ELEKTRA: MONTREAL’S DIGITAL ARTS FEST
The Elektra International Digital Arts Festival, May 1-6, features artists and their works that represent cutting edge technology mixed with experimental forms of digital art and culture in diverse mediums such as video, music, concerts, audiovisual performance, architectural video projections, schizophrenic robotics and colossally complex installations…
The festival itself is a meeting of contemporary art and innovative technology that aims to promote digital culture in all its manifestations. This year’s theme is “invisible” which speaks to the way in which aspects of digital technology are becoming increasingly ephemeral. Also, new this year is the first International Digital Arts Biennial (BIAN) which runs parallel to Elektra from April 18th to June 13th. The BIAN is a platform for digita arts that strives to highlight digital arts from Montreal and around the world. The pieces at this years BIAN will reflect the inaugural theme, “phenomenon,” and will explore and challenge how digital phenomena is understood.
Yan Breuleux has worked in immersive and experimental video for more than a decade. The exhibit he has produced for Elektra is inspired by the Norbert Wiener quote, “We are castaways on a planet that is condemned to death.” His latest offering Tempetes is a rumination on the anarchy of changing landscapes. For this performance, Yan Breuleux has created a tableaux to work with visuals of particle clouds set to electroacoustic sounds by cellist Soizic Lebrat on May 3 at 9pm.
If you’re interested in what the world sounds like, Jean-Pierre Aube’s installation should be up your alley. He has gathered thousands of radio frequencies from all over the world and produced them with software that he developed called Electrosmog. The Electrosmog computer creates a geographical portrait of the space that sound waves occupy. During his performance on May 5, you will be able to hear the occupation of waves from the entire globe. His performance, TXL.IST.BOM.HKG.SFO+YUL, is a textured and dizzying portrait of our globe.
Quebec’s Bill Vorn presents DSM VI which is a meditation on machine psychosis. Essentially, in this inspired installation, robots express human psychological maladies like neurosis, psychosis, paranoia, schizophrenia and various personality disorders. This provocative creation is informed by the psychiatrists bible Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, so when you see this piece, don’t expect the well-adjusted robot Johnny 5 from Short Circuit.
Interactive web and video pioneer Vincent Morisset strikes again, this time with a public installation based on his NFB interactive video Bla Bla. Vincent Morisset might be best known for his visionary videos for the Arcade Fire and Sigur Ros, but after his installation on the streets of Montreal, everyone will be talking about him. This year his contribution to Elektra and the International Digital Arts Biennial is an interactive installation around the St. Laurent metro station from May 17 until June 3, from twilight until 2am.
The innovative Friday Nocturnes series at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Elektra have paired up to produce one of the festival’s most innovative events on May 4th at 7pm. This edition of Friday Nocturnes will feature the conceptual and mathematical magic of Berlin based artist Carsten Nicolai who will present an audiovisual installation titled univrs (uniscope version). May 4 is also the North American premiere of his work with German minimal electronic record label, Raster Noton. Carsten Nicolai’s performance will manipulate real time images from audio signals while a device generates the video signal, creating mesmerizing visual effects.
Then, check out Félicie D’Estienne D’Orves Supernova which is an installation showcasing the life cycle of Supernova Cassiopeia A. The installation will feature the explosion of the star, the birth of matter and an exploration of light and sound frequencies. There will be a video projection on a smoke screen within a crystal structure that explores the miracle of astrophysics. Check it out at the Ancienne École Des Beaux Arts from May 2 to June 3.
Because the festival’s mandate is the promotion of digital arts, they’ve also organized the International Marketplace for Digital Arts which functions as a platform for networking with artists, curators, producers and journalists. The symposium will feature presentations by local artists who will briefly discuss their work at the Cinémathèque Québécoise, go and discover the cutting edge of digital art and culture.
Elektra Festival, MAY 1-6, 2012
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