy animates and gives new life to the archive itself while at the same time reinforcing the playful distancing of the document. In addition to the video, various objects and prints arising from the archival work and created for this exhibition will occupy the gallery and serve as an introduction to the world of hunting and fishing.

Artist Frédéric Lavoie will talk about his work process and ideas from his latest installation presented in Sporobole, Quebec hunting and fishing, the first decade. We will present a documentary on fishing produced in the 1970s, a period that F. Lavoie focused on. Lavoie for his video piece, and the philosopher Alain Létourneau from the University of Sherbrooke will join us for a lecture:

Towards an iconographic decoding of our relationship with nature. Which ethical questions for which environmental actions?

This presentation aims to open an exchange with the participants based on the images gathered and (in a way) recreated by Frédéric Lavoie. The images redistributed in a rich and diversified video material are explicitly inserted in a perspective inspired by ethnography. At first glance, the staging of living nature through image and sign is played out in everyday or festive social places, and I will ask what readings of our relationship to nature can be read there. The session will also provide an opportunity to return to the economic and socio-cultural context of the 1970s for a Quebec fishing enthusiast, through a film by Jean Chabot (NFB, 1975), which will be viewed during the session. Based on these various works, it will be a question of returning to many of the axes of our historical and cultural relationship with nature. By characterizing the variable relationships to nature thus put into perspective, it will be a question of initiating an environmental ethical reflection, which will take the form of questioning intentional and unintentional actions, taking into account as much as possible the strengths and weaknesses of our social organizations.

Professor of philosophy and applied ethics at the Université de Sherbrooke, Alain Létourneau is pursuing research in communications and environmental governance. He has been particularly interested in cinema, organizational communications and water governance issues, notably in Vers une gouvernance de l’eau au Québec, a book co-edited in 2008 and published by Multimondes, and also in L’universitaire et les médias: une collaboration risquée mais nécessaire, published in 2013 by Liber.

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Free entrance :

14h00 Artist talk by Frédéric Lavoie

14h30 Documentary presentation

15h30 Alain Létourneau / exchange with the public.


Storytelling evening on the theme of hunting at Sporobole in collaboration with the Maison des arts de la parole. With Jean-Sébastien Dubé, Patti Warnock and Petronella van Dijk.

Friday, February 21 at 8pm at 66 rue Albert (2nd floor), in the Sporobole sound laboratory.

Hunting and fishing… leisure, necessity, passion?  Whatever the reason, these activities have nourished our imaginations since the dawn of time. Tales, anecdotes, life stories, three storytellers offer you to discover tonight their most beautiful stories on this subject.