Hyperflesh Markup Language at the Banff Centre
I am a queer, HIV-positive artist living and working in Montreal, Quebec. Since graduating from the Intermedia/Cyberarts program at Concordia University in April 2011, I have been working extremely hard at fostering my emerging art practice. Recently I was accepted to participate in a thematic residency entitled Art and the effects of the Real at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta. Directed by Vancouver-based artist and academic Ken Lum, the residency will take place over 50 days in January and February 2012. It is a unique opportunity to dedicate myself to producing art work and developing my art practice in an exciting new direction. I only recently found out about my acceptance and therefore need to raise the necessary funding in a short period of time. This is why I am turning to you through IndieGoGo in order to make this great opportunity to grow as an artist into a reality.
Hyperflesh Markup Language is the title of my proposed program of research and creation at the Banff Centre. The title is a play on the technical term "hypertext markup language" ie: the coding language used to program websites. As such, the art that I will be making will examine the space where the body, identity, and the Internet intersect. My focus will be on creating performative works that draw upon queer cyberspace as sites for personal disclosure and play. Using the print, video, and studio resources of the Banff Centre, I will be making work that exists both online (as animated GIFs and videos) and as physical objects like large-scale photographic prints, sculptural installations, and text-based wall works made with materials like vinyl, styrofoam, and neon signage. I will also being using web broadcasting and social media tools as venues for live performances. The subject matter for these works will come from online sources and digital artifacts such as chat transcripts, user profiles on cruising websites, blogs, pornographic images and videos.
[To get a better idea of what some of this might look like as well as my past work, check out my website: www.vincentchevalier.ca]
This residency is an amazing chance for me to grow as an artist and to push my emerging art practice into a professional context. It will be my first residency opportunity outside of university and I will be making links with my artistic peers from all over the country. As a program of work that uses the internet as a point of creation and dissemination, the audience for my work will be far-reaching and diverse.
This is important because I present an important point of view in terms of the art that I am producing. As a queer, HIV-positive artist, the action of disclosure is prevalent in all of my work; it is a relentless process through which I situate myself towards others and within the world. Some many of my works deal with personal disclosure: for example, I discuss my HIV status, expose my queerness or report my sexual history. Some most examine the structures of disclosure (discursive, formal, cultural). I employ disclosure as a means to initiate a circuit of information, feeling, and/or action between myself and the viewer. It is in this evolving process of exchange that my art works are reproduced from my everyday experience. So far, I have found that my work does a lot to stimulate a discussion around what it means to live with HIV/AIDS. The internet has been a really useful tool to do this and I am excited to engage in an artistic residency program that will allow me to push my engagement with an online audience even further.
Without your help I may have to greatly reduce the amount or quality of work that I would like to produce during my residency, or in the worst case scenario not attend the program at all. I am doing everything that I am capable of to make this happen, however as a recent University graduate and struggling artist, I have limited resources for raising this money in such a short period.
What I Need & What You Get
As previously mentioned, I received my acceptance into the program at the end of September, which leaves a very short turn around time to raise the money to go. Right now, I have just enough money to pay for the tuition cost of the program. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to raise the money for any other expenses related to my residency. This is why I am turning to you through this IndieGogo campaign. The $3000 raised with this campaign will go towards covering three things: my materials budget, travel expenses, and living expenses other than room and board at the Banff Centre.
Here is a breakdown of those expenses:
This consists of the biggest portion of the money that I need to raise in order to have a successful residency. Some concrete expenses that I will need to cover are a new hard drive and printing costs at the Banff Centre digital labs. Furthermore, as an experimental residency, I need to have a materials budget that allows for me to try things out and adapt to new demands in my production.
The residency begins on January 4th and I will be traveling to Banff from Montreal between January 1st and 3rd, depending if I can afford to fly or have to take the bus. This is the peak season for air, train, and bus travel and as such everything will be more expensive.
$500 living expenses
Although my room and board are covered in my tuition fee for the program, I will still need money to help pay for any other daily/monthly living expenses for the 50+ days that I will be at or traveling to and from the Banff Centre. This includes subsidizing the payment of two months of my HIV medication before leaving Montreal.
While I have applied for a grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec, I will only find out if I received the grant in January. Considering the current funding climate for the arts, this granting program is highly competitive and there is no assurance that I will receive the money. Therefore it is imperative that I raise this money before I go to Banff.
The great thing about contributing to this project is that you will receive a piece of my artistic production in the process. Depending on how much you donate, this will include items from previous projects including a set of 5 postcards from my PWIFd project and temporary tattoos versions of my hanky code tattoo project, as well as new art works that I will produce while I am in Banff. These will take the form of personalized animated GIFs and accompanying mail art works that I will send to you from Banff. I am excited at the opportunity to use the residency as a way to get my art out to new audiences in fun and innovative ways. As a contributor to this IndieGoGo campaign, you will be participating in this process.
Other Ways You Can Help
Tell your friends, family, internet acquaintances, art lovers, fellow queers, allies and individuals interested in supporting queer/activist oriented practices.