The Portage and Main Story Line

2008
by jake moore
Winnipeg, Manitoba

It has been 32 years since Winnipeg’s fabled intersection, Portage and Main, was barricaded to pedestrian traffic. Do you still remember crossing Portage and Main? If so, I am interested in your story. Please call, 1.204.943.1423 and tell me about it. It is a voice mail box that will record your story that I will then reassemble into a new work made with all of the other stories I am told. Anyone with memories of actually crossing the streets are invited to call, but other Portage and Main recollections would be welcome too. If your story is particularly long, either leave several messages, or if you prefer, email me, jake moore, at mjake@videotron.ca, to set up a direct connection. Why? I am collecting these stories for the construction of an audio sculpture to be included in an exhibition called SUBCONSCIOUS CITY, curated by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan for the Winnipeg Art Gallery. According to the curators:“Inspiration for the title of the exhibition comes from American cultural theorist and art critic Rebecca Solnit. In her recent book, “A Field Guide to Getting Lost”, (Viking, 2005), she posits that, “A city is built to resemble a conscious mind, a network that can calculate, administrate, manufacture. Ruins become the unconscious of a city, its memory, unknown, darkness, lost lands, and in this truly bring it to life.” If we accept the mind as a model for Winnipeg, the unconscious (the lesser seen or ignored) makes its presence felt in unexpected ways. It burbles to the surface in ways that inform and enrich us, as well as revealing injustices and neglect. Similarly, the conscious (the affluent, the celebrated, the new) can reveal paucity (of community, of vision, of spiritual connection with each other and our past) as well as promise.” In many ways I am beginning a conversation; an oral history of the ruins of the public site that Portage and Main once was, and the monument to the automobile and civic politics that it has become. Collective memory, or memories collected, can be the promise referred to Dempsey/Millan. There will be a public opening on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2008. Remember, “Love me, Love my Winnipeg” for further information on this project, please contact jake moore NB. The artist would like to acknowledge the support of *Video Pool Media Arts Centre*.