by Jacques Doyon
Ciel variable is twenty years old! Over the years, the magazine has undergone several metamorphoses in order to better reflect the evolution in photographic practice, the broadening of its field of application, its recognition by the art world, and changes in its institutional environment.
As the only bilingual photography magazine in the country, Ciel variable has made a significant contribution to the dissemination of photographic works and media imagery practices.
To mark our anniversary, this issue includes a visual essay on the development of the magazine over the years. And we are looking forward with a complete redesign. Louis-Charles Lasnier and Mathieu Cournoyer have used their skill and enthusiasm to rethink the graphic grid, and so we are clearly reaffirming our focus and paving the way to our future. Now published three times a year, Ciel variable offers you more content, including translation of the feature essays, interviews related to current issues, and in-depth articles grouped in a section called “Focus.” The presentation of major portfolios of recent works, accompanied by essays by specialists in the field, and the exploration of thematic issues will continue to be the core of the magazine.
This issue is devoted to cultural tourism. Examining political and cultural constructions such as the Venice Biennale, as well as sites and institutions that now enjoy the status of monument, the works presented here address different aspects of the cultural world in its position as a component of the tourism industry, and they offer new perspectives on what has become a global phenomenon.
Portfolios by Antoni Muntadas, Jana Sterbak, and Jessica Auer are accompanied by essays by Reesa Greenberg, Alain Laframboise, and Michelle Kasprzak. In the works in On Translation, Muntadas aims to uncover the unspoken aspects of cultural and media manifestations. The I Giardini section reveals the issues in national representation inherent to the Venice Biennale and shows the similarities between this major cultural event and mass tourist consumerism. In her recent works, Sterbak positions herself counter to the tourist cliché. She provides a view of Venice from ground level – through the hectic routes taken by a dog bearing multiple cameras – an angle that forces a new and different gaze and overturns the notion of déjà vu in the Floating City. Auer revisits the major sites of world tourism, producing images that condense popular tourist snapshots of each site. It might be said that tourists try to find, at these sites, the image that they already know; Auer elevates this refound image to the status of art.
Also in the magazine, in the new Voices section, is Jean-François Bélisle’s interview with the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, who comments on works currently on display at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. For the new Focus section, Sylvie Parent has contributed a second essay on the presence and artistic use of photography on the Web, this time in relation to cartography and localization. Finally, in a first visual essay dedicated to the history of the magazine, we highlight the contribution of all artists and authors who have collaborated to the magazine over the years. We hope that you like the new Ciel variable!
Translated by Käthe Roth