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In the context of
September 20 - October 1, 2006
On-site at the
Grande Bibliothèque


in collaboration with the Montreal contemporary art magazine PARACHUTE

source : Zhenchen Liu Le Cinquième jour après le réveillon

MONTREAL, CANADA / 22 - 23 SEPTEMBER 2006 / 10 A.M. - 6 P.M.



In the context of Champ Libre's 7th Biennale, to take place at the Quebec National Library in Montreal, the CITY - ART - TECHNOLOGY symposium will reflect on interrogations concerning the INVISIBLE CITY, linked to changing paradigms in today's cities and between remote regions. We will attempt to analyze how new global cities - defined by accelerated transformations and new critical masses due to changing economies, populations and demographics, political and social transformations - may nourish a different concept of the city as well as new art practices, which in turn reveal the city's ‘invisibility’ in imperceptible ways.

The Quebec National Library [inaugurated in April 2005] is still today one of Quebec’s most ambitious cultural projects, product of an international architectural competition, won by Patkau Architects, Vancouver, Canada. Built of wooden rooms and architectural promenades on 7 levels, and with original points of view on the city, the Quebec National Library becomes a true urban reference within Montreal’s landscape with 10000 visitors daily.

The INVISIBLE CITY project discloses, through its scenography and the presented works, hidden architectural and urbanistic aspects of the National Library. Architectural installations and national and international multimedia artworks will be placed throughout the Library’s site, as multiple micro-interventions in both its interior and exterior spaces.


CHAMP LIBRE*, founded in 1992, ( a nomadic electronic arts organization and research laboratory that presents in situ events, inserted in the community and putting in relation current practices of contemporary art, of architecture, of urban planning and of new technologies.

During each event, Champ Libre transforms a different public space and building and proposes to the visitor an original intervention, a sensitive experience and knowledge of these places stamped with new urbanity.

The MANIFESTATION INTERNATIONALE VIDÉO ET ART ÉLECTRONIQUE, MONTRÉAL (MIVAEM) is a unique and major event on the international scene of electronic art and urban architecture.

* Champ Libre, was a finalist in the 2005 Prix d'excellence handed out by the Quebec Order of Architects for his scenographic intervention at the Carrières Incinerator at Montreal in fall 2004.

PARACHUTE, ( a magazine published in both English and French, is a site of interrogation and analysis of contemporary art in the world. It seeks to foster the emergence of innovative art criticism that makes strong use of conceptual and historical tools in order to analyze new forms of art emerging in our time.
Founded in 1975 in Montreal, PARACHUTE has, since its inception, striven to develop new critical methodologies and broaden geographical and cultural horizons. By virtue of its transnational perspective, PARACHUTE has become a reference for artists, critics, researchers and curators; it is, according to the daily Le Monde, “a model of the genre.”




10 am - Words of Welcome
François Cormier and Cécile Martin - Champ Libre
Chantal Pontbriand - Parachute

10: 30 – 11:30 am - Saskia Sassen (England) – Keynote Speaker
Making Public Interventions in Today's Massive Cities


11:45 – 12:15 pm - Narendra Pachkehede (India / Canada)
In Visible Cities: The Politics and Locality of New Spaces

12:15 - 12:45 pm - Louis Jacob (Quebec)
Commentaire sur la mort de Groethuysen à Luxembourg

1 pm - Lunch


2:30 - 3 pm - Fabrice Raffin (France)
De la friche industrielle à la réinvention urbaine de la culture

3 - 3:30 pm - David Tomas (Quebec)
Anonymous Monuments to Ordinary Man and Woman: The Strange Case of Berlin's Ampelmännchen

3:30 - 4 pm - José Louis Brea (Spain) – Villes_RAM [text reading]

4:20 - 5 pm - Francisco Lopez (Spain)
Blind City and the Exploration of Sonic Realities and Virtualities

5 - 5:40 pm - Michael Awad (Canada) – Entire City Project

5:40 pm - Questions

10 pm – Performance Francisco Lopez – BLIND CITY



10 – 10:45 am - Luc Bureau (Quebec) – L'Érotique urbaine

10:45 – 11:45 am - Antoine Picon (France / United States)
Scénarios pour une ville numérique : Événements et individus

12 – 12:30 pm - Jonathan Sterne (Quebec) – Inaudible City

1 pm - Lunch


2:30 – 3:30 pm - Stefano Boeri (Italy) – Pour un certain code génétique local [teleconference]

3:30 – 4 pm - James Partaik (Quebec)
Visiblement invisible : Quelques réflexions sur la pratique technomade de James Partaik

4:20 – 5:20 pm - Chantal Pontbriand (Quebec)
Tectonica : art contemporain, villes et mondialisation

5:30 pm - Discussion with the public and symposium guests



MICHAEL AWAD, Architect - Canada
Michael Awad holds degrees in both Architecture and Urban Design. His practice is a combination of art, architecture, design and urbanism. He was selected to represent Canada at the Venice Architectural Biennale in 2002. His current research project, Urban/ Aboriginal, examines possible relationships between Canadian Aboriginal culture and urban design. His architectural practice has been published widely in the academic, professional and popular press. He currently holds the Chair of the Board at The InterAccess New Media Art Centre.

, Geographer and Professor – Quebec

As a geographer, Luc Bureau specialises in the study of spatial and temporal representations as well as in the relations of reason and imagination in Occidental culture. He is currently professor at Laval university in Québec city. He teaches Cultural Geography.

STEFANO BOERI, Architect and Professor of Urbanism, Theoretician – Italy
Stefano Boeri teaches Urbanism in Venice [Italy] and Lausanne [Switzerland]. Architect, theorist and director of the Italian architecture publication Domus, he also founded Multiplicity, the research group on architecture and urbanism.

JOSE LUIS BREA, Professor and Art Theoretician – Spain

Jose Luis Brea is a professor [Ph.D] specialising inEsthetics and Contemporary Art Theory at the University Carlos III in Madrid. He is also editor of the magazine Estudios Visuales.

, Sociologist and Professor – Quebec
Louis Jacob teaches in the Department of Sociology at the University of Quebec-Montreal. Since several years, he is interested in new artistic practices and their insertion in public space. He is an associated scholar at the INRS (Institut National de Recherche Scientifique - Québec) Urban Planning and Culture.

FRANCISCO LOPEZ, Sound Artist – Spain
Francisco López is internationally recognized as one of the major figures of the underground experimental music scene. He has developed an astonishing sonic universe, absolutely personal and iconoclastic, based on a profound listening of the world.

NARENDRA PACHKHEDE, Commonwealth Fellow, Theorist, Media artist - India/ Canada
Narendra Pachkhede has been active as a programmer, theoretician, curator and ethnographer. He straddles policy, practice and praxis in the realm of transnationalism. He has been invited to speak at various national and international forums on cinema, culture, technology and new media. He currently works on micro-cinema and accented technologies.

JAMES PARTAIK, New Media Artist and Instuctor – Quebec
James Partaik’s truly hybrid creative practice embraces a range of non-mainstream contemporary art forms and media – audio, video, electronic site specific installations, performance art and installActions. He is a founding member of ARQHÉ, a multidisciplinary collective which examines the relationship between art, architecture, landscape and multimedia. Partaik lectures at Laval University in Québec City, where he teaches Video, Audio and New Media Art.

ANTOINE PICON, Architect and Professor – France / United States
Antoine Picon is Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard, where he directs doctorate programs. His works deal with the transformation of territories, cities and architecture, in relation to the evolution of technical means. Besides numerous historical works on the 18th and 19th centuries, he is author of the essay: The City, Territory of Cyborgs. He is currently preparing a book on digital culture, the city and architecture.

Chantal Pontbriand, art critic and curator, lives in Paris and Montreal. She is the editor of PARACHUTE contemporary art magazine, which she founded in 1975. She has organized several contemporary art events: some twenty exhibitions, fifteen international festivals and twelve international conferences. She is currently finishing a book on Jeff Wall.

SASKIA SASSEN, Sociologist and Professor – England
Saskia Sassen, eminent sociologist, has published numerous works on urban sociology dealing with global cities, as well as others on migration, feminism, information technologies and social disparities, notably: The Mobility of Labor and Capital (1998). Saskia Sassen is the Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, and Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics.

FABRICE RAFFIN, Sociologist, Researcher - France
Fabrice Raffin, PhD in Socio-Anthropology and Director of Research at S.E.A Europe in Paris, is a specialist in the analysis of artistic and cultural practices and the city. Since more than 10 years, he leads work on the reconversion of industrial and commercial wastelands into cultural spaces. He teaches Social Sciences, is co-author of Les fabriques : lieux imprévus (L’imprimeur, Paris, 2000) and author of Les ritournelles de la culture (L’Harmattan, Paris, 2006).

JONATHAN STERNE, Theoretician, Writer, Professor – Quebec / United States
Jonathan Sterne teaches in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies and the History and Philosophy of Science Program at McGill University, Montreal. He is author of The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction as well as numerous articles on media, technologies and the politics of culture.

DAVID TOMAS, New Media Artist and Theoretician - Quebec

Professor at the University of Quebec-Montreal and author of Transcultural Space and Transcultural Beings, David Tomas questions interculturalism, new technologies and imaging systems.


(Special rates for students,
seniors and groups)
Click here to open
the registration web page