in præsentia/in absentia

Curator: Émilie Serri 

On March 20 and 21, 2019 at 7 pm

Press release

The International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) and MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image are pleased to announce the creation of a program promoting emerging curatorial and artistic practices.

Montréal, 26 November 2018 ― On the occasion of the 37th edition of The International Festival of Films on Art ― taking place from 19 to 31 March 2019 ― the festival dedicates part of its programming to the presentation of a selection of video art focusing on emerging practices. Designed by a curator of the vanguard, the program consists of works by artists with a young practice. Led jointly by FIFA and MOMENTA, this new initiative aims to promote artisticand curatorial experimentation. The program underlines the commitment of the two organizations to the professionalization of curatorial and artistic output of the next generation in video art.

Montreal art centre Dazibao joins FIFA and MOMENTA for the presentation of this first edition. The Commission was assigned to the Montreal filmmaker and artist of Belgian-Syrian origin Émilie Serri. Entitled in præsentia/in absentia, it offers a selection of videos and short films related to the subjects of incarnation and disembodiment of the body through the digital environment. Having radically altered our perceptions of reality, the virtual dimension offers the possibility of being free from body limits and constraints. Serri is interested in the return of the body in the digital age as an interface between the material world and the virtual world. With in præsentia/in absentia, the curator brings together 11 artists from Montréal and Toronto who, in their own way, allow us to consider simultaneous presences and absences.

Arash Akhganoushahpour, Parastoo Anoushahpour and Ryan Ferko | Freya Björg Olafson | Francisco Gonzalez Rosas | MOTEL HÉLÈNE (Frédérique Laliberté and Philippe Lauzier) | Laïla Mestari | Zinnia Naqvi | Robin Pineda Gould


Émilie Serri is a filmmaker, artist and composer. Her recent work focuses on the performative potential of archive material (images found on the Web, family films, institutional documents, etc.) and on cinematic spaces that enable them to be activated. As a graduate of Concordia University in cinema, she has recently completed a Master's degree in visual and media arts at UQAM. Distributed by the experimental film company Light Cone in Paris, her films have been showcased in numerous festivals, both on national and international scenes. More recently, her video installations have been shown in several exhibition centres and contemporary art galleries in Québec and across Canada. In 2018, she won the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in contemporary art and the Talents grant for Telefilm Canada for the production of her first feature film.


The International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) is dedicated to the international promotion and distribution of films on art and media arts. For over three decades, it has presented an annual event in March, which allows discovery of the latest documentaries on art, in addition to a selection of interactive works and a selection of virtual reality and interactive works. With its various activities, FIFA is committed to increasing the knowledge and appreciation of art among the public, promoting the work of artists in the fields of cinema, video and visual arts, and also encouraging the production and diffusion of art films.


MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image is an international event that explores the contemporary image with a focus on the vast range of photographic and videographic languages. Founded in 1989 as Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal to mark the 150th anniversary of photography, the organization was renamed MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image in 2017, on the occasion of its 15th edition. The plural of the Latin word momentum, the name MOMENTA was chosen as a nod to the “decisive moment,” a key notion of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s, and to the photograph, which constitutes the organization’s founding medium. It also underlines the fact that the biennale, once centered essentially on the field of photography, now encompasses all image-based practices, in an era when they are being produced in different media, at various places, and in constant transformation.


Dazibao is an art centre dedicated to the dissemination of contemporary image practices, privileging artistic experimentation and reflection. Dazibao’s reflections on the image are conveyed by way of exhibitions, video programs, films, public artworks, books and occasional events. Founded in 1980, Dazibao promotes cultural diversity and hybridisation so that art can assert itself as a field of knowledge capable of facilitating a better understanding of the world around us. Dazibao contributes to the professional advancement of artists and participates proactively in the ecosystem of the cultural milieu.


Dazibao receives financial support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the Ville de Montréal.