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2006 - Toronto/Montreal: The Proliferation of Screens

2003 - Quebec/Ontario: New Forms/New Works
2003 -

History behind the biennials

The act of connecting and collaborating across geographical space and through virtual space was the focus for the first two editions of the biennial.  Quebec/Ontario: New Forms/New Works (February 6-9, 2003) and Toronto/Montreal: The Proliferation of Screens (February 9-1, 2006), encouraged interaction between academic and artist-run organizations in both provinces.  The conferences featured new work in film, installation, new media, and photography as well as collaborative projects by artists from these two provinces.
The first conference, initiated by Pierre Tremblay and Don Snyder of Ryerson University, came out of several brainstorming sessions that began as early as 2001. The project received the support and financial assistance of Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communication and Design, Kodak Canada, the Bureau du Quebec in Toronto, the Fondation Daniel Langlois, and the University of Toronto.  The discussions and presentations that came out of this conference were documented carefully, marking the start of an ongoing, interactive media dialogue and biennial exchange.  In the second conference, organized by Pierre Tremblay (Ryerson) and Louise Poissant (University of Quebec in Montreal), looked at the role of the screen as a device for externalizing the imagination and as a cultural window.  This conference featured presentations by specialists from varied backgrounds in the arts and sciences.

During the previous conferences, a series of questions emerged that addressed the importance of collaboration and the merging of different viewpoints.  In this, the third iteration of the conference, the biennial tackles this theme directly—that of coming together and breaking geographical space for a meeting of minds that does not necessarily imply a meeting of bodies.  For Toronto/Montreal/Lille: TOGETHER ELSEWHERE (January 31-February 2, 2008) the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University (Toronto) is collaborating once again with the School of Media and Visual Arts at the University of Quebec in Montreal.  In addition, the latest conference in the series 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.

The presenters involved in the conference are researchers—and many of them practising artists—the reputations of whom are recognized internationally.  Many of them are experts in new technologies and have been experimenting with these as they innovate in their respective artistic media.  They have organized events of their own (conferences, exhibits, technological workshops, etc.) and they are committed to the dissemination of their discoveries on a global scale.  The partnership that Ryerson and UQAM have with le Fresnoy comes out of close to 10 years of dialogue and collaboration.  The conference, among its many other goals, will consolidate this network and elevate it to an international level of relevance.  The importance of encounters such as this one is the potential for exchanges not only between different cultures but also between artists and theories who have developed diverse working methods and who seek to unveil new paths in this back-and-forth between oeuvres and texts.

As the schools involved in this conference are, themselves, centres of art education and production, the theme of TOGETHER ELSEWHERE will be examined, largely, in relation to new media technologies and innovation in the arts.  How do diverse forms of emerging art create ways of being together on a global scale, of acting and living together across vast social, cultural and geographic distances?