Adaptive Actions
Heteropolis, 2014
Various inaccessible sites throughout the underground city
22.10.14 – 04.01.15

Ongoing intervention during the Biennale in spaces reserved for workers of the indoor city and unknown to the public. The project will be unvealed through a conference and a printed journal.


Heteropolis, Adaptive Actions (AA)’s latest conceptual framework, is manifested variously through publications, workshops, seminars and/or public interventions.

For La Biennale de Montréal, AA will introduce heterogeneity into one of the anti-monuments of Montréal’s future-looking past: the underground city. This climate-controlled network of walkways sprawls throughout Montréal’s downtown, connecting such disparate places as hotels, shopping malls, office towers, Central Station, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and Place des Arts.

Behind the underground city’s publicly accessible service, retail and entertainment offerings, sharply contrasting environments, teeming with hidden labour, are tucked away in non-descript spaces.

For their Biennale project, AA has asked a number of underground city workers, met during the initial phase of the project, to bring a photograph of a place that has special meaning for them into their often non-designed, strictly utilitarian work environment. AA will then document this heterogeneous clash of elements and render them public through an illustrated lecture, the dissemination of a printed document and, possibly, a guided tour.
– ML

Produced by La Biennale de Montréal for BNLMTL 2014 L’avenir (looking forward).

Project developed by Jean-Maxime Dufresne and Jean-François Prost.

Heteropolis. Sous la surface / Below the surface, 2014, image representing the project in development (courtesy of AA [Jean-Maxime Dufresne et Jean-François Prost]; photo: AA)
Adaptive Actions, Heteropolis (photo AA)

Adaptive Actions (AA) has been actively creating/generating an online reservoir of urban interventions. Premised on an open call, AA operates as a think tank, generating various platforms to induce change in the urban environment. Its aims are to document different forms of urban appropriation, promote discussion on this subject and create a “collective imagination” of urban life/fabric that empowers citizens at a micropolitical level. These diverse alterations in the city represent forms of adaptation that create a vocabulary for expressing the collective imagination through existing urban structures. Organized events and printed documents raise the visibility of these actions and build affiliations and communal thinking. AA projects have been shown at the 2010 Madrid Abierto biennial and at SPACE, London, and the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, Concordia University, Montréal, and recently at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and Matadero Madrid. In 2014, after their publication of Heteropolis, Adaptive Actions will develop a series of interventions in Montréal and in Mexico D.F.

BNLMTL 2014 - Panel with Adaptive Actions, Abbas Akhavan, Raymond Boisjoly, Anton Vidockle and Pelin Tan