Mythologie Des Lieu
The Tchou Collective consists of artists, Bonnie Baxter, Pierre Pellerin, Michelle Bush, Clark Ferguson and Patrick Visentin. It was initiated by Bonnie Baxter in response to an invitation by the Rene Derouin Foundation to participate in an international symposium on the mythology of place. The Symposium took place between August 1999 and September 1999 in St. Jerome Quebec, just north of the city of Montreal. Tchou began work on the project in April 1999, and continued through the summer into the fall. The collective focused on engaging the people of St. Jerome in the art making process in order to better understand the "place" of St. Jerome. Tchou was hoping to become intertwined in the myth of the "Place" and in order to do so the members felt it was necessary , as Geertz writes, to listen to the forest and experience the stones. During the summer the collective explored the streets of St. Jerome going door to door. This was in part of an act to be documented as well as an attempt to meet the people of St. Jerome. We exchanged our personal performative energy, in the form of push-ups, for their intimate memories, signified by a pair or two of their old shoes. During the symposium, we attached rubber stamps on the soles of these shoes and invited members of the community, as well as passers by, to wear the shoes and make their imprint on large rolls of paper that we had procured from the local paper mill. At the end of the symposium, all participants including Tchou took part in a "burning ceremony". Physical evidence was destroyed in order to signify that myth is greater than what these records could convey. It is born of the conscience, memory and actions of communities and individuals.
The ethnography of place is, if anything, more critical for those of us who are apt to imagine that all places are alike than for those who, listening to forests or experiencing stones, know better.