Now in its tenth year, POP Montreal has grown a lot as a music festival. Perhaps one of the largest changes that the past decade has brought is the addition of a slew of non-musical components, such as Puces POP, Film POP, and Art POP.
“It’s been the creative direction’s mandate to open up to include other forms of entertainment and amusement for the festival goers,” said Stephanie Bokenfohr, a director and curator for this year’s Art POP segment, in a phone interview with The Daily. The idea of supplementing the music festival appears to be a significant motivation behind Art POP’s composition. “Basically every crack, corner of the festival – we artify it,” Bokenfohr explained with a laugh.
The proliferation of visual stimuli that Art POP brings to POP venues not only provides attendees a welcome entertainment between musical acts, but in many instances also serves to enhance the viewers’ experience of the music they encounter. For example, one of the art shows Bokenfohr expressed the most excitement about features work by members and affiliates of the band the Raincoats, who are playing at this year’s festival. “The show is a collection of works and memories dating from 1977 to 2011,” explained Bokenfohr. The exhibit features works in a variety of mediums by vocalist and guitarist Ana da Silva, and videos created by the band’s bassist, Gina Burch. It also includes photography by the band’s long-time manager Shirley O’Loughlin, along with a variety of other pieces she provided, such as scans of letters responding to the band’s music by Kurt Cobain. “It’s really really really touching,” Bokenfohr emphasized.
Another show to keep an eye on include an exhibit focusing on new media and sound art opening on Friday at La Société des arts technologiques. “We have the Montreal sound map, which is a collection of field recordings,” described Bokenfohr. “Sound artists have this bank that has been going on and on, keeping a record of the city and the sounds that come out of it. That’s an exciting project.”
Another intriguing venture is an exhibition of web-art displayed via Boca online gallery (bocagallery.com). “Web art is really counter-institutional, which is sort of what POP is all about too,” Bokenfohr enumerated.
POP Montreal has always been a feast for the ears, but with a wealth of exciting visual art shows to explore, Art POP has made it a feast for the eyes as well.