|childhood 'hood, 16"x16", oil on canvas|
hello my russian artist friend,
i am sorry to hear of your plight from the violence of the lawmakers. it is a terrible situation for you and i only hope that the ones who were injured make a full recovery and, importantly, that their spirits are not destroyed, that they still feel the necessity to carry on despite the harsh opposition that you face.
let me tell you a little about myself:
i am also part of a group of squatters in montreal, known as the hôtel perdu. we are very well organized and are determined to bring our vision of the arts to the public without the help of the government or any powers that be. this is our philosophy: hôtel perdu moves into and takes over abandoned art-deco hotels from the 1920's and 30's. we are well organized and our team presently consists of not only artists but also carpenters, technicians, former bureaucrats and lawyers. our vision is to transform the abandoned art-deco hotel into a kind of cultural centre, an independent artistic organization which aims to support all the arts without the need for public or private sector funding.
we have been struggling with our vision and process for several years, but this year we feel that the approach of hôtel perdu has taken a turn for the better. for example, this past summer hôtel perdu organized a mini-opera, complete with sets, sophisticated lighting, 3 performers and a live, musical quartet. this was our first major successful art happening and was attended by over 200 people. the entire opera was filmed and put up on youtube, within a week was viewed by over 1,000,000 people, officially going viral. the following week an off-broadway theatre company in new york approached us to promote and perform the piece in an upcoming festival during the spring of 2012.
for some old-school traditional squatters the highly organized approach of hôtel perdu hasn't gone down very well. in fact, we have kind of split the squatting community and are viewed by some as squatting heretics. but our approach is about the promotion of arts and from that point of view, we feel we are doing what is necessary in this cold, heart-of-stone society in which we live.
keep the faith with your work.
i look forward to your next letter.
your canadian artist friend.