In the summer of 2016, La Maison de l’architecture du Québec (MAQ) commissioned six landscape/architect/artist teams to create an installation that considers ways to improve the experience of Québec’s Autoroutes for the exhibit S.O.S. Paysages Autoroutiers. Together with Poet Ronna Bloom, PLANT explored Highway 10, the highway to the Eastern Townships and the Appalachian Mountains. No. 10 is the highway that passes by and between a set of mountains – not a chain like the Appalachians or the Laurentians, but a sequence – each a singular and bold eruption from the St. Lawrence lowland plain, a totemic icon: mountain, space, mountain, space…. No. 10 follows the route of eight of the nine Montérégian mountains – Mount Royal, Mount St. Bruno, Mont St. Hilaire, Mont St. Grégoire, Mont Rougemont, Mont Yamaska, Mont Shefford, and Mont Brome – each linked by heat on the Great Meteor Hotspot Track. Each of these mountains follow the same fault line, each were created by magma pushing up to create an almost-volcano. At 120 km/h the mountains present themselves in three- to thirty-second glimpses like ships on the vast horizon of the plain.
Blink, and you miss it brings the driver and passengers’ attention to this fleeting sequence of mountains, both factual and poetic, at high speed and at rest, with three distinct interventions shaped by speed: Mountain identifiers that require high speed to decode; an Ode to the mountains 140 km long (There are mountains; there is a sequence going eastbound and Il y a des montagnes, il y a une sequence going westbound) is embedded in the roadbed and rendered as an anomorphic illusion at high speed; and focussed mountain lookouts for moments of rest.
The full text of Ronna’s poems can be read here.