When it comes to creative high-tech, Montréal ranks among the top cities in the world, often called the digital arts capital of North America. Montréal Digital Spring celebrates innovations in high-tech art, video games, visual effects and virtual reality. The annual citywide event promises to free your mind and your body with interactive exhibitions and audio-visual performances, architectural installations and contemporary creations that cross artistic and scientific currents. Rules are meant to be broken during Digital Spring, so follow our Survival Guide to see the city of the future, now.
The 4th edition of Montréal Digital Spring digital arts and culture initiative, at various locations throughout Montréal from March 21 to June 21, 2017.
What you’re getting yourself into
Whether you’re a forerunner in cutting-edge technology or your kids just figured out your smart phone for you, Montréal Digital Spring can take you however deep into the high-tech arts rabbit hole you desire. Also known as Printemps numérique, Digital Spring partners with local arts and culture organizations – meaning the whole city gets in on the act, from Place des Arts performances and art installations to the C2 Montréal creative tech industry conference. A bonus: many of the activities are free.
Where everything’s happening
Digital Spring stands out as a great way to explore the city. Most of the exhibitions and events are localized around the downtown core within the Quartier des Spectacles, from the Musée d’art contemporain to the SAT to UQAM, the Cinémathèque Québécoise and the National Library. But historic Old Montréal goes high-tech too – significantly at cultural hub the Phi Centre, gallery DHC/ART and archaeology museum Pointe-à-Callière – as do downtown’s McCord Museum of history, the Montreal Fine Arts Museum and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The festival also sprawls into neighbourhoods St-Henri and Griffintown, both just south of downtown and known for excellent new restaurants and cafes, and into the artistic Plateau neighbourhood, Mile End and Mile Ex, where artist-run centre Eastern Bloc … and gallery Never Apart…. The Planetarium at the Space For Life screens immersive new films in its domes, and even the Montréal Trudeau Airport gets in on the digital spring game.
How to get there
All venues are easily accessible by public transit, car or taxi, or even by bike. The Quartier des Spectacles is a walkable area served by two metro stations (Place des Arts and Saint- Laurent).
What to bring
– An open mind and an interest in experimental, future-oriented creations that break down boundaries between art, science, technology and industry – and on a practical note, these Montreal-specific apps will make your trip go even smoother
– A digital camera and/or your phone so you can take pics to prove that you were there when the next big art-tech trend hit
– Your kids – several Digital Spring participants feature workshops, games and performances for the younger set
What not to bring
– Digital Spring embraces technology old and new – but especially new – so leave any neo-Luddite tendencies at home
– Open containers – liquid is no friend to all the electronic gadgetry at Digital Spring
What not to miss
21 Swings – Make music with friends and strangers just by swinging on this interactive and illuminated installation outside Place des Arts, starting April 10.
Maëstro – Step on stage to conduct your own virtual orchestra connected to a system of high-powered water jets! Outdoors at Place des Festivals May 8-18.
Phi Centre’s Virtual Reality Garden – Sit down, put on a pair of VR goggles and see what’s new in the realm of virtual reality at the Phi Centre, a creative community-focused venue that encourages artistic expression using the latest technology.
Ed Atkins’ Modern Piano Music – Explore the nature of reality as digital constructions and human bodies merge in recent computer-generated video works by Berlin-based British artist Ed Atkins at DHC-ART.
Chromatic Festival – A lively art-exhibition-meets-party atmosphere for all ages, where DJs make the crowd dance and graffiti artists paint on the fly, at at Arsenal and at Studio l’Éloi, May 24 to June 1.
Eurêka Festival – A science festival for curious minds of all ages, featuring over 100 thought-provoking demonstrations, workshops, performances, magic shows and more, outdoors in the Old Port, June 9-11
The entire program and calendar as well as ticket info for specific performances and events is all on the Montréal Digital Spring site.
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