Phénomena 2020

(Re)confinement and the shuttering of cultural spaces hurts

Festival Phénomena 2020 — Excerpts

Phenomena renews itself… as usual!

For this unexpected and unsettling year, Phenomena Festival’s 9th edition will take place under the theme of Resilience. The programming will be essentially online with the screening of 9 short video-art pieces, 2 performances broadcasted on video, and one soundwalk. Still, Phenomena would not be Phenomena without live audience interaction — as such, there will be 2 live outdoor performances.

The Festival’s programming

Considering these past months of isolation, grief and distress, it was of utmost importance for us to create a festive event, akin to the Phenomenal Parade, to inaugurate this Festival edition. We invite citizens to wear extravagant costumes and to dance with us at Baldwin Park on Saturday October 3rd at 2pm, while respecting physical distancing protocols. The event will come together with the presence of Hélène Langevin from the esteemed dance company Bouge de là.

La Sala Rossa, our hearth and headquarters, was the filming location of two performances that we will be broadcasting online. First up, Michel Faubert’s La Chapelle ardente, accompanied by an all-star band orchestrated by Bernard Falaise. Loosely inspired by Victor-Lévy Beaulieu’s Manuel de la Petite Littérature du Québec, this performance combines poetry, vocals and music. Followed by Cabaret Secret, an unusual cabaret, inclusive and intimate, in collaboration with the female and feminist team of Cirquantique and their guests. This joyous bunch explores circus arts, breakdance, bondage and burlesque.

Some of our usual suspects have, for the first time, created art videos. Our audience will have the opportunity to watch a whimsical correspondence between puppeteer Marcelle Hudon and musician Bernard Falaise, a video performance by Stéphane Crête on the subject of grief and emptiness, a video dance featuring multidisciplinary artist Marie-Hélène Bellavance (Corpuscule Danse) and her daughters, as well as a video by Claire Renaud on the subject of a particular sports icon: the cheerleader.

Following last year’s meaningful first experience with the Deaf performances Cabaret de performances sourdes, D. Kimm sustained her collaboration with deaf performers and accompanied artists Hodan Youssouf, Jennifer Manning, Theara Yim and visual artist Sera Kassab, in the production of three video poems in langue signée québécoise (LSQ), all entirely made by deaf artists. These are unique creations that showcase the inherent poetry within québec sign language, a language in and of itself with its specific subtleties, nuances and imagery. We are particularly honored to offer a platform to deaf artists, who are often underrepresented in arts programming, which is also a unique opportunity for the public to meet this extremely active community.

We are also presenting the creations of two seasoned digital artists. The video dance project Pas d’apparat corps by Guillaume Vallée in collaboration with Torontonian choreographer Calla Durose-Moya and musician Hazy Montagne Mystique explores the psychological impacts of trauma. Moreover, indigenous artist Danya Danger, whose artistic practice is rooted within the notions of family ties and interconnectedness, brings forth the video Beading Kin. Deeply affected by this pandemic, the artist explores themes of connection, language, exhaustion and what it means to accept failure.

This 9th edition will, as usual, invite festival-goers to walk up and down the streets of the Mile End while experiencing a neighbourhood-specific soundwalk — a very first for the Festival. Accompanied by the voice of comedian Christian Vanasse, the public is invited to discover the exhibition of 3D luminous artwork created by lighting designer and scenographer Lucie Bazzo and displayed on the windows of local shops. A podcast composed of eight stops, this stroll in the neighbourhood is peppered with historical anecdotes as told by Mile End Memories’ Melanie Leavitt.

Last but not least, Phenomena is especially proud to collaborate once more with dancer and choreographer Peter Trosztmer for the presentation of an in-situ creation, Falling Slowly. This 30-minute-long piece will be presented 5 times for an audience of 40 people on a parking lot next to an aged industrial building in Griffintown.