Tumuult, la revue
Presale now
Lena GuddBio
Antonin Pons BraleyBio

Fermont series, Canada

Gudd 2012 – 17

Fermont
— A sense of North

Since 2012 Tumuult has been focussing on an aesthetic and academic study of the mining town Fermont in North Quebec, Canada. By exploring the singular relation of man with his milieu in the Subarctic city, Gudd & Pons Braley’s ongoing research aims to contribute in mapping the plurality of the Northern landscapes. Drawing on image-based and anthropo-geographical research, as well as on long-term field studies, Tumuult archives over the course of years a specific northern sens of place. Poetic body of work on a community’s idea of North, the resulting documents and objects are leading from 2018 onwards to publications and installations, and stand as the entry point for the first issue of Tumuult’s La Revue.

Fermont series, Canada

Gudd 2012 – 17

Named after its raison d’être, the city of the “iron mountain” hosts mining workers and their families since 1974 mainly in one single fortress designed to be shelter, mall and home. As company town, Fermont’s survival depends on the mono-industry’s activities with the latter’s possible shutdown influencing local identities. Equally the Fermontois and their vision of the town’s future are shaped by the lack of a maternity ward and cemetery, the cohabitation with a growing “fly-in-fly-out” population and the awareness of having to leave the place by the end of the contract. Meanwhile, the vastness of the surrounding white desert with its magnetic attraction strongly forges this northern experience as well.

Urban Development and Communities

Townsite of Fermont, design development

© 2005 Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art

Norbert Schoenauer, Mc Gill University

Fermont’s urbanism has in its brief history always been closely linked to extreme whether conditions as well as an enterprise’s understanding of a worker’s life and needs. The resulting architecture leaves a significant impact on the inhabitants, with the city center fitting entirely into an iconic v-shaped building, 1.3 km long, five stories high, thought to protect from the icy North winds. Hosting town hall, school, hospital, shops, bars and apartments, “the wall” incites a life in its inners, triggering a longing for the outside while the surrounding immensity calls for a profound interiority.

Fermont series, Canada

Gudd 2012 – 17

Shaping the Fermontois’ sense of place, the locality’s uncertain future induces a rooted impermanence to the same time as it brings about a search for sustainable alternatives to the mono-industry. The community is to be understood in the context of a race for the North’s natural resources, as well as a ceasing interest in keeping whole cities alive in hostile environments, which has already led to the total dismantling of the neighboring mining town.

Fermont, Au Féminin
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Fermont series, Canada

Gudd 2012 – 17

Yesterday situated at the North of the South, today an intersection at the South of the North, the young myth of Fermont borrows its landscapes from a Taiga marked by thick layers of the conquest of the North. Last southern outpost at the gate of a new world, the city has anchored the dreams of those who came and stayed, building little by little an idea of the place as well as the place itself. At this Arctic front in a state of eternal temporality, Fermont jealously guards within its heavy iron armour the sparks of tomorrow’s North.

Fermont series, Canada

Gudd 2012 – 17