Espace [IM]Media

Isabelle Gagné


Le P'tit bonheur de St-Camille

Hektor (2019) – Participatory digital installation, photo and video

Hektor is a device – a ”bot” – that creates works based on photographs by Isabelle Gagné and those spontaneously proposed by the citizens from Saint-Camille village. It diverts the use of a neural processing algorithm, normally intended for artistic style transfer, to use images from local sources that reflect the daily life of the village: photos shared by citizens and images captured via security cameras located in the city. Randomly, the system will integrate words or sentences of the Camillois poet Gaston Gouin who also composed this quote, which embodies the principle underlying Hektor‘s project and “approach”: “Art is an accidental gesture” (Temps Obus, les deux mains dans la cendre, 1963-1968). Through this quasi-Dada approach, the project relies on a certain number of variables: the contribution of the citizens; that of the cameras installed in the village; and the bot’s algorithm which operates an image setting.

The creation of this fictional character was therefore conceived: Hektor is simultaneously Gaston Gouin, the citizens of Saint-Camille, an artist in the making and a bot in “machine apprenticeship” mode. It’s a bit of everyone, but also the territory and its components: roads, architecture, landscapes – all those hectares that constitute, in a way, Hektor‘s DNA.
Bringing to the forefront issues related to the public space surveillance, to the algorithmic automation presence as soon as we are connected to a network, and the notion of author when it comes to generative work, Hektor draws a certain community portrait and at the same time questions our relationship to the digital world and what it evoke in our lives.

Satellite projects – creative residencies and works on the outskirts of the city

For the first time since EIM’s creation, Sporobole is forging links with three Eastern Townships regions on the outskirts of Sherbrooke: Saint-Camille, Compton, Valcourt and Mont-Mégantic. These partnerships took the form of in-situ creative residencies where artists are invited, in May, June and July, to design a creative project rooted in the community. With the occasional contribution of citizens in diverse ways and in connection with the projects, artists create pieces that put into perspective certain distinctive values that help to define these regions. Whether it is a question of mobility, precision agriculture, robotization of agri-food processes, landscape transformation or connected territories, the lines of thought that have given shape to the projects are the main threads that link artistic creation and the specificity of contexts together.

Each in its own way, these projects also bring together the concepts of connection, transmission, surveillance, capture, observation, infiltration and invasion, which are the reflexive cornerstones of this 5th edition of EIM.

Saint-Camille :: Isabelle Gagné (QC-CA) – Hektor (2019)
Compton :: Mériol Lehmann (QC-CA) – 308 lots (2019)
Valcourt :: Alexandre Castonguay (QC-CA) et Mariangela Aponte Núñez (CO) – Agit P.O.V. (2012-)
ASTROlab du Mont-Mégantic :: Jean-Pierre Aubé (QC-CA) – Du Mont-Mégantic aux exoplanètes (2019)