Reflections on DNA Cabaret, May 14

by Sandy on May 15, 2011

Last night, symposium attendees filed into the Astral Theatre on Ste. Catherine to witness a special presentation (performance?) of Kat Cizek’s interactive docu-web project, Out My Window. Aided by the accompaniment of three talented musicians and a beautiful projection, Cizek’s project was artfully unfurled over the course of its 45 minute exhibition.

At a symposium where much attention was devoted to the significance of video as an essential tool in crafting compelling interactive documentary works, it was interesting to note the extent to which Cizek’s project relied much more heavily on photography, mapping, text, and audio testimony from her subjects. Cizek’s use of video was spare, carefully interwoven, and thus very effective.

Observing Cizek on stage, poised at her computer, carefully dragging her mouse cursor through the beautiful digitextual landscape of her site offered a compelling invitation into this work. The functionality of the site’s structure and its various modes of access were also well featured in the presentation. It is encouraging to see the National Film Board of Canada producing such innovative interactive work–very reminiscent of the NFB’s formidable animation pioneering during the Norman McLaren years.

In the cabaret that followed Out My Window, symposium attendees were treated to a diverse collection of performances by local artists. Genres included folk music, spoken word, standup comedy, modern dance, opera, and burlesque. Only the inclusion of a circus act could have possibly made this event “more” patently Montreal.

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