Live music to start the day? Yes please!

Creative Mornings/Montréal is introducing live music to open the event. Come early to enjoy some good coffee, mingle with other creative souls while discovering new musicians. We were very happy to have Mahogany Fox kick-start the first Creative Mornings of the year!

Mahogany Fox, with members Michal Michalik and Jessica Royea, formed as a result of a somewhat unlikely success story. Jessica, having been out of the music scene for a few years taking care of her newborn son, placed a message into the modern day cosmos of the Internet in search of a guitar player. Michal answered. Having recently moved from Vancouver, B.C., he was in pursuit of a musical career in Montreal. Sparks of chemistry flew when they met! Now, a year and a half later, the two are expanding from a cover band to writing their own songs in their new band yourself w/ yourself (ywy).

Their inspiration comes from within the range of doo-wop to progressive rock, with the aim to create songs with a classic sound blended with variations from modern electronic music. You can follow Michal and Jessica on this journey by liking their Facebook page where you’ll also find links to their website and email.


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Text by: Sophia Kapchinsky

Savoir prendre le temps

Le temps est certes une denrée rare. Dans une ère où nos agendas sont réglés au quart de tour, prendre le temps d’assister à un événement CreativeMornings est presque une hérésie. Pourtant, comme nous l’ont rappelé les trois représentants de La Tank lors de la conférence du 18 décembre dernier, il faut savoir savourer le temps qui passe pour être créatif.  

Pour clore l’année en beauté, CreativeMornings nous a proposé une réflexion sur le temps. Les conférenciers invités étaient trois représentants du groupe La Tank, un regroupement de créatifs un peu fous qui s’investissent dans un nouveau projet à chaque mois. Ces projets sont assez variés, allant de la création d’une trousse de survie hivernale à la conceptualisation d’une pub vidéo, mais naissent tous du même désir de profiter du temps pour en apprendre toujours davantage.

La démarche de La Tank peut sembler improductive à première vue. En effet, pourquoi abandonner un projet une fois qu’il est maîtrisé? Jakub Szrodt, cofondateur de La Tank, admet même que plusieurs lui ont demandé de commercialiser ses produits tellement ils étaient bien reçus. Cela irait à l’encontre de la démarche, croit Justine Foucher, l’une des trois conférencières.

 « La répétition tue la créativité », affirme la jeune femme. « Nous sommes peut-être experts en rien, mais on apprend continuellement en sortant de notre zone de confort mois après mois. Sauter dans le vide nous force à vivre pleinement le moment présent. »

Alors pour avoir une année 2016 riche en créativité, Sylvie Lauture, troisième représentante de La Tank, nous invite à « prendre le pouls de la vie, à danser au fil des secondes, rire au rythme des minutes et savourer le temps, tout simplement ».

Vous pouvez lire le bilan 2015 de Sylvie sur le site de La Tank.

Rédaction : Mathieu Mireault

Voyelles Films : l’art d’agir

Derrière chaque film se cache une histoire. C’est donc un gros plan sur ce qui se passe derrière la caméra que nous ont offert Ménaïc Raoul et Gabrielle Tougas-Fréchette vendredi passé, à la conférence des CreativeMornings/Montréal, dont le thème était ACTION. Lors de cette présentation parsemée de fous rires, ces deux productrices, qui ont fondé la maison de production Voyelles Films, ont expliqué comment elles sont passées de travailler sur un film avec des Hot Paws dans leur soutien-gorge dans le Nord du Québec au luxueux tapis rouge de Cannes.

« Avant de pouvoir crier “Action!” sur un plateau de tournage, il faut de nombreuses heures de préparation », admettent d’emblée les deux conférencières. Pour rendre ce travail ingrat plus agréable, il faut d’bord savoir bien s’entourer. Au-delà de la qualité du scénario ou des acteurs, avoir une bonne équipe qui éprouve du plaisir à travailler ensemble peut faire la différence entre un bon film et un mauvais film. Les productrices en parlent par expérience. Elles ont même mis au défi l’auditoire, à la blague, de regarder leurs films pour découvrir lesquels n’avaient pas pu compter sur un aussi bon travail d’équipe.  C’est dans cette même logique que Ménaïc et Gabrielle ont fondé Voyelles Films. L’une plus analytique, l’autre plus rêveuse, les deux ont rapidement compris qu’on avançait plus rapidement en groupe lorsque celui-ci est complémentaire. Et en plus, c’est beaucoup plus amusant. « Nous sommes toujours en train de travailler », raconte candidement Ménaïc. « Notre vrai salaire, c’est les fous rires que nous avons ensemble. »

C’est donc le plaisir et la liberté qu’elles retrouvent dans leur travail – les deux productrices choisissent de produire uniquement des films qu’elles adorent – et c’est sur quoi repose leur succès. Une formule à laquelle elles ne comptent pas déroger de sitôt. En effet, malgré leurs nombreuses nominations pour leurs courts métrages, ici comme à Cannes, Ménaïc et Gabrielle admettent que si elles avaient à choisir le tapis rouge de Cannes ou un tournage dans le Grand Nord entre amis, elles choisiraient sans hésiter les Hot Paws!

Voici la bande-annonce du premier long métrage produit par Voyelles Films, Le coeur de Madame Sabali :


“They always say time changes things, but actually you have to change them yourself.”
~Andy Warhol

As usual, this month’s global CreativeMornings theme is a thought-provoking one. REVOLUTION can be a powerful or heroic word that may initially evoke thoughts of rebellion and militant movements from the past. 

Hopefully for most of us, the word has evolved to represent CHANGE minus the violence. Despite the fact that we often fear change and associate it with negative results, it’s the only constant in life (and I’m convinced that change is almost always a good thing). I also think it’s safe to say that most of us feel passionate about something that we feel needs to change, evolve, or improve.

I’ve done a great deal of reflecting about my own personal revolution(s) this month. That led me to wonder what some of our past speakers and MTLCM members would say about their personal revolutions or the causes that they strongly support. So I simply asked them the question.

So… what’s your personal revolution?

— Stefano Di Lollo is a designer and CreativeMornings/Montréal's Art Director


Justin Kingsley is a freelance Creative Strategist. He spoke about #HUMILITY at CreativeMornings/Montréal in April 2015.


Laurence Nerbonne is a painter and a signer-songwriter. She spoke about #UGLY at CreativeMornings/Montréal in January 2015.


Jonathan Bélisle is an interactions poet, partner at SAGA and creator of Wuxia the Fox. He spoke about #CHANCE at CreativeMornings/Montréal in November 2014.


Heidi Taillefer is a painter. She spoke about #COLOR at CreativeMornings/Montréal in September 2014.


Louis-Félix Binette is the owner and co-founder of f. & co. He is host of CreativeMornings/Montréal since February 2015.


Steve Bissonnette is Managing Partner at Plank. He was host of CreativeMornings/Montréal from May 2013 to February 2015.

Par Jessica Beauplat

En attendant le jour où un robot viendra me porter un verre de limonade sur le bord de la piscine durant une journée de canicule, je me suis entretenu avec Ilian Bonev, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en robotique de précision. Il est également fondateur du Parallel Mechanisms Information Center (ParalleMIC) et responsable du Laboratoire de commande et de robotique (CoRo) de l’École de technologie supérieure (ETS) où il enseigne.

On a souvent cette image de robot un peu enfantine dans notre tête. Dans la vie de tous les jours où peut-on retrouver des robots?

Évidemment que le terme robot est très vaste, surtout quand il est utilisé dans les journaux et magazines grand publique. Parfois il y a des articles pour la maison qui sont étiquetés comme étant des robots et ça ne l’est pas.

Dans la vie de tous les jours on retrouve bien sûr les aspirateurs iRobot qui sont largement utilisés. Pour ce qui est des robots humains, je peux vous le dire tout de suite il n’y en a pas.

J’ai eu la chance de voir un vrai robot humanoïde, ça coute très cher 800 000$! Il n’était pas très intelligent mais au moins il pouvait marcher.

Il y a notamment une compagnie Française qui a été acheté par une compagnie Japonaise, qui fabrique un petit robot humanoïd, ayant une vocation éducationnelle. Celui-là est plus abordable et coûte aux environs de 6000$. C’est un très beau jouet qu’on peu programmer.

Un robot qui s’en vient et qui est très intéressant, a été fait par un professeur du MIT. Il est un peu comme  Siri mais en version plus intelligente. Il a une tête qui tourne avec un écran. Les robots industriels, C’est vraiment ce qui est en train d’exploser en ce moment, surtout à cause de la Chine. On en fabrique environ 130 000 par année. Cet engouement est dû en partie à la main d’œuvre qui est de plus en plus cher, et les robots qui sont de moins en moins cher.

La nouvelle tendance est d’ailleurs aux robots collaboratifs. Ils sont presque aussi performants que les robots industriels mais leur grand avantage est qu’on peut se tenir à côté de ce robot. En effet, dans le cas du robot industriel, il n’a pas de capteur pour percevoir les gens. S’il nous frappe c’est assez puissant, il faut donc les mettre en cage et du même coup automatisé tout le procédé. À ce moment le coût du système informatique est plus important que le robot lui-même.
 

Tandis que pour les robots collaboratifs, on peut les mettre n’importe où. Bon en suivant la logique, pas de couteau dans la main du robot, pas de coin perçant, par exemple. Il peut aller chercher une pièce et le donner à un opérateur qui est à coté de lui ou tout simplement le mettre dans un bac. Les opérateurs n’ont pas à craindre de se retrouver en présence du robot.

Deux des robots collaboratifs du laboratoire. En rouge, le Baxter de Rethink Robotics et l’UR5 de la compagnie danoise Universal Robots.

Les robots collaboratifs sont à l’opposé des robots industriels. Toutefois ils ne peuvent pas soulever d’objets lourds. Par contre, ce qui est intéressant c’est qu’ils viennent avec des caméras, ils ont donc une vision, ils sont plus intelligents, et plus facile à programmer.

Comme cette catégorie est en plein essor en ce moment, il y a de plus en plus de compagnies qui se lancent dans la fabrication de robots. Quand j’enseignais il y a dix ans il y avait environ deux nouveaux modèles par année. Aujourd’hui je dois mettre à jour les informations pour mon cours beaucoup plus souvent. C’est incroyable de constater le nombre de nouveaux robots qui sortent sur le marché! C’est un domaine très dynamique

Même Google se lance là-dedans maintenant. Ils viennent d’engager un des spécialistes de la plus grosse compagnie en robotique, sans parler d’Amazon et pour ce qui est des drônes aussi ça explose. C’est quelque chose qu’on va voir de plus en plus. Le monde de la robotique a beaucoup évolué.

À L’ETS nous avons plusieurs types de robots, industriels, bras mécaniques, découpeuse laser, etc. En ce qui concerne les robots qu’on fabrique, c’est des robots parallèles. L’imprimante 3D par exemple est un type de robot parallèle.

Un des robots parallèles développé au laboratoire.

À l’école, on fait principalement cinq types de robots parallèles. Le rôle de l’université c’est de former des gens de l’industrie. Des fois on fait des trucs super utile des fois plus expérimentale. Il faut se permettre de pouvoir expérimenter.

PAPIER 15 preview at CreativeMornings Montréal

Valérie Kolakis “Box 1″ Donald Browne Gallery (Montreal)

by Rebecca West

Papier15 is an annual contemporary art fair based on Montreal, dedicated exclusively to the promotion of art on paper. We’re lucky to have a small preview of the exhibition at our upcoming CreativeMornings Montréal event this Friday, appropriately themed “Ink”, and conveniently located in the same Mile End building as the upcoming art fair.

Fair ambassador Bill Clarke explains their approach: “There is a wide range of work that can be made on paper – drawings, collage, small paintings, prints, abstract or figurative – and, for many artists, paper-based work is central to their practice.”  Produced by the Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC) and now in its 8th edition, we chatted with Simone Rochon, Communications Manager at the AGAC about the significance in 2015 of an art fair focused on paper works, and their connection to the broader Montreal creative community.

Sara Angelucci “Arboretum (Maple tree with Goldfinch)” Patrick Mikhail Gallery

With so many opportunities for artists to be working with digital and new media in 2015, why focus exclusively on paper artwork?

This special focus is what makes Papier so unique. We may at first think of paper as a more traditional medium, but it actually offers a huge range of possibilities to artists! Works on paper at the fair include drawing, print, photography, collage, sculpture, installation and even new media work. Jessica Bradley Gallery, for example, will be presenting an installation by Jon Sasaki, where confetti is slowly being dropped from a conveyer belt. Artist Valérie Kolakis, from Donald Browne Gallery, will be presenting a bronze sculpture that looks exactly like an old cardboard box. It’s a play on the way we perceive the medium of paper and on the preciousness we usually associate to a work of art.

Another reason behind this focus on the medium of paper is that prints, drawings and photographs, for example, are typically more affordable than a painting or a sculpture. This means that they are also a great way to start collecting! Having this focus is a good and simple way to convince visitors that contemporary art can be both accessible and affordable.


Jon Sasaki “A Machine To Release One Burst Of Confetti Gradually Over The Duration Of An Exhibition” 2011. Jessica Bradley Gallery (Toronto)

Has the Papier audience evolved since the fair’s launch 8 years ago? 

Since our first edition, we’ve seen our audience grow significantly from approximately 4,000 to 18,000 visitors. There are many different types of visitors at Papier… What’s great is that the event draws in people who wouldn’t necessarily visit art galleries, but who after discovering Papier become more curious about contemporary art. There’s a very friendly atmosphere at the fair and this is one of the reasons visitors come back year after year. Of course, Papier attracts an array of art enthusiasts, art students, art professionals, art patrons and collectors.

Yann Pocreau “Lumieres” 2015. Galerie Simon Blais

What was the impetus for the move to Mile End from the Quartier des spectacles?

Unfortunately, there is major construction planned on the vacant lot we occupied last year. It was impossible to predict when exactly the construction work would start… and far too risky to plan the fair knowing theses dates could change.

When we visited the Complexe de Gaspé, we were at once impressed and excited. The space is beautiful and the view is breathtaking. The size of the space offers huge potential – this translates into more space for visitors and larger booths for galleries.

The Gaspé hub is also home to six artist-run centres and hundreds of artists’ studios. In recent years, it has become a burgeoning venue for contemporary Canadian art, with the highest density of artists and cultural workers in the country.

Papier15′s new digs at Complexe de Gaspé in Mile End

What advice would you have for the first-time art buyer looking to start a collection?

First, do some research to narrow down and focus on what you really like. The more you see, the better! Visit galleries, exhibition centers, art fairs or museums and research artists online. 


Set a budget. If you are starting a collection, you might want to give preference to emerging artists whose works are often more affordable. Of course, works on paper, especially editions like prints and photographs, are always a good way to start on a modest budget. It’s also good to know that a lot of galleries offer payment plans. 


Don’t be afraid to ask questions and let the gallerist help you through the process. It’s their job to give you a history about the artist and information about his/her artistic practice.


Most importantly, don’t be intimidated! Trust your instincts and don’t underestimate an emotional connection you have to an artwork… a big part of buying art is selecting pieces you are naturally drawn to.

Papier Spokesperson Karine Vanasse at last year’s event. Credit: ARHphoto.

Is there anything special that we can look forward to at this year’s edition?

There are many new features to look forward to this year! We have a fantastic program of daily talks and tours with an impressive line up of guests and experts. Papier Projects, a new component of the fair, will showcase large-scale works, installations and site-specific works. We also have a new art video progam, which comprises of a dozen video works presented in a special screening room. All these activities are free.

Papier15 kicks off with a VIP benefit cocktail on Thursday April 23rd at 6 p.m. and opens to the public for free on Friday April 24th. For more info visit http://papiermontreal.com/ or buy your VIP tickets here.  

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                                       Photo by: Max Rosenstein

Meet Dave Arnold, the face behind Montreal signature signage

By: Sarah Mackenzie

You may know Dave as Mr. Sign – or at least you’ve already seen his work. Based in Montreal, Dave Arnold is a sign artist whose pieces are regularly painted on food trucks and restaurant window displays. A quick glance at his portfolio reveals that Mr. Sign has left his mark (literally) on many renown local eateries and establishments, including Joe Beef, Lawrence and the Grumman 78’ food truck – my personal favorite. Dave’s choice of playful yet simple bold lettering that is both nostalgic and contemporary is sure to grab a passerby’s attention. Given that Dave is the featured illustrator for this month’s climate theme and a past CreativeMornings/Ottawa speaker, it seemed befitting that we would sit down and ask him a few questions. Plus, we were curious. He seemed like quite a guy. Dave Arnold ladies and gentlemen, coming to a sign near you.

Word on the street is that Mr. Sign evolved as a result of door-to-door visits to local businesses attempting to sell hand-painted Santa Claus window displays. True or false? 

That is actually a common misconception about my origins. I’m not sure how that one got started. Truth be told, my Father and his Father before him were traditional sign painters. Even as a young lad, I’d see the two of them joking and laughing, and painting letters on windows and walls. Oh the fun we had! They both told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be in life, but that sign painting, as a career, was the easiest way to become rich and famous. They’re both alive and well to this day, and so rich it’s ridiculous. They both own their own island in the Caribbean, and fly there in their own private chopper.* (*helicopter)

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Your portfolio is impressive. You’ve collaborated with a lot of interesting Montreal establishments, including restaurants like Nora Gray and popular Mile End hangouts like Nouveau Palais. Where might I find Mr. Sign in the future?

More and more these days, I’m working in the field of ‘design.’ In the end, the designs are often executed as hand-painted signage, but the design process itself has become increasingly fascinating to me. I’m working this week with McDonald’s Canada on a complete re-brand of their logo and branding. Without giving too many details, I can tell you this: the ‘Golden Arches’ are going to have pointy tops soon, rather than curved. Stay tuned!

How do you go about creating a sign? Are you normally given artistic freedom or is the client heavily involved in the process?

If the client is smart, they just give me complete creative control, then sit back and watch the magic happen. Every now and again, a client is a total moron and wants to have some sort of creative input. To these clients, I generally respond with my famous catchphrase “you are a complete and utter moron.”

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I dig the Western feel and the old-fashioned typeface that you selected for your CreativeMornings illustration. How does the image relate to this month’s climate theme?

I figured that since the current climate issue is often associated with global warming, I’d slip in the old ‘thermometer temperature rising’ trick. As for the lettering itself, I decided I wanted something was, how do you say?…….. the “bomb jiggity”? In my humble opinion, I accomplished this task neatly and completely.

You’re starving and you could use a drink. Where would we find you?

Montreal is world renowned for it’s restaurant and bar scene, but if you compare the prices they’re charging to the prices that the supermarket is charging, it’s ridiculous. 8 to 1; 9 to 1 sometimes. I mean, what am I, a Sultan over here? Get serious. You can find me eating and drinking at my cozy little house, just STACKIN’ that paper. Gangsta stylez.

Still curious about Mr. Sign? Check him out here and follow him on Instagram

Steve Bissonnette & Louis-Félix Binette (Photo: Léa Beauchamp-Yergeau)

By Rebecca West

As announced recently on our blog, our host since the founding of CreativeMornings Montréal in 2013, Steve Bissonnette, is stepping down this month and passing the proverbial torch to fellow MTLCM co-founder Louis-Félix Binette. We chatted about what this means to them, and to the broader CreativeMornings community.

Steve, how does it feel to be stepping down as host of CreativeMornings Montréal after two successful years?

I’m super proud of what we’ve accomplished, and feel like I’m leaving at a good time. There is understandably some anxiety in handing over so many responsibilities, from managing our team of volunteers, to maintaining relationships with CreativeMornings’ head office in New York and with sponsors. That being said, I have total confidence that the team will be in good hands with Louis-Félix at the helm.

Louis-Félix, how are you feeling about taking on the role of host?

I’m as as excited as I’ve been since the beginning of CreativeMornings Montréal. It’s an amazing opportunity to be at the centre of such a dynamic community. There is a bit of stress associated with the added responsibilities; I don’t want to let anything fall between the cracks. On the other hand, I’ve been having good conversations with NYC, and there are a lot of great upcoming CreativeMornings initiatives that will either be coming from, or to, Montreal.

Louis-Félix, how do you think your background in politics, diplomacy and management consulting will influence your approach as host?

I feel like I’m one of many nodes in a global CreativeMornings network. As a former international diplomat, it feels like I’ve moved on to “creative diplomacy.” So I see this role as a way to bring together the things I’ve learned over the years in various contexts and apply them to make MTLCM better. A lot of thought and energy has gone into structuring the Montreal chapter, and we’ll continue to experiment and try new things — it’s always a work in progress. We’re always looking for new ways to innovate and engage Montreal’s many creative communities.

Steve, what qualities do you think make for a great host?

There are certain qualities that distinguish a great host, as I noticed in my work here in Montréal, as well as getting to know chapters around the world. You have to be a good listener, to be able to filter and process ideas coming from many directions, then synthesize them and put back out into the community in an enthusiastic way. A great host has to be aware of the big picture — within their community, in other chapters, and beyond CreativeMornings. Managing a volunteer-based organization is also unique — a careful balancing, unlike managing in a for-profit context, where everyone’s ideas are considered.  

Steve, do you have any friendly advice for Louis-Félix?

It’s not an original answer but it’s one that comes up often — to trust your team and delegate! I ran into trouble in trying to personally solve problems that would come up. The role of host shouldn’t be to solve all problems, but rather to facilitate solutions. It’s a clear distinction. It’s also important to accept that despite everyone’s best efforts mistakes will happen — you simply have to own up to it, forgive them, and move on.

Louis-Félix, what are your plans for MTLCM in the next year or so?

I’m starting my host duties by trying talk to everyone on our team of volunteers, to get to know what it is about CreativeMornings that keeps them coming back every month. I also want to take stock of the last couple years and see what we’ve done well and had fun doing — to see how we can have successful events without reinventing the wheel every time. It’s also important for me to get more feedback from our community, and get them more involved in telling us what’s working and what isn’t.

In terms of specific projects coming up, there are two we’re working towards this year. Firstly, I want to make it easier to connect through CreativeMornings — not just at our breakfast events, but more broadly. Whether it’s when people are travelling internationally, or looking for a new project collaborator, I want them to have the reflex to tap into our rich network of creatives. Our second major initiative is in partnership with the economic forum je vois montréal. Last November, CreativeMornings Montreal took on an engagement to organize an economic summit on creative communities, to take place in the fall of 2015. Our goal is to bring together Montreal’s business leaders, beyond the creative industries, to take stock of what the various creative communities bring to the city in terms of economic value. We can then help ensure the survival and expansion of our city’s amazing creative vibe.

A big thank you to Steve for doing such an incredible job as host over the last couple years, and welcome to your new role Louis-Félix — it sounds like we have a lot to look forward to this year!

My Dear Friends,

As of Feb 27th I’ll be stepping down as the MTL host.

The past 2 years (21 events) have been amazing and have given me something I never expected when this adventure began. I have tried to express it at times, but truthfully it has simply made my heart larger.

This inspiring global conversation has taken root in our city, and having played a lead role in that, I count myself as very lucky. We started as a small group meeting for a drink at Laïka, and ended up with a community of almost 2,000 of Montréal’s most interesting people. I have loved everything we’ve built and feel that it is at its absolute best right now. I hope I have made you proud. I have made myself proud.

I’m very happy to announce that Louis-Félix Binette will be taking over as our Montréal host. He has worked closely with me since the beginning, and I have the utmost admiration for him. Those that have the pleasure of knowing Félix understand how truly inspired and committed he is to CreativeMornings, Montréal, the ideals of fostering a community, and shining a strong light on the path for us all. He is a perfect fit and he will do a fantastic job.

I would like to offer profound thanks to my amazing MTL team who have become lifelong friends, the HQ team in NYC, and everyone who has encouraged me over the past 2 years. It’s easy to forget that this wonderful collaboration is entirely run by volunteers — who donate their time, creative energy and passion to making this happen for us all. I’d like to say a special thank you to Tina Roth Eisenberg who has changed my life. She’s taught me to share what you love and let it grow, and as I have told her ‘I owe you big time buddy!’.

I’m sure you might be asking why, and it’s for positive reasons. It comes down to my family (being more involved in my daughter’s school) and stepping up to help run Plank this year. While it is simply time to pass the torch, I also get the sneaking suspicion that I’ll never be able to truly end my CreativeMornings endeavours. 

I’ll leave it there before I get too mushy.

Sincerely
Steve Bissonnette
, CreativeMornings/Montréal Host.

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