Every year, Montreal’s Mutek festival creates a friendly, exciting atmosphere for fans and the curious alike, while redefining the state of electronic music – and while the festival is primarily known for it’s amazing array of music, Mutek’s arts scene is just as vibrant and cutting-edge. This year, from May 30 to June 3, the Quartiers des Spectacles and beyond vibrates with the art of Mutek…
Perhaps the most obvious visual art form at Mutek this year is Parcours Numériques, a series of large-scale projections on buildings in the heart of downtown Montreal. A partnership with the Quartier des Spectacles and Montreal’s International Digital Arts Biennial, Parcours Numériques features the work of internationally recognized artists such as Herman Kolgen, Vincent Morisset, Refik Anadol and more – all hard to miss, just look up at varioud locations
Step inside 10-screen, immersive audio-visual installation Cinechamber, from San Francisco-based Recombinant Media Labs, at Excentris (3536 St-Laurent), May 22-June 3. The audio-visual “instrument” will play a series of astounding recorded shows – some from the history of the Cinechamber and many that are world premiers – and will also be worked over in live performances by Atheus, Biosphere & Egbert Mittelstadt, Marsen Jules, Rrose, Edwin Van Der Heide, Robin Fox, Artificiel, Hyena Hive & Karl Lemieux And Maryanne Amacher.
Mutek’s A/Visions series fuses incredible digital projection art with accompanying live music performances at Monument-National. On May 30, witness the spaghetti-western landscapes of Nelly-Eve Rajotte, the sight-sound display of Norway’s Biosphere and L.A.’s Lustmord, and laser-light-inspired Robin Fox. May 31, sees Berlin’s Jan Jelinek and Andrew Pekler delve into the works of electronic-music pioneer Ursula Bogner, and Pierre Bastien and Espen Sommer Eide take us down the machine-lined path of Electronic Folkways. And on June 1, cinematic images blend with the sounds of Le Révélateur, Kode 9, Roly Porter and MFO.
Get well into the meta side of Mutek at pre-festival (May 28-30 at the PHI Centre in Old Montreal) symposium Mutek_Lab, co-presented by International Cities for Advanced Sound. Attend presentations and discussions geared towards professionals in the field of urban cultural festivals and new media. During the day at Mutek, discussions and workshops on music making and digital art continue in the fest’s Digi_Section program with Mutek artists such as Keith Fullerton Whitman, Nicolas Jaar and more.
Kids can also be a part of the Mutek action this year at Histoire Naturelle, a French-language theatre and music performance by France’s Carton Park, taking place at Monument-National (1182 St- Laurent) on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Pop music, electronic gadgetry and wild, colourful animated visuals set to a story of a entrance and entertain the younger crowd that make up the big Mutek family (hey, it’s been 13 years; things happen!). Which also means that Sunday’s Mutek-brand Piknic Electronik over at Parc Jean-Drapeau is also often busy with families sprawled on picnic blankets and kids getting their groove on among the dancers, from 2 p.m. on.
There’s even Mutek art on Montreal’s transit system – iPhone app Audiosphere creates a soundtrack on bus routes 50, 80, 18, 24 and 164 – and artistry in the festival’s food offerings. Every evening starting at 5 p.m., musicians play outdoors at Place de la Paix, right next door to the Society for Art and Technology on St-Laurent, while the SAT’s own Foodlab restaurant serves up a gourmet three-course meal that’s sure to inspire festival-goers as they bound off into the long Mutek night.
Mutek, May 30-June 3, 2012