Connections Under Surveillance
The transmission of information implies an ever-increasing connectivity. At the same time, the hyper connection requires an even greater data transmission. In this transmission-connection relationship, there are interstices through which information leaks. We can think of the ones associated with Snowden, Assange or Manning. We can also see in the idea of leakage that of infiltration and common thread: passages are arranged and contents conveyed. From infiltration to surveillance, it’s only a step. While the latter is becoming commonplace and socially accepted, it is taking on less and less obvious forms. At the limit of legality, evolving in grey areas and most often imperceptibly, surveillance has become – through ultra connection – as invasive as it is pervasive. It is also a subtle form of violence whose primary argument is to protect us.
Whether via the Internet or satellite, data is constantly in transit, wherever the waves pass. They testify to the fact that we are controlled, monitored at all times, followed step by step in our movements, spied on in our every incursion on the web. There is the surveillance that we know, captured by cameras in the public space and that of the state, administrative and banal legal. There is also the monitoring that occurs through the recording of our data via our online purchases and credit cards, our actions on social networks, our movements facilitated by GPS, what else… our mobile phones that would listen to us constantly?
Faced with this reality, which has become a daily one, perhaps we need to ask ourselves about our comfort before the state of things, as well as our ability to evolve in a context of twofold depths. We now have to deal with the underlying agendas, the patterns hidden in the carpet and what companies like GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) are planning for us over the long term.
For EIM 2019, we have brought together works that resonate, directly or indirectly, with the issues of connection, transmission, surveillance, capture, observation, infiltration and invasion – we will discover: an archiving and monitoring memory system (Sébastien Cliche); soundwalks where the movements of the public are the triggers of audio events (Myriam Bleau, Steve Heimbecker); sound compositions that infiltrate the public space, and which speak to us of fake and hack (Pierre-Luc Lecours, Phillip David Stearns).
Works presented in partnership with the Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke, the Galerie d’art du Centre culturel de l’Université de Sherbrooke and the Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University also follow this theme – we’ll can see and hear: the transmission of “messages” captured from the cosmos (Véronique Béland); a system that visualize the ion bombardment at 100,000 km/sec (Herman Kolgen); an investigation around the transmission of a technological memory (Philippe-Aubert Gauthier and Tanya St-Pierre).
This year also, EIM is presenting three satellite residency-creation projects in the Compton, Valcourt and Saint-Camille regions, as well as at the ASTROlab du Mont-Mégantic: the agri-food universe and its precision technologies will be observed (Mériol Lehmann); streets will be infiltrated by bicycle at nightfall in quiet activism mode (Alexandre Castonguay and Mariángela Aponte Núñez); the digital portrait of a community and a territory will be generated from surveillance cameras (Isabelle Gagné); a three-step journey will be followed where mountains, observatory and sky are examined by the camera’s objective (Jean-Pierre Aubé).
In performance, a space will be simultaneously tapped and ”mis en abyme” (Sébastien Cliche and Julie Faubert); the futuristic utopia of high-fidelity recording and audio-video transmission will be revisited (Tasman Richardson); glitches from an Atari 2600 will be remixed and retransmitted (Tasman Richardson); coded information will gradually becomes audible (Pierre-Luc Lecours); a forest and its sound events will be the subject of observation and experimentation (Émilie Payeur); stars and their exoplanets will also be examined (Jean-Pierre Aubé); and a principle of unpredictability and ”mise en abyme” will be at work (Jesse Osborne-Lanthier).
We are connected and monitored, certainly, but provided with projects and proposals that contribute to clarify and redefine our present.
On that note, have a good festival! And don’t forget to occasionally log out 😉
Nathalie Bachand and Éric Desmarais, Co-Curators