Eastern Bloc

Exhibits 2012 - 2013

31 January - 27 February 2013
Carrier Pigeon
Vernissage: 7 February, 6pm
Artist talk with Zeesy Powers: 27 February, 7pm

Zeesy Powers / Dominic Gagnon

“Carrier Pigeon” is a group exhibit, which seeks to explore the ways in which ideas and actions circulate. The two projects presented, “Subjects” by Zeesy Powers and “Society’s Space” by Dominic Gagnon, more specifically examine the notion of contagious activity and the persuasive power of language, visual or spoken. “Carrier Pigeon” addresses the social constructs inherent to viral activity and the ways in which ideas themselves can become so.

While the practises of Powers and Gagnon are radically different, their work echoes one another on a thematic level. Despite a common use of vernacular technology – at-home video editing techniques, Internet video sampling, mash-up and remix –they approach their subjects – of a societal and personal nature – from a distinct frame of reference. Powers’ “Subjects” uses the methods and aesthetics of reality television documentary to examine how and why we construct our personal narratives for a mass audience. The interviewed subjects speak in their mother tongue on topics of understanding, mistranslation and adaptation, effectively (or ineffectively) exploring the contrast between what we say and how it is interpreted. Gagnon’s “Society’s Space,” on the other hand, am audio/visual remake-installation of Guy Debord’s 1973 film “The Society of the Spectacle,” uses current video material from the Web, specifically YouTube, to reveal the Internet as a modern-day converged space for media consumption.

At play in both works is an attempt to expose intertextuality within video-making practices in a digital era. Powers and Gagnon make use of layered references to current topics of a social, economic, and cultural nature. The fragmented nature of Gagnon’s work alongside the socialized mini-universe that Powers creates, both seduce and challenge the viewer. By situating both artists’ work at the intersection of vernacular video, intervention politics and Web-based art, “Carrier Pigeon” provides valuable insight to the idea of contamination on a psychosocial level.

Lucas Abela, Thomas Bégin, Peter Blasser, Peter Flemming, Gambletron, Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Jeremy Gordaneer, Darsha Hewitt, Yann Leguay, Maxime de la Rochefoucauld, Keiko Uenishi

Eastern Bloc, in collaboration with Suoni per il popolo festival, presents Objet Inusité, an international summit bringing together 15 artists and curators from Montreal and abroad, to collectively explore and discuss the audio/visual aspects of digital art through non-screen based practices. Through exploratory workshops, artist presentations and panel discussions, and site-specific installations and performances, particular emphasis is placed on audio art practices that use the "object" as interface, concentrating on objects of an uncommon/non-standard/residual nature.

This 4-day event will explore how objects, imbued with a persona, may be activated by their user to take on a life of their own, in a performative or installation context. The presented works seek to examine how the activation of these objects allow for a spontaneous, accidental materialization of the hidden persona of these otherwise inanimate objects. They look at how an object, whether of a discarded or useful nature, can take on a cultural relevance, and how that cultural relevance can be reinterpreted and re-appropriated for an artistic context.

Complete program of Objet Inusité

Tickets: $10 per performance event or closing event
Installations: free entry
Workshops: various rates

4 - 31 October 2012
Import / Export
Vernissage: 4 October, 6pm
Artist talk: 21 October, 1pm - 2pm
Workshop: 21 October, 2pm - 5pm ($35 fee)

Craig Fahner

Import / Export is Craig Fahner's first major solo exhibit. The works included in this exhibit speak to the artist’s desire to quantify and qualify an emotional exchange. At the root, this is an exchange of energy, and Fahner’s interpretation of this objectified interaction is translated into a re-imagining of the way that technology is experienced. Specifically, the work is an exploration into the way the spectator’s sensory aural perception is influenced vis-à-vis a reinterpretation of the musical instrument.

The words ‘import’ and ‘export’ evoke the notion of trade, of commerce, and of goods crossing borders. However, beyond the mere exchange of commercial goods, ‘import’ and ‘export’ evoke a sense of movement, of information being exchanged, of the immaterial flow of data. Fahner’s work succeeds in connecting the immaterial nature of an emotional exchange to the material nature of a visceral experience. Together, the four works presented in Import / Export reveal the quantifiable aspects embedded in an exchange – emotional or visceral – as well as the commodification of the human-machine interaction.

13 - 16 September 2012
D.N.P. 2012
Vernissage: 13 September, 6pm
Gallery open: 14 - 16 September, 12pm - 5pm
Workshop: 15 September, 2pm - 3pm
Artist talk: 15 September, 3pm - 4pm
Panel discussion: 16 September, 5pm - 7pm

Anonymous Apparatus

Département des Nuisances Publiques (D.N.P.) is an experiment in collaborative art making, public intervention politics and experimental documentation practices. Initiated in 2011, DNP stems from an interest to investigate – through intervention and documentation-based practices – the interruption of our public routines and the limits of personal space. This year, the D.N.P. artists have created an apparatus, Anonymous Apparatus, which affords its user a strangely double-edged anonymity: on the one hand, their identity is hidden and their autonomy protected by a two-way audio and video capture; on the other hand, the act of being visually anonymous amongst a sea of onymous (i.e. publicly identifiable) individuals has the effect of drawing an extreme amount of scrutiny due to the uncanny nature of the persona. The user is anonymous, but far from incognito. The device was developed as a tool which can be used by any member of the public for the exploration of autonomy and anonymity, of the sort inherent to the Internet, in the real context of daily life. It is accompanied by a web platform, Constitution Pro, hosted on the deep web, which allows the potential user to itemize a personally ideal set of rights and values; a constitution which they will attempt to embody during their use of the apparatus. Each item is then shared as an option for other users and ultimately, visualized as a network of relationships between each user’s ideal political reality, conflicts and all.

These two projects engage a wealth of ideas relating to art, technology, surveillance, sousveillance and political self-determinance.