the trouble with being poor

Commissioned by Espace Virtuel,
in collaboration with Le Séjour Marie Fitzbach, as part of the Colocation project (Chicoutimi, QC)

Rather than look at “the problematics posed by homelessness” (Espace Virtuel: project description), and make distinctions between homeless people, citizens and artists, the trouble with being poor proposes that living rough is a symptom of exclusionary practices and a socio-economic rupture (to wit the false dichotomies articulated in the colocation project description between citizenship and homelessness, between citizens and artists, and between the homeless and artists). One of the conditions of feeling at home is the power to self determine what intimate details of – and actions in – one’s quotidian existence are kept private and what is to be shared with others and made public. Patriarchal oppression, inadequate housing, and the lack of communal support are just three of the numerous systemic factors contributing to the challenging paradox facing many homeless women: The rituals and gestures of daily existence are simultaneously lived in the full glare of everyone to see while at the same time forced into hiding. Decades ago Dutch-born US artist Willem de Kooning stated, “The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.” Inviting dialogue about the urban experience of time and place the trouble with being poor implicates us all and not just those who inhabit the deranging in/visible liminal spaces our progress-driven society does not want to take responsibility for.Participants in this project were actively involved in creating the full-page visual/textual essay that was published in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Quotidien/Le Progrès newspaper, which articulated their thoughts and feelings and about the un/making of home in the everyday.