THE HTMLLES FESTIVAL 2016 : Recap of the 12th edition

The HTMlles 12, a festival of feminist media arts, ended in style on November 6, after 4 days of activities.

The festival featured work by more than sixty artists and researchers from five continents, presenting nearly 40 performances, installations, projections, workshops and roundtables.

This edition was a resounding success. The HTMlles attracted more than 900 visitors, across almost a dozen locations throughout Montreal, engaging a diverse, intergenerational public, with a resonant theme :  “Terms of Privacy”.

The festival’s theme was picked up by the media, interested in the topical issues of confidentiality and surveillance in the journalistic milieu.




The HTMlles Festival took place at the same time as several other major events, which helped to frame and deepen the reflection on notions of privacy: in October we discovered that several journalists at the daily newspaper La Presse had been under surveillance; Edward Snowdon spoke via web at Mcgill University on November 2, and the role of social media in the US elections, highlighted the problematic of privacy and media.

The theme Terms of Privacy reflected current concerns, not only politically, but also in the most intimate spheres of everyday life.

The festival officially kicked off on November 3 with two workshops:

Intimate Narratives in Twine, presented at Eastern Bloc with Mx. Dietrich Squinkifer, was a discussion about the software Twine framed around the issues of care and intimacy within games and within the culture of video games.

A Deconstruction of the Internet, by artist Joana Moll, was presented at the Feminist Media Studio and critically revealed, analyzed, and connected the complex network of material and immaterial agents that converge on the configuration of the Internet and its impact on the physical world.


The festival’s headquarters at 4001 Berri were inaugurated on opening night with almost 500 people who came to participate in a number of activities: 

Studio XX hosted the exhibition CTRL + [Self]: Intimacy, Extimacy and Control in the age of the overexposure of self  by curator Laura Baigorri featured Amalia Ulman, Coding Rights, Daniela Müller, Diana Laurel Caramat, Franco + Eva Mattes, Intimidad Romero, Lea Castonguay, Sarah Faraday and  WhiteFeather.

GIV presented the video screening Shadow Stories presenting work by :  Anastasia Ferguson, Cheryl Pagurek, claRa apaRicio yoldi, Johanne Wort, Julia Barco, Kim Kölle Valentine, Kristin Li, Lamathilde, Sabrina Ratté et Sandra Araujo.

Performances by Monica Rekas root work (work that root), and Johnny Forever and Gambletron, SPAM: Social Media Funhouse with Radio Transmission, were presented at Oboro.

The evening concluded with a performance by electro industrial artist Kara Keith (UN).


Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th were dedicated to the conference Terms of privacy: Intimacies, exposures, and exceptions organized by the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF) at McGill University. These two days were an opportunity to discuss the complex issue of privacy in a contemporary era characterized by intimate exposure, through the presentation of projects of twenty emerging researchers, and two keynotes by professor Beth Coleman of the University of Waterloo, author of Hello Avatar (MIT Press, 2011) and contemporary artist Amalia Ulman.

Friday night, a vernissage for the exhibition Stubborn objects: counter-surveillance in a post-human landscape at Feminist Media Studio Friday featured the work of artists Janina Anderson, Remina Greenfield, Joana Moll, Karla Tobar Abarca, Maria Koblyakova and Natalia Alfutov. The exhibition was paired with a round table where the artists in this exhibit articulated counter-surveillance strategies in a dispersed post-human landscape, one where the very boundaries of space delimit the terms of the private and the public, licit and illicit, visible and invisible, and insider/outsider.


Wandering around Mile-End on Saturday November 5  with her scanner / suitcase, artist Karla Tobar Abarca invited us to take  part in this intimate but public action-intervention with her <scanner-pack> project.

Saturday night, La Centrale hosted Andrea Liu and her performance Visitor One Thru Eight which unpacked what are the conditions and ideologies that underlie spectatorship.

Finally, the exhibition Future Memories presented by Articule had a discovering the work of four artists: Ambivalently Yours, Sophia Borowska, Zeesy Powers and Zinnia Naqvi, whose works reflect on technology as a narrative space that is also a sharing space.
FemHack offered two practical workshops at Studio 303, Cryptodance and FemCrypt, which introduced participants to the concept of encryption in a general way, and also to the specifics of encryption for email, internet navigation and chat. Two workshops that proved to be more than essential within the current context!

To rediscover all the highlights of the festival, visit the Matricules Archives or



The 12th edition of HTMlles was also the occasion to launch the website What drives us?, an on-line publication the result of an international inquiry into festival sustainablity. The project was initiated during the 11th edition of HTMlles : ZERO FUTUR[E].

The HTMlles festival is also an opportunity to celebrate artist-run centres in Montreal, and the committed professionalism of cultural workers who help to produce and diffuse the work of local, national and international artists.

The HTMlles is a non-profit festival with limited resources, counting on the personal commitment of the participating artists, to enable the presentation of  high-quality, high-impact programming highlighting the vitality and diversity of feminist artistic practices. Studio XX and The HTMlles warmly thank the artists, researchers, partners, interns, volunteers, freelancers, donors and sponsors who contributed to the success of the festival.



Studio XX – the feminist media artist-run center organizers of HTMlles – invite you to continue taking part in our regular activities: roundtables,  exhibitions, performances, workshops, artist residencies, etc…. and be on the lookout for the 2018 HTMlles theme! The Studio XX programming committe will start reflecting on that after a well-deserved break. The call for projects for HTMlles 13 will be launched in June 2017 for the 2018 edition. You have been notified!

Our proposals, our visions of the world and questions, are more critical than ever because we all need to take a critical look at our societies, reveal the injustices and stimulate new reflections.

We are in an era marked by a return to reactionary conservatism, which calls into question the rights of women and, more generally, marginalized communities. So it is more important than ever to support and diffuse our feminist voices and practices as we engage with the complex challenges of our times.

Studio XX was created in 1996 to combat the gender binary in the media arts by encouraging artists who define as women, transgender and dissenters to become a creative force, not mere spectators, and while advances have taken place over the last 20 years, the emergence of new technologies (ie, virtual reality, games, etc) as well as new practices on the web, continue reveal the persistence, even a reinforcement,  of a gender gap. It is still essential to create spaces where our voices and practices can be seen and heard, where we adapt these new tools in order to redefine their uses so that we contribute in the development of a fundamental openness.