Short Architectural Comparison of Toronto and Montreal

Toronto is always under construction. The cityspace is in vertical displacement, the tops of skyscrapers reaching higher and higher. Condominiums are always being planned, built and finished in the city, a race to the limitless heavens. With every rise there is a fall. New condominiums dominate an unoccupied space in the open skies for a short time before falling to disgrace, at the knees of a new condominium building that has flown further up into the fresh airs of new skies.

From this new level of height, the horizon stretches out to the point of infinity, and one can gaze all around unobstructed with the eyes of a conqueror. From the old level of height of the defeated, the infinity of the horizons are blocked forever, a constant reminder of impotence. Buildings to not age gracefully in Toronto, age being a reminder of failure. This absurd rise continues ad infinitum, a competition mediated by a morality of quantity.

In Montreal, no structures can rise above Mont-Royal, above the heights of this natural creation that remains a boundary to limitless ambitions. From the tops of Mont-Royal, all have access to the infinity of the horizon, past the skyscrapers of the city, but not with the eyes of a conqueror, not with the lonely joy of one who has vanquished. Instead, one stands as an equal member of the crowd, a crowd mediocre but in communion.

Moving from Toronto to Montreal means a translation into different planes of thought; from verticality to horizontality; from the solitary joy of power to a communitarian acceptance of mediocracy, from a collection of human objects to a collection of human subjects, from a quantitative system of morality to a qualitative system.

 

Toronto est toujour en construction. Chaque année emporte des condomiums de plus en plus nombreux qui sont de plus en plus hauts, comme s’ils sont tout en concurrence, tout en train d’achever au ciel. Les nouveaux condominiums vieillissent fort vite et deviennent obsolets en raison de leur impotence contre ceux qui sont plus hauts. On ne peut pas voir l’horizon, qui s’étend à l’infini, comme si on regard autour du monde des yeux de conquérant, des fenêtres d’un condominium faible.

À Montréal, Mont-Royal met une limite aux bâtiments et les gratte-ciel, ce qui ne peuvent pas dépasser la hauteur de la montagne. De Mont-Royal, chacun peut voir l’horizon ensemble, mais pas des yeux de conquérant.

Je préfère mieux l’horizontalité en lieu de la verticalité, (d’où on peut sentir l’air frais loin de la foule, comme a dit Nietzsche) mais je peux imaginer la joie qu’on ressent à voir le monde d’une hauteur inaccessible de la foule, le sentiment du potence, une potence si vif qui amène l’homme loin de la lassitude.

 

Goodbye Nostalgia

Existential accounting: A relationship formed equals a relationship lost. Just as a debit equals a credit, a gain equals a loss.

 

I must admit that I am a nostalgic despite my young age. I stay turned towards the ever fading past, a past that I search for in the present and in the future forever approaching.

In all lassitude and languor I go about daily life, the future an unwelcome presence, wishing to slow down the passing of time. Time tick tocks quiet to my pleas.

I have lived many lives and died many deaths, with the curse (or blessing?) of remembrance. Approaching each new life abroad in ecstasy, only to be drained to the depths at the eventual and eternal depart.

From these lives I have learned that memory does not only reside within, an organized bookshelf with past events readily available. Memory leaves its impressions externally, in the uncared-for roads, the decaying structures, the small insignificant stores and above all in human relationships formed by fortune. Each sensation leaves behind a fragment of the self, a fragment that links me to that which I came in contact with. Human relationships demand a greater piece, torn from a deeper place, a slab of vital flesh. Full of holes I feel a nostalgia for wholeness.

Then comes the great separation, a sudden and violent slash as all bonds are irreversibly cut. The heart remains while the body parts at great speeds, going from 100km/h by bus up to 1000km/h by airplane.

With this separation only faint impressions remain, soft suggestions that soon fade like footprints in the snow during a storm, leaving a general white blank. What happens then to the pieces of myself that I have so gratuitously given out?

So I think of the past in the present, in the future, a past that slips through my fingers like fine grains of sand. With time only a few grains will remain I suppose. With the slipping of the last grains forgetfulness is complete.

But all the grains of sand will slip through eventually, a fall as I fall with my last breath into the final death. Until then, the future always awaits, always advancing in confrontation. I do not want to rush into this future, running blindly towards forgetfulness, but I must yet challenge it bravely and with un amour absurde. The future cannot be a bleak, dark, hopeless space while so much of it remains. But as I advance I will still grip tightly onto the grains of sand remaining in my hands.