INFERNO has been presented by ELEKTRA during two main events. First during the 2016 BIAN - International Digital Art Biennial - at Arsenal Contemporary Art in Montreal, and in 2017 at Usine C in Montreal during the 18th ELEKTRA Festival. INFERNO is a participatory robotic performance, an absolutely unique experience, in which electronic music plays an essential role. In this involuntary choreography of 60 minutes for 2 x 24 participants from the public, the volunteers' movements are controlled in synchronization with this techno-industrial music.
Inferno is inspired by the representation of the different levels of hell as described in Dante's Inferno or the Singaporean Haw Par Villa's Ten Courts of Hell (which is based on a Chinese Buddhist representation)
In the many depictions of Hell, the punishments are always carried on the human body and not directly at the psychological level. The excruciating pain as well as the eternal aspect of the punishment induces the latter.
Inferno (2016) by Louis-Philippe Demers & Bill VornELEKTRA
In Inferno, the "circles of hell" concept is mainly an artistic framework, a general working theme under which the different parts of the performance are regrouped.
Under these two cultural representations, each "level of hell" corresponds to a particular form of punishment for a particular sin.
The specificity of this performance resides in the installation of the different machines involved in the show directly on the viewer’s body. The audience then becomes an active part of the performance.
Sometimes the viewers are free to move; sometimes they are in a partial or entire submissive position, forced by the machines to act/react in a certain way.
Some mechanical elements coerce the viewers in performing certain movements; others induce a physical reaction from them.
For this performance of about an hour long, they have built 25 wearable robotic structures, very similar to exoskeletons.
About the Artists
Based in Montreal, Bill Vorn is active in the field of Robotic Art since 1992. His installation and performance projects involve robotics and motion control, sound, lighting, video and cybernetic processes.
He pursues research and creation on Artificial Life and Agent Technologies through artistic work based on the Aesthetics of Artificial Behaviors, and teaches Electronic Arts in the Department of Studio Arts at Concordia University (Intermedia/Cyberarts program) as a Professor.
INFERNO (2017) by Louis-Philippe Demers & Bill VornELEKTRA
Louis-Philippe Demers makes large-scale installations and performances. He participated in more than seventy artistic and stage productions and has built more than 375 machines.
Demers' works have been featured at major venues and events such as Theatre de la Ville, Lille 2004, Expo 1992 and 2000, Sonambiente, ISEA, Siggraph, Nemo Festival, CentQuatre, ELEKTRA Festival, etc.
Photos and video: Christian Pomerleau GRIDSPACE
Artistic Director - ELEKTRA: Alain Thibault
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
Ministère de la culture et des communications du Québec
Ministère des relations internationales et de la francophonie du Québec
Canada Council for the Arts
Conseil des arts de Montréal
Ville de Montréal
Filaction - Fonds de développement
Arsenal Contemporary Art