Digital technology has been revolutionizing the cultural world for two decades. In Montreal, Québec and around the world, the fields of live, visual, media and sound arts, as well as architecture and design, have been profoundly affected by this unprecedented innovation. Jean Dubois, a professor at the School of Visual and Media Arts at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and his partners at the Hexagram network for research-creation in arts, culture and technology are at the forefront of this digital transition through the creation and circulation of new artistic practices.
The contribution of Hexagram’s student members, collaborators and co-investigators is largely related to the transfer of innovations arising from research-action methods. Over the years, they have developed a number of prototypes, scores, performances, art objects, films, choreographies, stagings and scenographies that borrow heavily from digital technologies. These creations have found their way to the general public through major international festivals, Montreal cultural organizations and Québec centres of artistic experimentation. Without these valuable partners, the influence of Hexagram’s exploratory, experimental and critical research would be more limited.
In this sense, Hexagram’s impact is systemic in nature. It can be measured, among other things, by the experiences of the public during exhibitions, performances and ephemeral urban interventions. In March 2019, seven Hexagram members took part in Behavioral Matter, a series of international research-creation workshops held at the Centre Georges-Pompidou in Paris. More than 11,000 visitors a day learned about research and design innovations through various workshops, tours and public presentations. Hexagram contributes to Montreal’s recognition as a hub of digital arts on the international scene.