Monday, May 9, 2011
It is Saturday and I want to go to Optica today and take in a performance by artist Cecila Brass who is performing as part of a group exhibition at Optica, curated by Lori Blondeau, presents a selection of archival documents (videos and photographs) relating the history of TRIBE, A Centre for Evolving Aboriginal Media, Visual and Performing Arts. Since its inception, the artist collective has publicly raised highly relevant questions of identity, territory, and politics regarding the status of native peoples and First Nations’ place in our history.
Before heading to Optica at the Belgo Building on Ste. Catherine I grab the Metro at Sainte Henri station and begin some furtive actions on the Metro. Today I am trying two activities:
Again smiling at people as it is my furtive action of infecting Montrealers with a sense of kindness - a passing opportunity of risky, no-strings attached flirting, warmth, and intimacy.
The second opportunity of to see if they will engage with me.
Usually I am sitting as the Metro is not as busy today and I have tried to take a car at either the back of the train or the front - most people seem to grab a middle car and they become crowed fast. It seems that the best possibilities for a smile exchange happen when I am seated (I think I look shorter and less intimidating then) and often the other person is standing. This time a woman sits down directly across from me. She sighs loudly and in an expatriated way. I look over at her - we make eye contact and I just smile (an innocent and friendly one), she takes a double take and then smiles teh largest smile back at me. Today will be a good day. The stop is announced, the doors open and I leave this car for the one in front of it.
In the next car I try the same thing. This time I am bolder and after I smile at the person I sit next to them and we travel together for another stop, I wait and neither of us leave. I then turn him to him and ask if he would trade me something for this quarter. He smiles and then laughs and ask what I want? I tell him that I want to trade him something for the quarter. He laughs again and produces a cigarette. I thank him and get off at the next stop - Square Victoria. I get back on and it takes about four attempts until I feel ready to trade again. Over the day I trade for a half pack of spearmint gum, a used nail file, almost used chap stick, a condom, a loonie, and validated transit ticket, and a kiss (on my cheek). It has been a great day, but the best part was when I had a person who said they had noting to trade and then I asked them to hold my hands...