(You can find part 1 here). October 5th. I wake up, pack my camera gear, and step out of the house. I walk 2 meters and see a driver and cyclist almost collide. The cyclist reveals his middle finger and his near-killer shouts something probably obscene from the vehicle. Not the way I envisioned this day supposed to be full of appreciation, love and community, but oh well. First stop: intervention #33. In the Mile-End, Carolina is about to re-invent the telephone booth. By bringing beauty back in this most mundane, almost invisible object, she wants to make people more aware of their everyday surroundings.
A few steps away, I see the Rue Publique team working on their Woonerf project (#91).
By installing these giant structures in the middle of the street, intrigued motorists slow down, pedestrians playfully interact with the installations. Eventually people ask questions to the Rue Publique team, who reveal their motivation behind the project: if motorists can still circulate on this unnecessarily wide street, even with these installations in place, why not improve this shared public space by making it more pedestrian and cyclist friendly?, they propose.
At the bustling Café Olympico, I see the “artesian well” (#34), a collaboration between architect Ian Pieterse & artist Charlie Twitch. Hidden inside this enigmatic brick structure are speakers playing “sounds of the underground”. At Parc Jeanne-Mance, I take a quiet moment as I walk through a giant meditative labyrinth of rope (#5). I see a wizard (or pirate?), creating and manipulating bubbles into all sorts of shapes (#20). I take the metro with giant birds and monkeys for their Puppet Convergence (#50). I marvel with other passersby at hundreds of origami pelicans in a park (#7). I see messages of joy, folded into paper planes and thrown towards strangers by giants on stilts. I have a huge smile on my face pretty much for the entire day.
At this point I have to admit I was extremely relieved. The days leading up to October 5th had been pretty stressful and chaotic. I ended up being in charge of coordinating a 10-person video team on top of constantly updating the website with the dozens of last-minute interventions being added. But somehow, on the big day, everything went smoothly and as planned. Coordinating 100+ interventions across the city in a single day didn’t seem that difficult after all. Especially when you have a terrific team like the one we had, driven by the energy of all participants of the festival. And speaking of energy, take a look at this next intervention.
Intervention #3, the Silent Disco. This one was nuts. Picture this: hundreds of strangers are dancing together in total silence, all of them somehow in sync. As you get closer, you realize they’re linked together by the music they’re streaming in their headphones. Passersby joined, cars honked in support as the mob danced gleefully.
When you’re anticipating a big day like this one, it’s easy to suddenly find yourself in an underwhelming, anti-climatic disappointment. Although I only saw a small glimpse of it, 100in1day Montreal did not disappoint.
P.S. Check out this video made by the video team.