After the funeral

Art collective goes post-technology with a DIY journey through time and space

“I want to make it look like a big pirate boat.” This was Sami Blanco’s answer when asked about the art show “Time Travel Fuzion Clonage,” which runs on the 19th and 20th at the Torn Curtain. In any other context, this might sound strange, but in the Torn Curtain’s loft – the rehearsal and work space for many members of the artists’ collective Internet is Dead, this sentiment makes perfect sense. Surrounded by art, and in the midst of preparing for “Time Travel Fuzion Clonage,” Blanco spoke to The Daily about the upcoming art show, his vision, his art, and the artist collective Internet is Dead.

“Time Travel Fuzion Clonage” will serve as the grand opening for the Torn Curtain Art Gallery. It promises to feature both visual artists and musicians, largely from Montreal’s Do-It-Yourself – read: innovative and independent – art scene. Borden Phelps, the owner of the Torn Curtain, said that they hope to “get noticed by Montreal’s art elite as well as influence our young artists to create”. Blanco is confident in his peers’ – and his own – work:  “It’s going to inspire other artists,” he said.

Both Phelps and Blanco are hoping to “blow people’s minds and inspire them to travel through space and time.” From their descriptions of the event, it looks like they’re well on their way to achieving this. When asked about origins of the name “Time Travel Fuzion Clonage,” Blanco went on to describe the elaborate interconnectedness of people through time: “[Each person is] one identity that travels in time between thousands of universes, and fuses with these universes, and retains the same identity, and then multiplies by a thousand, and then we’re all the same.”

This is the first event of its type for Internet is Dead and its artists, and Blanco is going all out. “We’re going to have projections of the sky,” he said, to create the illusion that the pirate boat is flying. Musicians who work with the Internet is Dead record label, including Flow Child and Super Fossil Power, will also be featured during the event. “Time Travel Fuzion Clonage” is not merely an art show; it is a collaboration of all of the talent behind the collective.

Internet is Dead is in itself more than just a collection of artists or an online showcase of artwork; it is an art community. “I’m friends with everyone [I work with],” said Blanco. Friendship has been the foundation of this project from the beginning. When Blanco met his friend Erik Zuuring – an artist and co-founder of the collective – he felt what he described as a “cosmic explosion.”  This aligning of universes eventually led to the formation of Internet is Dead – the realization of Blanco and Zuuring’s shared dream.

Blanco draws his inspiration from the closely connected Icelandic art scene and has wanted to recreate that sort of artistic community to a larger city like Montreal for a while. He sees importance in bringing people together to create and then to share their creations, especially in terms of eliminating barriers between the francophone scene and the anglophone scene. What started with the publication of a zine to showcase Montreal’s DIY artists has grown quickly. “Time Travel Fuzion Clonage” will hopefully be the first of many art shows, and Internet is Dead is already preparing for the release of an audiobook zine.

“Time Travel Fuzion Clonage” marks a new endeavour for the Torn Curtain. The venue has previously been known for primarily showcasing local musical talent.  Phelps hopes that, after this weekend, the Torn Curtain will also be a “success as an art gallery” with opening hours on a weekly basis.

Both Internet is Dead and the Torn Curtain are looking forward to the near future with anticipation, and with good reason. Borden said, “More people are getting involved for sure. There are…some who I have just met who have really amazing work.” The DIY art movement is certainly growing in Montreal, and Blanco’s vision of creating a “big art spaceship” – that is, a self-contained world in which artists collaborate and inspire each other – is starting to realize itself.

When asked about the essence of the artist collective and the DIY art scene, Blanco said simply, “DIY is when you have an idea, and you totally believe in it.” Defined in this way, it seems Blanco has everything that he needs in order to create truly “mind-blowing” DIY art.