A short excerpt from an interview with a festivalgoer at The HTMlles 10 closing party, taken by XXfiles radio show host Valerie d. Walker.
With more than 2,000 people in attendance, the tenth edition of The HTMlles festival had a record-breaking year.
But the real success of the festival is harder to quantify. How do you sum up the myriad experiences, emotions, awakenings that were stirred up by the artists’ works? The very real intimacy of shared moments amidst rooms full of strangers?
Check out the above slideshow of photos from Thien V. to view some of this year’s highlights.
Interview with Lindsay MacDonald - Conditional Balance
Lindsay MacDonald, an artist and interdisciplinary researcher from Calgary, presented the interactive installation Conditional Balance at the Festival The HTMlles 10. The work, a reflection upon the risky nature of collaborations, consisted on two porcelan spheres that would move, sometimes fall and even break when the Microsoft Kinects embedded in the supporting stands would detect the body movements of the viewers present. Lindsay tells us a bit more about the project, the risks it entailed and about her participation on the Festival.
Alice: How did you hear of the festival and what encouraged you to submit the project Conditional Balance?
Lindsay: I first heard about the festival a few years ago through some of my contacts in the media art community here in Montreal. I was considering applying for the last iteration of the festival in 2010, but the timing wasn’t quite right for me because I was busy trying to finish my MFA. WIth regards to Conditional Balance, this piece is new work that Sheelagh and I haven’t had a chance to show yet. The theme of risk resonated with both of us, but since neither one of us are that familiar with risk in a business context, we decided to make a piece that dealt more with risk in the context of collaborations in academia and in personal relationships.
When I saw the call for applications for this year’s festival, I had recently begun my PhD and was thinking a lot about the problems that can come up with collaborative projects between artists and computer scientists. Specifically, I was thinking about issues like the order of names on resulting art pieces in exhibitions and how that is different from the names that appear on papers about the project that are submitted to journals and conferences. In the case of names, I’ve had people in the art world question me about why my collaborators’ names appear on “my” work, not realizing that to me, the computer scientists and engineers I work with are co-artists and their names belong on the work. I’ve even had people tell me that I’m risking my career as an artist by doing this, which I don’t really understand, because a cornerstone of my art practice is collaborating with people in other disciplines. I know Sheelagh had some similar experiences during her PhD. In this way, the two stands could be said to represent me and Sheelagh, and the porcelain balls could be said to represent the perception of our careers. I’ve also been hearing, since beginning my PhD, that I am letting my career get in the way of my personal life. For example, people I respect and also people I barely know have been asking me when I plan to get married and have babies, and telling me I should be careful about not letting my life pass me by while I concentrate on building my career. Sheelagh is in a different phase of her career than I am, and she tells me that these kinds of comments are something that young women in academia may have to deal with on a regular basis.
When we were thinking about what we wanted our viewers to do in order to trigger the movement of the porcelain balls, we were thinking about how, in a gallery setting, the movement of people around delicate objects can be dangerous, as even vibrations through the floor can cause them to fall and break. In this way, if two people are close to each other and interacting in a certain way, even if they are not touching the work itself, it’s possible to make the work break as a result of their actions. This act of destruction becomes both a consequence and a snapshot of this encounter, simultaneously. That’s why we decided to have our Kinect sensors embedded in the piece watching specifically for two people to come close together at a proximity that would, in our culture at least, be unacceptable for people who are strangers to each other.
A: Did you face many risks in this collaboration, from the start until the moment it was presented at the festival?
L: There were certainly a few things I was worried about! Collaborations are always risky, both for the relationship that exists between the collaborating partners and for the outcome of the work, should things turn sour. I have certainly witnessed collaborations going badly in the past for others and I’m pretty thankful that that did not happen to us. That being said, Sheelagh and I have been working together since 2008 and we have known each other since 2006, so we know what to expect from each other and we can usually deal with issues before they become major problems.
For both Sheelagh and I, there were a few steps in the process of making the work that were pretty risky. We tried to move through each phase of the project together instead of dividing up the work. Sheelagh has lots of experience with ceramics, but I don’t - it’s been about 15 years since I had set foot in a clay studio! so I was nervous about being able to make the porcelain spheres and not have them explode in the kiln. We also had the idea of glazing only the interiors of the spheres, so that when they broke open, they would be red on the inside. As we were pouring the glaze in, Sheelagh told me that there was a pretty good chance that the glaze would not turn out to be red because of the way it reduces in the kiln, and we might end up with a totally unexpected colour (which actually did happen, and I liked the result!). For me, the other big risk was taking on writing the software that drives the piece. I am still learning to write code and I find that I get to a certain point in my work and then I get stuck. Fortunately, I had a lot help with the coding from David Ledo, who is a masters student in the computer science lab I work in. We couldn’t have done this without him!
From a logistical point of view, I was also concerned about the risk of transporting 15 porcelain balls in a suitcase on the plane here, but that’s an obvious risk, I think!
As we grew closer to the time that we had to pack up the piece to bring it to HTMlles, Sheelagh was concerned that the piece was risky in another way - she was very worried about the possibility of one of the balls falling on someone and hurting them!
A: How was the experience of presenting your work at the opening party for The HTMlles 10 festival? How did the public react to the moving porcelain spheres? Did you get any interesting comments/ reactions you would like to share?
L: I always enjoy opening receptions for interactive art work because it feels like the work is alive, like a character that is socializing and networking with the people there. I was delighted to see so many people engaged with the work and trying to figure out how to activate it. When a few of them figured out that the work was responding to two people entering each other’s intimate space, lots of people came together in front of the work to try and activate it by dancing, hugging, fighting… you name it. When the spheres actually fall and break, people cheer. I think perhaps the breaking is some kind of cathartic experience for viewers here. This is a pretty big contrast to what I experienced at home when I was testing the work in my lab, where I found that people were pretty scared when the spheres started moving and panicked when they fell off! I’m not sure if this difference is because the work is in the gallery vs. a computer science lab, and I actually think that these mixed reactions from viewers is the most interesting part of showing the work here.
A: What was the biggest challenge and the biggest reward of this experience?
L: Good question! I’m not really sure what I could say was The Biggest Challenge. One challenge that comes to mind in this piece, for me, was dealing with the unknown and letting go of trying to control things I couldn’t control. My art practice is pretty heavy on design, and I found that the design I made in the beginning needed to be changed constantly as I understood more about the weight of the porcelain and the behaviour of the hardware. Sheelagh and I often debated alternate design solutions and it took time to come up with something that we were both happy with.
As far as rewards go, I think having the opportunity to come to Montreal, show our work alongside some amazing other artists, and reconnect with the media art community here was pretty rewarding. Sheelagh and I are both honoured to have been part of HTMlles this year.
Videos and Credits for Reply Whore, by Lori Weidenhammer
For those who saw Lori Weidenhammer’s performance - Reply Whore - at the BFF event, check out below the videos she used on the performance and the respective credits. And for those who didn’t have a chance to see it, here is a teaser of her great presentation!
Lori: Once again I’d like to thank the staff at Studio XX and Htmlles for producing such an inspiring festival. I have a list here of the credits for the YouTube videos I played in the show. The b.f.f evening left me pondering the demystification of the female and transgendered body as a strategy for empowerment.
Preshow: Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine? Harry the Hipster Gibson (1944)
music: Harry the Hipster Gibson
film: Max Fleisher
mashup artist: clotho98 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ5_SyvxDXE)
This video mixes a Betty Boop cartoon (Sally Swing, 1938) with a song by a comedic performer named Harry Gibson which got him blacklisted from radio play because of a reference to drugs. (Bennies were used by soldiers during WWII to keep them awake on long missions.) His song predates rock and roll by ten years. Gibson made a comeback in the seventies when it became acceptable to use the word “Benzedryne” in a song title. Betty Boop was created by Max Fleischer in 1930. The Production Code of 1934 placed restrictions on the cartoon’s content (i.e. no drug use or sexual innuendo).
Favourite online comment: “I think Charlie Sheen put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine.”
1) Peta Ad: Boyfriend went Vegan
2) How to see with X-Ray Vision
Technical tips for peeping Toms.
3) The Reply Girl Takedown: The Luchador Life Day 21
This video is disturbing the first time you see it because it is a parody of the kind of hatred that the Reply Girls have endured. I think that it is good that they show the out-takes at the end to underline the theatre and parody used in it.
4) Re: Reply Boyz (feat.Yogscast)
Lyrics, performance and editing by Area 11 and performances by various fans
A Parody of Duran Duran’s Wild Boys released by Area 11 in Feb. 2012. This video is basically what inspired me to write Reply Whore (and the fact I had decided to write an autobiography of my breasts).
5) The Reply Girl Fights a Hater- Luchador Life Day 17
Alejandra Gaitan is possibly the most famous reply girl and her sister is the girlfriend of El Luchador—thus the connection.
6) Drunk Hot Chicks Beer Drinking Contest
Ah yes, the evil Ricroll.
7) These Boots Were Made for Walkin’ (Nancy Sinatra)
Never mind the boots—I’m gonna buy me one of those sex kitten sweaters!
8) Whore of Babylon: Metropolis
Guitar freak-out to the classic scene from Fritz Lang’s Metreopolis
Fave Comment: “There’s some major wood in Babylon tonight!”
9) The Instrumentals: Are you Nervous?
“They keep saying that I’m some sort of sexual innovator. I never thought of any of my poses as being sexual in any way. I never had anything like that on my mind when I was posing.”—Betty Page, 1996
10) Private Snafu:The BoobyTrap
Director: Bob Clampett
Voice: Bugs Bunny/Mel Blanc
11) Occupy Your Noobs!
Song/Lyrics/Performance by Lori Weidenhammer
Edited by Peter Courtemanche and Lori Weidenhammer
This video is not online, because as I explained, I don’t have a Youtube channel——yet. What I plan to do is rework the show, adding more of my own videos, tour it live and then put it up on YouTube to make my millions. (-;
Post Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Lr-6ySAnHc&feature=fvwrel
Sophia Lauren medley
We didn’t play this video because of technical issues, but check it out. Sophia Loren is one of my inspirations.
Friday night at B.F.F: (Best Friends Forever / Bunch of Fucking Feminists)
Devon Michigan, the performance artist known as Ghost Taco, sang through a microphone she held inside herself, knees pressed together, to a packed house at La Baraque.
It began with a warning. Michigan let the audience know that she would take no offence if anyone felt the need to leave during her performance. Then she pulled down her green tights, slid a condom over her condenser mic, lubed it up, and inserted it into her vagina.
Crouched over a circular table with four distortion pedals, Ghost Taco turned knobs while gently moving her body. We heard her accentuate the sounds that came from inside– the creaks and groans as her inner doors opened and closed. Some sounds were sacred, and some were novel. At one point she sang a few bars of a lovely song – “never ending tragedy, and take no more,” and we heard the lyrics emanate, an echo of the movement of music inside her coming through La Baraque’s amps; It was beautiful. A few minutes later she asked if anyone had a request. She ended up singing happy birthday to Alice and Francis.
Before she inserted, it was a marvel watching her rub the microphone in tight circles on her thigh, hearing the sounds that skin can make. At one point while the mic was submerged she tried tapping on her stomach to see if we could hear that; it was experimentation at its best. Moments before it was all over, she went back to leaning over the pedals. In a prayer-like pose she manipulated the ambient sounds of her body until they became frantic, and wild. It felt like everything in her was yelling, begging, and then it was all over. She pulled the mic out of herself with her left hand, clothed in a black rubber glove, said thank you, and walked off stage, tights around her ankles
- Sarah Feldbloom
Les HTMlles et VOUS!
Les HTMlles 10 occupe la position singulière d’être l’un des seuls événements de promotion et de diffusion des arts médiatiques indépendants qui privilégie tout particulièrement les approches, préoccupations et engagements féministes.
Pour rendre le festival accessible à toutes et à tous, nous avons besoin de financement supplémentaire et avons lancé une campagne Indiegogo.
Si vous décidez de financer cette campagne, Les HTMlles pourront entre autres choses:
- fournir un service de garde pour la majorité des événements.
- garantir un support approprié aux artistes du festival.
Soutenir le festival n’est pas uniquement pour appuyer une bonne cause. Vous avez également la possibilité de reçevoir des prix, tels que des billets pour les événements, la clé USB 2GB du Studio XX (voir photo) ou encore une tasse Les HTMlles 10 faite à la main!
Passez-le mot à propos du festival Les HTMlles 10!
Même s’il vous est impossible de contribuer financièrement, vous pouvez tout de même nous aider! Passez-le mot à propos du festival et de cette campagne et informez les gens avec les multiples outils de diffusion de Indiegogo!
The HTMlles and YOU!
The HTMlles 10 occupies the singular position of being one of the only events promoting and disseminating independent media artworks with a particular emphasis on feminist approaches, concerns, and engagements.
In order to make the festival accessible to diverse communities, we are in need of additional funding and have launched an Indiegogo campaign.
If you decide to support this campaign, The HTMlles 10 will be able to, among other things:
- provide childcare for the majority of the events;
- guarantee appropriate support for the participating artists.
If you support the festival, it’s not only for the good cause, but you also have the possibility to receive fantastic perks, such as VIP tickets for festival events, the Studio XX customized 2GB USB key (see picture), or a handmade The HTMlles 10 mug!
Spread the word about The HTMlles 10!
Even if you can’t make a financial contribution, you can still support us! Spread the word about the festival and this campaign, let people know about it using Indiegogo’s mutliple share tools!
Le risque de prendre la parole
par Isabelle N.
Une co-publication avec jesuisfeministe
J’ai souvent pris la parole à titre de féministe. Que ce soit dans le cadre de mon travail ou comme blogueuse féministe dans mes temps libres, quand on m’invite à parler en public, je dis oui. Pas seulement parce que j’adore ça, mais aussi parce que je déplore qu’on n’entende pas assez les féministes de ma génération. Alors, comme on dit, faut que les bottines suivent les babines!
Une chose, cependant : on m’invite souvent en «territoire conquis ». Je ne prends pas grand risque en acceptant de parler à la « Slut Walk » d’Ottawa ou à animer la vigile du 6 décembre. Même lorsque je présente les services offerts par mon programme à un auditoire pas tout à fait conquis, on m’invite comme professionnelle et on me traite comme telle. J’avoue que je ne risque pas grand chose. Et je me sentirais très à l’aise, devant une foule hostile, de simplement sacrer mon camp.
Or, depuis cet été, je prends la parole à tous les matins à une station de radio de l’Outaouais pour un auditoire tout sauf conquis d’avance. C’était justement l’idée : une féministe de gauche qui confronte chaque matin le chroniqueur vedette de droite. Le segment s’intitule, comme de raison, « de gauche à droite ». Dès ma première chronique, c’est ainsi qu’on m’a présentée : chers auditeurs, notre nouvelle collaboratrice : une féministe, souverainiste, de gauche. En une phrase, me voici en terrain miné.
J’ai assez rapidement compris que je patinais sur une glace mince. Si je m’emporte, si je me fâche, je renforce un stéréotype déjà trop répandu. Je dois donc rester calme, zen, quel que soit le sujet, et tenter d’amener mon point de vue dans l’humour et la bonne humeur. Sinon, je risque de faire dire dans les chaumières « on sait ben… » et contribuer à perpétuer un mythe que je déplore : les féministes n’ont aucun sens de l’humour.
Le mandat n’est pas toujours évident : j’avoue que je n’ai pas un point de vue féministe sur tous les sujets encore moins une façon amusante de l’aborder. Je cours donc le double risque de desservir ma cause en en n’étant pas une bonne porte-parole (d’autant plus que le « mouvement féministe », si une telle chose existe, ne m’a pas élue!) mais aussi de m’aliéner l’auditoire.
Je dois dire, par contre, que quand je sors du studio fière de moi, quand j’ai servi à mes vis-à-vis un argument solide et convaincant, c’est un sentiment sans pareil.
Un risque qui en vaut la chandelle.
Le jeudi 15 novembre Alexis O’Hara a présenté chez OBORO l’installation sonore “La Couvée”. Le projet, une recherche encore active et en développement, nous a mis, les spectateurs, au sein d’une expérience sensorielle de gestation et de naissance. Entourés d’oeufs lumineux qui semblaient bouger de temps en temps, on entendait les mouvements de l’eau et des surfaces minces qui cassaient. On entendait l’humidité dans une salle froide, ce qui nous faisait sentir parfois comme des observateurs, parfois comme faisant partie de la couvée nous-mêmes.
La progression de la gestation à l’idée de la naissance est venue avec le son d’un premier mot: baby. L’environnement a changé, les mots ont pu être entendus plus souvent. Ce moment a culminé avec un monologue critique à propos de la maman, de son corps et même de sa sexualité après l’accouchement. De retour à notre couvée, la belle mixture de couleurs et sons nous a laissés, à la fin, avec le silence de notre méditation.
Pour en savoir plus à propos de ce projet, visitez le site web du Festival Les HTMlles 10.
Visitez aussi le site web d’Alexis O’Hara: http://www.dyslex6.com/
Zach Blas gave an interesting artist talk on Tuesday!
For those who missed it, you can understand his creative process visiting those links:
A link to his earlier work on queer technologies: http://www.queertechnologies.info/ Some links he talked about during his workshop: https://scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=something-queer-about-that-face http://urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fag%20face http://urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gay+face
Also a link to the trailer for an exhibition he curated with Micha Cardenas:
Still from " Facial Weaponization Suite: Fag Face Mask ", exhibited at Studio XX until November 23rd, 2012