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Inside Studio XX: A review, and a call for proposals

Posted by Greg / November 12, 2013

Project XXStepping into the "digital democracy" of Studio XX is always refreshing. It is an almost utopic zone of helpful smiling staff, thick rimmed glasses and seductive rows of paper-thin mac screens. Their programming is full of great opportunities - residencies, equipment rentals and workshops, all of which are informative and affordable. Their Mandate describes them as, "a bilingual feminist artist-run Centre for technological exploration, creation and critique." Maybe that's why I appreciate them so much.

I attended the Wired Women Salon 99 at XX because of an image I'd seen of their artist-in-residency, Rosa Mei. In the picture she's thrusting one of the two swords she's holding into an invisible attacker and looking fierce. In person, the small woman in an over-sized T-shirt isn't so intimidating - until you read her stats. She's a black belt in aikido, a US gold and silver medalist and the only female disciple of traditional kung fu master Zhang Xinbin. Her residency is appropriate subject matter: entitled WOMAN WARRIOR, it's a time-lapse journey of female fighters from 3500BC to the 21st century.
Half of the centre's space had been transformed and was layered with green sheets of fluorescent paper, giving off a sick glow. The DIY green screen had been erected as the residency playground for pop-locking and sword play. The presentation included demonstrations by her two dancers; poppers, Kamky Zheng & Gerrit Wellens, breaking it down in real-time and on screen. Rosa Mei narrated over their contortions and explained her tactics for compositing and keying with the dollar store screen. Certainly an example of accessible technology for the masses, if you're up to the challenge. 
Rosa Mei's personality and presence was inspiring, although it left me craving a little more of the insinuated battle. The learned techniques were empowering, the atmosphere welcoming and I look forward to the next time I'll return! 
Rosa Mei
StudioXX is having an open call for their HTMlles festival, and applicants need to get their proposal in before Sunday, November 17th. The biennial is aimed at artists, scholars and activists who are interested in "addressing urgent socio-political questions by pushing the boundaries of artistic and feminist practices." This is their 11th edition and the year's thematic is Zero Future, for which I'm sure we can all think of some appropriate material. Check out the call for proposals to get an idea of the possibility and scope of the technology-orientated projects they encourage. HTMlles is a great festival for interesting and startling performances, use of alternative spaces, and well curated events that give deserve visibility.

Post was written by Frances Adair Mckenzie. Watch for more of her reports from Montreal's underground art world soon.
Studio XX is located at 4001 Berri (corner of Duluth), space 201



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