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International Festival of Digital Creativity and Electronic Music

Montréal-based artists Martin Messier and Nicolas Bernier have made names for themselves in the past decade by harnessing the industrial noise of handmade machines into living symphonic works of audio-visual art. Building on previous work La chambre des machines, presented at Sónar 2010 and Ars Electronica 2011, the duo’s latest, highly physical and tactile audio-visual collaboration, MACHINE_VARIATION, represents an expansion in both size and scope. The project’s structure-like instruments fill much of the stage, with Bernier and Messier tackling the machines’ levers, gears and springs to create multi-layered, minimalist music and visuals – a further investigation into themes of organic and digital collision, including how the human body’s active presence is integral to their machine-oriented work. As with the majority of his projects, Messier’s electroacoustic compositions are firmly linked to the material world of bodies and everyday objects – such as sewing machines, old film projectors and alarm clocks, imbuing the machines with imagination and humanity. He is also founder of Montreal’s 14 lieux, a sound production company for performing arts. Bernier’s experimental music and audio-visual installations cross disciplines and genres, venturing from avant-garde noise to electronic improv, to works for dance and theatre, all the while connecting cerebral academic theory, digital processing and organically-derived sounds.