TAKING CARE, Hexagram’s Exhibition at Ars Electronica Festival

For all the details visit the official exhibition website at aecampus.hexagram.ca

Taking Care is an exhibition of twenty works from student members of Hexagram, an interdisciplinary research network for media arts, design, technology and digital culture based in Montreal (Quebec), Canada. Established in 2001, the network brings together 40 faculty and over 200 graduate students from its founding universities, the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) and Concordia University, along with the University of Montreal, McGill and the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi, local and international academic and cultural partners.

The projects exhibited in Taking Care operate at the intersection of ethical-aesthetic concerns. They are not meant to be prescriptive – describing the good life – but rather speculative, asking what the possibilities and conditions of life in the present and future could be. At the same time, they question our understanding of the world as we continually search and struggle to make sense of it. Expressed through a range of forms and media including games, VR, performance, installation, biological art, textiles, sound, video and photography, the projects all involve the use of contemporary technologies yet, their focus lies beyond the technological. From issues of post-colonial conflict to the imperceptible in more than human beings, questions of trace, history, narratives of experience, non-human materiality and representation are assembled and entangled with each other in the spaces of the University of Art and Design and at Ars Electronica venues across Linz. As attention turns to the considerable uncertainty of our future, Taking Care thus examines what is at stake in the ideas and visions of the next generation.

From an open call to Hexagram graduate students across the network, the twenty projects were chosen by a selection committee of Hexagram members and collaborators outside of the university context. The exhibited projects exemplify what is known as “Research-Creation” – a research trend where Hexagram, Quebec and Canada have taken an international lead. This interdisciplinary approach bridges faculty and students from the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences and is well funded and supported by universities, provincial and federal research bodies. Students and faculty from around the world are attracted to Hexagram for its cutting edge research infrastructures – studios, labs, black boxes – and the vibrant cultural scene of Montreal and Quebec, a centre for digital arts and culture in North America.

Structured around three research axes (sense, embodiment and movement; materiality; ubiquity), Hexagram responds to the increasing need to develop critical and reflexive theories and methods in artistic practice through experimentation, production, documentation and dissemination. Within Montreal, Hexagram provides an intra-university environment for collaboration through public seminars, events and publications that transcend disciplinary silos and the isolation of university departments. Within Quebec, it also enables structured mobility and exchange between French and English research cultures in art, science, technology and society.