The Dead Web - La Fin

19 January - 15 February 2017

  • Vernissage: 19 January 2017, 18:00 - 21:00
  • Guided tour: 19 January 2017, 17:00 - 18:00
  • Opening hours: Tues - Sun, 12:00 - 17:00
  • Frédérique Laliberté
  • Grégory Chatonsky & Dominique Sirois
  • Julien Boily
  • Julie Tremble
  • Projet EVA (Simon Laroche & Etienne Grenier)

"Will the internet end soon?"

It is with this question that Eastern Bloc will begin 2017 with an exhibition on the possibility of the collapse of the World Wide Web. With five works, this exhibition, which takes place from January 19th to February 15th, proposes to engage the public in a reflection on a sort of “web after-world.”

This idea of ​​a general collapse of the network - in 2023 - sprang up at a scientific symposium organized in 2015 by the British Royal Society on the "Capacity Crunch" of the Internet. Following publication of this news, Nathalie Bachand, curator of the exhibition, wished to gather artistic proposals to imagine this post-web era and to question how to occupy this hypothetically suspended space.

How will power structures, at once dematerialized and delocalized, manifest themselves on economic and political levels if the network is disconnected? But also, what is possible to do or say in the meantime?

The artists Frédérique Laliberté and her Web project Forever A Prototype; Grégory Chatonsky and Dominique Sirois and their installation Extinct Memories III; Julien Boily and his work Memento Vastum; Julie Tremble and her animation 3D BPM 37093; and finally the duo Projet EVA (Simon Laroche and Etienne Grenier) with their installation The Object of the Internet will try to initiate this reflection. Forever A Prototype by Frédérique Laliberté is a web project eternally "in progress", an autonomous collage machine that generates semi-random virtual compositions by searching a bank of categorized and classified digital files: images, sounds, animated GIFs, videos, text, etc. The result of each visit to the website is a series of ephemeral constructions, based both on the rigidity of archiving and the looseness of chance.

Frédérique Laliberté is fond of collage, bugs, video, archival, arts & crafts, programming, jokes, hacking, writing, screenshots, speech, Internet, and reuse. She pursues an ethical and philosophical reflection about accumulation and the use of what already exists. Transfiguration is at the core of her practice, allowing her to create with the intention to produce nothing.

The third iteration of an installation suggesting the end - and especially the discovery, in the archaeological sense of the term - of a world we know through the exhumation of still-existing Internet servers, Extinct Memories III by Grégory Chatonsky et Dominique Sirois refers to the idea of our own extinction as a human race, and allows us to consider the future of our digital vestiges.

Born in Paris in 1971, Grégory Chatonsky founded in 1994, one of the first platforms for net art, and during its first years developed variable fictions by diverting data flow from the network. Quickly the Internet has become the main medium of his work, for dissemination and as a source of inspiration, which he translates later on into digital or analog works.

The work of Dominique Sirois, whose practice takes the form of installations composed of sculptures, videos, sounds, and images, touches on three fields of interest: value and surveillance, the economy and its affects, as well as ruins and obsolescence. Her work has been shown at various artist centers in Canada.

The painting Memento Vastum by Julien Boily - an oil on muffled board - explores the concept of lost memory. More specifically, the work delves into loss of know-how, but also of old knowledge being replaced by new – often in the form of information or data. It is a repetitive phenomenon that is in constant acceleration. In this work, the notion of vestige crosses with those of programmed obsolescence and vanity. If in the 17th century the mirror was a recurring element in the design of vanities – still lives evoking the ephemeral character of humanity – today our electronic devices and computers could fulfill the same function; the Internet as a two-way mirror. 

Inspired by the work of the Golden Age master painters (17th Century), Julien Boily alters the pictorial codes of this period to represent contemporary scenes. He abandons any quest for formal invention and uses this medium for its initial function of representing the real. The painting then participates in the work as a semantic element of itself in addition to what is represented in his paintings.

BPM 37093 by Julie Tremble is a short 3D animation that "narrates" – fictionally or actually – the uncertainty here is voluntary – the death of a star and the slow transformation of its materiality. BPM 37093 is a star that was very similar to the sun and is now dead. Scientists have discovered that by extinguishing itself, the star has almost completely turned into a diamond, as the sun will do in billions of years. The highly accelerated speed of this death – 1:14 for millions of years – questions here the notions of duration and instantaneity, of transformation, as well as our representations of the world.

Inspired by film, visual arts, literature, and philosophy, Julie Tremble's work focuses on the role that narration plays in our experience of the world. Over the past few years, she has explored the notion of explosion through experimental fictions and digital animations.

What more could one ask for than a monument of past glory? With The Object of the Internet, an installation by Projet EVA evoking the idea of a mausoleum for the end of the web, visitors are projected into a dystopic future where, on social networks, they remain in the form of a vestige where traces of their selfies are artificially animated. These traces, condemned to the status of sterile solipsism, agitate in the distant void of the end of the Internet.

Projet EVA, made up of Simon Laroche and Etienne Grenier (artists, interactive media designers, and teachers), is a collective that has been producing installations and performances in digital arts worldwide since 2003.  The works of Projet EVA are connected to themes of loss, restriction, and focus on issues related to relationships between individuals and computer systems and their physical extensions. The use of technological means in an attempt to deprogram perception is central to the works of Projet EVA. The work of Projet EVA encompasses the fields of robotics, electronics, video, and audio. 

Photo: Memento Vastum (2012), Julien Boily.

Nathalie Bachand, the curator, would like to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for his project support, as well as the organization Perte de Signal.


19 January - 15 February 2017

  • Vernissage: 19 January 2017, 18:00 - 21:00
  • Guided tour: 19 January 2017, 17:00 - 18:00
  • Opening hours: Tues - Sun, 12:00 - 17:00