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APRIL 1-4, 1999

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43 Canadian and French videos présented in the Paris subway
50000 Visitors.
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0016 - 0031


The project's goal was to present contemporary French and Quebecois videos under the overpass of the Parisian Stalingrad subway station.

More than 35 videos (19 from Quebec and 16 from France) were presented to the riders of the Stalingrad subway for 4 days. The project brought contemporary art, and more specifically video art, to a neophyte public from a working class Parisian neighborhood. The project also made it possible to make use of the original and destructured architecture of the subway stations in order to explore novel means of presenting electronic art. The project offered a panorama of Quebecois and French video productions and stimulated exchange between the Quebecois and French artistic milieu as well as between the public.

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Towards an immaterial scenography.
Gaëtan Desombre - Pascal Masson

Time before Space.
In intervening in the subway to present video art one comes up against a complex space, made up of intertwining paths where the optimization of passenger flow and movement is the guiding principle.
One temporarily finds oneself in a space in-between two stations whose main desired quality is speed. Faced with transportation time, space loses all its qualities.
Halls, platforms, escalators, ceramic tiles, benches, trashcans, lights, signposts…
Codified, filled with signs, unchanging, this envronment disappears rapidly behind commuter behavior.

Yet there is advertisement, like so many windows opened on a changing world.
But it too, in its repetition from station to station, erases any of its distinctive marks, leaving us lost in a vast continuum.

Modifying the Everyday.
By tipping this daily reality towards dreams, questionning or doubt, through the intermediary of an extranaeous element in movement, one opens a gap in the space-time of commuting.
Through its incongruous presence, we become strangely receptive to the mutliple visions transmitted by these artists. This often-fleeting pause creates a partial perception of the videos.
Making the general public aware of a new form of art through a forced intrusion into daily banality is more important here than the contemplation of a work.

In movement
Our curiosity is first piqued by the presence of a sound. Then there are these images, these moving images.
This double audio and visual movement captivates our attention and temporarily replaces our physical movement with a mental movement that drifts into these parallel universes. The scenography serves to highlight these images: a large screen (9*12m) is strikingly visible in this exhibition set-up.

The scenography is essentially based on light as an element that contributes to the breaking of commuter habits: one stops and rediscovers the place. Colored filters on the lights create a bluish halo that transforms the appearance of commuters who pass through the space. Something is happening—sensations are modified.
This bluish ambiance, conducive to calm and concentration, entices one to take a pause, to understand these images that are passing by.


source P. Mason
source Lydi Jean Pane
Yan Breuleux / Alain Thibault
Rémi Lacoste
Robin Dupuis
Jean-Sébastien Denis
Laura-Jeanne Lefave
Don Ritter / Tom Walsh
Yvel Champagne et René Roberge
Martin Pelletier / Marie-France Bajanowski
Isabelle Hayeur / Éric Raymond
Anick St-Louis
Diane Obomsawin
Deborah Vanslet
Steve Burman
Marc Fournel
Stéphane Claude
Yves Label
Daniel Dion et Su Scnee
Nicky Forrest
Nelson Henriks
Éric Gagnon

Artistic Directors

Francois Cormier, Champ Libre (Montréal)

Mai-Tran, Icono (Paris)

Scénography et architecture
Pascal Mason
Christophe Salaün
Alain Declercq