By Edouard Arnaud and Joseph Lefèvre
Quebec artists Francis Théberge and Guillaume Bourassa arrived in Belgium on Monday, October 19th,
2009, to begin their week-long exchange in conjunction with TRANSAT[contaminate]’s 2009 mutual
exchange program. By the following day, the team had already begun installing and preparing the
TRAME project at Frigo in Mons in order to commence a week of workshops, various performances,
and concerts showcasing the various workshop results.
Before going into greater detail, here’s a look at TRAME, Francis Théberge’s constantly evolving
Project TRAME was officially born at the end of 2007 when Francis Théberge was experimenting to
obtain audio and video “mistakes”. In order to produce the desired results, Théberge employed various
techniques such as circuit bending (a voluntary short-circuiting of electronic musical instrument) and
equipment tampering (such as Dutch artist Karl Klomp’s manipulation of analog video mixers). In the
latter example, the mixer acts as a distortion pedal and allows for the creation of the majority of the
visual and audio glitches (also known as trame mistakes). An example of this can be seen in the two
“glitched” video clips that were created for Carrie Gates to be used in Vague Terrain’s webzine article
With the help of guest artists such as Guillame Bourassa and Sébastien Gravel of PerfectionPlastic and
DJ Victortronic, the creation of mini-clips continued with the goal of creating their own soundtrack for
Francis Théberge’s experimental videos. The dozen or so clips were the basis for a fifteen-minute
performance. The first live version of TRAME 00, a completed soundtrack produced in collaboration
with Sébastien Gravel, was presented at the 2008 Mapping Festival in Geneva, Switzerland.
Back in Montreal, the project was of interest to many people including the organizers of the Elektra
festival. In response to their interest, Théberge created a special version of his project to highlight the
festival’s 10th year edition. Although the TRAME artists would have preferred to perform live, the
version presented at Elektra was a recording. According to the artists, producing a DVD version of
TRAME required a lot of creativity and strict time synchronization which helped contribute to the
success of the work in this particular context. This version is presented at other festivals and performed
live on occasion in order to allow spontaneous artistic improvisations to occur.
A new, completely different version of TRAME was presented in 2009 at Carrie Gates’ Z-AXIS
summer festival using DJ Victortronic’s music. A remix of this new version has been submitted for the
2010 Elektra festival.
TRAME is researching and experimenting with new and/or different ways to create audiovisual set
designs where mistakes are recycled and used as an art form. After experimentation, the final product’s
most evocative elements are then performed for the public.
During this week, Francis Théberge and Guillaume Bourassa’s role will be to kick start the exchange
program, beginning with the TRAME 00 performance. This is to be presented as a free, open source
project under the Creative Commons license and is accessible to anyone. As of now, project TRAME
can be picked up by other artists who respect the original concept but wish to propose their own version
or interpretation—an impressive artistic goal, indeed!
Théberge and Bourassa, who have already had the opportunity to work with other designers, are
looking forward to sharing and experimenting with Belgian artists during their exchange with
Transcultures in Mons. These new TRAME designers will contribute their own ideas and material and
take part in the project’s evolution.
Beyond the workshops they have planned in order to showcase and explain their own work, the artists
are motivated to learn from others and are curious to see the potential results that this exchange will
The artists’ goal in presenting their project via workshops is not only how to show others how to create
their own TRAME, but also to shed light on their “the philosophy of mistakes”.
Their on-site mission will be to create links with both artists and organizations, to act as SAT
ambassadors, and to establish efficient and interesting relationships between Montreal and Belgian
artists as per the “positive contamination” concept.
TRAME is constantly evolving in tandem with the TRANSAT[contaminate] mutual exchange program.
In early 2010, Belgian artists will visit Montreal to further conversations regarding the exchange with
their Quebecois counterparts.
Finally, a free Open Source kit is being researched. This kit would include basic audio/video material
allowing for the creation of evolved versions of TRAME by artists who wish to engage in this
Monday, October 19th:
Arrival in Mons and meeting with the Transcultures team
Tuesday, October 20th:
Installation and preparation of workshops at Frigo in Mons
Interview at Radio Campus Bruxelles
Wednesday, October 21st:
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Workshop 1 with Transcultures artists
Presentation of project TRAME
Interview with Philippe Franck, Francis Théberge, and Guillaume Bourassa
Thursday, October 22nd:
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Workshop 2 with Transcultures artists
10 minute Mini TRAME-Beta1
10 minute Mini-TRAME-Beta2
Friday, October 23rd:
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Workshop 3 with Transcultures artists
20 minute TRAME-Beta1
20 minute TRAME-Beta2
6 p.m.: Public presentation of project TRANSAT[contaminate] by Philippe Franck and Manon Oligny
7 p.m.: Networking cocktail
8 p.m.: TRAME-01 concert by SAT srtists and Transcultures artists
Cédric Sabato: www.myspace.com/clandestinnes
Cédric Sabato graduated from ESAPV Mons in Fine Arts and is a member of electro-jazz group Clan
D’Estinnes. He is working on different projects that are closely related to various societal themes such
as GMOs, media, new trends in fashion, and image manipulation. This young artist does not hesitate to
integrate humor and irony in his work.
Stéphane Kozik : www.myspace.com/barabassmusic
An ESAPV graduate, Stéphane Kozik, musician and artist, is a founding member of the Arythmetik
Company, the DK danse group, as well as the BOX – SON Company. This audio and visual activist
generally works on interactive installations, audiovisual performances, and musicals. She has
participated and performed at Les Transnumériques, the Octopus festival, the Centre Wallonie
Bruxelles de Paris and most recently, at the Starsbourg’s Ososphère festival.
Régis Cotentin / Lavender Hill: http://regiscotentin.free.fr
As artistic director, Régis Cotentin produces films that have been presented in over fifty Western
European, Asian, and South American festivals. His installations have been exhibited in spaces that
reinforce artistic hybridization in contemporary art. His works are produced through his partnerships
with photographer and stage director Carol Lewis (Manchester, UK), music composer Lavender Hill
(Hawthorne, CA, USA), and special effects artist Penelope Tree (New York, USA).
Thomas Israël: www.thomasisrael.be
Although he earned a degree from INSAS in performing arts, Israël turned to fine art in 2003 in order
to focus on multimedia and digital art. Through interactive installation, performance, and video, he
explores the unconscious world and the intimate nature of individual and collective memory to create
universal symbolism. Thomas Israël puts the visitor at the heart of his work; Israël’s presence and
participation give way to the discrete interactivity that is paramount to the evolution of his work. His
works have been presented several times at the Les Transnumériques festival and have taken him as far
as China and Canada.
Jacques Urbanska: www.jacques-urbanska.be
Although formally trained at the Conservatoire Royal de Liège, Urbanska turned his focus to the fine
arts by staging multidisciplinary events during which he met a variety of artists. Upon completion of a
Masters degree in Stage Art at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, he pursued his work as an artist and
director through projects that included interactive installations, acoustics, performances, and video. He
has also worked as a director, project leader, and educator in various private and public institutions.
Roberta Gigante is currently completing a Masters degree in Urban Space at La Cambre ENSAV. For
the past year and a half, her research has been focused on the exploration of the links between sight,
sound, and public space, as well as on questions regarding the surplus of images in the modern world
and how they affect our communal memory.
Orry De Sousa Barbosa
This Masters student in Etching and Print Imaging at La Cambre ENSAV has long been interested in
web, sound and digital technology. He has recently started mixing etching, print techniques, and digital
audio work via processing and looks forward to furthering these developments.