frenchintroductionhistoryJanuary 31stFebruary 1stFebruary 2nd


A biennial of artistic exchange: Third Edition

January 31st - February 2, 2008
Conference overview - (video clip)

Dr. Daniel Doz: Dean - Faculty of Communication & Design (TBA)
Don Snyder: Chair - School of Image Arts
Pierre Tremblay: Professor - School of Image Arts
Alain Fleischer
: Directeur du Fresnoy - Studio national des arts
Louise Poissant: Université du Québec à Montréal,
Doyenne Faculté des Arts

Ryerson University
Toronto, Canada

Summary description of event

Toronto/Montreal/Lille: TOGETHER ELSEWHERE will examine the diverse positions of artists and theoreticians who confront questions of distance, convergence, isolation, and the realities of the modern technological world.  In this, the third iteration of the conference, the biennial tackles the theme of coming together and breaking geographical space for a meeting of minds that does not necessarily imply a meeting of bodies.  The School of Image Arts at Ryerson University is collaborating once again with the School of Media and Visual Arts at the University of Quebec in Montreal.  In addition, this conference is bringing in one more element of collaboration across distances: the participation of a third institution, le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains (Lille), which will contribute an additional international perspective.  As the schools involved in this conference are, themselves, centres of art education and production, the conference theme will be examined, largely, in relation to new media technologies and innovation in the arts.
To investigate these issues, the conference has been organized into three sub-themes that parallel the interests and expertise of our three partnered locations: Toronto, Montreal, and Lille.
Godard described cinema as an "immense fabric of memories," a marvelous time machine.  Through the combination of image, sound, and movement, the cinema, more than any other medium, transports us together elsewhere or connects us within the abstract duration and location of the site of projection.  Photography, too, has had the power of restoring the presence of an absent being.  One could also return to literature, this older technology that, from its inception, permitted the externalization of memory.  In addition to focusing on modern technologies, our conference will examine how the theme can be addressed through historical media.
In an artistic context within which the real and the virtual are associated, the notion of presence becomes central.  Presence in the arts seems to lead to virtuality and telepresence (video, animation, performance, internet art, video-telephony, etc.). We will examine various devices and interfaces that permit telepresent subjects to irrupt into the scene as partners or to intervene as agents, their roles directing their actions.
The list of networking interfaces is literally infinite.  It is as diverse and subtle as is our need to be together, here and elsewhere, today and formerly.  Each of these discoveries has allowed for the restoration of some form of presence—yet it is a presence on a foundation of absence.  The jubilant state of being connected cannot exist without the anxiety and irritation of being disconnected.  The impression of being here and there, of being everywhere simultaneously, this power of ubiquity given to us by technologies that keep us connected to the continuous flux of networks, is accompanied by a dark shadow: solitude and the fear that one will become lost in the vast expanses of text and image.