Sedimented territories: the imaginary in the understanding of the territory

The contemporary art center Sporobole offers a day of reflection in the form of a round table discussion on the notion of territory. In order to explore how the territory can be understood in the collective and individual imagination, the centre is pleased to welcome four speakers from interdisciplinary backgrounds to share the state of their research on this subject. Literature, architecture, sociology and the visual arts thus become vectors for an afternoon of original and profound approaches to a notion that is sometimes taken for granted. Indeed, the territory easily lends its topographical flanks, its geographical configuration, its ecological complexity, its historical duration and its symbolic charisma to the inventive – sometimes fanciful – impulses of cultural creators. Labile in its identity and plural in its potential future, the territory reveals itself layer by layer as the cumulative sedimentation of physical processes and imaginary representations. The “Sedimented Territories” event will therefore be an opportunity to explore various theoretical models and analytical tools that can be used in cultural disciplines to reflect the multivalent complexity of the territory.

Professor of general and comparative literature at the University of Limoges in France, Bertrand Westphal is the author and instigator of “Geocritics”, which aims to develop a new approach to spatial representations in literature, which will provide an opportunity to situate geocritics in the theoretical landscape by integrating spatial representation studies such as cultural geography, but also and mainly, to discuss approaches such as geopoetics and ecocritics. It will be an opportunity to reflect on what makes territories into sedimentation spaces that only exist through their ability to open up to innovation and accept their fluid nature, dedicated to deterritorialization.

The curatorial duo Leisure Projects, made up of Montreal artists Meredith Carruthers and Susannah Wesley, is interested in the notion of territory as a place of creation from which a narrative mix between reality and fiction emerges. Their curatorial practices have led to exchanges between research on places where past data are reintegrated into the artistic act that exposes a fictional narrative in a real space. To this end, they will provide an opportunity to evaluate how our collective imagination can add a layer of meaning to our understanding of the territory.

Doctoral student in sociology and teacher at the Cégep de Sherbrooke in this discipline, Jean-François Fortier proposes a socio-historical approach to the territory as a specific modality of spatialization. His critical analysis of the notion of space as a “true social institution”, as defined by sociologist Durkeim, will have an impact on our understanding of the process of deterritorialization of what we now call Quebec.

Architect and professor of history and theory of architectural practices in the Department of History at Université Laval, Luc Lévesque explores an interstitial approach to landscape with various references to contemporary planning history and raw dynamics found in urban spaces. He will also take this opportunity to examine how the notion of landscape can become a strategic project vehicle, as demonstrated by his recent stay for a master’s seminar on the concept of landscape at the State University of Haiti in Port-au-Prince.


Video : Gaétan Desmarais