web analytics

Featured in Flare Magazine

April 10th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

I’m in the April issue of Flare Magazine showcasing the places I love in Montreal. ;o) I was contacted through Instagram. I didn’t understand why they wanted to feature me—PhD student, feminist, outspoken politics, images of menstruation, and so on— until I saw the issue themed “all about women by women.”  I also got to shout out my mom as my style icon (which is true!) She said she cried when she read it. It’s on newsstands for a few more days. I also got to wear my own clothes, and the whole Montreal team was really cool & supportive. Being inside working 24/7 makes experiences like these a welcome treat. Big up to Flare for wanting to feature nerdy awkward women like me. *Please note that I would never call my hood Mile-Ex, that was an editorial decision I didn’t see until it was published.

2015-04-10 11.51.43

bouge, bouge, bouge

May 23rd, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

As a result of the draconian measures during the QUEBEC STUDENT STRIKE — One year ago today I was kettled, arrested and humiliated on a STM bus that served as a makeshift holding cell for the 400+ of us that were kettled on the corner of St-Denis and Sherbrooke, a Montreal corner I have not been able to move past since then. Surely, the kettle of that many people did not just happen because of some thrown rocks or whatever else kind of vandalism the SVPM (Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal) made up to justify innocent protestors to get arrested. To kettle that many people takes planning, organization and impeccable timing. It also requires a lot of moles. At this point I had been going to many day and night marches, wore my red square with pride and engaged in many intense debates and negotiations with my university and colleagues on the issue.

I wrote a reflection on the strike “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” and had a photo essay “#Casserolesencours St-Henri” in open wi: journal of mobile media, a special two-issue edition which I co-edited with Kim Sawchuk, Alison Loader, Owen Chapman and Ben Spencer. I also co-edited a special issue of Transmutations journal, in which I have a sound piece collab with Dave Madden called “The nocturnal sound moves of the Quebec Student Strike” that came out of a paper “The Nocturnal Sounds of 2012 Quebec Student Strike: Experiencing Protest as a Plurality of Resistances” I presented at the Sound & Dissent symposium at Concordia 1 February 2013. I’m presenting another version of this paper in Lancaster, UK at the Mobility Futures conference, and hope to publish it following that feedback. I also had a long-form interview on the CBC “As it Happens”, a spot on CTV, CKUT roundtable and Guardian UK interview discussing my arrest. Clearly, the student strike has inscribed my body and my artistic and scholarly practice in endless ways…

The story I wrote regarding my arrest was published in n+1: montreal diaries (all the photos are mine too) and open wi: journal of mobile media is below.

Detention on St-Denis
May 27, 2012

The night I am arrested is a warm spring night, the thirtieth night of continuous protests to be exact. It’s the day after the May 22 rally that inspired over 200,000 people to walk through the streets of Montreal. My friend Paul and I are riding our bikes in the demo. We talk about the people around us, their families, their children; about how happy we are, how incredible it is to be marching here, and how much we love the city. The crowd moves fast. Unlike the other nights we’ve marched, which felt tense and uncomfortable, tonight is jovial and vibrant.

We get off our bikes at Rue St-Denis. Boom! We hear a blast, and a cloud of smoke hovers over the intersection. I’m not sure where we are. People start running toward me.

“Get your fucking bike out of the way!”

I try to run north on St-Denis in the direction of the crowd, but they start to head toward me, pushing me back. I yell for Paul. “Please don’t leave,” I say, as we both try to maneuver our bikes northwest, but there’s no getting them above the high curb and through the throng of bodies. North of us are two rows of Montreal police (Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, or SVPM). We’re turning around to go back down when the tear gas grips the back of my throat. I wrap my shawl around my nose and mouth, scrambling and anxious, wondering what the fuck is going on. I feel like I’m going in a circle. Suddenly the police are charging us, and I try to run the other way, but the bike is unwieldy and I’m nervous I will lose Paul. The cops start shoving from the other side, and every time I turn my head there are more cops with masks and shields lunging toward us, smoke hanging overhead, until there’s no way out. Then it starts again: “MOVE, MOVE, MOVE, MARCHE, MARCHE.” So we move, but more cops on the other side are shouting the same thing from the other direction. I hold onto Paul’s arm, unable to think, dizzy from tear gas and anxiety, my heart pounding through my rib cage. Every time I move one way, I am pushed back the other way. I tighten my shawl for fear of more tear gas and can hardly stand. We ask the cops if we can lock our bikes to a stand. We beg enough that they concede, and then promptly shove us back into the streets. I imagine this may be the last time I see my bicycle.

“What’s happening?” I ask.

“I think we were just kettled,” Paul says.

“What? No, after the G20, they’re not allowed to do that.”

“Oh, I think they just did.”

I don’t believe him.

We stand around for a while. I tweet uncertainties. Everyone is milling about in a circle. People start shouting chants about freedom and civil liberties. Eventually most of us sit down.

I sit in silence, staring at everyone around me. Their faces are at ease, comfortable.

“What do you think is going to happen?”

“I don’t know—they’ll probably arrest us.”

“They can’t arrest us all . . . there’s so many of us.”

“Sure they can,” Paul says, and walks off.

I let him go and stay on the curb, hugging my knees to my chest, waiting. When Paul comes back, I tell him to sit beside me. We watch a makeshift football game with a ball made out of a plastic bottle.

Paul notes that several public buses have arrived.

“Why?” I ask.

“To transport us.”

People start getting up, and I hear a police officer announcing something.

“ . . . anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. . .”

“The cats!” I suddenly remember.


“I left them without food because I’m trying to put them on a diet!”

“Can you call any friends to feed them?”

“I will call my superintendent, but it’s so late, and what will I say? I got arrested, will you please feed my cats?”

“We should line up,” Paul says to me. “Imagine how long it’s going to take to process everyone. If we line up now, we’ll get out earlier.”

I grab his shoulder as he leads me up to the front, where some elderly people are already in line. I am nervous. There’s so much misinformation about where we’re going, where we will be held, what we are getting arrested for, and whether Bill 78 will be enacted. No one seems to know and the cops say something different every time.

I walk up.

“Do you have ID?”

“Yes,” I reply as one of the cops searches my bag.

“What a mess in there,” he mutters in French to his colleague.

They find my ID, search me, grab my shoulders to turn me around, and handcuff my wrists together.

Two policemen walk me to the line by the bus, holding my purse, and wait until it’s my turn to get on. They write down my identification information and give me a wristband with a number to claim my purse later. I sit down and wait. The bus fills up with people younger than me. Then we wait. Eventually, the bus starts moving and we drive, and drive, and drive. Once in northeast Montreal, we wait some more. The buses become holding cells. I feel sick—tear gas, nausea, and my bladder kicking in. Lightheaded, I ask a cop if I can go to the bathroom. She rolls her eyes and tells me to sit down. I ask again. I wait. I ask the other cops. Each insists that everyone on the bus has to urinate and that, like them, I have to wait.

“What if I pee my pants?”

“Then you have to live with it.”

“So then if I pee on the bus I won’t get in trouble?”

“Go away, you won’t do that.”

I return to my seat but the pain is unbearable.

I crouch down in the middle of the bus and a few women stand around me creating a human shield, while I pull down my leggings with my handcuffed hands –— I piss, and I piss, and I keep pissing until the stream of urine rolls around the bus under everyone’s feet.

“You are brave. Be glad you did that. Fuck ’em.”

I smile sheepishly and appreciate the camaraderie, as the rest of the bus erupts in anger at the police.

“How can you let a woman pee on the bus? How can you treat us like animals?”

“Because you are. Shut up and stay put,” the police shout back, which only causes more yelling.

“A woman peed on the bus! A woman peed on the bus! You should be ashamed!” some of them chant in unison, but the police don’t even turn around to look at us. I watch my piss run back and forth. By now, another man is doing the same thing: flooding the bus with urine. Somehow this makes time pass more quickly. An hour later our bus pulls up to the processing table and a smiling policeman hands me a ticket as the morning sun hits my face.

That night over 400 people were arrested at Sherbrooke Avenue and Rue St-Denis. Most of us were given $634 tickets for breaking the newly revised municipal bylaw P-6, which, among other things, does not allow face coverings, such as the shawl I used, and requires that protest organizers submit exact march routes to the police. Free speech is now only free when the police grant us permission.

open wi (Quebec student strike)

November 8th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Earlier this spring I was heavily involved, both academically and in the streets, in the Quebec-wide student strike. Several of us at the Mobile Media Lab at Concordia decided to put out a special “open” issue of wi: journal of mobile media. This resulted in two issues, which I co-edited with Owen Chapman, Alison Reiko Loader, Ben Spencer and Kim Sawchuk.

Click on the image to move through the issues. I also have an anonymous story of my arrest, a photo essay of the casseroles in St-Henri (my hood) and some prose (on being on the street & tear gassed repeatedly & having my bike broken) included.














To celebrate the strike ending, these two issues & a special issue of Theory & Event — Printemps Érable – Quebec’s Maple Spring of 2012— Volume 15, Issue 3 Supplement – Fall 2012, edited by Darin Barney, Brian Massumi, and Cayley Sorochan, we threw a party at Alexandraplatz & I made a short video with Safia Siad of the party.


Celebrating the Red Square from wi journal on Vimeo.


I wrote a bit about the strike: 14 March 2012, 27 March 2012, 13 Aug 2012.

On Quebec Student Strike / open wi

August 13th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Earlier this summer, my supervisor Kim Sawchuk, Owen Chapman,  Alison Loader, Ben Spencer and I, created a special issue of wi: journal of mobile media, called open wias a response to the student strike movement in Quebec. I also contributed some writing and photography. It’s a good time to let the rest of the world know that the day before the fall semester starts (attempts to start?), elections are happening in Quebec on September 4. Don’t let politics take advantage of you.

Protected: Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams

June 11th, 2012 § Enter your password to view comments. § permalink

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Searching for Montréal’s Provost River

October 9th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I am part of a long-term project focused on re-articulating/reviving the old river systems of Montréal. Today I started the walk to acquaint myself with the area of where the Provost used to be (and is now underground), or rather the first small part of where it splits off from the River St-Martin. I will try to document and map as much as possible before the snow fall.

Along the way starting at Parc Outremont:

first month in Montréal

October 6th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink


I am living in Montréal now, in the St-Henri neighbourhood in a beautiful pre-war rowhouse. The woman living below me was one of the women that influenced Gabrielle Roy’s Tin Flute. There’s only two of them left and everyone else is dead. My doctoral studies have commenced and I’m not sure what to make of it yet, other than the superficial, oh wow, it’s great, my supervisor is too-good-t0-be-true, the food is great & I’ve made fast friends with people in the Film Studies Department and not my own. I’ve been obsessively updating my Instagram and focusing on color and perception and immediacy.

I bike a lot everywhere and eat cheese and speak broken French in a terrible Anglophone accent.

Lately, I’ve started really missing my brother. A LOT. I wish he hadn’t been so stubborn. He wishes he hadn’t been so stubborn and applied to Concordia for Studio Art instead of just being focused on Illustration at OCAD. He’s 18 now and we listen to the same music and like the same things and generally have a similar outlook on life, although his is filtered through the angsty suburban teenage gaze and mine through a gone-through-too-much-school-too-fast ‘am I an adult or a kid still?’ PhD gaze. I fantasize about us going to shows together, and me showing him off to my friends and him fitting in here much more, and being able to live, because everything is so cheap in Montréal, and Concordia has so many initiatives that you can take advantage of if you’re willing. I have access to a free delicious vegan, and often wheat-free lunch when I’m at SWF campus.

I remember my first year in university. I was on sex and drugs, so self-absorbed that only bass moved me. No future. I need my hair done. I’ll feel better. Next week I’m coming back to Toronto for my Masters Convocation. I’m disproportionately excited for this institutionalized spectacle.

A collection from my iPhone from my first month here.

ps. several of you asked me when I would update this! OK! I’ve not had much to say, words, taking up space, when I am writing and talking, it’s about issues of perception and symbolism and #occupywallstreet & everything else that subsumes me. Maybe more like drowning in the ineffable. Is it possible to have a relationship with the ineffable? Activate a correspondence with it? With a yet-t0-become/yet-t0-be-signified? – the activating of the molecular level of radical empiricism.

pps. I am working on a large several-year project reviving the lost rivers of Montréal.

When John Maus played this at Il Motore last week, tears came down all over me and then I started screaming until I lost my voice and was full of cramps from thrashing my body – the abject becoming the sublime.

Ruminations – my last months in Toronto

July 5th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

Sometimes I so desperately wish I could be (exist as) an island.

I also wish that hypocrisy would not exist: in others and in me and in each other collectively.

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT? Like, I am a hypocrite all the time, and the more I think I am not, the more I am. The more I try not to be, the more I see it and it’s gross. Ok, sometimes I am respectful and open to a situation and gentle with my own feelings and issues and those around me…and it’s amazing and I want to hold onto it, but then something else happens. Maybe I am not such a hypocrite, maybe it’s more about having undetected blind spots. I can’t stand it, I want this utopian ideal of self-reflexivity and self-awareness, but with that comes self-obsession smothering itself over everything. And with that comes my own judgmental weakness – watching people race past their blind spots. Slavoj Žižek, who appeared at this incredible talk with Julian Assange moderated by Amy Goodman a couple of days ago in London (which I watched twice over since), has this to say: “We feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.”

New rule: Do not speak unless spoken to.

Some mundane thoughts right now: I privatized about 99% of my Flickr account. My mother says my energy is more calming than ever before. One of my roommates refuses to compromise & in turn is compromising my cats safety, making me anxious to be away from my flat. I listen to John Maus and Dmitri Shostakovich incessantly. I can’t stop masturbating. The sun has burned my skin straight through. Nothing makes sense: Why do I type with my fingers? How come clipping your nails in public is so offensive? Why don’t people admit they love their own weird body smells? I am an animal. I smell my crotch and it is intoxicating.  I remember the slow progression of starting to have an “odour” to my pussy, becoming pronounced after I became sexually active. I love that every guy I have been with desires to keep my underwear. Don’t you love the coalescing of smells when you have sex a lot and you aren’t sure who smells like who anymore and you wage a war on who is taking over, “I totally smell like you!” “No, I smell like you.” I am going to become a Master in August, or more like I have no choice but finish this documentary or else I will fail and then die. I am moving to Montreal to have  “Dr” next to my name. I wish I could not speak to anyone. I wish no one would speak to me. People mistake my 18 year old brother and I for a couple everywhere we go every time. Less than two months to go.

also: “You give into distraction as if it is a murderer. You lay there, waiting to be killed. Today: fight for your life.” — Miranda July

Montreal + PhD App Gratitude

March 19th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

A day after I received my first PhD acceptance in the mail, I was working late in the library with my two colleagues Claudia and Dave, when an email from Concordia showed up. I didn’t even hesitate, clicking and seeing that THEY MOTHERFUKING ACCEPTED ME !!!! for their Joint Doctorate in Communication and I received an entrance Fellowship (even tho I applied after the funding deadline!) and a job offer on an amazing locative media/mobile cinema project. I hugged Dave and Claudia for about two minutes and had tears in my eyes.

All the people in my life know how I spent all my energy day and night working on these applications, but especially this one, because it was the most exhaustive and demanding, and my first choice. Not to sound like some cheezy awards speech but I had an incredible support network that helped me in so many ways, and I really couldn’t have done this without them. J cooking me meals and taking care of my day-to-day, my parents bringing me meals from the ‘burbs, my friends (esp J.O, Tobias, Danielle and Dave, but there are so many of you! shit! i’m the luckiest!) keeping me in check making sure I don’t have a panic attack and blow it while giving me informal tips about the application and my area of study and understanding why I can’t hang out with them, Jovana Jankovic (my editor who stuck by my manias), Jason Nolan (my supervisor, who at one point said, “I’ve never had such a demanding grad student”), Jason Hockman (who gave me the tip to discuss my PhD plans as if I was talking to 50 Cent), Claudia Sicondolfo (the emotional and intellectual support goddess), Mitsu Hadeishi, Sara Udow, Andrew Bieler, Janine Marchessault and Kim Sawchuk who all helped edit and revise my statements over and over again. So much thanks to my letters of recommendation writers: Deborah Barndt, Janine Marchessault, Barry Wellman and Jason Nolan.

I feel so lucky, and an infinite amount of gratitude towards these people because if you’ve ever had to engage in the sort of linguistic acrobatics that a PhD Application (and a SSHRC Scholarship Application worth 35K a year two months prior) entails you will know how taxing it is on you but also on those around you. I’m quite aware that I’ve learned to be demanding in the last few years because I want things… I want life! I am so hungry! There’s no time to pussyfoot around! If you want things ask, what’s the worst that can happen? Someone says no?  I think people get way too wrapped up in ego insecurity and rejection to be assertive. I admit I have a tendency to be aggressive at times, but I’d rather be aware of my agression and work through it than to be docile and uncertain how to get what I want/need.

Yesterday my ex, Jordan, came to have lunch with me in the Lab and as we were finishing I said, “Hey, tell your mom I got into the Concordia PhD and tell her I accepted.”

“Yeah, I will, I’m always telling my mom how proud of you I am,” he starts welling up.


“Yeah, I brag about you all the time. You’re so driven and motivated. It’s great.”

“Wow! Are you gonna cry?” I go over and give him a big bear hug with a huge grin on my face because as intense as our relationship was and as much as we love each other, this type of genuine sincerity wasn’t always on the top of our interactions.



Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with montreal at MAGDALENA O!SZANOWSKI.

%d bloggers like this: