By Otiena Ellwand
Try going without technology for a month. Then try turning it into a work of art, and you have STAETIM, an image arts festival about technology. Try writing a story about a cat who’s torn between a voluptuous woman and a bisexual dude and you have STAETIM’s after party, Anml Haus, both equally mind boggling events being put on by senior image arts students.
Between Mar. 27 to Mar. 29, fourth-year new media students will be offering 35 multi-media projects as part of the third-annual STAETIM festival. Coinciding with the opening of the festival is Anml Haus, an evening long party put together by image arts students.
Brandon Marsh started thinking about his project at a Daft Punk concert when he wore a T-Qualizer t-shirt, an article of clothing that picks up the beat of a song and reflects it as patterns on the front. It had one girl petting him and another guy buying him beer because he thought it was so cool.
Realizing that technology normally didn’t elicit this kind of response, Marsh decided that he wanted his project to garner the same kind of reaction. He hacked apart a cell phone and re-integrated it into a jacket, allowing the wearer to become a sort of living phone, forcing callers to interact with him.
“We have all seen instances where people are having very public conversations on their cell phones, which is traditionally a ‘private’ object. I am interested in seeing what the effects are of turning a ‘private’ object like a cell phone into a ‘public’ object,” Marsh said.
This year’s theme is how humans and technology co-exist with one another and how dependent humans are on technology.
Like several others at the festival, Cameron Lillico focusses on how technology is changing our relationship with one another. For his project he gave up using technology for a month. “It was hard at the beginning, but I got used to it and it felt really liberating,” Lillico said.
“I just feel that certain technological devices are taking over in such a way that people have lost perspective of the world around them,” he said.
A trip to the bank became a ten-minnotes and head out the doors, leaving behind the chance to meet someone new, or old and the happenstance interactions that may have come with them,”
Not to be outdone, Anml Haus is also an interactive affair, although it’s less focused around technology and more about dance, music and challenging people’s expectations.
“We want people to be surprised when they come to see the show,” says Andrea Warnick, the show’s art director.
To make sure that happens she’s rented the Great Hall (1087 Queen St. West), hired a transvestite to host the party, acting as the venue’s owner, and secured break-dancers to act as waiters.
Growing up in Montreal, the founder of Anml Haus, George Allister enjoyed the scandalous party-lifestyle and wanted to bring that scene to Toronto to “warm it up,” which is where the idea for this project began.
“I did not want to do a show where you sit down, watch and leave. Boring! I wanted to try and immerse an audience in a show as a form of social interaction, excitement and fun,” said Allister.
“I also want to try and introduce people to a style of music I find quite attractive and telling of our times. When exhibited visually through dance, the music really takes on a new life.” For other Ryerson students both events will be an opportunity to see what the new media program is all about.
“It is a really underrated and sheltered program,” said Kimberly Lai, publicity coordinator for STAETIM, “Many people don’t know about new media and this will expose them to an evolving art form that will soon be seen all over the world.”
“Students will be amazed by what their peers are able to create.”