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The UQAM Centre de Design presents the exhibition TOTAL SCREEN

Exhibited for the first time in Canada at UQAM’s Centre de design, the exhibition ÉCRAN TOTAL-TOTAL SCREEN: Virality, Simulation, Surveillance, Implosion, features Jean Baudrillard’s photographs in conversation with pieces by Adam Basanta, Charlie Doyon, Clint Enns, Mishka Henner + Vaseem Bhatti, Penelope Umbrico, and Xuan Ye.

Photograph of: All We’d Ever Need Is One Another (Trio), presented at: Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto, date: 2019, artist: Adam Basanta
Photo credit: Laura Findley

“There is no separation any longer, no empty space, no absence: you enter the screen and the visual image unhindered. You enter your life as you would walk onto a screen. You slip on your own life like a data suit,” wrote Jean Baudrillard in 1996 in one of his renowned texts entitled Écran Total (published in English as Screened Out in 2002), in which he developed incisive reflections on screens, their uses, and their virality.

Considered a visionary while also criticized for his radicality, the French philosopher (1929-2007) — and photographer — offered a sharp analysis of the relationship between image and reality, which still proves astonishingly accurate and has become even more relevant in the current pandemic context.

The exhibition explores the screen as an interface for virality, simulation, surveillance, and implosion. As these concepts developed by Jean Baudrillard are embodied in his own photographic practice that is firmly anchored in his time — before the advent of Web 2.0 — the exhibition proposes to update these main motifs, themes, and approaches in the face of contemporary technologies and uncertainties.

“The omnipresence of screens in our societies and daily lives is questioned in order to reveal the topical and critical — even subversive — potential of the philosopher’s thought, as well as its interpretation and appropriation by several generations of artists and designers on the international scene,” says the UQAM’s Centre de design.

The philosopher’s photographic snapshots will share the stage (and the screens) with the installations of four invited international artists (Adam Basanta, Mishka Henner/Vaseem Bhatti, and Penelope Umbrico), as well as with the work of the three winners of the competition for emerging artists and designers (Charlie Doyon, Clint Enns, and Xuan Ye).

Through photographs, projections, and installations, the ÉCRAN TOTAL/TOTAL SCREEN exhibition features three distinct experiences of mediation. The first one is a very ‘real’, a physical exhibition at the Centre de design, where art installations seem to wait in quiet contemplation alongside the images of Jean Baudrillard and flanked by his aphorisms.

Photograph of: All We’d Ever Need Is One Another (Trio), presented at: Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto, date: 2019, artist: Adam Basanta
Photo credit: Laura Findley

The second one is an outdoor installation at the Centre de design, where the exhibited pieces are revealed in all their hyperreality, exacerbating their absent presence by proxy. The third experience is that of the reimagined exhibition, progressively and partially re-mediated online, and accessible from a distance within a totally fabricated dimension: that of the total screen that surrounds us today.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a series of conferences, round tables, and workshops will be held from  May 18 to 25, 2021. TOTAL SCREEN / ÉCRAN TOTAL will be included in the program of events curated by Arts Letters & Numbers (ALN) in the Virtual Pavilion of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The exhibition will run from May 19 to June 17, 2021 with a Zoom online opening: May 19th at 12 pm. To register, visit: https://ecrantotal.uqam.ca/

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