Le banquet des refusés is a response to questions about public space, the spatial politics of making things public, the role of artists in mobilizing publics, and the right to the city. Concepts of publics and publicness may not always be a product of the designed built environment. For Rosalyn Deutsche, social relationships are critical to the meanings given to the public sphere: “what does it mean for space to be public – the space of the city, a building, exhibition, institution, or work of art?”  A site responsive social intervention, Le banquet des refusés invites guests to consider, through dialogue and other gestural forms, under what urban conditions are spaces being imagined as public realms.
For a decade, the Darling Foundry, located in Griffintown – formerly a working-class neighbourhood in Montreal currently undergoing rapid gentrification –, has temporarily occupied a section of Ottawa Street through the programming of cultural and artistic activities as part of the organization’s Place publique initiative. One may view these activities as a form of rehearsing the site’s publicness, and in other ways how claiming this space may operate as an act of resistance towards the city’s refusal to transform the street into a permanent public space, closed to traffic. Le banquet des refusés reorients this discourse away from the tropes of resistance and towards a reconceptualization of making publics through performances of spatial agency, and by engaging critically with streets, not just as material conveniences that provide passageways for the transport of people and goods, but as important urban social spaces.
Text and project conceived by: Shauna Janssen
Curatorial and Design Team: atom cianfarani, Shauna Janssen, Sylvain Lavoie, Alex Tigchelaar, and Avery Zhao-Djokic
Photos by Tamsin Bussières
Le banquet des refusés is produced by the Institute for Urban Futures, Concordia University, and in partnership with the Darling Foundry.
 Rosalyn Deutsche, Evictions: Art and patial Politics. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998.