The expansion and gradual democratization of digital technologies (with their extraordinary capture, storage and dissemination capabilities) have meant a blurring of boundaries between producers and consumers. The creation and distribution of “media content” are no longer the preserve of professionals but are open to amateurs of all sorts. This expansion is furthering the shift from a “read-only culture” to a “read/write culture” (Lessig) and the development of a new participatory culture (Jenkins).

This culture obviously generates new forms of knowledge and politics, as well as new aesthetic practices based on remontage and remixing—such as sampling, shuffle, remix, mash-up, machinima, fan film, VJing, modding—that affect not just the data involved, but also the software, applications and platforms for producing and disseminating them. These practices undoubtedly revive certain modern and postmodern operations—collage,  photomontage, ready-made, détournement, found footage, rephotographing, appropriation, remake, etc.—in addition to changing them considerably, most notably by developing brand-new forms of collaboration, circulation and sharing, and by forming wide-ranging communities.

The Symposium participants will examine these practices of remontage and remixing as manifested in various fields—visual arts, film, sound art, video games—in the studio or live, in institutional settings, on the Web or in urban space, in professional circles and in amateur networks. They will cover all the different aspects of this phenomenon: technological (history of editing and mixing tools and software, from scissors to Photoshop, After Effects and Softimage, from the splicer and the Steenbeck to Avid and Final Cut, from eight-track to ProTools and Pure Data, etc.); aesthetic (montage and mixing of times and spaces, media and senses); legal (the issue of royalties and copyright, with Creative Commons, fair use, copyleft, open source, etc.); and political (the political meaning and uses of montage and mixing, from Hollywood’s continuity editing system to the policies of free culture, and including avant-garde theories of montage and postmodern parody appropriations).

The Symposium was organized by Olivier Asselin and Serge Cardinal, professors in the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal, and François LeTourneux, Associate Curator at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, in connection with the presentation of Christian Marclay. The Clock (February 22 to April 20, 2014). A continuous screening of this work will take place from Friday, April 4 at 11 a.m. to Saturday, April 5 at 6 p.m.

To close the Symposium, the museum is presenting a concert by Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky) in the evening on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Admission: $15


  • Olivier Asselin
    Full Professor in the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal
  • Raymond Bellour
    Theorist, author and Emeritus Director of Research at the CNRS
  • Christa Blümlinger
    Professor in the Department of Film and Audiovisual Studies at the Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis
  • Serge Cardinal
    Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal
  • Marie Fraser 
    Professor of Art History and Museology at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
  • Bastien Gallet
    Professor and Head of Research at the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Tours Angers Le Mans 
  • Philippe-Alain Michaud
    Curator and Director of the Film Department at the Musée national d’art moderne Centre Georges-Pompidou
  • Paul D. Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky
    Composer, multimedia artist and author who performs and lectures internationally
  • Michael Nitsche
    Director of Graduate Studies for the Digital Media program at the Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Bernard Perron
    Full Professor in the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal
  • Christine Ross
    Full Professor and James McGill Chair in Contemporary Art History in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University
  • Catherine Russell
    Professor of Film Studies at Concordia University, Montreal
  • Louisa Stein
    Assistant Professor of Film and Media Culture at Middlebury College, Vermont