PHI Centre reopens its doors, creates pathways of innovation

All images provided by PHI Centre.

PHI Centre, a multidisciplinary arts and culture organization located in the Old Port of Montreal, is a testament to the fact that Montreal’s arts and culture scene is still alive and well despite COVID-induced closures. 

Highlighting the intersection between technology and art, PHI Centre has seized COVID-19 as an opportunity to develop its vision in light of the local community’s hunger for art consumption as we re-emerge from isolation. Visitors will be able to rediscover their curiosity and immerse themselves in a unique, introspective experience blending the boundaries of art, music, and film.

The Bull & Bear sat down with PHI’s chief of Public Relations, Myriam Achard, to learn about some of the exciting new ideas PHI has to offer.

Achard explained that one of the most striking features of PHI is how their curators marry expressive artistic expression and cutting-edge mediums. Whether it be their PHI VR TO GO experience or the newly released Three Movements exhibit, each showcase is a creative combination of exciting new technologies—providing viewers with a novel experience that is undeniably thought-provoking.

One of the most striking features of PHI is how their curators marry expressive artistic expression and cutting-edge mediums.

Brought to life by the acclaimed filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the CARNE y ARENA exhibit is a powerful and moving glimpse into the life of immigrants and refugees. CARNE y ARENA invites the viewer to experience the toils and journeys of Mexican migrants crossing the American border first hand. Achard described the exhibit as a highly emotional, eye-opening journey unlike any other, saying,“Bringing Iñárritu to Montreal is a huge achievement and is not just the product of my persistent effort: the entire team has been pushing for this piece for a long time now.”

Three Movements is another exciting project at PHI that pushes the envelope for future generations of art consumption. The exhibit consists of 12 constituent pieces which blend traditional art forms with interactive components, such as magic glasses. Of those 12 pieces, Achard highlighted Breathe, an acclaimed piece presented at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020.

For those seeking an intimate yet socially-distanced experience, the PHI Centre has you covered as well. Initially, VR TO GO was an adaptive measure taken to satiate locked-down Montrealers searching for inspiration from the confines of their home. The overwhelmingly positive response prompted PHI to keep the program running alongside its re-opened physical exhibits. VR TO GO allows individuals to rent a VR headset that can either be delivered to your door or picked up directly from PHI Centre. Programmed into the headset will be one of two curated selections of films that participants can lose themselves in for approximately 48 hours. The first selection allows viewers to explore their world from unique vantage points, while the second immerses viewers in vivid worlds of imagination produced by Atlas V.

PHI has also taken large steps to keep patrons safe during this pandemic. In addition to making masks mandatory for all visitors, PHI Centre has harmonized their timed ticketing system with the layout of their exhibits to ensure that overcrowding is not an issue and that patrons can enjoy the art safely distanced from one another. Furthermore, all used equipment is placed in a “clean box” which kills bacteria using UV rays, and then carefully sanitized to prevent any potential contamination.

Achard called on students, in particular, to discover these newly reopened PHI exhibitions to broaden their horizons, consuming relevant social themes through the fun lens of virtual reality. 

As of February 24, the gallery is now reopened for both in-person and remote viewing from the comfort of your home. Tickets and more information for all mentioned exhibits can be found on their website.

This article has been published as part of a sponsorship agreement between the Bull & Bear and PHI Centre.

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