HTMlles 2010

I spent the last couple of weeks behind the scenes of HTMlles 2010 – a festival of media arts and digital culture focusing on female creators – organized by Studio XX in Montreal. The works presented around the theme of <home> </land> ranged from various netart pieces, domestic porn videos, a Blender Lumberjack game, a flash piece that let’s you compose your own soundscape for Vancouver to a freed cyborg choir performance.

Metal plates and Max/MSP are the tools for a beautiful sound performance by Chantale Laplante – named Figures d’un territoire: For Bell Plates and Textured Sounds.

Here are some of the pieces i enjoyed the most: is an ever-evolving streaming online application that generates infinite audio-visual sequences and “interludes”. It is improbable cinema, a film with no beginning and no end, no actors or scenes and no scenario, except for the stories we can construct while following the combinations of images and sound. An automatized system selects from live webcam feeds worldwide, lightly modifies the shots by panning and temporization programmings, and sequences them with black insert screens. The sound is remixed in real time and each time offers a different overlay from a shared database of soundfiles.

The images we see are empty street corners, night scenes lit by street lanterns, landscapes without much evidence of human inhabitance. The slow panning motion hints at narrative, while the flickering and the graininess of the video compression produce beautiful glitch moment that transcends notions of surveillance and voyeurism. At the presentation at HTMlles the images were accompanied with a soundscape by Magali Babin and Emmanuelle Gibello. The experimental and haunting sounds connect the images, and when the scenery cuts from a dark and mysterious shot to a daylight neighborhood in the suburbs, the music carries the mood over and spooks and mystifies the everyday images into something more.


Enchanted creatures by Susan Clarahan – that morph and ache, and snuffle and wheeze. Look out for them to become alive right there in the symmetry.


The multimedia performance piece created by Marie-Hélène Parant combines motion capture, a dancer, sounds and lots of pixel shader effects.

The effects, that are usually only seen online in geeky shader demos, come to their full effect here. Movement by the dancer triggers is translated into fluid like abstract color fields that morph and shimmer, and are projected back onto the dancer’s body.

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