Thursday November 19 2020
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Opening Statement
Plenary conference
Chair: Analays Alvarez Hernandez
Décoloniser l’espace public. The Monument Situation
Question period
Panel 1 : Queer and feminist geographies
Chair: Maissa Ben Jelloul & Roxanne Mallet
This panel proposes to discuss the spaces as they are claimed and reappropriated by queer and feminist struggles. It examines the feminist appropriations of archives and questions queer representations between fantasy and marginality. It also inspires feminist reflections on magic, art and resistance in the creation of places of sharing and protest.
Toward an International Feminist Media Network: the Videoletters Project
Davis Lexington,
From 1975 to 1977, women’s video collectives across the United States, Canada, and New Zealand formed an international video-sharing network with the intention of creating a “feminist alternative news source” that would rival the mainstream media. The research of Lexington retraces this short-lived yet influential project, for which almost no historical record exists, as only a small number of the original videoletters have been archived and restored. By analyzing the history, goals, content, and impact of Videoletters through the limited documents and tapes that remain, Lexington consider how the project functioned as a point of intersection between the worlds of feminist art, activism, and media, facilitating dialogue between communities with diverse objectives. Lexington argue that by taking control of the production, distribution, and reception of their tapes, the feminists involved in Videoletters cultivated a collaborative, autonomous artistic and political network that enabled new affinities to form across long distances and within local communities.
Queer Notions of the Family in Photographic Representation of Hijras
Iraboty Kazi,
This presentation examines the heterotopia and queering of space in relation to the hijra family. The term hijra is used in South Asia to define those biologically designated as male or intersex at birth but has a female gender identity. Call Me Heena (2012-) by Shahria Sharmin and the Hijra Fantasy Series (2006) by Tejal Shah challenge social stigmas towards the highly marginalized community by providing an intimate view of the hijra spaces and desires. Iraboty argue that the space presented in the photographs is heterotopic, existing outside of identifiable time or space, thus allowing self-expression when it is not otherwise possible. The hijras in the photographs seek traditional roles of mother, sister, and/or lover, which is considered taboo in South Asian society due to their gender identity. Thus, the heterotopic space allows enough distance from reality to explore fantasies while still being rooted in reality.
Question period
Panel 2 : Space claims
Chair: Clément Decault
The space claims panel understands space from a postcolonial perspective. He proposes to question the cultural heritage left by colonization, focusing on the issues of language and identity. It highlights the feelings of identity of people who have had a migratory experience and revisits archives, with photographs examining the place given to people of colour.
Samuel Daniell, African Scenery and Animal (1804) et l’appropriation de la colonie du Cap
Aurélie Bezacier,
This study of the African Scenery and Animals collection of aquatintes published in London by Samuel Daniell in 1804 will deploy approaches from visual studies and animal studies to question the ambiguity and interconnection between modes of visual appropriation, imagined and real, of South African territory to the detriment of its African inhabitants, to the other Europeans and to non-human animals. We will analyze first of all how Daniell arranges the transition from a real space to an imaginary space by the organization of his collection. We will then see that the space of African Scenery and animals is resulting from a process of fracturing of the ecological and social continuum of which the artist has been witness during military and imperial expeditions. While the authority of the directors British territory is fragile, we will see that the conditions of this fictional meeting between the male, affluent and British reader and the human habitants like non-human, decontextualized and categorized, legitimate and contributes to the appropriation of South Africa's imperial.
Les justes milieux / création anthropologique et transdisciplinarités
Annabelle Fouquet,
This presentation will focus on the experience of a transdisciplinary project in art and anthropology that links analytical approach to aesthetic experience in order to explore the notion of two groups of people who have had a migration experience between territories marked by "colonial legacies." By questioning density at once sensory, imaginative, bodily and reflective personal and collective affiliations that allow us to situate ourselves in the world, this transdisciplinary project questions what is the "nation" while simultaneously linking two contexts and multiple human trajectories that have intersected without necessarily meeting each other.
Question period
Panel 2 (next)
The Fall of Aztlan
Jose Luis Benavides,
In 2019 the Chicanx civil rights, student activist organization M.E.Ch.A. (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán), of which our panelist, video-artist Jose Luis Benavides used to be a member, changed its 50-year-old organization's name to remove the cultural term Aztlán (the mythical homelands of the Méxica/Aztec peoples). This renaming prompted heated debate around the meanings and importance of this historic term. Through a hybrid artist-talk and video-art sketch we will unpack Aztlán’s varied interpretations and manifestations across indigenous epistemologies, cosmologies, spiritualities, and our solar system. Unpacking Nahuatl language, Méxica dance, archival and found N.A.S.A. footage, ethnographic interviews and Zoom calls conducted through the Covid-19 pandemic, we will expose problematics in Mexican/ Chicanx nationalist ideology and racial formations while addressing erasures of contemporary U.S. and Mexican indigeneities. Through a lens of Critical Latinx Indigeneities employing experimental and radical, documentary film and video-art techniques, we might find Aztlan’s geographical untruths, archeological and anthropological fallacies, instead positing new indigenous futures from oral history and new potentialities found beyond Earthly identity politics without falling into space-travel, sci-fi colonial tropes and traps.
Black Geographies and Photographic Archives: The Alvin D. McCurdy fonds
Rachel Lobo,
This speech analyzes school photographs taken during the era of segregation as a means of situating resistance to anti-Black racism within the Canadian landscape. Using materials drawn from the Alvin D. McCurdy fonds at the Archives of Ontario, Rachel argue here that beyond their evidentiary capacities these objects unsettle longstanding geographic frameworks upheld by exploitation, exploration, and conquest. This work draws from the “poetics of landscape” posited by Édouard Glissant (1989) in Caribbean Discourse —and advanced by Katherine McKittrick (2006) to position school photographs as expressive text with the ability to make visible expressions of Black geographic struggles.
Question period
Jovial discussion
Friday November 20 2020
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Panel 3 : The fictional space
Chair: Agathe François
This panel first explores the impact of the temporal dimension on the construction of fictional space and the scope of creative and user actions within such a space. In reference to Foucault's writing collected posthumously in “Other Spaces”, this panel takes on a so-called “mirror” posture, between utopian and hetero topic space, while “space gives itself to us in the form of relationships of locations” (Foucault 2004: 13).
La substance de l’heure est un train de banlieue : une exploration de la contrainte spatio-temporelle sur le geste d’écriture
Fanny Brossard Charbonneau,
Stunned by the expansion of space-time during the containment period, Fanny set out a back and forth trip from Montreal to St-Jérôme by commuter train, for a month, to relearn what the substance of the hour is. By inserting herself into the train's path every day, she makes this 1:04 a.m. daily journey a space-time measurement tool for a psychic transformation and a constraint of writing : What is the impact of this routine on my language? What are the metamorphic effects of self-discipline about the creative process? What causes the tension between clock time and biorhythm on my writing gesture? Does the movement of the train contribute to the modulation of my thoughts? Is the observation of the scrolling landscape a sign of abandonment? How does my words unfold when mechanically moulting (Dalie Giroux)? This non-place (Marc Augé), does it become a place once inhabited once written ?
Une Question de présence : impacts et interprétation de la non-figuration dans les œuvres de fiction interactive
Jesse Aidyn Dugas,
Historically, video games have largely used the abstraction of forms to compensate for the technology limitations of broadcasting platforms. However, despite the obvious rise in popularity for interactive experiences that are increasingly photorealistic, non-figuration remains an undeniable tool for many developers. Inspired by two types of presence (immersion): personal presence (representational) and impersonal (presentational), we will explore how this non-figuration can influence users' appropriation of fictional spaces. To this end, we will analyse three works with a non-figurative trend, but which seem to differ in the form of presence overall. favoured: Thomas Was Alone (Mike Bithell, 2012); Just Shapes - Beats (Berzerk Studio, 2018); Hoverboy (Jesse Aidyn, in development). Does non-figuration operate in a similar way or, on the contrary, does it depend on particular states of consciousness?
Question period
Panel 3 (next)
Diminishing Islands: Envisioning utopia amid our climate crisis
Caroline Hatfield,
Utopia is concerned with alternatives; as future oriented and idealized societies, often with a distinct location. Prior utopian impulses associated a new place or open landscape with freedom and potential, looking ahead at new sights. The isolated or undiscovered island has long served as the site for utopia in film, literature, and art. Yet, the island motif is now challenged — even made obsolete. Quite literally, amid our climate crisis, islands are diminishing as sea levels rise and our environment becomes increasingly destabilized. Today, to imagine utopia, artists must address the loss of site; envisioning utopias lacking distinction, location, and borders. The voyage towards utopia has transformed, as it now navigates via globalization, technology, and hyperobjects.
“DAU” as heterotopia: Representation and construction of space in Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s post-cinematic universe
Alexandre Zaezjev,
The present paper builds on Michel Foucault’s lecture Des espaces autres (1969) and uses his concept of heterotopia to study the representation and construction of fictional space in the post-cinematic project DAU (2020) by Russian director Ilya Khrzhanovsky. In 2009, the largest film set in the history of European cinema was built in Kharkiv, Ukraine specifically for Khrzhanovsky’s DAU. For almost three years, a grandiose ensemble of pseudo-classical architecture – the Institute – was inhabited by participants from all over the world. Khrzhanovsky hired no professional actors, had no script, no rehearsals and no reshoots. The filmmaker came up with his own cinematic formula: immerse hundreds of volunteers into a thoroughly recreated setting of Soviet totalitarianism and let the genius loci – the spirit of the place – direct the filming process. This paper examines the DAU Institute according to the six principles of heterotopology and uses heterotopia as a model for a spaceoriented reading of new forms of audiovisual culture.
Question period
Panel 4 : The representation and construction of space
Chair: André Habib
The representation and construction of space are linked to performance, and even action. In this panel, the participatory place the viewer is put forward, whether by his implicit reading of a pictorial or literary work, by his relationship with technology or by his posture within a work with multiplied spaces. The result is rich reflections on the creative process in various spectres.
Expérience architecturale et image vidéoludique : le geste ludique comme construction de l’espace
Rosane Lebreton,
This communication proposes to highlight the role of playful gesture in the architectural experience through a reflection on the videogame image as "image-space". Based on the notion of "sensory anchor" proposed by Julie Delbouille, space in the video game image is thought as deployment from a playable entity, a videogame body. This deployment is done in particular by the movement in the image and the mobility of perspective. The spatial experience is thus in particular an experience formed by the gesture of the player, building a space in the image through an "instrumental relationship" to the game controller). We will then study how this playful gesture linking a playable body to a space image re-engages the notion of "deepness" conceptualized by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and allows the formation of a singular architectural experience.
La porte domestique comme instrument narratologique dans l’œuvre d’Honoré de Balzac
Rachel Green,
The door is a formidable driver of dramatic tension! Among the architectural objects that dominate the Balzacian scenes — namely the table, the staircase, the window and the door — the door is the tool favoured by Honoré de Balzac. A way of introducing drama into the narrative, the (de)accelerates the rhythm of the narrative, opens to theatricalize the entry of intruders into the private space and, by its porosity, gives access to the curious who lift domestic secrets, information that gives them an "almost unlimited power" (Massol-Bedoin, 2001), which set in motion the narrative. If the permeability of the door is a problem, we will try to analyze the narrative role that this architectural reference plays in the Balzacian work.
Spaces and Christian Spirituality in Early Modern Dutch Visual Culture
Reilly Shwab,
For women and men in the Early Modern Netherlands, nocturnal settings in art carried with them a variety of spiritual implications. Longstanding perceptions of the hours after sunset and the attendant nighttime world as a space for peaceful religious reflection and closeness with God informed works with biblical subjects by various artists, including Hendrick ter Brugghen and Rembrandt van Rijn. These absorbing images engage their viewer in the spiritual space of the nocturnal hours, which would have inspired devotional meditation for many. Likewise, in several paintings of contemporary church interiors nighttime settings lend a calm and intimate ambiance that describe devotional or spiritual meditation and/or elicit such viewing experiences. Despite the prevalence of Calvinist iconoclastic beliefs, some northern Netherlandish audiences – both Protestant as well as Catholic – still looked to artworks for devotional purposes. In the generation of meaning in such pictures, nocturnal spaces play a fundamental role that invites analysis.
Question period
Panel 4 (next)
Street view: le temps de l’image-algorithme
Katia Andrea Morales Gaitan,
By using massive digital images, the dominant global system, "the capitalism of surveillance" markets our datas. Behind the creation of complexe algorithms, technology companies reduce the notion of citizenship to the simple, manipulable consumer. Google, the company at the head of GAFA, has developed in 2008 the "Street View" software, a mapping option for navigating the streets of the cities around the world. This software was the starting point for photographic work by Michael Wolf and Jon Rafman. These virtual world strollers practice appropriation of images captured by machines and change their speeches. Between other gestures, they manipulate, date and pixelate screenshots to build their own image. The results are photographic collections with more complex aesthetic and political meanings than mere street views : they are tributes to several learned traditions of street photography and Cinema. However, the images of Wolf and Rafman allow us to have a critical perspective of the loss of individual privacy with the internet, surveillance and of course, the importance of creative visual artistic practices in the digital age.
Festen - Lorsque la performance filmique construit une polyphonie des espaces
Clara Bich,
In 1998 Festen (Vinterberg), the first film labelled by Dogme95, was released, a manifesto advocating the sobriety of cinema where visual, sound and space-processing artifices are forbidden. In 2017, after several theatrical adaptations of this family story around the world, the collective MxM and its director Cyril Teste adapt this emblematic work using the technique of film performance. Through this communication we will ask ourselves how does the MxM collectively create a polyphony of spaces by adapting this work. We will see that, thanks to the use of digital tools and the mixing of mediums, three spaces appear and bind life, on stage: the built space (the stage, the backstage), the fictional space (the cinematic space of the screen arranged above the stage) and the sensory space (through the use of smells and deceptive sound narratives).
Question period
Jovial discussion
Saturday November 21 2020
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Panel 5: Privacy and mobility
Chair: Talitha Motter et Christopher Ravenelle
This panel reflects on the vulnerability of habitats: the recent ruins of houses show the fragility of our ways of life? The space of the house is also treated by an analysis of the “scene of self” in social networks in times of a pandemic. Focusing on the residence that stays with us, the body, the panel also discusses the role of the interaction of our movements with new media, mobile and portable, in the constitution of space.
Habiter les maisons abandonnées. Fragilité et habitabilité
Estelle Grandbois-Bernard,
Living in abandoned houses. Fragility at the heart of contemporary housing. This communication offers a reflection on the notion of 'living' from a iconographic analysis of photographs of abandoned houses from the corpus of the photograph of current ruins. The representations of these shaky houses, on the brink of collapse, invite a meditation on the fragility of the spaces and habitats, addressing the issue of living in it from that of habitability, possibility of living in a ruined world. They also call for consideration of tangles of our stories with the non-human life forms that regain the abandoned territories, to recognize our shared vulnerabilities. How to live in the fragility of the world? How can housing be seen as a project that would consider vulnerability and care to bring to things like the heart of his adventure?
Movement and sensorial Data – Artistic Approaches
Jasmin Kathöfer,
In recent years, medias have increasingly been characterized by their portability and mobility, placing themselves and the body using them in an interrelation between being bound to the body (portability) and being tied to or being independent of place (mobility). In the discourse of media studies, this interrelationship is accompanied by the question of the interlocking of media and spaces, and also the interlocking of digital and real space. The question Jasmin wants to pursue in his lecture is therefore how movement and positioning in real and digital space can be described and how movement with media changes, shapes or forms space. He would like to focus on artistic strategies to deal with movement in space and its visualization through sensor-based devices. Therefore current artistic positions, like Previeux, Frick and Ikeda, that work with sensor data and urban space transformed into data, will be considered.
Question period
Panel 5 (next) en temps de pandémie ou l’intime à découvert
Elsa Fortant, Michel Duchesneau, Irina Kirchberg, Émilie Lesage, Pierre-Luc Moreau & Héloïse Rouleau,
The closures of music venues and containment in connection with COVID-19 pushed the classical and popular music community to compensate for the lack of musical representations concert halls. Hundreds of video clips made by the musicians have been added on social networks. The décor of the concert hall, of the stage, has been replaced by that of the living room, the balcony or bedroom. What kind of self-representation strategies can then be distinguished among classical and popular musicians? Through systematic analysis of more than 200 videos published on Facebook, supplemented by a few semi-directed interviews, we will explore the hypothesis that these videos are the scene of a self-directed staging, which highlights elements (furniture, filming location, sets) mobilized differently by the musicians, depending on the the aesthetics in which they fit (pop, classical, trad) and their social class.
Diseuses de sorts: Dispositifs artistiques de fortune en temps de confinement (espaces vituels, espaces magiques, espaces politiques)
Ophélie Naessens & Cynthia Montier,
The lockdown has shed new light on experimental artistic practices of remote interaction, practices that inspire new forms to understand our real and imagined spaces, explore the links between technology, affects and spirituality, create places (virtual and real) of connection and sharing, as well as renewed ways of challenging. Based on artistic researches of our panelists, this communication will focus on the virtual devices of fortune that interweave magic, art and resistance, and make up encounters between real and virtual spaces, between imaginary spaces and political spaces. It will then question the posture of an artist "spell-teller", narrating stories, projecting imaginations likely to stand against forms of domination and violence.
Question period
Panel 6: Music and sound
Chair: Laurent Vernet
The “Music and Sound” panel offers a discussion of how we listen to the space around us. It will be an opportunity to deal with the issue of music and its traffic contexts, as in the case of political propaganda. In addition, the panel highlights a more attentive experience of sound vibrations from the city and its buildings, as well as the possibility of a link between architecture and the waves that spread around the world.
L'instrumentalisation des opéras de Giacomo Puccini par le régime fasciste italien (1922-1943): le cas de Turandot
Matilde Legault,
Composed between 1920 and 1925 and premiered in 1926, Turandot is the only opera by Puccini used in Italian fascist propaganda, which premiered after the beginning of the regime in 1922. The work presents exotic but also modern musical elements and therefore does not reflect the traditional definition of Italian musical nationalism, which essentially translates into romantic lyrical music. How then can the work be recovered by the regime? While some authors relate to possible correspondences between Puccini's last opera and fascist ideology, no one has yet addressed the issue based on the writings of that time. From the stripping of fascist periodicals, Matilde will expose the ideological and artistic inconsistencies inherent in the cultural propaganda of the regime. She will show how Turandot suits fascist propaganda, because it presents the same ambivalence between tradition and modernity that is found in fascist discourse.
Texturologie vibratoire : espace urbain, skateboard et transposition sensorielle
Maxime Boutin,
Skateboarding is a discipline that provides thrills such as speed, height, weightlessness, fall and vibrations. Street skateboarding is a questioned practice here as an exploratory mode of city, a territory whose surfaces offer the arrangement of a multitude of materials : concrete, bitumen, cut rock slabs, metal, wood, glass. Urban space is a limitless "opportunity zone", in skateboarding can be seen as a devious practice of urban geography. The deployment of the skater in this environment can be akin to drifting, too well from the perspective of reappropriation and diversion of the architectural space exploration of its materiality. From this reflection will be presented Vibrational Texturology, an installation transposing the sensoriality of the vibrating spaces of the city, by the use of a skateboard equipped with an action camera with sensors, travelling through urban space.
Question period
Panel 6 (next)
Sonic matter(s): New Materialism and Uncommon Sounds in Common Spaces
Angus Tarnawsky,
Discovering uncommon sounds in common spaces provides a mechanism for breaking patterns of predictable listening. Unexpected sonic events draw listeners’ attention and can sustain interest if nurtured with sensitive intentionality. Angus contends that through subtle yet powerful shifts of everyday behavior, it is possible to facilitate diverse and meaningful shared aural experiences. His research investigates what relationships might be forged through the expansion of listening inside of entrance foyers, corridors and staircases in urban buildings. He explores this dynamic using microphones, loudspeakers and radio transmission to create site-responsive sound installations. These sonic and spatial interventions encourage varied modalities of listening and participation. His intention is not to create new sounds; rather, it is to amplify what is already occurring in the environment. Bringing this into conversation with new-materialist ideologies, Angus aligns his approach with Jane Bennett’s concept of ​vibrant matter​ to consider the potential of more-than-human listening.
Study for a cosmic city
Julian Scordato,
Study for a cosmic city is an audiovisual work inspired by a utopian urban proposal exposed by the composer and architect Iannis Xenakis in an essay entitled La Ville Cosmique (1965). As an attempt to relate computer graphics to sound formalization, the structures characterizing the utopian city are designed using superquadratic curves – instead of hyperbolic paraboloids as in Xenakis – which can describe reasonable variations of amplitude and pitch. Parameter values extracted from buildings and paths are used to process sound materials from unidentified radio transmissions actually received worldwide. In the graphic representation, each building transmits a specific radio signal whose quality and intensity depend on the position of a cursor, also interfering with the other sound sources. Paths on the ground, instead, define the meso- and macro-formal articulation of the audiovisual work as well as the virtual localization of processed audio signals.
Question period
Allocution de monsieur Frédéric Bouchard, Doyen de la Faculté des arts et sciences de l'Université de Montréal
Closing Cocktail