Tumuult, la revue
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Lena GuddBio
Antonin Pons BraleyBio

Fermont, a milieu study

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. Since 2012, Tumuult has been attempting to grasp this very interplay between man and his milieu, drawing on anthropo-geographical research as well as long-term field studies in the Subarctic city. The resulting aesthetic and academic outcomes form a poetic body of work on a community’s idea of North.

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Fermont series, Canada, Gudd 2013 – 15

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, Au Féminin
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Fermont, Au Féminin

Fermont series, Canada, Gudd 2013 – 15

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.