Due in part to the "omg so much work/moving/packing/kittens/more work" that has been going on lately, I was in montreal for a mini-vacation this past weekend.
Among the ton of things we checked out (which included what probably amounted to hundreds of local shops in the never-ending search for cool things and mirrors) was an exhibit at the Canadian Centre for Architecture by Douglas Coupland.
His "Super City" exhibit (which ended on Sunday) was great - a futuristic city made out of lego, super city bits, crafted in a glossy white. It really brought home the idea that "toys" are not just for kids. Who decided that lego was socially unacceptable to play with beyond the single digits? They are sooooo wrong.
The other exhibit on at the CCA right now, aptly named "Sense of the City" is about perception within a city environment - sights, sounds, comforts. There's a great room contained within the exhibit that is all about sound. For a moment, you can put everything else aside and sit on the soft, egg-shaped chaise, and listen to the sounds of various cities - Vancouver, Paris, London, Halifax, Buenos Aires.....each has their own unique sound structure. It's interesting to sit for a while and try to tell the cities apart.
The exhibit also focuses on how giving ourselves comfort in a city eliminates the "natural" in our world. Components of the exhibit focus on air conditioning systems and the never ending quest to create "perfect air" through machines, and how scents blend so we no longer can tell what things really smell like within a city - too many smells overlay one another, creating a super-scent that in reality, smells like nothing at all.
The rest of the weekend involved attempting to get into Chu Chai with no luck (twice!), crowding into the smoke-filled Society for Arts and Technology for a great LCD Soundsystem/Juan Maclean show on Saturday night, falling for "Twik" clothes at Simons, and wandering the (not so terribly) cold montreal streets.
One experience I'd never like to repeat again is my visit to the Urban Outfitters store on St. Catherine. I managed to pick up some neat things (like rugs, and eastern-styled vases, and bacon bandaids) but the lineups were slow, the crowds were huge, and it was nearly impossible to get any of the staff to point you in the right direction. They have no idea what products they carry, and can only suggest a floor of the massive warehouse-style-space that you should be on.
PS - the rest of the trip photos are posted to my flickr account