EX MACHINA

EX MACHINA

Metissages

A Musée de la civilisation de Québec exhibition under the supervision of Robert Lepage.
From May 3, 2000 to September 3, 2001

I never thought I’d travel the world to the point where I’d be able to wallpaper an exhibition hall with boarding passes. Initially then, it was as a privileged witness to the phenomenon of cultural globalization that I agreed to embark on this adventure. To my great surprise, the topic of metissage, mixing, or crossbreeding was to lead me far beyond cultural considerations toward an understanding of this phenomenon as involved in the very fibre of our identity. All my travels, my far-away projects, every attempt to flee my origins finally brought me back to the place I started, now transformed but still itself. This very tug of war between the notion of authenticity and our invented notion of purity is what exhibition is all about.
Robert Lepage

The interbreeding process is almost always imperceptible. To trace its outline, we need to set it against the notion of purity or in any case our own vision of purity. The intent of the exhibition is precisely to confront each audience member with the fact that purity as such does not exist, that each of us is a half-breed, a place where powers meet, forces of fusion and other perhaps salutary forces seeking to dislocate and break apart. And if cross-breed, half-breed, mongrel, and miscegenation all have pejorative connotations, the exhibition designers have sought to twist that perception, to create a sense of unbalance in the audience in which curiosity can grow and draw them into an odyssey that, as it did for Ulysses, will become a search for self.

Through works of art, artefacts, documents, iconography, and multimedia, the experience of Metissages is suggestive of impressions rather than opinions. Robert Lepage and his collaborators adopt a poetic approach to subjects like cultural identity, racism, transgenesis, and xenotransplantation. They usher us into a place where art, philosophy, and science meet, and stage design and installation conspire with museology.

Metissages was part of a virtual exhibition www.mumi.org created by 12 museum institutions throughout the world.