Every year, Fonderie Darling physically invests in Place Publique by installing a site-specific work. This year, guest curator Laurie Cotton Pigeon presents D.o.t.T.D. (Dance of the Techno-Demon) by the Montreal artist duo Anna Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe. The work is a performative installation that includes an augmented-reality experience. Though it looks like an ordinary hot dog stand, the work encourages the public to have nothing short of a first-hand experience with the clairvoyant spirit of vegetarian sausages! Combining humour and philosophical reflection, the artists question our consumer habits and relationship to technologies through an artificial intelligence (AI) that predicts the future.
D.o.t.T.D. extends the issues raised in the performance series Allegorical Circuits for Human Software of the 13th edition of Place Publique, asking us to reconsider, through ingestion and sensory stimulation, the relationship we have to our bodies. Disguised as street vendors throughout the season, the artists ask us to turn the AI of this consumerist fast-food fetish into a divination tool. Unable to resist, the epicurean will receive the steaming, divinatory hot dog from the artists’ hands, which will have the potential to transform into a powerful divination tool. When the hot dog is placed in front of a smartphone or tablet, the sausage’s AI genie is set free. Therefore, it is the device that allows viewers to generate digital information and activate the work. The work’s entire experiential scope results from the interplay between viewers and their participation levels.
From ordinary object to technology that predicts the future, the work recalls that “the medium is the message,” the famous phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan believed that technology also shapes humans despite the fact that we are the ones who create it. From popular imagery to mystical fantasy, the “hallucinatory” experience of D.o.t.T.D. reminds us to question the role of the digital and the blind trust we put in technological progress. An accessory of transformation or a lure—like a significant gap connecting us to our own humanity—the sausage’s spirit asks us whether we concede our individual and collective consciousness to technologies through how we use them. Or whether our consumption of technology blinds us.
Wishing to extend the experience of the site-specific work, the artists will also present a web version of D.o.t.T.D, which the public can consult from the comfort of their homes. The sausage’s divinatory spirit will be rendered in the guise of a generative work. To know their destiny, Internet users will need to upload a JPEG image of a hot dog to the website.
 The work’s title is a direct reference to Bronislaw Szerszynski’s discussion of “techno-demonology” (2006).
 Augmented reality differs from virtual reality in that it is not entirely synthetic. This technology works by augmenting the natural perception of an environment by superposing 2D or 3D digital components on the real-world environment.
The collaborative practice of artists Anna Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe is based on an investigation of the web environments and computer-generated worlds associated with video games and immersive technologies. Combining digital art and sculpture, their interdisciplinary approach is inspired by the similarities and correspondences that can be made between simulated realities and real life. Interested in how digital objects influence daily life and how the technological imaginary is expressed, they explore their communicational and relational potential by appropriating the language of computer programs. In recent years, the duo has participated in local and international residencies such as the artist-run centre Verticale (Laval, 2018) and Bòlit: Centre d’Art Contemporani (Catalonia, 2019). Most recently, their work was presented at Galerie AVE (Montreal, 2019), Re-Envision Film Festival (UK, 2019), and Artist Project (Toronto, 2020).
Anna Eyler is currently an MFA candidate at Concordia University. A multidisciplinary artist (digital art, sculpture, and performance), her artistic research focuses on the digital environment and its impact on the experience of the natural world. Combining sculpture and 3D modelling, her work explores the materiality of binary code and the connections between them and the real world. She has received several awards for the excellence of her academic and artistic research, including the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2017), the Desjardins Academic Scholarship (2018), and the Emerging Digital Artists Award (2018). She has also been the coordinator for the Textile & Materiality Research Cluster at Concordia University since 2017.
Nicolas Lapointe is a multidisciplinary artist (sculpture, digital arts and installation) who is currently completing a Master of Fine Arts at Concordia University. His research interests focus on the inscription of the spiritual and the anthropomorphic in contemporary technologies. Drawing on the symbolic nature of computer and scientific language, her artistic practice relates the reciprocal links between artificial and natural objects. He is the recipient of the FQRSC graduate scholarship as well as the Dale and Nick Tedeschi Studio Arts scholarship.
Laurie Cotton Pigeon