Select a number to view video excerpt and read transcript
Question 2: Why did you choose this profession?
It was kind of a zigzag: I wanted to do comic strips, I wanted to be an artist, then after high school I took part in Canada World Youth, which really had an impact on me, my vision of what I was going to do. I was really interested, it really made me aware of social problems and interaction between people. It’s a pretty incredible experience when you’re 18 years old, to leave after high school and go live with thirty people in other cultures, to exchange and to live out some pretty intense life experiences for a period of eight months. I was in Columbia, in Medina, in South America, so there were a lot of problems to do with war with armed groups, problems of poverty, “gaminès.” We lived in a place called Saint John, it was an organization of Saint John Bosco, Ciudad Don Bosco which means the city of Don Bosco, I know that there are a lot of organizations like it in Québec. When I got back from Columbia, I told myself I wanted to get involved with social development, I wanted to work out in the world and really contribute to life in general. So I went to school, at Université Ste-Anne in Nova Scotia, and I took a course in social development that I loved. It was an intensive course, through the whole year, and there were people that I still know today, people from Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario. It was a course that was given by a guy who was really nice and very involved in the field of social development. I did that for a year, I loved it, it was field work, I liked that. Then I came back to Moncton and I told myself, Well then, I’m interested in social development, I’ll go into sociology. And really, visual art, the arts at the time… I played instruments, I was doing some drawing, comic strips, but it really wasn’t one of my priorities at the time. I started to write poetry at Université Ste-Anne and that is really, when I look back at it now, poetry is probably the central element that drives me in all that I do, whether in media art, installation, performance, it’s always like in the Star Trek spaceship, a big crystal that moves the ship forward. Really, the poetic experience is maybe at the heart of that entire project. So I went to Université de Moncton in sociology. I didn’t like it and it was pretty terrible. I took demography courses, then I had formulas but it was really the distance there was between sociology and the actual experience with people, in the field, it was a thousand miles away from where I wanted to be. So I thought about it again, Well you know what? I’ll go into visual arts, because the poetic experience I can find it there too. When I look at that, I say to myself, Wow it’s really white and black, day and night. But in fact, the two approaches, sociology, social development, visual arts, arts in general, performance, it’s like now when I look back at it, and it’s really all meshed together. My father, who worked at L’Assomption in finance, worked with numbers, always complained: Nobody in our family is going to go into administration, into working with numbers. But, if I look right now at what I’m doing, I work with interactive programs like Max/MSP and Jitter, I really work with databases, with figures that I translate into other events, I translate these figures into something else. And really, it’s like the experience of sociology, demography, it’s tied to all the Lenskian direct actions, all the performance stuff, everything came together as a whole. I probably chose it because the poetic experience was something that was important and that was where I could really find it. I think some people find their poetic experience selling valves for motors or anything at all, but at that time it was the arts in general, that was where I could probably find that.