Montreal is launching its second edition of the International Digital Arts Biennial aka BIAN. As the title implies (surprise!), the event focuses on digital arts. Digital arts, of course, are ubiquitous, appearing anywhere and everywhere, taking on all manner of forms. Is it any wonder that the theme PHISICAL/ITÉ has been chosen for the event? The BIAN brings 90 local and international artists to the city to present their work in public spaces, cultural institutions, and other exhibition venues, for a total of 40 different projects. Here are some of the highlights from the promising list.
DHC/ART, Phi Centre, and BIAN are partnering together to bring in Power 2: Heart Lake as seen through the eyes of Manley Natland, a look at the tar sands by artist Robyn Moody. Using plastic, motors, and MDF, Moody makes a scale model of Heart Lake, a lake threatened by Alberta’s tar sands development. The piece is anything but static. Tiny motors start to turn when a visitor activates a motion detector. Lights and mirrors create a variety of effects. Installation at the Phi Centre (407 St. Pierre St) from May 5-31
Inspired by Alan Turing’s mathematical principles, Amsterdam-based Italian artist TeZ created the visual installation Plasm. The principle in question is “reaction diffusion systems” which are the mathematical formulas that underlie why spontaneous patterns form in biological systems such as zebra stripes and leopard spots. Using custom developed software, HD, and multi-channel sound, TeZ shows a transforming landscape that evolves through a series of patterns, both randomly and algorithmically. Plasm is on view at La Boîte Moire Hexagram Concordia from May 1-10.
Take a trip to the end of the orange line
Montmorency Metro station is a place I’ve never been, but that’s about to change. Montmorency is hosting …of the trace by artist Alexander Wilson. Wilson is taking over the area surrounding the metro station with a sound and laser installation. The installation “intervenes” in public space by sensing the shapes and movements of passers-by and architectural elements, and transforming them into abstract lines and shapes that are then projected on an architectural element. Montmorency Metro station from May 14-June 11.
Fonderie Darling is showing Chris Salter’s work n-Polytope: Behaviors in light and sound after Iannis Xenakis. This is an immersive light and sound installation that zoomorphizes light by making it appear to move and pairing it with sound. Based on the actions the viewer takes, the lights respond differently. In particular, Salter was inspired by Iannis Xenakis, the Greek-French composer and music theorist who was interested in stochastic processes. That’s a fairly uncommon word, so don’t be embarrassed if you need to Google it. Fonderie Darling (745 Rue Ottawa) from May 1 to May 13. $5.
Zone out to birds
South Korean artist HeeWon Lee, now based in Paris, has an immersive video installation as well called Infinity III. Infinity III projects flocks of migratory birds on the walls and floors of the room, while there are noises played. The goal is to provide a contemplative space. Cinémathèque Québécoise (335 Maisonneuve E) from May 1-June 29. free
At OBORO (4001 Berri), German artist Kerstin Ergenzinger has a kinetic work. Two installations are set side by side. In the first, Whiskers in Space, large feather like structures protrude from the floor and quiver in a random way. Supposedly, the sculptures are sensitive to the “noise” of fine air currents, acting as feelers and antennae. Visitors, of course, have an impact on the way the whiskers respond. In the next room, Rotes Rauschen (red noise) is a seismic instrument that measures ambient noise and small movements that can not be perceived by humans. A pendulum hangs above and oscillates freely. Depending on seismic activity, the sculpture at the end of the pendulum string curls and stretches. Everyone who enters the space affects how the sculpture responds. Oboro (4001 Berri) from May 3 – June 7.
Nuage Vert is an urban art project by collective HeHe (Heiko Hansenun and Helen Evans – German-British pairing in Paris) This particular project looks at how smokestacks pollute by using the smoke as a screen. Whatever techniques are used, the ultimate result is a cloud of smoke with a flourescent green outline. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Gallery B-312 is going to actually recreate the experiment. Instead, it will show a video of the project in action. Galerie B-312 (372 St. Catherine #403) from May 8 – June 14.
For the full schedule of the second edition of BIAN, click HERE. May 1 – June 19.