Designed as an immersive audiovisual installation, the project consists of twenty ­four transparent projection screens. The unique interpretation of each spectator and the manipulation of spatial perception are the primary axis guiding the environment. In a dark room, various screens alight, flicker, and interact with the public to generate a narrative composed of familiar places and symbols that are at once being constructed and deconstructed. In this space, spectators will explore a universe woven of memories and recollections associated to the corn symbols.

For over 5000 years, man has cultivated and consumed corn. This food has nourished entire civilizations in America and, in comparison to rice and wheat, is currently the most widely consumed grain worldwide. Throughout this time, corn has also left an impression on our collective subconscious. By elaborating upon the various representations and symbols associated to this plant, Chantre has created an evocative, sensory, and abstract vehicle.

The numerous and diverse aspects of corn have inspired Manuel Chantre to create this evocative installation. The piece is made up of three parts inspired by three distinct discourses on corn. The first part is about corn and its relation to pop culture, fairs, movie theatres and summer gatherings. The second section is related to corn as a plant and as an agricultural object. The last part is related to corn as a modified and transformed plant studied by humans for thousands of years.

­ – Videopool, solo exhibition, Winnipeg (CA), 2012
­ – Society for Arts and Technology, Journées de la culture, Montreal (CA), 2009

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Society for Arts and Technology, Journées de la culture, Montreal (CA), 2009. Photo: Stéphanie Chantre

Dispergere Maiz unfolds as a non­linear narrative wherein each spectator experiences a different story. By using symbols, icons, and historical landmarks gathered from our collective subconscious, the spectator’s personal associations to corn will be brought to life.

The viewer, once subjected to an abundance of the various cultural representations of corn, will recall their respective experiences and intimate memories. As the performance unfolds, the narrative will take shape. For one, impressions and emotions related to a past experience may bring forth memories of corn as it was found in places such as the cinema or a local fair, thereby evoking concentrated, momentary recollections. The Latin word dispergere signifies “to scatter about; to disperse”. This word brings to mind the concepts of dispersion, dissemination, dissociation, and relocation. These themes are the primary research focus of the project and the fragmentation of related imagery will construct and re­create this immersive space.

Chantre also intends to explore the unique sensory and spatial dimensions of his installation. Due to the configuration, juxtaposition and superposition of screens in this three dimensional environment, new spatial and narrative possibilities will be discovered. By experimenting with various social and psychological parameters, one’s perception of space, distance, height and balance can be altered.

Society for Arts and Technology, Journées de la culture, Montreal (CA), 2009. Photo: Stéphanie Chantre

Society for Arts and Technology, Journées de la culture, Montreal (CA), 2009. Photo : Manuel Chantre

Society for Arts and Technology, Journées de la culture, Montreal (CA), 2009. Photo : Manuel Chantre

Created in 2009

Technique: 24 polyester projection screen, aluminium pipes, polyester ropes, 4 to 6 speakers, 1 to 2 subwoofers, 4 video projectors, computer, multimedia software, infrared camera and infrared light.

Dimensions: 900 x 900 x 244 cm (configuration A), 900 x 1350 x 244 cm (configuration B)


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Press and documentation :
Mention, Syneme, Memorsion and Dispergere Maiz, Calgary (CA)
Audio interview, CKRL, La croche oreille, Québec (CA), 2013
Article, Communication and Aesthetics Theories Conference, Marshall McLuhan and Vilém Flusser, Dispergere Maiz, Winnipeg (CA), 2012
Article, Uptownmag, Steven Leyden Cochrane, Winnipeg (CA), 2012
Article, Rhetorical analysis, Philippe Morin, Montreal (CA), 2010
Article, Le lien Multimédia, « L’artiste Manuel Chantre s’installe dans le blé d’inde », Charles Prémont, Montreal (CA), 2009
Mention, Elektramontreal Blog, Mathilde, Dispergere Maiz (Web), 2009

Video, music, interactivity and design: Manuel Chantre / Dressmaker : Nicole Cantin / Material consultant: Isabelle Kaliaguine and Louis­-Philippe St­-Arnault / Interactivity consultant: Pascal Boucher and Mike Wozniewski / Software and hardware consultant: Philippe Chevry / Device design consultant: Sébastien Dallaire / Communication: Martin Lapointe / Software consultant: Simon Piette / Video contribution: Francis Pineau / Photo: Stéphanie Chantre / Video assistant: Tomas Furey / Acknowledgement : Monique Savoie, Joseph Lefèvre

Dispergere Maiz has been made possible by the Vivacité Montréal program in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal, the Foundation of Greater Montreal, le ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles, le ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, le Conseil des arts de Montréal and Forum jeunesse de l’Île de Montréal.

The project “ Dispergere Maiz” profited from a residence of research and creation at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT).

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