L'articles dans: wheels/politics/panic


November 2, 2020

Who is threatening whose lives at Ledo Hotel?

As you might remember, I recently had to vacate my live/work studio (620 sq feet with 3 huge studio windows for $800) at 17 Paton Road in Toronto, because our Fire Chief and Chief Building decided that my ex-landlords’ progress towards making it Fire Code complying were too slow and not convincing enough (they had installed a whole new interconnected fire alarm – possibly over-complying – and we had sprinklers – yes that too- , but no 2nd exit and that, i am quoting, disturbed the sleep of our Chief Building – who did not think that we would loose speed and mind to be asked to relocate in the middle of a pandemic.).

Well, the story of Ledo hotel is not unsimilar. In both cases, we end up with displaced low-income tenants and an empty building ready for an exquisite non-affordable or even non-residential development. This is very sad and i can’t help but think that how our City officials apply their rules is participating in gentrification and painful displacement.

If you know anybody who lived at Ledo Hotel however, please let them know that according to the Sudbury’s “local priority rules” of access to social housing, they are (close to be) in a position to qualify for “Urgent Access” to rent-geared-to-income units. This is the good news:

Ledo Hotel in Sudbury deemed an immediate threat to life

 


September 8, 2020

I called Sudbury’ Housing Registry today and i learned 2 important things:

 

  1. Somebody in Sudbury whose housing is condemned by the City itself qualifies for Urgent Status which gives them priority access to Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) housing. This is very good news for you, because this is not the case in Toronto and this is why Toronto denied me access to the available RGI unit that Artscape had offered to me.
  2. I was told that i could have tried to apply for Urgent Status in Sudbury even if it was Toronto that had condemned my housing. Did i just miss my chance to move to Sudbury.

and, now, can i strongly encourage you to apply for RGI housing asap?

it will take time until a unit lands in your hands…


September 2nd, 2020

my housing crisis has ended. i am re-housed and my application for the Toronto Transitional Housing Allowance Program (TTHAP) has finally been approved. i spare you the details of the waiting in one limbo after the other and of the a-synchronicities experienced.

now, i find myself both humbled and furious in the face of what i have learned. i had never experienced before the subtle but more and more rooting breach of dignity that comes with the risk of loosing one’s right to housing and, that can’t be stopped by any friends’ help other than by providing housing. i am furiously disempowered while aware of the changes that our system would need to respect our right to housing.

we have to change something.


August 13, 2020

a housing crisis is an art piece.

my housing crisis took me through a storm of fear of homelessness and rage against the City Toronto which denied me access to the only truly affordable solution for me, a “Rent-Geared-to-Income” unit, this after letting me hear contradicting messages and wait for their final reply for more than 7 weeks.

now, i find myself with a contract signed for an apartment that i will never be able to afford on my own. how did this happen? well, to sign a contract is necessary to start the application process for a housing subsidy (shouldn’t it be that one gets the subsidy before looking for housing and signing a lease?) and to sign a contract was also my only solution for not ending up on the street on September 1st, when my building will be shut down.

i will move on wednesday August 19th and i still do not know if Ontario will approve my application for a subsidy. how is this even possible? when i pack my things, i feel i am in a parallel reality.

do you see the art piece?

will you help me hear it too?


July 12, 2020

from artist Carrie Perreault:

“I recorded it while sitting at my desk looking through kijiji for possible apartments for you. I’m sure you’re looking there all the time—sadly I didn’t see anything worth mentioning.”


July 12, 2020

i still do not have housing. i am constantly waiting for answers that either do not come or come back negative.

friends have offered generous emergency plans for temporary stays.

i have trouble keeping a sense of dignity, which affects my relations with others.

home is more than an image of home.

i have asked for advice from one of the most dedicated and respected activists working with homeless people and the media and we have not been able to come up with a single more idea about how to help with my situation.


June 19, 2020

ma propriétaire a “généreusement” annoncé qu’elle allait changer les serrures.

bien sûr, nous collectionnons conseil légal, mais, je suis né pour l’action et alors, il me faut bouger l’énergie qui se bloque ou je suffoque. alors, j’ai préparé une valise d’urgence qu’une de mes chères amies est venue chercher et amènera chez une autre chère amie qui sera d’accord de m’accueillir pour dormir si je me retrouve fermé dehors. j’ai une énorme gratitude pour ce berceau d’urgence. merci S. and L.

jusqu’où cette histoire va-t-elle aller?

j’approche mes limites.


June 7, 2020

edited on June 8, 2020

Acknowledgement of my privilege

i wish to acknowledge that i am a first generation settler with many privileges, among them that of living on the land of Toronto whose history is not without sharp clashes of concepts and power, in common with most other Canadian land.

i am aware that this land has been the subject of the 1787 Toronto Purchase which was understood by Indigenous communities at the time as the beginning of a sharing relationship, but was used by settlers to transfer ownership to the Crown. i am aware that the “Purchase” took place for 10 shillings ($60 in today’s dollars), 2000 gun flints, 24 brass kettles, 120 mirrors, 24 laced hats, a bale of flowered flannel and 96 gallons of rum. i am also aware that this same Toronto land was subject to a $145 settlement between the Crown and the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation in 2010 and that this settlement triggered mixed reactions among Indigenous communities.

then, i wish to acknowledge that despite some efforts in my artistic practice to participate in the deconstruction of this privilege and of that of being white, i have made only little progress and only in my understanding of this privilege, and this, sadly mostly through facing systemic oppression and housing precarity myself.

Acknowledgement of my current paradox

understanding privilege is very different from acting its deconstruction.

as i loose my home while white, trans, living with disability (difference) and largely under poverty line, i feel closer to the homelessness that is so disproportionately prevalent in Indigenous and BIPOC communities.

i am scared and the violence of the situation i and my neighbours are in in the middle of a pandemic has triggered ancestral and personal trauma. for some reason which i intuit is linked to my confusion about how to reconcile with land and its communities and about how to relate to privilege despite my intellectual understanding of where we are at, my being is currently shutting its own boundaries to shame and suicidal thoughts. i am deconstructing myself.

it is partly burn out but there is also a teaching here i suspect.

what i see now is that i do not know and i can’t rationalize how to embody a right to housing without entering intimately taboo internal landscapes (a sensation that i simply exist; to be heard; to experience life as simpler than i think it is; joy without punishment, etc.) and other landscapes that i do not find legitimate politically, such as consciously or unconsciously embodying white male entitlement.

the irony is that the taboo itself is both trauma and privilege.

i am stuck. fuck.

where is gravity?

thoughts welcome: claudesudbury at gmail dot com

claude wittmann


May 31st, 2020

Please sign this petition.

And here, a very telling comment added 2 days ago, on the petition site  by Monique Woolnough, Executive Director of the Sudbury Community Legal Clinic:

“As the Executive Director of the Sudbury Community Legal Clinic, I am appalled by how social assistance recipients are being left behind in in measures taken to address the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions. For low-income people already living well below the poverty line, many of whom are immune compromised, the added costs of delivery fees for groceries, cleaning products, communicating with their service providers through phone and the internet, etc… are simply inaccessible. Failing to include them in federal measures (like CPP-D recipients who have not been offered any additional assistance) or failing to ensure that provinces respect the federal directive not to claw back benefits simply reinforces the systemic practice of devaluing some lives over others and amounts to increasing the risk of infection and death in certain populations based on discriminatory factors.”

Thank you Monique.


May 30, 2020

I have contacted the people whom I know visited this blog and asked them to record their voice repeating 2 sentences I gave to them. I said, please spend less than an hour and I will send you a very symbolic honorarium of $15.

I am honored to share Carolina Reis’ contribution today. Thank you Carolina.

Please let’s speak soon about what this piece of art moves.


May 26, 2020

the difference between the 2 recordings, besides the fact that i already published the 1st one, is that the 2nd one makes me laugh when i listen to it.

 


May 10, 2020

i acknowledge that

  • i am still carrying the SHOCK experienced on March 10 when i learnt that i would have to vacate my unit
  • i am ANGRY at the Toronto Fire Chief and Chief Building
  • i feel a more specific and higher dosage of systemic and political oppression at the moment and it is hard to find the right line of holding individuals ACCOUNTABLE without blaming them
  • i am BURNING OUT
  • it is increasingly more difficulty to access joy or let it manifest
  • i am near unable to sit down with the wheels i love to true as they remind me that i do not have a job right now and that it would be unrealistic to expect to find one plus to be able to sustain it as a bicycle mechanics right now
  • i am slowly drowning in the sense that i won’t be able to come out of the unknowns i experience about my home and my job right now.
  • it is my RESPONSIBILITY to not let myself fall into the terror of erasure, to not internalize the oppression and to generate the entitlement to exist and have a safe home that i have never experienced anywhere
  • i feel GRATEFULNESS towards all my neighbors, my friends, my art supporters, journalist Laurie Monsebraaten, Josh Barndt and late musician and ODSP recipient Justin Haynes
  • art could help here, but i am not one to use art as therapy. of course my drawings help me cope with the situation and soften the experience and opens me to slices of beauty, but in the end, the slices will disappear if (my) art can’t cut into the systemic crap. 

i have written a draft of a letter to the Fire Chief. it is not ready to be sent yet and maybe it will be transformed into another action. if you want to participate in any way in this action, please send an email to claudesudbury at gmail dot com


May 7, 2020

recipe against internalizing oppression

accept that what you will write or draw will feel ugly

draw or write

for example, a repetition of “this is too much”

take one pen in left hand, one pen in right hand

close your eyes.

put marks on the paper as if making a very rough portrait of body locations that call your mind. these are usually areas of blocked energy. be as quick as possible with noticing changes from left to right. when you know what an area feels like, write it down with closed eyes. stop when you feel a slight release in your head.

turn the page of your notebook.

again, one pen in left, one pen in right hand.

alternatively draw lines that are all these possibilities in you that are blocked by your own judge or by new rules added or confusion or an overload of emotion. maybe you will know what narratives they tell. maybe not because the mind is too fast.

inevitably this will start shifting things and emotions will show up. e – motions will happen.

commit to feel that. this is what is behind the oppression.

it is extremely vulnerable life.

draw the lines that come out of that.

maybe extremely vulnerable big hands will suddenly show up.

draw them.

let the lines go up.

let them pierce 1% of your own trauma.

no need for more.

commit to the (minuscule) light when you see some near the lines.

stay for a fraction of a second.

let go.

let go.

feel the tiny bit of peace that comes.

rest.


April 30, 2020

this is the place i will loose at the latest on July 31st:

Monsebraaten_April 29, 2020

there are a lot of things that the article does not say.

i do not know how much longer i will sustain the task to generate fast thinking, grace and resilience to continue the political fight for this building while facing the dread of an unaffordable market and oppressive rules that accompany to our relocation.

needless to say that i have no time for bicycle wheels or for looking for a job and that when i open up to beauty, i end up in a blanket of trauma.

maybe i will edit this later. i admit.


April 2nd, 2020

i did not pay my rent yesterday, but i live in a live/work studio and my lease is a commercial lease and this puts me at risk. my landlords want us out on May 10, 2020 (see eviction letter posted previously). it is a long, convoluted, time- and hope-consuming story.

the landlady is here right now, in her office, contemplating the absence of rent cheques and probably inventing a new offensive although she is a senior landlady with a lot of health worries for her husband on her shoulders and who said in the past that we were her “family”. she was a bit like an unpredictable aunt to me. this is typical Toronto gentrification with landlords we thought were atypical.

residential evictions are suspended because of the pandemic at the moment, but we do not know if commercial evictions are too and how they usually take place.

would it be better in Sudbury?


March 24, 2020

i am not safe when my safety is designed by somebody else.

especially if that person designs my safety in a way that makes them feel safe.

that imposed safety is a form of violence.

because of COVID-19 and the fact that i might loose my housing on June 30, 2020,

i feel closer to death.

i know i have to surrender to my intuition.

i try to release old trauma.

i try to release old habits.

i get rid of old material stuff.

i think of repressed desires for resolve.

before i die, i would like that Nick Torok and i acknowledge that we were not ready.

is that exactly what i want?

i try to accept change.

i understand safety in a different way.

and then,

i panic.

 

wind and arrows fill the space between my bones.

my skeleton extends even more out of balance.

no housing is not an option.

no community is not an option.

 

i work all my energy to save our housing.

i worry about getting sick.

i worry about safety procedures.

i worry about my parents in Switzerland.

 

and then, i discipline myself towards allowing myself to love a wheel:

 

sound of a new 27 inch wheel before balancing the tension of the spokes and truing the weel

 

same wheel during the truing process

 

 

next time it will be louder.

 


March 11: spiral down

Phone call with Danielle Tremblay, director of the Galerie du Nouvel Ontario, after the tenants in my building received a copy of a letter from the City ordering our evacuation from the building at the latest in 60 days, i.e. on May 10, 2020. The reason given is that the building is deemed unsafe.

Market rent in Toronto for a one bedroom: $2’200

My ODSP allowance: $1’169/month

video made by the tenants a few days after (i am the voice)

petition: your signature is still requested, please sign.

letters of support for us can be sent to Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, who is our City Councillor and Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee. Deputy Mayor Bailão with whom we have met twice already to request help on our plan for a transfer of ownership to a non-profit should put our housing “safety” right at the centre and help us keep our homes and keep them affordable rather than evacuate us.  please send a copy of your letter to us at : [email protected]

 


if i end up in a hospital or if lose abilities at home

if i were to have the flu or coronavirus,

my brain tissues might get inflamed

and i know i might end up living in a parallel reality.

meditation is enough to avoid that scenario with colds,

but i will not have the strength to hold

if mixed in heavier symptoms and mucus.

if i end up not being able to feed myself at home or in a hospital,

i beg you to try to feed me food that

i can actually digest and benefit from.

if there is anything sacred, food is for me.

i am aware that what is below asks for a lot, so, please do what you can.

 

MY ROUTINE

BREAKFAST: red quinoa with 1 spoon of organic wheatgrass powder, probiotics, 4 drops of highly concentrated bee propolis, greens, radicchio, lettuce, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, 1 or 2 walnuts, oregano; DRINK: water from boiled green kale with nettle, calendula flowers, elderflowers, everlasting flowers, ashwaganda powder, 5 shizandra dried berries

LUNCH: baked fish with nothing else on it than basil or dill and turmeric, steamed greens, beet, lettuce, tahini, avocado; same drink as in the morning when possible or HOT WATER

DINNER: patties made of a mix of cooked lentils/quinoa/curly kale/tiny bit of chickpea flower with steamed greens, raw beet slices, a bit of smoked salmon, walnuts, avocado; same drink as for breakfast

SNACKS: 90% Lindt chocolate in small bites all day, oranges, 1 to 2 spoons of VEGA one powder in the morning and in the afternoon, in water. when needed some of the VEGA Sports bar Mint/Chocolate but my gut does not like it so much.

 

ESSENTIALS

  • probiotics:

 

  • any of the following without salt or only with a bit of seawead
  • lot’s of fish baked in the oven, with nothing on it (really) or steamed or sushi-quality raw. the best fish for me is swordfish. then, come pickerel, haddock, salmon, rockfish and whitefish. perch is more or less ok. cod and tuna make me feel cold and unstable. lake trout fucks my digestive system up.

  • lot’s of avocadoes
  • red quinoa but not white quinoa
  • red and green lentils after the foam has been skimmed to avoid cramps
  • huge amounts of steamed green curly kale
  • lot’s of arugula
  • lot’s of steamed brocoli
  • beets
  • lemon juice, lemon flesh
  • oranges (3 per day)
  • organic 1st press olive oil, not cooked though, only raw
  • lettuce with lemon and olive oil only as dressing
  • nettle tea
  • turmeric
  • oregano, basil, thyme, dill
  • 90% Lindt chocolate (cheaper)
  • VEGA one natural powder, if possible the “unsweetened” one

MY LENTILS/QUINOA PATTIES

Rinse red lentils well. Add cold water and let them come to boil. Change the water to get rid of the foam. Add water again + green curly kale + rosemary + basil and just a bit of salt (yes, here ok) or some seaweed to add salt. Let that become mush. Let cool down.

Rinse red quinoa, add 2x water and boil until cooked.

Mix about 2/3 or the lentils preparation with 1/3 of the quinoa. Add a bit of chickpea flower, create patties. Warm up a frying pan without oil and then, put the patties on there. They are going to react to the heat and that will keep them in one piece. Turn them after a while. Let them there until you know, they look ready.

HEALTHY ADDITIONS

  • organic wheatgrass powder
  • cauliflower
  • calendula flowers
  • elder flowers
  • everlasting flowers
  • kale, arugula sprouts
  • Bosc or Anjou or Bartlett pears
  • chickweed
  • radicchio
  • parsley
  • organic walnuts: about 6 per day
  • unsweetened cranberries
  • ginger
  • organic dried apricots: about 3 per day
  • organic 88% camino chocolate
  • canola oil

WHAT I CAN EAT IN SMALL AMOUNTS

  • black kale in small amounts because i get diarrhea if too much
  • spinach in small amounts because my gut either goes into diarrhea or constipation with it
  • sushis made with “multigrain” rice, not white rice
  • chickpeas
  • buckwheat
  • tahini
  • tomatoes
  • VEGA Sport Protein Bar Mint/Chocolate in very small pieces

WHAT I CAN’T EAT (no life threatening allergies though)

  • gluten (wheat, spelt, oats)
  • starchy foods (potatoes, white rice, brown rice)
  • amaranth
  • white quinoa
  • red meat
  • dairy
  • almonds and other nuts than walnuts
  • peanuts
  • sunflower seeds and oil
  • alfalfa
  • brown lentils
  • sunflower oil
  • eggplant
  • apples

WHAT I MIGHT BE ABLE TO EAT

  • chicken
  • boiled egg

MEDICATIONS

  • please no ibuprofen, only Tylenol 3 if needed
  • very helpful home remedies: probiotics and bee propolis are essential; then, white tiger balm and melaleuca cajuputi oil for mind and chest congestion, camomile as tea or as in a bowl to steam my sinuses, marshmallow roots to calm gut inflammation or cramps, salt water to wash my nose, ashwaganda powder and shizandra berries (a few per day) to modulate stress, uva ursi tea and chanca piedra powder to help with clearing my kidneys and to help with body pain, corydalis cavea root powder if i have nerve pain.

February 28, 2020

i am relieved because i got my ODSP allowance today despite the fact that my case worker is absent until further notice and none of the two other workers i left messages for had the time to call me back.

i got less than i should have, but i will be ok.

ODSP = Ontario Disability Support Program


February 26, 2020

my shoulders and neck are burning with needle quick picking sensations. my mind is racing in fast disembodied associations. my head is hot. my bones are also my mind and that’s the case for all of us, but these bones of mine right now are vanishing. i know that if i do not take care of this, it will get worse. and that knowledge creates fear. fear of future. will i become homeless?

it is tricky to share this world because when i do, i participate in what ableist minds like to do with lives like mine. i share what makes my life interesting to the media, sometimes to academics or even advocates in their hunger to define my misery and possibly activate gestures from other hungry people who want to practice their acts of charity.

i want to be an equal.

i am in a swamp-space endlessly extended in directions out of the entitlement to exist and out of the belief that i will be able to come to Sudbury. for reasons i won’t share, traveling and committing to a predetermined schedule are hard although, in the deepest contradiction of the wild animal i am -and we all are wild animals-, structure and commitment are exactly what i need. i love deeply love when i can work at bikechain in Toronto. build a bike from used parts. step by step, gesture after gesture. one question. one answer. one tool. one gesture. one thought. did not work. try again. other tool? nice game. where is the wheel? 

traveling and commitment require a starting point with a skeleton in one piece or more or less. i live with internalized and inherited mind forces and tissue memory, imagine them as from diverging and asynchronous times and directions, which are breaking my proprioception and kinesthetic experience of my skeleton. right now, i am not (fully) here. how could i come there?

i will need an annulation plan and a contingency plan.

we are equals.


wheels/politics/panic : claude wittmann’s project starts on our blog

claude wittmann from Toronto will lead us into his understanding of art during the month of April.

in collaboration with Kevin Morgan from Bike Sudbury, he will facilitate the truing and repair of bicycle wheels belonging to the Bike Exchange program. anybody interested in learning or helping will be very welcome. no previous experience required. dates and location will be announced soon.

claude will also lead us into the nuts and bolts of what is behind this project: his invisible disability, his need for specific contingency plans, his advocacy regarding income security for recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and of Ontario Works (OW). part of this is going to be on our blog which claude has started to activate with real-time thoughts and sensations.