jerome fortin carton
photo: Stephen Fenn Photography

21 March - 9 May 2009


Artist talk and performance: Saturday, May 2nd at 4:00pm

In conjunction with:  elektra  


Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain is proud to collaborate with Elektra and to celebrate its 10th anniversary of Elektra with the exhibition "Inventions" of works by Alexandre Castonguay and its collaborators.

In "Inventions", Alexandre Castonguay presents three new pieces—Reversed-Engineering (co-produced with Mathieu Bouchard), Tafel, and EQ—in which he uses subterfuge to reconstruct the forms and discourses that underlie media art. Tafel (chalkboard) consists of a drawing machine that serves as an extreme slow-motion projection device for inscribing program diagrams, artists’ texts, and ordinary email. The works propose playful, interactive situations that are based on programmed re-creations, the replication of artists’ writings, simulated user interfaces, and borrowings from silkscreen works produced in the 1970s. They explore the artist’s relationship with his tools, the disappearance of the unique object, and the emergence of participative processes that entail a de-emphasis of authorship.

On the work entitled Reverse-Engineering co-produced with Mathieu Bouchard, Alexandre Castonguay states: "The computer-generated silkscreen prints I have selected were drawn from the Carlton University Art Gallery’s collection. Produced in 1973 and 1974, these pieces are the work of Manfred Mohr, Miljenko Horvath, Georg Nees, Edward Zajec, Frieder Nake, Ken Knowlton, and Hiroshi Kawano, among others. In each of these artists’ portfolios, the works were accompanied by texts and diagrams with which the artists discuss their intentions and the processes and techniques employed in creating the drawings. In these texts, they also attempt to understand their use of the computer as an instrument for broaching established notions of composition and aesthetics. To varying degrees, these artists have used random processes to free themselves of aesthetic judgment and manual action. Their explanatory texts and diagrams foreground issues of media arts practice that remain surprisingly relevant today, such issues as the relationship between the artist and the machine, the demise of the object, the emergence of a participatory approach that questions the validity of the art market, the loss of authorship, and the integration of technology in our everyday environment. The project aims to reverse engineer these works of the past and thus to actualize the discourse that prevailed at their creation. A computer program by Mathieu Bouchard analyzes the selected images so as to identify the logical principles underpinning their creation in view of generating new ones. This closes the conceptual loop, as the computer is called upon to reevaluate the work of these media arts pioneers. Reverse engineering is an integral part of the process in my recent production and explicitly broaches the history of media arts in order to highlight its forms and discourses."

The artist invites the public to attend also some open labs. Open Labs are a site of investigation and exchange that will unfold in the gallery over the duration of the exhibition. They focus, but not exclusively, on the artistic process, the loss of unicity of the artwork and the lessening of authorship. The blackboard is used a slowed down projection system that will inscribe the emails, drawings, texts, schematics and diagrams that are the outcome of the exchange process with the participants. In exchange for their participation, visitors are invited to ask questions of a technical or theoretical nature (to which the artist will answer to the best of his knowledge). The answers will centre on open culture, open hardware and FLOSS software. They will be held Thursday April 2nd, Saturday 4th, Friday 10th, Saturday 11th, Thursday 23rd, Saturday April 25th and Saturday May 2nd from noon to 4 pm.

Vernissage and performance: Saturday May 2nd at 4:00 pm. Opening hours of the exhibition: Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5 pm until May 9th.

The artist wishes to acknowledge the support of the media productions centre Daimon, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Carleton University Art Gallery.

Inverview - May 5th, Alexandre Castonguay with Eloi Desjardins un show de mot'arts, CISM 89,3 FM (in French)
Click here for more information on the Festval Elektra
Click here for more information on the Carleton University Art Gallery
Click here for more information on Alexandre Castonguay


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