OCTOBER 14 – 24, 2021


Antimatter 2021: International Media Art & Experimental Cinema, In-Person & Online

The 24th edition of the esteemed Canadian media arts festival Antimatter will continue with a hybrid model of presentation in 2021. From October 14 to 24, Antimatter will present more than 120 films in 20 curated programs on screen, as installations in public spaces and online. Hailing from 30+ countries, 70% of festival offerings are World, North American or Canadian premieres. “Antimatter has always enjoyed receiving work from new artists internationally and functions as an incubator for distributors worldwide,” according to festival director Todd Eacrett. “The response from a new international audience in 2020, especially programmers and curators, was heartening and inspiring, providing us a genuine connection to the experimental media world from outside our region and transcending the limitations of the pandemic. The intimate nature of limited-seating in-person screenings at Deluge Contemporary Art (636 Yates Street) proved a popular option for local film fans. Once again, IRL screenings will run nightly at Deluge with advance online ticket purchase, followed by 24 hours of free unlimited streaming access to each program. In 2021 this binary approach will continue grow our viewership as well as offer a safe and optimal viewing experience to local audiences. Ultimately, we have a duty to the artists making this work to present it in the way they envisioned—on an actual screen in shared public space. We have also redesigned and launched a new website to support our online programming platform.”

Public installations this year include Generative Architecture (Colton Hash) at Legacy Gallery, TIMEQUAKE (2.0) (Tabor Tabori) at Ministry of Casual Living’s Window Gallery, Protest Etiquette (Adán De La Garza) in the Deluge transom window and Dreaming in Aspect Ratio (Gwen Foster) in the Deluge entry Foyer.
Long-form standouts this year include Chris Haring’s Stranger Than Paradise, with Austrian experimental dance company Liquid Loft. Associatively linked to Jim Jarmusch’s wintery 80s road movie, it is a genuinely film-choreographed work: a hybrid, subtly futuristic chamber play for eight performers and an investigative camera, translated into a reflection on the expansion of biological capacities into the mechanical, the creatural and the “monstrous” of an animal-human existence. Patrick Goddard’s Animal Antics is an absurdist commentary on the Anthropocene, set in a an English zoo. A talking dog and his owner do the rounds of cages and pens, leaving a trail of increasingly off-beam, off-colour comments. A miniature lapdog with disproportionately big ideas, Whoopsie’s cute, cuddlesome looks are disconcertingly at odds with its bristly, discomfiting thoughts. 
Alternating documentary footage and visual effects, Maija Blåfield’s The Fantastic raises the question of how reality is defined and by whom. The film reverses colonial clichés of westerners observing the lives of a closed culture; in this case, North Koreans direct their curiosity at the outside world and imagine what life in western countries is like based on the detritus shipped for “recycling.” Similarly, Jessica Auer’s Shore Power explores Iceland’s increasing reliance on tourism in the wake of a waning fishing industry and banking crisis. In the harbour town of Seyðisfjörður, floating hotels higher than any local structure have become part of the landscape as cruise ship visitors outnumber the local population six-fold. The issues behind the scenes are largely unknown to the majority of visitors, who contribute to the shifting identities of the communities they wander.