Nothing Will Surprise You Here - Montréal

"One is nostalgic not for the past the way it was, but for the past the way it could have been." - Svetlana Boym.


In 1988, to mark 150th anniversary of the invention of photography, the city of Montreal designated 6 streets within a new housing development in Rivière-des-Prairies/Pointe-aux-Trembles district to be named after important historical photographers of Montreal. The new neighborhood was drawn and the names of William Notman, Ovilla Allard, George Arless, Edgar Gariépy, Conrad Poirier and Alexander Henderson found their place on the official map of the city. There, they remained for 19 years. But, in reality, the streets have never been built and the names have never been inscribed on street signs. Finally, in 2007, the city administration retracted from its initial plan and the photographers’ names were removed from future maps, never to be printed again. The designated area remains a wasteland to date. Strangely and stubbornly, the ‘phantom streets’ still appear on Google maps.

Galerie Dazibao exhibition announcement:

Velibor Božovic combines autobiographical, documentary and fictional elements to explore the influence of images on memory. Nothing Will Surprise You Here examines an aborted urban planning project whose streets would have been named in honour of great Canadian photographers on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography. These “phantom” streets, although never built, appear on certain maps of Montreal, including Google Maps, even though their location is only a vacant lot. Of course, this story is just the framework of a much larger evocative proposition, in which the imaginary, wandering and memory take up questions of history, fiction and personal history.

From April 13 to June 17, 2017, Galerie Dazibao | Opening on April 13 at 7 p.m.

Installation photographs by Marilou Crispin.

Velibor Božović | Nothing Will Surprise You Here from DAZIBAO on Vimeo.