A Future of Zeroes and Ones

If you wandered up to Rats 9 in the Belgo Building in the last week, you may have noticed eerie white walls and a hypnotic, giant, floating clitoris.

Nearby are two speakers emitting glitchy drones and slow undulating vibrations. While perhaps an unusual sight, this is not an isolated project.

Christina Goestl’s Clitonics, an installation based on the sometimes alien internal discourses between the self and the body, is one of dozens of pieces displayed at the HTMlles festival.

Founded in 1997 to highlight women in web art, this year marks the eleventh HTMlles—a two-week period of queer and feminist web-based and multimedia art, panels, performance, and discussion revolving around the theme of “Zer0 Future.”

The Link caught up with Jenny Lin, an artist in HTMlles whose installation_ Replay: A Memory Game_, an interactive, non-linear Flash game based on memories from an accident, is located on the ground floor of the Studio XX building.

Lin described one of the panels she attended, titled Afro to the Future: Paving Pathways to Liberation.

“The panel was composed of artists, musicians, academics and a scientist,” Lin said.

“[Afrofuturism is] a philosophy and movement centered around identity within the African diaspora with connections to sci-fi and magical-realism. Sun Ra started saying things like, ‘I’m not from Earth, I’m from Saturn’[…] It was the idea of flipping systems of oppression to be empowering and taking back the idea of the alien.”

Other shows in this space include Future Visions, a video piece by Angela Gabereau and Coral Short which randomly shuffles 83 tarot cards which then link to various video projects, a metaphor for our lack of control of our digital futures.

Also occupying the space is an installation by Valérie d. Walker and Bobbi L. Kozinuk of the schematics for a voice recorder that turns stories into usable energy source.

Those far from Montreal—or who are already bunkering down for the impending winter of our collective discontent—are not out of luck.

Most of the computer-based work also exists online, including a web-based exhibit available for your clicking pleasure, chock-full of early 2000s flash glitter GIFs and pussy content.

Based out of Studio XX, this year HTMlles is working with other artist-run centers in Montreal to put on an extensive calendar of events.

Figuring out where to go can sometimes feel like herding cats: what was an exhibit yesterday is now a performance art piece and tomorrow might be a panel, all in the same space.

Even the artists are a little perplexed about some of the events.

“[For] the closing performance at Rats 9, Raphaële Frigon will be doing a performance inserting diamonds into her skin,” said Lin. “I’m not sure if its true of if its a metaphor or something…”

HTMlles 11 runs from Nov. 7 to Nov. 15.

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