Shock Value

Shock Value

April 15, 2021
How is land valued in Montreal? What does our cityscape tell us about the monopoly of financial value? Can alternative forms of value be used to imagine land in a different, more meaningful way?

Using art as a tool for subversion, pedagogy and decision-making, the Shock Value Collective challenges the dominance of financial value in the development and structuring of cities. From May to July 2021, the Collective hosted four art interventions throughout Montreal, illustrating the financial mechanisms of real estate development, exploring non-financial forms of value with public audiences, and developing a model for decoupling value creation from finance. These projects will take place on the construction site of a future luxury condo mega-project, on various private properties and in cyberspace.

The Shock Value Collective is composed of artists, not economists. The research they have conducted and the ideas they put forward emerge from the desire to decipher the structures that shape urban development and to uncover the underlying systems that produce an exclusive housing market. They challenge the financialization of housing, speculate on the creation of new value frameworks and provoke reflection on the de-commodification of land. They hope to invite a wider public into this questioning in order to generate new lines of thought on the subject.

Visit the Shock Value Collective website for more information about the creative projects and public interventions. 

[Photo credit: Christine White]


Gabriel Townsend Darriau has a BA in Urban Studies from Concordia, works in community-driven real estate and is pursuing a certificate in real estate studies at UQÀM. He rents a 4 ½ for $815/month on a 635 m2 property worth $ 1,970,100.

Maddy Capozzi holds a BFA in Design from Concordia. She has explored her creativity in settings ranging from a social innovation hub, an arts-based transdisciplinary studio, a reuse center, and a research lab for sustainable urbanism. She rents a 4 ½  for $1260/month on a 185 m2 property worth $ 1,187,300.

Christine White is completing her bachelor’s degree at Concordia University with a major in Intermedia and a minor in Sociology. Combining research with intervention, she uses mobile disruptive architecture to imagine public space that acts to serve the common good rather than corporate interest. She rents a 3 ½ for $900/month on a 1 005,80 m2 property worth $ 2,387, 000.

Thomas Heinrich holds a BFA in Design at Concordia University. Throughout his degree he has worked on various subjects including the modernization of Montreal in the 1960s, the reuse of large infrastructure materials and social/ecological architecture. He currently rents a 6 ½ for $1,550/ month on a 153,30 m2  property worth $844 000.



The Office of Rules and Norms (ORN) is an arts-based transdisciplinary collective that engages with regulations, the rule of law and cultural norms. These engagements reveal, comprehend, play with, subvert, and transcend current ways of understanding and acting in relation to regulatory forces in order to make room for more equitable alternatives. In its attempts to query legal and behavioral urban infrastructures, the ORN specifically deploys art and design practice, culture, and methods along three axes:
Art as Subversion | Intervening in grey areas of regulation
Art as Pedagogy | Making public various forces and forms of influence
Art as Decision-Making | Reorienting modes of knowing and deliberating