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Dates: September 15 to November 7, 2021
General Opening: September 15, 2021, from 18 :00 to 20 :00
Curators: Daniel Cardoso Llach et Theodora Vardouli

September 7, 2021 ̶  Presented at the UQAM Centre de Design, the exhibition Vers un imaginaire numérique takes a historical and contemporary look at the role of digital tools in the process of generating forms in design and architecture. Showcasing a unique selection of photographs, films, high-quality reproductions, interactive software reconstructions, and works by present-day practitioners, it examines the confluence of technical developments in graphics and software with the emergence of new aesthetic languages and theoretical sensibilities in design, architecture, and other creative fields.

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With a few clicks and pressing on a few keys, designers, architects and artists transform unruly materials into precisely sculpted forms, creating imaginary worlds in the form of pixelated landscapes and immersive visions animated by algorithms and human action. Thanks to software, materials, images and actions have become both calculable and conceivable. But how did design become computerized? This is what the exhibition Vers un imaginaire numérique explores.

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By combining rare and visually striking historical documents with a selection of contemporary works of art, Vers un imaginaire numérique reveals how 20th century technologists in the United States, Canada and Great Britain interpreted design using computer ideas and methods. It also explores how designers, architects and artists have adopted - or adapted - computer science as a vehicle for material, visual and conceptual experimentation.

The exhibition
In addition to the unique selection mentioned above, Vers un imaginaire numérique includes a series of experimental interactive reconstructions created with the first computer-aided design systems, including the Sketchpad by Ivan Sutherland and the HIDECS 2 by Christopher Alexander and Marvin Manheim. Visitors will be able to directly experience the visual and tactile aspects of these transformative technologies by entering into their algorithmic logic.

Brought together in a visual scenography, these materials show how, in addition to new technologies, the emergence of digital computers in the twentieth century has also given rise to new visual and material languages, as well as new approaches to design and creativity.

The creators
The works of thirty designers, architects and artists are exhibited, including Kristy Balliet and Kelly Bair, Phillip Beesley, Joanna Berzowska, Dana Cupkova, Felicia Davis and Delia Dumitrescu, Golan Levin, Zach Lieberman, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Leslei Mezei, Frieder Nake, George Stiny, Jer and Diane Thorp, and Elizabeth Vander Zaag. Historical records include over 150 items from personal and archival collections of research institutions, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon in the United States, the University of Cambridge in England, the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and Bell-Northern Research in Canada.

Vers un imaginaire numérique expands and adapts to the Canadian context the exhibition Designing the Computational Image, Imagining Computational Design, which was launched at the Miller Institute of Contemporary Art in Pittsburgh in 2017. It was developed by curator Daniel Cardoso Llach, Associate Professor of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. The UQAM Design Center has considerably expanded the exhibition thanks to new materials from the history of computer design in Canada, discovered by co-curator Theodora Vardouli, Assistant Professor at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University. The materials are complemented by a selection of contemporary works by Canadian designers, architects and artists specializing in digital art and computational design. Professor Nicolas Reeves of the UQAM School of Design contributed as a local advisor to the exhibition, particularly for the section on the pedagogy of the digital imagination.


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Address and opening hours

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UQAM Centre de design
1440 Sanguinet Street
Berri-UQAM metro

Free admission
Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 6 pm
514-987-3395 Facebook


Julie Meunier
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Press Relations and Special Events Division
Cell. : 514 895-0134


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