Nos ébranlements was originally a series of meetings and discussions by teenagers in connection with various French Theatre performances. Drawing on issues raised in those shows, they shared their thoughts, eager to articulate their relationship to the world, to others and to themselves.
This year, Nos ébranlements returned in a redesigned format to rebuild the bonds broken by the pandemic.
Interview with documentary photographer Jonathan Lorange and multidisciplinary artist Judith Poitras, curators of this third edition.
What does your version of Nos ébranlements look like?
This year, Nos ébranlements took the form of a letter exchange project where the participants, initially anonymous, gradually get to know each other over the course of three missions. It was important to us that the project revolve around the concept of otherness, that it rekindle the young people’s interest in one another after this difficult period when our relationships were tested.
At the beginning, each young person chose a pseudonym and was then paired with another participant to carry out the missions and talk about them. Sometimes the content created during a mission will be used by the partner to create the next mission, while at other times it’s simply a matter of sharing a piece of work, offering it to the partner. Following the last mission, the young people will meet in person for the very first time and break the anonymity that prevailed during the few weeks they were corresponding with each other.
Who are the young people who will participate in this project?
This summer, it was important for us to reach out to a new cohort of young people, teenagers we had never worked with before, on both sides of the river; and in fact we did attract a new group, half from Ottawa and half from Gatineau. We targeted a high school age range: they’re between 13 and 18 years old, and they’re passionate about one or more art forms.
What appealed to you about this project?
The mission to let teenagers’ voices be heard. To find a new way to connect with them and provide them with a platform for expression and creation, but also to try to guide them towards ways of thinking and expressing themselves that are less usual for them.
Do you have any wishes for your participants // What do you hope for them in terms of experience or even greater awareness/expression?
JL: I hope the missions they’ve been given will lead them to new ideas, or even simply help them identify and articulate things they already had inside them.
JP: I hope the project will stimulate them and encourage them to continue with whatever they’re creating. Ideally, I hope they will have felt a sense of connection, of resonance through each other’s writing.
Your version of Nos ébranlements comprises different media, so let’s play a little game.
What was the last letter you received?
JP: It was both a letter and a package from a friend I’m working with on an art project in Winnipeg. I received a sequential illustration of the common dream of “losing your teeth”, a mini finger puppet, a little note from a fortune cookie that said “Rome wasn’t built in a day. So be patient!”, a loaded McCafé card, a Brio soft drink cap as a souvenir, and a note on a pink card inviting me to create the next part of the drawing. A real treasure!
JL: Great news from Brittany.
Close your eyes and tell us: What is Nos ébranlements in one image?
JP: I’m thinking of a drawing I did a few years ago called "Rencontres" (“Encounters”). Here it is (click here)
JL: A glance at first averted, but then coming around, because it’s welcomed.
The most recent picture on your phone?
JP: Two nice little pizzas with a homemade crust that’s a little too sweet.
JL: Poison ivy.
A place in Ottawa-Gatineau that you’d suggest your pen pal should visit?
JP: The Carbide Willson Ruins in Gatineau Park.
JL: The Alexandra Bridge in winter.