Permis10h57 is a site-specific work by Montreal artist Gilbert Boyer that deals with the subject of our urban structure and the pedestrians who walk through it. Installed on around fifty street lamps, blending like a chameleon into the street furniture whose language it borrows, the work consists of the discreet display of snippets of poetry. These short phrases, phylacteries of the volatile thoughts that inhabit our mind during our travels, invite the passerby to engage in similar reverie and introspection.
Following this urban intervention, Gilbert Boyer gives a new dimension to his work by infiltrating the virtual public forum that is social media. Diverging from the usual uses of Facebook and Instagram, the artist uses the tools made available by these platforms to disseminate fragments of texts, segmented statements, and imaginary meetings. These phrases, visible via newsfeeds or banner ads, are staged in a real or ficticious urban landscape. They call on viewers to delocalize mentally, to develop a narrative, or to invoke memories attached to a place.
Through this infiltration process, Gilbert Boyer plays not only with reality and fiction, but also with spatial and temporal scales. In the same way that the passerby is invited to slow down the pace of his movement by reading the discreet messages scattered in an urban environment overloaded with information, the one that falls, perhaps by chance, on these Facebook publications and advertising spaces for virtual artists, is invited to a pixelated meditation that goes against the promotional activities of these platforms. Through this game with the viewer, whether in the street or behind a screen, Gilbert Boyer questions the notions of public art and site-specific work in the digital age.
Permis10h57 is presented by the Darling Foundry as part of Montreal 375 and the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne.