(Photo Credit CinemaExpo67.ca)
On June 21st The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal hosted a talk with Graeme Ferguson and Janine Marchessault as part of their In Search of Expo 67 exhibition. Unfortunately Graeme was unable to attend the talk and his son Munro Ferguson, a member of the Elastic Spaces network, spoke on his behalf. As such, the talk discussed Ferguson’s co-creation of the IMAX cinematic experience as we know it today, as well as the documentary film Polar Life (1967) shot and directed by Ferguson himself, and first exhibited at the Expo 67 the “Man the Explorer” pavilion. In its exhibition, Polar Life debut as a multi-screen work consisting of eleven stationary screens arranged into a circle. Inside the circle of screens housed four theatres were positioned on a 360 degree rotating platform. The apparatus served as a way for the viewers to experience all eleven screens. In its creation, Polar Life was unique in its sensitivity to the viewer, and as such it worked to not overwhelm its spectators.
Polar Life is also considered to be a “cinema verite” work, as it was shot intuitively, unscripted and sought to capture the life and culture of the locals within the Canadian North, Alaska, Lapland, and Siberia. As Ferguson suggested, the 360 degree rotating axis also served as a metaphor for the North and South pole, as well as the circle of life.
Marchessault and Ferguson then discussed the idea of the multi-screen format as a medium itself. As such, Ferguson stated that the multi-screen format is in a sense a form of visual or cinematic poetry, largely because within the space between two screens, a metaphorical image is created by the viewer. As Ferguson, also suggested, multi-screen projections appeared as the beginnings of immersive experiences.
This May- June marked the 4th edition of the IX Immersion, Experience, Embodied Spaces Symposium at Montreal’s own SAT. The symposium focussed on the idea and application of “embodied spaces”, interactivity, “live” VR, VR auteurship, mixed reality, the hyper sensorial body and body responsive technologies.
As a whole, the symposium concentrated primarily on industry and technical components of VR, this focus on the technical served to demonstrate how VR can be applied into “real world” experiences such as architecture and design, as well as applications within health and science spheres. The daytime events were workshops, presentations and organized talks with guest speakers, as well as installations that were positioned throughout the symposium that highlighted VR artworks. Closing each day were a series of performances of multichannel audio and visual works made by the symposium presenters in the SAT dome.
Approaching the lines of artistry was the concept of “VR Auteurship”, a concept seemingly founded by Felix and Paul Studio. As such, the framework within their studio approaches VR as cinematic experiences, and therefore follows many cinematic conventions such as the idea of the auteur. For Felix and Paul, VR serves as a tool to “break the wall” of the two streams of reality apparent within the cinematic apparatus. In the formation of their auteurship, Felix and Paul are admittedly influenced by filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu.
The demos “I am Afraid” by Maria Lantin and “Immersio” by Collectif Immersio were particularly dynamic, in their overt focus on the senses. I am Afraid, is an interactive visual interface used to explore the performative aspects of sound. Participants were invited to create poetic soundscapes by layering and deconstructing Lantin’s collection of words and sounds. Immersio presented itself as a hyper visual “ride”, often travelling via vortexes, its participants were thrown into ever-changing fast paced environments wherein the participants sense of gravity was frequently inverted.
A large proportion of this year’s symposium participants were men and professional members of the artistic community. Of note, Ghislaine Boddington was nominated as the best artist of the symposium for her work, talk and workshop using the audience as performers in her presentation of Body Data Space.
As her demo for the IX “Embodied Spaces” Symposium hosted by Montreal’s SAT, Maria Lantin invited participants to perform within a visceral virtual world of visual and audible poetry. As part of the experience, participants were invited to create their own poetic musings and or performative soundscapes via the ability to reconstruct Lantin’s words using loops, layering techniques as well as the ability to visually reconfigure the space. By allowing one-three participants at a time while exploring sentiments of fear, empathy and vulnerability, I Am Afraid enables a sense of play, collectivity and poetic consciousness within its participants
I Am Afraid has also been presented in New York, NY for “AR in Action”, June 6-7, 2017 (ARinAction.org
“CVR Conference Performance Vancouver”, Vancouver BC , May 5-7, 2017 (consumer-vr.com
I Am Afraid Maria Lantin Tedx ECUAD