By Garrett Lockhart and Evan Smith
“The student is a tired, busy, and usually stressed body. A cigarette, for some, is an ironic breath of fresh air. We see students smoking outside doorways after an exam, on the steps outside the cafeteria after a quick meal, or huddling under an archways when the snow is too much to bear; these spaces in which students smoke are not chosen without thought…”
Fumeur is a photographic essay designed to be used as a psychogeographic map of the spaces in which students smoke on Concordia’s Loyola campus. Users of the guide are to participate in a derive, an activity of the Situationists, defined by Guy Debord as “a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances” (65). On this walk, participants may begin and finish where they please, but must attempt to place at least three of the spaces depicted in Fumeur on a map of Loyola campus. By examining these spaces, we are able to make assumptions of the smoker. For instance, if a patch of cigarette butts exists outside of the library building, we may assume this space is used to have a smoke during a break from studying or reading; users of Fumeur are encouraged to conceptualize the cigarette butt as a modern breadcrumb. By taking note of the amount of cigarette butts in a specific area, we are able to understand its popularity as a space to smoke. The goal of our guide is to reimagine the spaces in which students smoke, and to uncover reasons why they smoke where they do.
Even though smoking spots are not given much public attention, they are telling of the bodies which inhabit them for only a moment in time. Choosing a space to smoke is dependant on factors such as ease of access, weather conditions, and practicality. These spaces are also never neutral. Some are designated for smokers, while smoking in other spaces is strictly prohibited. Our guide works to explore and expose these spaces, whether intended for smoking cigarettes or not.