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  • Writer's picturePrincesse Feussouo

The Underground VS The Ground: Quick personal vocabulary.

Black Theatre Workshop

Teachers used to say, your first work is probably your worst. That's why, I am serving you my worst article on the Montreal Art scene, Random stories and Politics, exposing my useless opinions : The Underground VS what I decided to call The Ground. When I explore these dynamics in art shows, paintings and others, I do not oversimplified artists in two categories without nuances, but it's more like... two doors to engage in different debates. All definitions below are terms I want to use in my next articles. English is NOT my first language but I know it's accessible.

Underground Art : First used in relation to the cultural phenomenon of the 1960s and early 1970s where groups of artists, writers and other creatives and thinkers were regarded as existing outside or on the fringes of popular culture.(Tate)

On this clear definition, we need to contextualize: The Underground Art in Montreal has one of the most creative people I have ever seen. In 2017, I was fascinated by how artists were organized during community activities and the infinite diversity in political conversations, UNTIL I discovered the consequences of Clout in these spaces.

Clout : Power and influence over other people or events.(Cambridge University)

A real discussion on Clout chasing is needed but as a spicy subject, we need to eat that thing next month. The lack of funds in the underground scene, especially, the Queer art scene is the reason why amazing projects fall after few months. A lot of artists and community facilitators overwork, burn and close. When the aim of these initiators are to organize in a strictly leftist ideal, the lack of commitments (from people, structures) and the disorganized management in the name of Marx destroy everything in less than a year. The main consequence is collectives, festivals and galleries recovering in Non-profit organizations, a way to build the perfect personality, access grants and legitimate their work. In this mess of underground, always late, no real future, lazy, punk and woke artists, there's a future.

You can be cool as these dirty and rich 70's rock stars.

Ground Art : Ground art is a term created I created to identify the wave of Art spaces breathing through grants. Institutions or collectives have social values and collaborate with underground artists for their uniqueness or social capital in order to create profits without drowning in capitalism( not only non-profits).The Ground Artist makes art with a concept and an aim to connect with higher institutions and international businesses. When asking for support, these artists (usually from art schools) have the skills to be accepted in both underground scene and mainstream platforms making it easier to attain social and economic success.

On this last note, I'll analyze other art activities I do in depth et some of my political views.

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