Feminism and technology meet every year in the HTMlles festival of media arts and digital culture. With workshops, conferences, performances, and exhibitions, the annual festival is entering its 11th year around the theme Zero Future. Over 50 local and international artists will come together to address the idea of being liberated from the future. According to HTMlles website, the festival addresses a new vision of the future. It takes as a reference point how the future of the 1990s – the 00 decade – was characterized by the dotcom crash, an obsession with security, and financial insecurity on a global scale. That ‘future’ was invented “by modern capitalism, futurism and to some extent cyberpunk, was white, male, and heteronormative.”
While the festival has great appeal for the cerebral, the feminists, and those steeped in this culture, the merely curious shouldn’t shy away because of theory-heavy philosophy and ideological driven sounding rhetoric. The art and events are interesting, grass-rootsy, delightfully subversive, great for challenging the brain and offer avenues for discussion.
While I recommend checking out everything, I’ll focus on a few things that might be a bit more accessible to all.
Things kick off with an Open party/Open House at Studio XX, the home of the HTMlles festival. The online exhibition (discussed below) opens and 15 artists should be around to show their work. In addition, keep your ears and eyes out for three performances: Souccs U R Pwr by Bobbi L. Kozinuk, PROOF by Lisa E. Harris and Alisha Wormsley, and Redshift and Postmetal: Femme Science Findings by micha cárdenas. Souccs UR Pwr has trans-futonik Griots Guides that carry chargers that can exchange solar power for stories. PROOF has a combination of installations, video, and performance around the themes of African Diaspora, social justice, and urban mythology. Open House Party. 4001 Berri, #201. Nov 8. 7 p.m. free, but $20 gets some drink tickets.
For something that can be seen without leaving the comfort of one’s own home, try the on-line exhibition Maid in Cyberspace REVISITED. The exhibition features websites that combine feminism and the web in unexpected ways. I particularly recommend New York artist Faith Holland’s VVVVVV. Billed as an “abstract porn site,” it starts with a manifesto about the Internet and pussies and then probes the theme of cyber-vagina. It’s more fun than expected, with an endless tunnel of hot links and images. Another to check out is a new gif by Gaby Cepeda from Lima entitled Agatha_Re_Do_4_Olia that uses Rhianna’s image to explore images of women in the media. Online on Nov 8 HERE.
The FemHackFest 2014 at Espace Fibre is part hack, part educational experience, part conference. The goal is to allow different generations of hackers and feminists to exchange information and experience. “Peer-learning” is in store. Part of the festival is to demystify hardware and software, as well as “the body.” All that is required is curiosity, not tech skills. Espace Fibre. 2665 Augustin Cantin, Nov 9 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. free.
For a proper all-out art experience, the installation Prendre le Pouls by Marlène Renaud-B. is on display. A depersonalized, empty body is used to perceive the environment. While it’s not entirely clear to me what this installation involves, past ones by Renaud-B include some interesting experiments with sound and the envornment. Satellites amplifies sound through a paper cones that connects with different environments such as the face of a turntable or a rock in a winter landscape. Les Bois Rituels is a two part video, one of which consists of banging together two tubes in front of a fire, beside a video of a person wstanding with an inflatable float. This is Arte with a capital A. Since the rest of the description of Prendre le Pouls is unrevealing but trippy, I can’t say much more about it except that there’s a cocktail and artist talk. La Centrale. 4296 ST Laurent. Nov 13. 5-7 p.m.
Other cool things is a workshop on IceStream, an open source audio streaming software to connect musicians; and We Have Found, a theatre workshop that uses Scalar to create an interactive online film. There is a performance entitled “The Devil Inside Us: A Witch Opera” that uses storytelling and promises to haunt the city Eastern Bloc. 7240 Clark. Nov 13 $10. In sum, each day has its own set of events that are worth exploring. Finally, the closing party has a line up of hot DJs (DJ Tamika (Brooklyn/Montreal), DJ Sammy Rawal (Toronto), and DJ Nino Brown (Toronto)) and other live acts. La Vitrola. 4602 St. Laurent. Nov 15. 10 p.m. free.
Zero Future takes place from November 7 to November 15. See website for information on dates, times, and places of events. Most events are free to make the festival accessible to all.