Hingeliblikas (from Estonian: a person’s soul in the shape of a butterfly) is an audio-visual work inspired by Estonian mythology, transhumanism and dystopian societies. Due to its historical context, several stories and symbols from Estonia share similarities with Finnish mythology, itself resembling Greek mythology. The work contains five parts, three of which are main, each associated with a space: Chapter I: Hiis – Sacred Place, Chapter II: Toonela – Land of the Dead and Chapter III: Non-lieu. The whole is framed by a Prologue and an Epilogue. The spectator navigates from one place to another following the path of an entity that just died and whose soul is in the shape of a butterfly (hingeliblikas).
In the same way as ancestral tales, the narrative framework and its context are set up as a critical tool towards the contemporary world. Indeed, the work places the current era as a distant past. Thus, we symbolically explore the possible repercussions of the capitalist world which exploits our natural environment for the benefit of infinite growth. One of the dangers of this artificial development is the construction of a world of monumental proportions that exceeds the human scale, where society develops for machines and not for humans. Hingeliblikas is set in a dystopian world succeeding the extension of the present, where the acceleration of capitalism is inevitable, eventually causing the total collapse of society, leaving memories and melancholy.
Hingeliblikas is a first collaboration between Francis St-Germain and Valaquia Studio. Francis St-Germain is a Montreal-based composer, saxophonist and sound artist. Through his artistic practice, he explores the subjects of transcendence and determinism in contemporary society. Adapting his creative medium to the conceptual needs, he is active in several artistic spheres, mainly navigating between music, poetry and performance art.
His recent work as a sound artist addresses dystopian societies, as well as the feelings of urgency and necessity by combining instrumental, acousmatic and algorithmic composition, improvisation and nostalgic found objects. His music has been performed in Canada, Estonia, Sweden, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
He will receive a Master of Music degree in Contemporary Performance and Composition (CoPeCo) from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg in 2023 under the direction of Alexander Schubert and Fredrik Schwenk. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Mixed Composition from the Université de Montréal where he studied with Pierre Michaud and Ana Sokolović.
Valaquia Studio is a Colombian-Canadian artistic duo formed by multidisciplinary artist Laura Criollo-Carrillo and photographer Carlos Riobo. Currently, the studio is based in Montreal, Canada.
Their expertise ranges from photography to art direction. Exploring the encounters between fiction and reality, they aim to create a unique narrative. Influenced by Latin American literature, gothic and metal music, and fashion as art, Valaquia Studio uses light, matter, and subjects to craft evocative and poetic compositions that question how we see and represent the world. Due to their multidisciplinary background, their work has gradually evolved from still life photography to fine art, portraits and fashion editorials. In 2022, Valaquia Studio won the Applied Arts Awards in the photography gallery category with the Patterns series; the same year, they self-published their first zine entitled Translucide.