VOX — Centre de l’image contemporaine

A Word from the Director

By Marie J. Jean

VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine is specialized in the production of large-scale exhibitions about finely focused issues with an eye to collectively engaging in the dissemination of new knowledge about image-making and image practices. I feel the need to point out that VOX considers the image from the post-media perspective; i.e., it is above all a phenomenon—aesthetic, technological, sociopolitical, historical—rather than strictly a medium. Hence the necessity of framing a dialogue between photographic, videographic, multimedia, and filmed works, on the one hand, and documents, text and other disciplines on the other. VOX presents a contemporary program, although on occasion, it organizes events that propose re-readings of transhistorical projects, observing the past through the lens of the present, with the goal of inscribing them in a history-in-the-making. Our philosophy thus aims to transcend the disciplinary boundaries of art and its historical categorizations.

View of the exhibition _The Musical Years : 1920-2020_.

Since VOX became the owner of expansive premises in the 2-22 building, with museum-standard exhibition spaces and facilities, and successfully developed programming that entrenched true dialogue between contemporary art and art history, a question has emerged: What is VOX? Our facilities and programming are comparable to those of an exhibition centre, but our way of doing things (and of being) retains a focus on self-management and close collaboration with artists. Indeed, one of the centre’s hallmarks is its long-term engagement with artists and exhibition curators in targeted, large-scale research projects. Concretely, this means that we not only present exhibitions, but that we work together with the majority of our collaborators on the design, production and presentation of original exhibitions, publications, digital platforms, etc.

VOX is a venue for experimentation, research and presentation that is fundamentally open and capable of transformation and adaptation (in short order), as well as considering itself as a historically oriented institution in the making. While our new area of action may, on the face of it, seem to be linked to the Quartier des spectacles (since VOX is located in the building now identified as the gateway to that arts & culture district), our actions have much more in common with the various areas associated with knowledge production, starting with Montreal’s four universities, including their students and other researchers.

For VOX’s programming is firmly oriented toward research and experimentation, investigating the conceptual paradigms underpinning image practices. Individual exhibitions offer re-readings of both contemporary and historical art practices, while thematic exhibitions see us engaged in processes of reflection. Our youth exhibitions have allowed us to introduce a new form of visual arts activity while helping grow our audiences. In addition, we give ample room to artists of diverse cultural backgrounds, including Indigenous artists, who contribute to a renewed understanding of transnational phenomena, be they political, economic or cultural. Lastly, we have initiated a far-reaching research project exploring the history and practice of exhibitions, whereby we are helping to advance knowledge on the subject. These guidelines have helped consolidate VOX’s identity and in turn its place within a network of like-minded arts entities across Canada and internationally.