TRANSAT[Contaminate] 2008 Review
TRANSAT[Contaminate] 2009 Introduction
By Edouard Arnaud, SAT[creation] project assistant
The aim of the TRANSAT[Contaminate] project is to prolong and provide structure for cultural and
artistic exchange between the French community of Belgium and Quebec while supporting the
dissemination of visual and digital art. In order to do this, Transcultures (Mons) and the Society for
Arts and Technology (Montreal) have come together to bring young artists from Walloon-Brussels and
Quebec into contact with creators and researchers.
The goals of this co-operative include sustaining emergent creativity, dissemination, visibility, and
research in the visual and digital arts domains. It equally intends to support artist mobility, promote
mutual knowledge in the community, encourage the development of sister organizations, and contribute
to digital arts research.
Over the course of two years, this collaborative project will be enacted via three separate spheres:
publication, research and creation residencies, and the dissemination of productions. TRANSAT
[Contaminate] is dedicated to the continuation of the 2008 co-operative pilot project and the promotion
of artistic projects on an international scale. The interdisciplinary contamination of ideas, creation
processes, and digital arts practices will prolong the creative influence of the SAT’s artistic community
through these various external projects.
The TRANSAT [Contaminate] project was initiated in 2007 by Philippe Franck, director/founder of the
interdisciplinary new media art centre Transcultures (Mons, Belgium), and SAT-based choreographer
Manon Oligny (Montreal, Quebec). The project was inaugurated in 2008 when Manuel Chantre and
Simon Laroche of the Popcore duo set out for Belgium. In exchange, the SAT received Philippe Franck
and the members of the MéTAmorphoZ collective who furthered their audiovisual performance of
The next artistic exchange will take place this upcoming week as Francis Théberge and Guillaume
Bourassa set out for Mons. These Montreal artists aim to advance their TRAME 00 project, which had
initially been presented in May 2009 at Montreal’s Elektra festival. In order to complete the exchange,
two Belgian artists will travel to Montreal to present their respective projects to the SAT’s artistic
community and to the Montreal public.
The first chapter of the TRANSAT[Contaminate] 2008 was dedicated to bringing SAT-based Quebecois
artists and Belgian artists representing Transcultures together. Beyond increasing the visibility of new
media artists, artistic organizations, and new practices in the digital arts, the project’s main intention is
to set up an exchange network to facilitate artistic collaborations. The term “Positive Contamination”,
coined by SAT founder Monique Savoie, therefore represents an opportunity for the exchange of
knowledge and savoir-faire.
The first TRANSAT[Contaminate] experience was successful and encouraged the SAT and
Transcultures to continue the exchange program. The diffusion of artistic works, research, networking,
and written/video publications was beneficial to both partners in their development of new
The “Positive Contamination” leitmotif will guide TRANSAT meetings and artistic exchanges until
June 2011. In keeping with last year’s protocol, these activities will again be observed and critically
analysed by Monique Savoie and Philippe Franck as various issues, possibilities, and opportunities
related to “contamination” arise.
Founded in 1996 in Brussels, Transcultures is an interdisciplinary centre dedicated to electronic and
audio culture. Its mandate is to promote, question, and develop interdisciplinary and contemporary
artworks that reflect upon art/society/technological issues. The association has recently relocated to its
new site in Mons among the ancient abattoirs. In addition to its various regular activities and the
international dissemination of its productions, Transcultures co-ordinates international festivals and
events in the audio and digital arts fields.
Since 2003, Transcultures and the City of Mons has collaborated to produce the City Sonics audio art
festival. This summer event takes place in Mons and several surrounding cities (Maubeuge, Lille,
Brussels, etc.) and offers a selection of audio/hybrid installations and performances in various urban
settings. In autumn 2005, Transcultures inaugurated the Les Transnumériques digital art and electronic
culture festival, bringing together numerous partners from cities in Belgium (Brussels, Mons, Liège)
and France (Paris, Créteil, Evry, Enghien les Bains, Lille, Maubeuge).
Transcultures actively collaborates with numerous internationally-known festivals, think tanks,
workshops, demonstrations, and cultural structures. It is also a member of the Réseau des Arts
Numériques (RAN), which unites twenty cultural representatives from various university research
laboratories throughout Europe. Transcultures also publishes CD’s, books, DVD’s, hybrids, and critical
thematic/monographic tools via its publishing house partnerships.
Founding member and president of the non-profit artist group TIND (thisisnotdesign), Théberge
developed his first artistic video creations for the Dérapage festival. He is a UQAM design program
graduate and a recipient of the “Vidéaste Recherché” grant. Théberge has also participated in numerous
international festivals where he is often invited to present his video works.
His work comprises experimental video techniques and employs film scratching, image compression
artifacts, as well as analog and digital video. His emphasis on the rhythmic links between imagery and
music create highly energetic and contrasting compositions. Théberge is now devoting himself to audio
creation which he is integrating into his video work. This endeavour has resulted in the launching of a
new musical group: TINM (thisisnotmusic).
Théberge specializes in video creation, VJ performance, interactive installations, and audiovisual
experimentations. He is an active participant in several Montreal-based cultural events such as
Dérapage, Minute Moments, and SAT Mixsessions.
Greatly influenced by the revolutionary musical era that he was born into, Guillaume Bourassa’s
background has been shaped by the rise of electronic music. A fan first and foremost and an audiophile
since forever, Guillaume has had the pleasure of exploring several musical genres (punk, techno, d’n’b,
industrial, noise, dubstep, electroacoustic) without restriction. His diverse explorations have resulted in
various activities as a DJ (DJ Sexton, DJ Guillaume b.), events promoter/organizer (RageDivision
Production, Festival C.O.M.A. 1 to 4, Contained Noise), and as a multifaceted artist and member of the
[PerfectionPlastic] duo. Guillaume’s divergent experience and raw creativity are sure to enhance the
As an artist and long-standing sound technician at the SAT, Guillaume has worked on over four
hundred professional concerts and events. He has produced over forty shows with his non-profit
production company RageDivision Production and another thirty with his duo, [PerfectionPlastic]. This
duo has now been active for over six years and has released four albums, including 2008’s Triomphe de
la Matière. Guillaume has also collaborated with the Montreal-based Elektra festival since 2008 and is
currently acting as assistant production director for the event.
In keeping with the [Contaminate] framework, Francis Théberge and Guillaume Bourassa have agreed
to base their “TRAME” concept on an open model which will serve as the structural base of this
This version of the project has been initiated under the Creative Commons licence and has been
conceived as an experimental laboratory of audiovisual errors. This approach is based on the group’s
creation discoveries to date and will provide an occasion for real-time experimentation. It is a tasteful
blend of controlled improvisations, prepared acts, and regulated mistakes.
TRAME 00, Bourassa and Théberge’s most recent creation, employs a variety of equipment which is at
times hijacked for unconventional uses such as employing audio pedals to generate and process video.
The TRAME project advocates the development of new creation “techniques” and approaches towards
audiovisual content. Théberge states that, in contrast to VJing, TRAME is a way “to present a complete
audiovisual work, create an authentic ambiance and tone, and to help the audience experience
something more intimate, sensory, and physically engaging than what one would encounter during a