Exclusive! The Gamélites Interviewed!

August 8, 2018

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This is the Gamélites’ first season in Les Jardins Gamelin. The astonishing installation is the product of the active imaginations at Le Pictographe, a local collective. These creatures from the world below have taken up residence in the Jardins for the whole season, until September 30, and they know how to charm young and old with hilarity powerful enough to put a grin on the stoniest of faces. We were fortunate enough to land an interview with the Gamélites. They may not be very talkative, but they’re fascinating and articulate!

It’s a pleasure to speak with you after following your adventures on the Gamélites page. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves, for those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting you?

We’re a community of stone beings called the Gamélites, and we’ve lived beneath the streets of Montreal for centuries. This year, we were intrigued by the music and activity going on above us, so we sent some of the bravest among us on a scouting mission to study life on the surface. We were instantly delighted by Les Jardins Gamelin, and we decided to move here until the fall, turning our reconnaissance mission into a vacation and a chance to meet people.

Why did you choose Les Jardins Gamelin? Did you emerge from the ground there by accident, or were you on a mission?

We followed the music, which we could hear from afar. We planned our expedition in detail, right up to emerging from underground. Since then we’ve been improvising a bit. We knew we had to discover this place and its denizens (because, as they say, travel shapes youth), but we didn’t expect such a warm welcome. We’d heard a sage talking about Les Jardins Gamelin. They had an electromagnetic machine that allowed us to see that there are several activities there every day. And our subterranean home is almost directly below Les Jardins, so we really had to do this!

Who’s in charge of documenting your adventures for your Facebook page? There must be a whole scrum of reporters following you around! You also seem to have found some new activities in the Jardins…

There’s never a dull moment in Les Jardins Gamelin! It’s good to be there, the sun is often out and, yes, there are always plenty of people around us. Our online content is entirely our own. Since we can’t talk, we’ve mastered writing and use it to communicate with Montrealers. We also recently discovered selfies. We thought it was a weird idea, but after trying it out – for science, you might say – we love it!

The entertainment in Les Jardins Gamelin is rich and varied. What have been your favourite things this summer? Salsafolie? Karaoke? Noontime singing?

The show by the great Roc Voisin in Les Jardins Gamelin is something we all loved. What an amazing musician! Some of us still dream about it at night. Now he’s on a world tour, but we’re waiting impatiently for his return (plus we have some t-shirts with his face on them that we’re very eager to show him).

Since the month of May, we’ve seen a remarkable transformation in your appearance in recent weeks. What’s the reason for the changes? Is the transformation mainly aesthetic, or is there a practical purpose?

The Gamélites have a long history of having to elude vicious creatures underground, so we’ve developed world-class camouflage skills. We’re incredibly adaptable, and soon learned that like us, you change your appearance based on factors like your mood or the weather. So our transformations are a response to our surroundings, our recreational activities, our general mood and the things we’ve learned during our stay in Les Jardins Gamelin.

What do you miss the most about your subterranean life?

We miss the moles very much. We were glad to have the chance to see them when they passed through the Jardins during the TransAmériques festival, and we had a nice visit with them. Since then they’ve stopped answering our letters, but we know they’re busy so we aren’t too worried. They’re probably partying right now!

Do you ever get bored with being outside 24/7?

Not at all – we know how to stay busy! We like doing yoga during the Wednesday morning sessions in the Jardins, and we enjoy gardening. We have everything we need in terms of recreation – enough to keep us busy for years, in fact. We’d be interested in a balloon ride, if anybody wants to loan us one. That and archery! And diving. And paintball seems very interesting too. No, we never get bored!


Le Pictographe rethinks space and coexistence through playful and accessible art installations. Our collective invites people to engage with their surroundings, creating a more sensitive and poetic environment. We hope to give people an opportunity to experience the city differently and meet new people through living design.Le Pictographe’s exciting work is guided by a sense of wonder in the ordinary, urban space, and social thought.

To learn more about the collective and explore other projects by the creators of the Gamélites, visit