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Published on

06.12. 2018

We are delighted to unveil the full program of exciting events for the 4th International Digital Art Biennial (BIAN) and the ELEKTRA festival. The 19th edition of ELEKTRA will take place from June 26 – July 1 at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) and at Arsenal Contemporary Art. The 4th edition of the BIAN will be held from June 29 – August 5 at Arsenal Contemporary Art, its grand opening on June 29 will be an evening dedicated to contemporary digital art, featuring rare and remarkable performances. Coming together under the theme AUTOMATA – Sing the Body Electric, more than thirty local and international artists have been selected to present a broad spectrum of works, representing the best and most ground-breaking of contemporary digital art.


Manfred Mohr (DE) - P1690_2x8&P 1680-D, Artificiata II / Bernd Lintermann, Nikolaus Völzow & Peter Weibel (DE) - Bibliotheca Digitalis:Three Phases of Digitalization / Ralf Baecker (DE) - Mirage / Ed Fornieles (UK) - Mother & Tulip Fever / Aleksandra Domanovic (RS) - Substances of Human Origin / Le duo Projet EVA (Simon Laroche & Etienne Grenier) (QC-CA) - L’objet de l’Internet / Li Alain (QC-CA) - V.DREAM / Skawennati (QC-CA) - Time TravellerTM / Omer Fast (IL) - August / Adam Basanta (BC/QC-CA) - All we’d ever need is one another / Light Society, Sakchin Bessette & Aliya Orr (QC-CA) - Whispers / Pierre Huyghe (FR) - Human Mask / Robin Meier (CH) - Synchronicity / Caroline Monnet (QC-CA) - Like Ships in the Night.



For its 4th edition, the BIAN will be reinforcing its partnership with Arsenal Contemporary Art by holding a major exhibition within its gallery spaces. Local and international artists will come together for a cultural event on an unprecedented scale: featuring over thirty artists from all over the world, the exhibition will be an extraordinary event, both for the public and for participants from within the domain of contemporary art.


The spotlight this year is on Germany, with thanks both to BIAN 2018 guest curator Peter Weibel (director of the ZKM: Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, DE) and to a selection of artists who embody the vitality of the discipline; their works are the beating heart of the AUTOMATA – Sing the Body Electric exhibition.


Audiences will have the opportunity to discover (or rediscover) creations by German artist and algorithmic art pioneer Manfred Mohr (DE) whose works P1690_2x8 and P1680-D, Artificiata II explore geometric abstraction as visual music.

Meanwhile, with their augmented reality installation Bibliotheca Digitalis: Three Phases of Digitalization, artists Bernd Lintermann, Nikolaus Völzow, and Peter Weibel (DE) lead a reflexion around the status of the book and its digital evolution.


Mirage by Ralf Baecker (DE) generates a synthesized landscape, using a projection apparatus based on optical principles and artificial neural network research. Mirage is presented with the participation of the Goethe Institut.


The AUTOMATA – Sing the Body Electric exhibition invites reflection on human beings and their rela- tionship with technology. Several of the featured artists question corporeality and its development in tandem with technological advances.


With the interactive work Portrait on the Fly, duo Laurent Mignonneau and Christa Sommerer (FR-AT) interrogate “sel e culture” by confronting spectators with their own faces deformed by swarms of flies.


Interactivity and the representation of the body are also central to the two works by Daniel Rozin (US/ IL), with the famous Wooden Mirror, which reproduces in a surprising and subtle way the image of the visitor.


The real-time information ow of newsfeeds and social media also forms the basis for Mother and Tulip Fever, two works by Ed Fornieles (UK). Here we find the “Finilars,” adorable avatars whose emotions correspond to the perpetual flux of global monetary values.


With Substances of Human Origin, by artist Aleksandra Domanivić (RS) continues her research in the circulation and reception of images and information. In particular, she explores how the meaning of these – and even the way they are classified – can be transformed by changing contexts and historical circumstances.


During the opening weekend (from June 29 – July 1), Simon Laroche and Etienne Grenier (QC, CA) team up as Projet EVA to present The Object of Internet. In this mausoleum for the end of the Web, visi- tors become part of a dystopian post-human fiction, in which all that remains are the artificially-animated ghosts of their own sel es on social networks.

Visitors will also have the chance to witness the phenomenon of waking dreams via the virtual reality installation V.DREAM by Li Alin (QC-CA).


Like many artists, Skawennati (QC, CA) uses the human body, viewed through the lens of digital tech- nology, as a means to depict society. Her first machinima production Time TravellerTM follows a young Mohawk man in the year 2012 who uses his era’s technology to visit a number of important historical events, bringing an uninterrupted timeline of Indigenous history to life.


The Phi Centre joins BIAN to present a striking work from the personal collection of its founder and director, Phoebe Greenberg, Omer Fast (IL) presents his 3D video August. Viewers are plunged into the life of the troubled German photographer August Sander; more broadly, the piece calls into question the choices made by a man who comes to represent a fractured society.

In a more robotized vision, relationships with the body and with large-scale technological production are explored in the work by Ali Kazma (TK) with his videos Robot – Clerk – Brain Surgeon.


Addie Wagenknecht (US) also uses robots to highlight the inconsistencies of our era. In the video Optimization of Parenting, p.II, she explores the idea of motherhood as full-time work through the use of a robotic arm designed to optimize the parenting process.


Adam Basanta (BC/QC, CA) goes one step further with his installation All We’d Ever Need is One Ano- ther, a “continuously running art-factory operating independently of human input.”


The automatization that technology enables and its constant presence in our daily lives also have an impact on nature. Going beyond relationships with the body, artists of the Anthropocene era are raising new questions: in a world where we are more technologically assisted, what might this impact on nature look like?

Sakchin Bessette and Aliya Orr (QC-CA), who work together as The Light Society, are keenly aware of such questions. With their spectacular installation Whispers, in global preview at the BIAN, the artists merge art therapy with the pursuit of sensoreality.


In another global preview, Over the Air comes to us from the TeamVoid trio and Youngkak Cho (KR). With a more Cartesian approach, the artists use data mining to highlight the human impact on a natural world already stretched to its limits.


Pierre Huyghe (FR) explores the outer reaches of our imagination with his video Human Mask, lmed in Fukushima in Japan, set against his own depiction of an ecologically-endangered world. Huyghe is a contemporary artist internationally recognized for his works exploring the boundaries of fiction and reality.


Our relationship with nature is also thrown into question by Swiss artist Robin Meier’s installation, Synchronicity. In this exploration of the concept of free will, a machine is transformed into a living actor inside an insect colony.


Even more dreamlike is Like Ships in the Night in which Caroline Monnet (QC-CA) takes us on a sea- voyage across the Atlantic, exploring, at the same time, ideas of the ocean floor.

Light Society (QC-CA) - Whispers


At the Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT), fans of digital art will be treated to a hand-picked pro- gram of global premieres created exclusively for the Satosphere: Alex Augier (FR) and Alba G. Corral (ES) stage their collaborative performance end(O), while Chikashi Miyama (JP) presents Trajectories. Both will take place from June 26 – June 30, 2018.


One of the highlights of the festival will be the BIAN’s grand vernissage on June 29 at Arsenal Contemporary Art. This evening of performances in North American premiere will see French artists presenting works that chime with the festival theme. Over the course of the evening, the performances will combine to create a landscape of in nite possibilities, in which endless diversions, deformations, and re-mixes are made possible in the digital era.


Tattoo Hacking from NSDOS (FR) examines the link between the actions of the tattoo artist, the techno- logy used, and its relationship with the body.


With his Some Songs performance, Anne-James Chaton (FR) takes as a starting point the songs played in public spaces, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, and waiting rooms, paying special attention to the ow of the lyrics. He then samples and reinterprets the lyrics in sound and image through visual writing based on Morse code, the precursor for digital communication.


uncan vlley (uncanny vally), created by French artist Freeka Tet, is a satirical live-show in the form of a multifaceted musical and visual project. The work hinges on the search for a radical, instinctive audio language – itself generated via sensors, DIY software, game engines, face-tracking, internet navigation, and borrowing.


Ever attentive to the Swiss art scene, ELEKTRA presents the duo COD.ACT (CH) to kick o the performative evening with the North American debut of their new creation Πton. As the focal point of this 19th edition (from June 29 – July 1), Πton is a sound and robotics performance featuring an intriguing creature that interacts with four performers.


Meanwhile, Présence offers a robotic performance aiding mediation, courtesy of the Compagnie Générale des André Girard Inc. (QC, CA).

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