Written by Dara Larocque on 27.02.15

It’s that time of year again! Nuit Blanche is just around the corner and Art Souterrain is back for another year to bring you some of the city’s best new artists to watch. If you’re not already familiar with Art Souterrain, back in 2009, Art Souterrain started in Montreal’s famous underground city to show off local and international talents in art, architecture, and design. The idea was to make art accessible to everyone through public spaces. By making it free (yes, free!), Art Souterrain has been able to spread the good word about art without the boundaries of a museum space.

Art Souterrain Montreal (4)

By displaying works around the city through the accessible nature of Art Souterrain, the company invites the viewer to be anyone and everyone. The goal? To introduce people that may not have access to a museum or gallery space (or any interest in going to one) to the many forms of art in the city. This allows the average viewer to experience the multiplicity of what art, architecture, and design can be, while showcasing the incredible talent available right in our own backyard.

The theme for the 2015 exhibition of Art Souterrain is as timely as it is relevant: “Security in our Society: What Remains of Our Personal Freedom.” In a time of social media, this year’s theme asks what has become of privacy and how can we navigate these unrelenting forms of surveillance all around us. From Facebook to surveillance cameras, even a simple Internet search can make us traceable to anyone with even the mildest understanding of technology.

Photo: Marouen Arras

In this year’s exhibition, Art Souterrain asks not only the artists but the viewers to think about the ways we expose or conceal ourselves in a society that is constantly being watched, and then they ask us to ponder what role our own agency plays. This fine line between safety and freedom is explored through works like Eva Clouard’s installation that uses technology on a smart phone to make her whereabouts known at all times throughout the festival. Also part of the exhibition is Làzaro Saavedra’s 2008 film Le Syndrome de Soupçon. One of Cuba’s foremost visual artists, Saavedra’s film comments on the layers of suspicion delegated from government to individual throughout the Cuban Revolution as well as how our society has developed layers of doubt towards each other through constant surveillance.

Don’t miss this year’s edition of Art Souterrain. Hop on a metro and head to the underground city to see what’s going on! For a full schedule of artists and works in this year’s exhibition, check out Art Souterrain’s website.

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