Seniors float above Montreal's Quartier Latin

In Montreal this weekend, an unusual performance series will have seniors indulging in their favourite hobbies, but perched on chairs suspended five metres above the ground.

Volunteers agree to sit suspended as part of art-performance project

X-Fois Gens Chaise, a performance art piece taking place in Montreal this weekend, will see seniors sit and partake in hobbies while suspended five metres above the ground. (Festival TransAmerique)

A spectacle this weekend in Montreal's Quartier Latin will have people craning their heads skyward.

Men and women, all of them senior citizens, will be indulging in their favourite hobbies, but perched on chairs suspended on the sides of buildings, five metres above the ground .

Called  X-Fois Gens Chaise, the performance art piece is taking place over four days as part of the Festival TransAmérique.

German theatre director Angie Hiesl called for volunteers to take up positions on 10 chairs in one Montreal neighbourhood, with the only requirement that they not be afraid of heights.

One person who is taking up the challenge is James Britton. He'll be sitting on a white chair, feet dangling, while he assembles an old computer with spare parts.

Hiesl has previously staged the event in Europe and South America.

"For me, it is a light twist of a daily life situation. It is as if we would have picked up people from the street and put them on chairs," she told CBC News.  

In casting 10 performers aged 63 to 83, Hiesl says part of her purpose is to get passersby to stop and think, especially about the history represented by seniors.

"It's really up to everybody to think about life, to think about something that is different, challenging, maybe something that is shifted to another level or a little bit out of place," she said.

"So yes, maybe with a twinkle in an eye."

Her performers, each of whom sits for an hour, will take up various pastimes, from reading to cleaning soccer cleats. Britton said he found the experience quite amusing.

"It is surprising and very refreshing, especially because of the remarks that I can hear. But I can't speak to the people because I am so far off the ground," he said.

X-Fois Gens Chaise run until May 27 in Montreal.