Curator's words

We exist in a post-truth world where populist and nationalist movements are taking control: where our every click is monitored, tracked, and monetized. Our natural environment is under threat by gluttony and greed.

As our institutions become outdated citizens are driven to find their own justice in movements such as #MeToo. As these realities become more apparent to the general population it appears that we are only left with ourselves, our community, and one option: DIY OR DIE!

The theme for the 10th edition of Eastern Bloc’s annual international digital art festival Sight + Sound is inspired by our organization's current reality. October 26, 2019 marks the final major event ever held by Eastern Bloc at its uniquely memorable 7240 Clark location. After 12 years of celebrating digital art in all its forms, and after countless performances, happenings, exhibitions, workshops, and (yes) parties, Eastern Bloc is forced to move out of the neighbourhood it originally helped make vibrant. As gentrification strikes down this legendary venue, Eastern Bloc wishes to use this edition of the festival to celebrate the critical spirit of our mandate and our do-it-yourself and do-it-together ethos.

The “DIE” in DIY or DIE carries with it the idea, not only the ending of one phase, but the beginning of another. Faced with the difficult choice to leave our space, our building, our neighbourhood, we chose to explore new territories for making and showing art. But before we can inhabit new corners of the digital art map, we’re inviting you, for one last weekend of revelry, to lay 7240 Clark down to rest.

- Martín Rodríguez

This 10th edition of the Sight & Sound 2019 festival celebrates DiY culture through critical statements and a political gaze. Within the structure of Eastern Bloc, the DIY resonates on a daily basis through its mode of operation based on an economy of means and shared resources.

Adopting the DIY philosophy, through the application of alternative methodologies, responds to a pressing need. The artists presented at this 10th edition demonstrate innovation, originality, and experimentation in developing their own tools and mediums: they echo the speech of the Scottish musician and researcher George McKay, a specialist in independent culture and media, who argues that “Action! This is one of the real strengths of DiY Culture[1]”.

While the material transformation - a typical DiY operation - often produces a magical effect, it is not surprising to discover that two of the participating artists, Peter Blasser and Navid Navad, use the term alchemy when describing their artistic practices.

McKay, George. ‘DiY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties' Britain. Brooklyn : Verso, 1998.p. 4.

- Esther Bourdages