The initial subject of inquiry of the Grey Areas Desk focuses on access to vacant spaces and underused buildings.
In the first phase, the Creative Researchers interviewed city officials, social activists, innovators and creative professionals to map the main regulatory blockages they experience and the grey zones they use to navigate them. The idea was to create an inventory of creative ways of gaining access to space as potential starting points for future initiatives.
In the second phase, the Creative Researchers dig deeper in the potential of art as a way to explore the meaning of vacancy in times of COVID. A second round of interviews is conducted with an enlarged group of individuals from various horizons in the context of A Film About Emptiness.
A Film About Emptiness mixes narratives in order to draw a line between different concepts and approaches to the idea/feeling of Space. By thinking about Space as a resource for humanity, the film opens up the door to understanding and reflecting on the state of Emptiness. By looking at some examples of empty buildings (abandoned and functional) in the city of Montreal, this film explores the shifts on municipal policy stimulated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, it looks at how our relationship with vacant and unused buildings has changed through the health crisis. In doing so, this audiovisual document intends to find ways to confront society with the present challenges, and possible futures of empty buildings in Montreal. By considering different legal ways to hack and subvert public laws and legislations, the film exposes the right and possibility to reclaim empty buildings by any member of society.