|logo_uqam_couleur-blanc.svg|UQAM, Université du Québec à Montréal|38

Université du Québec à Montréal|uqam|

Salle de presse


Communiqués de presse


Dates: May 19 to June 20, 2021
Zoom online opening: May19 at 12:30 pm
Obligatory registration
Curators: Amandine Alessandra, Marine Baudrillard, Carole Lévesque, Katharina Niemeyer and Magali Uhl

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May 5, 2021  ̶   Exhibited for the first time in Canada at UQAM’s Centre de design, the exhibition ÉCRAN TOTAL-TOTAL SCREEN, features Jean Baudrillard’s photographs in conversation with pieces by Adam Basanta, Charlie Doyon, Clint Enns, Mishka Henner + Vaseem Bhatti, Penelope Umbrico, and Xuan Ye. The omnipresence of screens in our societies and daily lives is questioned in order to reveal the topical and critical—even subversive—potential of the philosopher’s thought, as well as its interpretation and appropriation by several generations of artists and designers on the international scene.

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“There is no separation any longer, no empty space, no absence: you enter the screen and the visual image unhindered. You enter your life as you would walk on to a screen. You slip on your own life like a data suit,” wrote Jean Baudrillard in 1996 in one of his renowned texts entitled Écran Total (published in English as Screened Out in 2002), in which he developed incisive reflections on screens, their uses, and their virality. Considered a visionary while also criticised for his radicality, the French philosopher (1929-2007)—and photographer—offered a sharp analysis of the relationship between image and reality, which still proves astonishingly accurate and has become even more relevant in the current pandemic context.

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The exhibition
At a time when the explosive evolution of our visual practices relays the major transformation of our relationship to images, this exhibition explores the screen as an interface for virality, simulation, surveillance, and implosion. As these concepts developed by Jean Baudrillard are embodied in his own photographic practice that is firmly anchored in his time—before the advent of Web 2.0—the exhibition proposes to update these main motifs, themes and approaches in the face of contemporary technologies and uncertainties. The philosopher’s photographic snapshots will share the stage (and the screens) with the installations of four invited international artists (Adam Basanta, Mishka Henner/Vaseem Bhatti, and Penelope Umbrico), as well as with the work of the three winners of the competition for emerging artists and designers (Charlie Doyon, Clint Enns, and Xuan Ye), all of whom critically and reflectively expand on and rethink the philosopher's observations and intuitions for the digital age and its exponential multiplication of images.

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Through photographs, projections, and installations, the ÉCRAN TOTAL/TOTAL SCREEN exhibition features three distinct experiences of mediation. The first one is a very ‘real’, physical exhibition at the Centre de design, where art installations seem to wait in quiet contemplation alongside the images of Jean Baudrillard and flanked by his aphorisms. The second one is an outdoor installation at the Centre de design, where the exhibited pieces are revealed in all their hyperreality, exacerbating their absent presence by proxy. The third experience is that of the reimagined exhibition, progressively and partially re-mediated online, and accessible from a distance within a totally fabricated dimension: that of the total screen that surrounds us today.

Public activities
In conjunction with the exhibition, a series of conferences, round tables, and workshops will be held from 18 to 25 May 2021, exploring the different roles and forms of the screen in our daily social and cultural practices.
French and English
For more information:

2021 Venice Architecture Biennale
TOTAL SCREEN / ÉCRAN TOTAL will been included in the program of events curated by Arts Letters & Numbers (ALN) in the Virtual Pavilion of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Biography of invited artists
Thinker-provocateur and philosopher of hyperreality and simulation, Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) taught sociology in France at the universities of Nanterre and Dauphine until 1986. Apart from his visionary lucidity, he was also a photographer—often capturing images with a disposable camera. Some of his photographic works have been exhibited in Sydney (Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, 1994), Paris (Maison Européenne de la Photographie, France, 2001), Kassel (Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Germany, 2004), Los Angeles (Château Shatto, USA, 2019), Shanghai (Power Station of Art, China, 2019), and now in Montréal (Centre de design de l'UQAM, Canada, 2021) in conjunction with its dissemination at the virtual pavilion of the 2021 Venice Biennale of Architecture. In his own words, Jean Baudrillard encapsulates his trajectory as follows: “Pataphysician at twenty – situationist at thirty – utopian at forty – transversal at fifty – viral and metaleptic at sixty – the whole of my history.” Among his many works are La société de consommation (The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures) (1970), L'échange symbolique et la mort (Symbolic Exchange and Death) (1976), De la seduction (Seduction) (1979), Cool Memories I–V (1987 - 2005), Amérique (America) (1986), Le crime parfait (The Perfect Crime) (1994), La transparence du mal (The Transparency of Evil) (1990), D'un fragment l'autre (Fragments) (2001), Le pacte de lucidité ou L'intelligence du mal (The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact) (2004), as well as Écran total (Screened Out) (1996), a collection of essays which is the subject of this exhibition.

Born in Glasgow, Vaseem Bhatti is of Indian/Pakistani descent and currently lives and works in both Manchester and Cornwall. Also working under the pseudonyms of EHQuestionmark and Bhatoptics, he has an object-specific, concept- and process-driven practice with a non-medium-specific approach, which attempts to deal with notions of facades and surface; questions of material truth, fetishism and hierarchies; and the testing of doctrines of functionality and taste. Commissions include work for artists (Lara Favaretto, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Banksy, Futurefarmers, Agnes Mayer-Brandis, Etoy), musicians (MF Doom, Gruf Rhys, Danger Mouse, 808 State, Demdike Stare, Autechre, and Matthew Herbert), and organisations (The Modernists Society, Warp Records, Lex Records, and Pentagram).

Adam Basanta is an artist, composer and performer of experimental music. Born in Tel Aviv, raised in the city of Vancouver and now based in Montreal, he holds a BFA in Music Composition from Simon Fraser University and an interdisciplinary Research-Creation MA in Fine Arts from Concordia University. His work investigates technology as a meeting point of concurrent, overlapping systems; a nexus of cultural, computational, biological, and economic forces. In creating and augmenting systems, he tries to touch a sense of “liveness” or a nearly-living quality—the dynamism resulting from the unpredictable performances of various actants pulling independently in collective balance. Placing technologies in unconventional and absurd relationships with one another, he aims to create a fissure in their conventional functions, reflecting on their roles as contemporary prosthetics with which we co-exist in a hybrid ecology. His work has been exhibited in galleries and institutions including the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, the National Art Centre in Tokyo, and the Fotomuseum of Winterthur, amongst many others, and he has been awarded several international prizes, including the Japan Media Arts Prize, the Aesthetica Art Prize, and the Prix Pierre-Ayot.

Charlie Doyon is an interdisciplinary artist based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, where she is currently studying Art History and Studio Arts at Concordia University. Dystopian by essence, her artwork combines material practices, photography, and digital media to explore the paradoxical nature of social isolation in a hyper-connected world—a phenomenon that has exploded due to COVID-19. She is interested in the impact of technology on the body and how the overconsumption of images through media, television, and social platforms desensitises us to real-world situations.

Clint Enns is a writer, video artist, and filmmaker currently living and working in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. He has an MA in Mathematics from the University of Manitoba and has received Master’s and PhD degrees in Cinema and Media Arts from York University. While his practice primarily deals with moving images created with broken and/or outdated technologies, his process echoes media archaeology, curating collections of vernacular photographs printed from 35mm analogue film bought in thrift stores or by rummaging through the online photographic collections of Flickr users who haven't posted in years.

Born in Belgium, Mishka Henner is a contemporary artist based in Manchester (UK). He holds an MA in Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London. Pointing at the absurdity of living in an age when everything is photographed, and when every produced image is archived and made accessible to all, his working process involves extensive documentary research combined with meticulous reconstruction of imagery from materials sourced from the Internet, social media, and satellite images. His work takes the form of books, films, and photographic and video installations. Exhibited in 2013 at the McCord Museum and the Darling Foundry during the Mois de la photo in Montréal, his work has also been featured in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art (New York City) the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), the Centre Pompidou Paris, the Centre Pompidou Metz, the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), the Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich), the Hasselblad Foundation (Gothenburg), and Turner Contemporary (Margate). In 2013, he was awarded the Infinity Award for Art by the International Center of Photography.

Penelope Umbrico is an American photographer. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto and, later on, earned her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where she is now a faculty member in the Department of Photography, Video, and Related Media. In her work, she uses appropriation and reproduction of found imagery in order to explore the role of images in today’s digitalised culture. Known for appropriating various images found on the web, she uses platforms such as Flickr and Craigslist in order to collect a variety of pictures that she then manipulates to construct larger images or installations. By reframing pictures on the internet as a collective archive of human lives and habits, her work offers a deep commentary on the banality of consumer culture. Umbrico’s work, through the use of appropriation, creates a unique bridge between personal and collective expressions. Umbrico’s work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1 in New York City, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, at The Photographers’ Gallery in London, and at the Daegu Photography Biennale in Korea, among many others, and is represented in museum collections around the world. She has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award.

Xuan Ye is a Chinese artist, musician, and engineer currently based in Tkarón:to/Toronto as an uninvited guest. X creates mixed media installations and performances as media poetry, synthesising language, code, sound, body, image, data, light, and time. Their work makes noises in the speculative space of sensorium, coupling it with more-than-human agencies (internet, artificial intelligence, electricity and circuitry, and non-human organisms) to experiment with meaning-becoming and world-building.


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