For its 2021 edition, MUTEK continues to mesh art and ideas, wonder and awakening, across the city of Montréal and virtually, allowing for a dialogue with its communities made up of festival-goers, artists and experts from Québec, Canada, and beyond. As part of the Garden, MUTEK will showcase a selection of this year’s artistic programming, which featured about 80 live performances of digital art and electronic music, intertwining in-venue shows in Montréal with a free virtual component via the virtual.mutek.org platform. The performative core was extended by a series of exhibitions in the physical and virtual space, as well as international collaborations in the recurring Connect program. Simultaneously, the 7th edition of the professional MUTEK Forum brought together artists and companies in digital creativity and electronic music, with the goal of exploring the latest artistic practices while stimulating reflection on the ethical and political issues related to technology and the digital world. Launched in the year 2000, MUTEK is dedicated to the presentation of live electronic music and real-time audiovisual performance, making it one of the rare outlets in North America for such innovations. After 22 years, the festival’s future-seeking mandate has matured—and while the promise has in many ways caught up with the present, its commitment to the ongoing mutations and variations of contemporary digital creativity remain, with its eyes and ears still fixed on what comes next.
Davide Quayola (IT), Paola Torres Núñez del Prado (PE), Leslie Garcia (MX), Ali Nikrang (AT)
During two panels designed by Ars Electronica in collaboration with Mutek Montréal, a group of established panelists with diverse backgrounds will debate the question of autonomy and human intention in AI-related art.
Montreal Life Support (CA/UK) & Woulg (CA)
« Empty Vessels » is a uniquely complex AV performance that merges robotics, AI neural networks, classical instrumentation and experimental metaphysics.
ALMA : Marc-André Cossette (CA) & Alexandre Saunier (CA/FR).
“Fragments: The Shape of Things” questions how automated data processing systems impact the perception of social relations and global conflicts, notably in terms of their anonymization and aestheticization.
Isabella Salas (MX/QC), Maya Indira Ganesh (IN/DE/UK), Yuri Suzuki (JP/UK), Ali Nikrang (AT)
In recent years, new AI technologies have increasingly been incorporated into fascinating artistic projects. The ability of AI to explore new, previously unknown perspectives of data certainly seems to enable new areas of artistic creation. But it also raises questions about possible forms of collaboration between AI and human artists. Intention plays a great role in the creative process. But how can artistic intention be communicated with an AI system? How does the degree of autonomy of an AI system affect human-AI collaboration? Are less autonomous AI systems better suited for artistic tasks because they give humans more freedom?
Myriam Bleau (CA)
“Unsculpt” is an audiovisual performance by Myriam Bleau, exploring and deconstructing new sounds from an upcoming release. It features hybrid electronic music, mixing modular synths with digital synthesis and algorithms in Supercollider.
Priori (CA) & Jason Voltaire (CA)
Armed with a deep respect for ever-shifting permutations of techno and IDM, Priori’s productions morph and shift with every release, channelling murky acid lines, trance-influenced euphoria, and spacey, organic breakbeats.
France Jobin (CA) & Markus Heckmann (CA/DE)
“Entanglement” is basically an artistic project at the crossroads of scientific research inspired by the concept and properties of entanglement in quantum physics and quantum fields theory.
Lucas Paris (CA/FR) & Alexis Langevin-Tétrault (CA)
Born from a desire to reunite, both musically and in person after a year of lockdowns, Lucas Paris and Alexis Langevin-Tétrault return to the core of their collaboration with « square one », a streamlined audiovisual performance.
Desert Bloom (CA) & Austin Tufts (CA)
Long-form arrangement from composer Desert Bloom consisting of three movements, “on the tendencies of trauma and resilience” blends classical form and experimental electronic instrumentation alongside drummer Austin Tufts’ live drum improvisations. Conceptually, this piece delves into reactions to traumas experienced by women of color, the lack of a societal discourse on the subject and the concept of resilience, widely used as a scapegoat to avoid providing further support or to genuinely confront our own biases and toxic behaviors.
Pheek (CA) & Daniel Iregui (CA)
In the age of Instagram, polished profiles and overly-sanitized cleanliness, INVERSION instead attempts to show the levels of spontaneity, uncertainty and questioning underlying musical creation. Daniel Iregui’s enormous black mirror, placed behind Pheek and fitted with a device allowing it to vibrate to sound, allows spectators to experience the artists’ various states of mind during an unpredictable yet intuitive journey, where everything will become crystal-clear to those with the patience to wait.
Alex Tibbitts (CA/US), Quan (CA/VN), Samito (CA/MZ), Boogieman (CA), Milo Johnson (CA/US)
Porto Porto is on a mission to bring music that collectively raises our human vibrations. The stresses of isolation melt away in hearing dreamy delays of the harp mixed with an up-tempo bass and beat line. Grounded by Milo Johnson’s bass lines, and reinforced melodically with his horn and string accompaniments, the team -featuring Alex Tibbitts, Quan, Samito and Boogieman- promises to transport the listener from rain forests and remote island villages to busy urban underground.
MUTEK would like to thank its partners, who play a key role in the maintenance and development of its activities, and have provided particular support towards the development of the Festival and the Forum.
The Government of Québec, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the ministère du Tourisme du Québec, the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine du gouvernement du Québec, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the City of Montréal, FACTOR and Canada’s private radio broadcasters, the Department of Canadian Heritage, Musicaction, the British Council, the Consulat général de France à Québec, the Goethe-Institut, Tourisme Montréal, Red Bull, Soundworks, BeatConnect, Zú, Place des Arts, Akufen, Urbania, Folklore and Click & Mortar.”