Be part of Mouvements Libres, a unique cycling experience!

May 11, 2018

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Have you ever wanted to be part of a unique artistic event? Here’s your chance! Head to Les Jardins Gamelin on May 25 for the festive Mouvements libres event. You’ll need a bike and at least one word.

We spoke with the event’s leading lights: media artist and UQAM professor Alexandre Castonguay, who discusses his invention, the AgitPOV, the device at the heart of the Mouvements Libres project, and Queen KA, who talks about her performance in the Jardins.

What is Mouvements libres?

It’s an event based on my installation, Bike Wheel, which was presented last fall as part of the KM3 public art walk. Mouvements libres invites the public to be part of an ephemeral, collective creative project in the form of a moving textual performance with poetic and political resonances. Each participant will be able to turn their bike into an expressive platform by attaching an AgitPOV, a small luminous device. Like a rally or a demonstration, the event will bring people together and spark the exchange of ideas. It’s also going to be a lot of fun!

What’s the role of the AgitPOV in Mouvements libres?

The AgitPOV is a small device that lights up and displays a word in the wheel of your bicycle when you pedal. It works thanks to the viewer’s persistence of vision. So this device is really what makes the collective artwork possible. It will light up the wheels of the participating cyclists, who will have to think of a word in advance – a word that will provoke thought about the urban landscape. For example, it could be a word that expands the debate about the future of the city and the bicycle’s place in it. Put all the words together in the same place, and you have collective art.

What’s the origin of the AgitPOV?

During the 2012 student strikes, some of my students came up with very creative communication strategies to get their message across. The idea behind my project was to find a disarming, interesting, intriguing and slightly whimsical way to help people express themselves. So I came up with my “petit objet de vélo” (“small bike thing,” the POV in AgitPOV), which displays an illuminated word chosen by the cyclist. I worked with Jean-Pascal Bellemare, a robotics student from the media-arts school, to design the first AgitPOV – it took us just a day. After that, I worked with Generique Design to refine it and make a simpler version suitable for everyday use. It’s easy to program, install and remove.

What word do you have programmed into your own AgitPOV?



Poet and spoken-word artist Queen Ka will kick off the festivities in Les Jardins Gamelin. Her mission is to create an original poem inspired by the words selected by Mouvements libres participants. After she delivers her opus, there will be a photo session featuring all of the participants’ illuminated words.

Who invited you to be part of Mouvements libres?

François Bernier, the event’s director, gave me this writing challenge, with the constraint of only using the participants’ words. That’s the kind of challenge I like, because it takes me out of my comfort zone and leads to truly original pieces for unique events. The work needs to reflect my own style while highlighting the participants’ words, and also be accessible to people who aren’t familiar with the concept.

The words are supposed to represent the city and the bike’s place in it. Are you already exploring some ideas?

No, I want to have a fresh perspective on the words I’m going to be given. When I do writing workshops or other projects like this, I surrender to the inspiration provided by other people’s words. We’ll see where they lead me!

What word would you put on an AgitPOV of your own?

I’d probably change my word every day! But in any case I’d choose an obscure word that would inspire people to look it up in the dictionary.

What kind of performance can we expect?

There’ll definitely be some humour based on the everyday experience of cycling on the island of Montreal… I want people to see images. I want this to be a cerebral experience, but also a physical one. I want you to feel the text. I want it to touch you, one way or another.


Mouvements libres

May 25, 6:30 p.m.
Meet in Les Jardins Gamelin, Place Émilie-Gamelin

  • 6:30: participants arrive
  • 8:00: performance by Queen Ka
  • 8:30: photo session and creation of an animated GIF with the participants’ illuminated words
  • 9:15: beginning of the ride
  • 10:00: DJ set by KNLO


To participate and receive your AgitPOV, reserve now at