The Art Souterrain Festival unveils the complete program for its 12th edition

Mindfullness station.

The Art Souterrain Festival recently unveiled the complete program for its 12th edition, which will take place in the heart of the metropolis from February 29 to March 22, 2020. A new application launched this year will allow the public to learn more about the works and to facilitate geolocation on the 5km route in the underground pedestrian network of Montreal and in 7 off-path places where the essential cultural event of the winter season takes place.

For 24 days, festival attendees will be able to discover for free the works of fifty local and international artists, selected around the theme "RESET" by the 4 commissioners, Juliette Bibasse (France), Marie Perrault (Canada), Dulce Pinzón (Mexico) and Lynn Bannon (Canada). In addition, the Festival will offer more than 50 free mediation and artistic discovery activities.


"And if you could press a button and erase everything, what would you do with this new blank page?" If you were asked to start from scratch, how would you imagine the world? Humanity is at a turning point. Should we persist in our habits or be aware of repetitive patterns to start on a new basis? Changing your routine and changing your habits can lead to intense moments of insecurity. This can lead to painful questioning, even loss of bearings. Climate, economic and political upheavals are at the heart of our news. Individually and collectively, if we want to survive, humans will soon have to modify their relationship to the world, but also their interpersonal relationships. Is Manichaeism the only solution? Should we think only in terms of utopia and dystopia in order to find paths that have never been marked out? "

The works selected for this 12th edition will allow the public to question and interact on the concept of "RESET" addressing current concerns.

Official mobile application of the festival

Art Souterrain launches this year a brand new mobile application, designed by FJNR, which visitors can download for free on their smart devices. This application will allow visitors to geolocate on the route, to learn more about the artists and their works, thanks to the QR codes displayed on the signposts as well as on the descriptions along the route. Festival attendees will also be able to consult the calendar of activities offered, the cultural program developed for the festival and will be able to find the various services offered in each of the buildings.


For this 12th edition Art Souterrain is diversifying through several atypical and free activities. During the launch of the exhibition during the Nuit blanche, an interactive installation, called Baffling Gate, will allow the public to obtain a creative and technological experience. Created by Félix Marzell, the interactive installation uses the Internet and social networks to reveal to its user, if he chooses, an embarrassing reality of our time. In addition, during this launch party on February 29, several artists will be present, accompanied by mediators whose mission will be to enlighten the public about the artist's work and his journey.

Throughout the Festival, mediation sessions will be organized on weekends and midday weekdays to learn more and discuss the works of the underground route. A visit “At running pace" on March 7 will allow the public to mix physical training and discovery of the underground route in the company of a sports coach and mediators.

In addition to these activities, there will be a cycle of screenings, specially designed for moviegoers. In the spotlight the film, 2001, the Space Odyssey, which elegantly explores the RESET theme, will be presented at the Cinéma du Parc from March 20 to 22. Finally, the 7 off-path locations will each present an activity. On the menu: artist meetings, creative workshops and round tables.

Complete list and calendar of activities

Family Activities

The youngest will be invited to take part in the Festival 2020, thanks to an art description specially designed for families. Thus, games and activities will be offered to them to interact with certain contemporary works present in the various buildings. A "postcard" workshop will allow spectators to communicate positively to their neighbour, as well as a "rethink your city" activity which will allow young festival attendees to create a giant model of their dream city from recycled materials.

In partnership with Échappe toi, a giant escape game will take over Montreal's underground passages. A fun way to discover the works exhibited during this 12th edition by trying to find the answers to the puzzles created especially for the Art Souterrain Festival. 80 professional actors and ambassadors will immerse participants in the heart of the game in a mysterious and playful atmosphere.

Amongst the Artists

In the iconic places of Montreal will be 55 artists, among them: Olivier Ratsi who will take us to question our own perception of space, and the interpretation of our reality; "REST-TOI, TOI-MÊME", by artist Julie Piché, will invite spectators to reflect on the proposal for the Festival theme "RESET"; Les Nivaux will take over the Palais des Congrès de Montréal with their work "STOP Urgence!" ", an emergency button on which the public can sit down, to make a" reset ", suspend time to think about the future, a new life, or a new way of consuming; Anna Ridler will offer a photographic installation composed of 10,000 polaroid photos of Dutch tulips that the artist photographed and then hand-labeled. These images become a "data set" which will allow to train an algorithm so that it "learns", just like artificial intelligence; Frenchman Martin Le Chevallier, who is particularly interested in inscribing art in public space, will offer three sorting bins, a trio of everyday objects whose function is strangely diverted. Visitors will therefore be offered not to throw away their papers, packaging or rubbish, but rather their keys, passports and change; “Undream”, by Sabrina Ratté will lead the spectator through an isolated landscape, overhung by a monumental structure. Skawennati presents a series of works consisting of films called machinimas, images of cyberpunk avatars, a collection of clothing developed in a digital environment, and prints of futuristic calico designs. His works will take over the entire mall at the World Trade Center.


The Art Festival Souterrain is once again taking over the emblematic places of underground Montreal for which it is renowned: the Guy-Favreau Complex, the Palais des Congrès de Montréal, the Jacques Parizeau Building, the Montreal World Trade Center and Place de la Cité international and Victoria Square. In addition, the Festival extends its activities to the four corners of the city thanks to 7 off-path locations, including the Château Dufresne, the Cinéma du Parc (Quartier des spectacles), the ELLEPHANT Gallery, the Cultural Institute of Mexico in Montreal (Ville- Marie), The Skol Center for Contemporary Arts, as well as the University of Quebec in Montreal.

—Art Souterrain



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