The history of collectif bus123
The collectif bus123, a multigenerational, multi-lingual and multimedia artist collective, was formed in Montreal in 1991 to create the multidisciplinary piece BUS 123. The piece was presented a year later as part of the fringe Festival of Independant Dance Artists (fFIDA) in Toronto (Canada). Twenty years later, many of the original performers joined forces once again to delve back into the original ideas and create a new piece working from new collaborative improvisations, adressing the incredible technological and societal changes due to the Internet.
The result of that research was Babelle et Barbarie (B+B), a full multimedia theatrical piece presented at the Winchester St. Theatre in Toronto in the fall of 2015. The collective followed it up with the third phase of this project. We broke up the full theatrical piece into a series of interactive interior and exterior site-specific performances that engage and include the community. The series draws from theatre and multimedia to examine the relationship between language, culture and communication.
It’s titled Babel-o-drome (BBL), a mad race towards a world emptied of meaning. It was presented in Wychwood Barns Park in Toronto in June and July 2018, as part of the Phénomena festival in October 2018 in Montréal and in the form of excerpts during Culture Days 2018. Following pandemic health and safety measures, the collective turned to online shows. Babel-o-drome NUGEN 1 and 2 were born, videos for the digital screens with a filmic aesthetic. They were broadcast in Toronto at the virtual Fringe 2020, as well as at the Journées de la Culture 2020 and at the Videoformes festival 2021 (France).
The collective is presenting its new piece POST-HUMANUM, the online version. It's a lo-fi take on a hi-tech world. A raucous funhouse where humans, robotics and artificial intelligence merge in performance anarchy.
The members of the collective, based primarily in Toronto, form an eclectic group of artists with professional careers in their respective fields of theatre, video, music, dance and song. They also pursue their own multidisciplinary artistic research. The look of Babelle et Barbarie (B+B), Babel-o-drome (BBL) and Post-Humanum is the reflection of their collaboration within the collective.