COMMON SPACE ? : Humans at the Heart of Technology

October 8, 2015

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Montreal's reputation in the field of digital arts and technology is well established. No wonder then that Quartier des Spectacles should play host to a new project bringing together eight works created by 13 artists from seven countries until October 18. With the theme “human at the heart of technology”, the project shows how technology has the ability to recontextualize our perception of our environment. The Quartier des Spectalces Partnership co-produced this international project with the NFB and MUTEK, with the support of the European Union’s Culture Programme.

Focus on eight works displayed at various sites in Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles and their creators.

1) Poème mécanique

Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme, Place des Arts
Monday to Friday and Sunday: 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., Saturday: 5:30 a.m. to 1:15 a.m.

This electromechanical sound sculpture is made from a thousand mirror disks that revolve around a central axis to create a delicate symphony. Simply stand in the centre of the circle to experience music like you’ve never heard it before. Surrounded by sound, you’ll feel entirely cut off from the world—while standing right in the middle of a public space.

Artist: Tobias Ebsen, Danemark
Tobias Ebsen is a Copenhagen-based designer, artist and creative technologist who creates digital media installations. He has produced and collaborated on a large number of projects exploring the intersections of digital technology, art and public spaces.

2) End of Broadcast

Marquee of Place des Arts
8:15 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

We are constantly bombarded with images and information, surrounded by media and hyper-connected to the world. Everything we see and hear remains stored in our memory, affecting it in countless ways. End of Broadcast is an interactive installation representing a brief moment of disconnection, where the only way of staying connected is through memories. Move your hands in front of the screen to see video fragments of live TV broadcast that you can control with your movements. This need for interaction is a metaphor for our inability to disconnect.

Artist: Daniel Iregui, Canada
Native of Bogota, Colombia, he who currently lives and works in Montreal. He creates artistic interactive experiences in public spaces where design is as important as technology.

3) Molysmocène

Video projection on the façade of Théâtre Maisonneuve
Friday and Saturday: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. From Sunday to Thursday: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Life on earth began with an erotic show in which nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and potassium intertwined in an opening dance. Three billion years later, due to humanity, organic activity on earth has deflated; the orgy is coming to an end. We are entering the Molysmocène period, the era of trash... But what if a new lifeform were born from the soup of capitalism’s discarded leftovers? The artist wishes to thank the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

Artist: Michel de Broin, Canada
Michel de Broin’s work ranges from assemblage to video and photography. His multifaceted production deals with energy flows, entropic devolution, and the forms of visual, spatial and technological paradoxes that derive from these forces.

4) A Side Man 5000 Adventure

Saturday, Sunday and Monday: 6:30 p.m. to midnight
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 9:15 p.m. to midnight, Friday: 8:15 p.m. to midnight

The Wurlitzer Side Man 5000, created in 1959, is the oldest “beat box” and heaviest portable musical instrument in the world. Darsha Hewitt explores the aesthetic and innovative potential of reviving the Side Man by presenting this fascinating machine along with tutorial videos explaining how it works. Meanwhile, Nelly-Ève Rajotte offers a lush and immersive multi-projection experience that exposes the complex and unique workings of the Wurlitzer Side Man 5000, accompanied by a composition of sound bites from this instrument.

Artists: Darsha Hewitt, Canada
Darsha Hewitt lives in Germany. She teaches at the Faculty of Media at Bauhaus University and she also creates electromechanical sound installations, drawings, videos and experimental performances with handmade audio electronics.

Nelly-Ève Rajotte, Canada
She is a bachelor in art history at UQAM’s School of Visual and Media Arts. In addition to numerous exhibitions on Québec soil, work has been shown at several Canadian festivals such

5) Unintended Emissions

Video projection on the wall outside Saint-Laurent metro station
Friday and Saturday: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., From Sunday to Thursday: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Did you know your mobile phone is constantly talking behind your back? Without any action on your part, it emits a surprising amount of information into the environment. Unintended Emissions captures, dissects, uses and maps—in real time—the involuntary and invisible emissions of our mobile devices.

Artistes: Bengt Sjölén, Sweden
Bengt Sjölén is a Critical Engineer, independent software and hardware designer, hacker and artist based in Stockholm and Berlin, and with roots in the “demoscene.”

Julian Oliver, New-Zeland
Julian Oliver is a Critical Engineer and artist originally from New Zealand but now based in Berlin. His work and lectures have been presented at many museums, galleries, international electronic art events and conferences.

Dansa Vasilyev, Russia
Danja Vasiliev is a Critical Engineer born in St. Petersburg, currently living and working in Berlin. He studies systems and networks through anti-disciplinary experimentation, using hardware, firmware and software to create works of critical engineering.

6) Les îles invisibles

Starts at Saint-Laurent metro station
All the time

Rediscover Montreal with this interactive tour. Using your smartphone as a compass, decode 72 fragments of a hidden history by exploring the 16 sites of the Quartier des Spectacles, and reconstruct the past, present and future. Consult the map of the area, follow the symbols to reach the different sites and look around: codes on the ground will reveal snippets of history. To begin the experience, locate the Îles invisibles terminals in the Quartier des Spectacles and follow the instructions.

Artists: Sébastien Pierre, Canada
Sébastien Pierre is a software engineer and designer. He creates interactive visualizations of data and he’s fascinated by the different ways in which information can be represented. Sébastien is actively involved in open-source at the local community level, developing new ways of using data.

Daniel Canty, Canada
Daniel Canty is a writer and film director. His work flows freely between literature and publishing, film and theatre, visual and media arts and design. he is the author of the story, Les États-Unis du vent (2014), the novel, Wigrum (2011).

7) We’re all friends here

Place de la Paix and Centre de design de l’UQAM
Friday and Saturday: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. From Sunday to Thursday: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Sam Meech presents a series of works reflecting the experiences of downtown Montrealers and casts a critical eye on the role of the arts in a changing urban environment. Through interviews and a visual search of the Quartier des Spectacles, he records and creatively reimagines the ideas, experiences and iconography of those who live there, in the form of traditional jacquard knits.

At Place de la Paix, participate in Crossed Lines, a reactive knitted wave that visually represents these interviews. Listen to them from a phone booth, and leave your own message; your voice will join the others in the knitting on the projection’s facade. Then notice the banner signs all around you that were created in collaboration with Marilène Gaudet, featuring details taken from the neighbourhood’s iconography.

At the UQAM Centre de design, view Ceci n’est pas un spectacle, a “knitted movie” that translates the ideas and experiences gathered during the interviews into patterns, symbols and statements that appear in glorious low-resolution knitted form.

Artists: Sam Meech, United Kingdom
Sam Meech is an artist and videosmith. he explores the role of analogue technologies in a digital landscape and the potential to fuse the two in production, projection and performance. He develops projects that explore the ways in which communities interact with digital media, ideas and public space.

Marlène Gaudet, Canada
A pioneer in “yarnbombing,” Marilène (a.k.a. Marie “Laine”) Gaudet seeks to break barriers between people, fine arts and crafts by dressing elements of the urban landscape in colourful knitted fabric, thereby re-appropriating public spaces.

8) Forget Your Password?

Video projection on the façade of the Grande Bibliothèque (BAnQ)
Friday and Saturday: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. From Sunday to Thursday: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

In the summer of 2012, Yahoo’s Voice service was hacked and a collective by the name of D33Ds dumped its entire database on the Internet, including 450,000 user passwords. This public exposure of what are normally secret passwords raises questions about our online lives.

Artist: Aram Bartholdi, Germany
Aram Bartholl is a member of the Internet-based artist group Free, Art & Technology Lab – F.A.T. Lab. Internet politics, the DIY movement and the growth of the web in general play an important role in his work

Photos by Martine Doyon

Download the map in pdf here

Common Space?

1 to 18 October