Eastern Bloc presents its 11th edition of SIGHT + SOUND FESTIVAL virtually from June 29 to August 31st

www.sightandsound.online

Some Universe : Internet Spaces in a Postdigital World

At the forefront of the experimental digital art scene in Quebec since 2007, Eastern Bloc presents the 11th edition of the SIGHT + SOUND International Digital Art Festival this summer. Titled Some Universe : Internet Spaces in a Postdigital Worldthis year’s festival will be held completely online between June 29th and August 31st. Running for two months, the audience will have the opportunity to participate in Eastern Bloc’s main annual event and join the reflections of 16 artists from Canada and abroad. 

The online exhibition will take place on the purpose build website [www.sightandsound.online] and access will be free, however the audience will be encouraged to make a suggested donation to support Eastern Bloc’s mandate of promoting emerging artists – with all proceeds going towards funding the artist fee’s of the next edition of SIGHT + SOUND Festival, in 2022. 

The 2021 edition of SIGHT + SOUND Festival takes advantage of the immobility we have all been forced into to propose a reflection about the aesthetics and politics of space and representation. Curated by Erandy Vergara and Tina Sauerlaender, the artworks help us imagine and speculate on what “space” really means in a post-internet and post-pandemic world. The exhibition invites online users to delve into the worlds produced by contemporary artists, provoking us to think about what kind of spaces we want to inhabit in the years to come.

The curators selected net art, videos, and videogames exploring spaces beyond perspective and cartesian referentes. The artists move away from realism, or engage with it critically. They ask questions, not attempting to provide linear solutions. Most of all, they virtually hold the visitors’ hands during immersive, multidimensional experiences to reconfigure the “fourth wall” to which we are mostly submitted to during our day to day lives facing flat screens. 

The 11th edition of SIGHT + SOUND will be completely virtual – giving Eastern Bloc the perfect opportunity to showcase the vibrant creations of net artists across it’s milieu. On the 28th, the curators will be joined by Eastern Bloc’s directors Alicia Turgeon and Cían Walsh for a live Instagram talk (6 pm) about this years’ theme, artists and artworks. The festival officially kicks off on the evening of June 29th, when Toronto-based artist Roonie Clarke will host a participative Zoom performance (7 pm) where everyone will be invited to explore their own spaces, offering prompts and calls-to-action which will be posted on Eastern Bloc’s social media platforms. 

INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL EMERGING ARTISTS 

AAA Collective (AU; AR; РФ/; DE; US; FR); Banz & Bowinkel (DE); Ronnie Clarke (CA) Mara Eagle (US/CA) Anna Eyler – Nicolas Lapointe (CA); Philippe Pasquier and Miles Thorogood (CA)

Jiwon Ham (KR/ US); JakyuNG Lee (KR/ US); Olia Lialina (РФ/DE); Frances Adair McKenzie and Alisha Piercy (CA); Fallon Simard – Amery Sandford (CA); Timothy Thomasson 

CURATORIAL GESTURE

Curators Erandy Vergara (Montreal) and Tina Sauerlaender (Berlin), who have already worked together in the previous project Critical Approaches in Virtual Reality Art, join forces once again this year to bring a selection of works that explore the notion of space both creatively and politically. The curators encourage the festival audience to take advantage of the longer festival dates of this edition, and engage with the works at a slower pace: “We know that in the context of pandemic fatigue, it is difficult to demand screen-attention, so we invite visitors to check one artwork every other day”, explains Vergara.

Cían Walsh, Eastern Bloc’s new Artistic Director, along with Alicia Turgeon, the centre’s newly appointed General Director, believe that despite being moved to the virtual environment, this 11th edition is no different than previous editions: “The curation of the festival reflects our mandate and ethos as a centre, and the spirit of SIGHT + SOUND Festival, aiming to challenge and provoke the audience with alternative perspectives at the fringe of media arts. This is a format we could have taken despite the pandemic. Having the opportunity to present such compelling net art in this edition is really the silver lining of the current pandemic context for us. We are really happy we can support and platform artists creating this kind of work in this edition of SIGHT + SOUND Festival.” 

Under  normal circumstances, SIGHT + SOUND Festival would be a 5 day celebration, with the exhibition, performances and panels taking place at Eastern Bloc and spread across the city at other partner locations. Given the current pandemic situation, Eastern Bloc encourages the audience to make a donation upon entering the website, to both support the centre and net art  – with suggested ‘ticket’ prices of $8 for adults and $5 for students. There will also be a pay-what-you-can function on the website, with all proceeds going towards funding the artist fee’s of the next in-person edition of SIGHT + SOUND Festival, in 2022. 

HOW TO EXPERIENCE SIGHT + SOUND FESTIVAL 11th EDITION

Online exhibition: www.sightandsound.online

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