LIESE ENDLER

How to decode urban signs

Montreal 2017

Public signs give instructions on how to behave within the complex urban system. A selection of public signs found in Montreal served as input for HOW TO DECODE URBAN SIGNS. With Rudolf Laban's notation system in mind, the signs were decoded as performative instruction. I stylized, categorized and organized the urban signs to find physical movements that abstract and still display the icon they derive from. The decoded signs are the alphabet for a performative language that illustrates itself in graphic patterns. When read as a score while walking through the city, those patterns lead to unique choreographies.

The performance was conducted three times in downtown Montreal (around Boulevard René-Lévesque and Sainte Catherine Street). Pedestrians reacted irritated, amused, annoyed and some tried to immitate the movement of the performers. In all cases, the performance had an impact on the flow of pedestrians and interfered with the urban system.

Urban signs are decoded as physical instructions and form the alphabet of a performative language.