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June 4, 2024
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90 international speakers and over 60 activities with a focus on crafting human-centered technological futures

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MUTEK Forum, the international gathering and marketplace of ideas for digital culture, art, technology, and society unveils an ambitious and expanded full programme for its 10th edition, taking place from August 20th to August 23rd at the Monument-National and the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT).

The Forum will present new projects, collaborations and critical perspectives on the role of technology in artistic practice through 60 talks, provocations, workshops, and labs with over 90 international experts. This year’s theme, Utopia or Oblivion: Crafting Human-Centered Technological Futures, calls for a critical reflection of what it means to be human in a hyper-connected world. Named after the celebrated architect, engineer, and futurist Buckminster Fuller's 1969 book Utopia or Oblivion, the 10th edition of the MUTEK Forum brings together artists, digital experts, researchers, innovators, and technology professionals in artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR), sustainability, music, architecture, and gaming to explore the shifting role of technology in current sociocultural transformations

Learn more about the schedule


IGNITING CLIMATE ACTION AND CO-CREATIVITY WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE



Connecting AI to thematics of sustainability and ecology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researcher, environmental scientist, architect, inventor, and electronic music producer Norhan Bayomi will give an opening keynote on Igniting Climate Action through AI and Art.

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Interactive sessions on responsible AI and co-creativity will feature Matthieu Lorrain, Global Head of Creative Innovation at Google, Kamya Ramchadican, Founder and Director of AI art festival for Climate Change Future Fantastic in Bangalore, and Yves Jacquier, Executive Director of La Forge, Ubisoft’s research and development group. Electronic musician and University of Toronto researcher Beth Coleman, will explore the need to make AI "wild" again, resisting attempts to “tame” it, by drawing lessons from ecology and highlighting the early days of generative AI when glitches allowed for artistic exploration. These critical discussions continue on Friday, when in collaboration with Concordia’s Milieux Institute and the Applied AI Institute, the Studio Hydro-Québec is transformed into the Wilding AI Lab, a day-long experiment with talks, performances and a makers fair. Co-presented with cultural institution Gray Area, a performative keynote from Berlin-based AI musician and researcher Portrait XO will sonify a century of climate data anomalies. Abundant Intelligences, a research-creation program that imagines anew how to conceptualize and design Artificial Intelligence (AI) based on Indigenous Knowledge (IK) systems, will present a panel that brings together Dr Melanie Cheung (Neuroscientist, Aotearoa), Professor Karim Jerbi (Canada Research Chair in Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroimaging, and Director at UNIQUE. Assoc. Professor at Mila), and Artist and Professor Jackson Two Bears (Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts Research & Technology, Assoc. Professor Visual Art and Indigenous Studies at Western University).


SHINING THE SPOTLIGHT ON GAMING

For the first time, MUTEK Forum will place the spotlight on gaming, recognizing Montréal's role as an international player in the industry. An unprecedented collaboration with Ubisoft will spread the gaming studio’s expert perspective across several panels, culminating in a workshop with Audio Director Vincent Gagnon, where music-makers will have the opportunity to play with Ubisoft’s soundbank. Meanwhile, EA Motive will present a panel on accessibility and gaming, featuring the blind gaming accessibility consultant Ross Minor. This session delves into the transformative role of new technologies and inclusivity. The Forum will also feature presentations on captivating games, including the magical tea-making game Mikiwam, by indigiqueer games and animation creators Keara and Caeleigh Lightning from Studio Ekosi.


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IMMERSIVE ACTIVITIES EXPLORING HYBRID UTOPIAS IN XR

Presented by the Canada Media Fund (CMF), the MUTEK Forum will host the annual XR Salon MUTEK’s annual gathering for immersive content production professionals, in addition to the iX Symposium on immersive experiences, a collaboration with the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT), NAD-UQAC, SYNTHÈSE, and Hexagram. Sessions will examine the technological hybridization of physical and virtual worlds, and the immersive experiences they offer, in relation to the utopias of Buckminster Fuller's vision from 60 years ago. The programme includes an immersive keynote in the Satosphère dome with cosmographer and Co-Founder of Spherical, David McConville with Spherical Co-Director Dawn Danby called Utopia is Oblivion, challenging Fuller’s work through a critical lens. Loretta Todd, Founder and Creative Director of the Indigenous Matriarchs 4 (IM4) Media Lab, Bertrand Nepveu, metaverse expert, the brain behind the technology in the Apple Vision Pro and co-founder of Triptyq Capital, Giovanna Borasi, Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and Skawennati, multimedia artist will explore immersive futurisms and hybrid utopias in the age of spatial computing. An exclusive demo of a collaboration between SAT and Moment Factory will unveil the creation of new technology to create boundary-pushing formats for multi-site immersive experiences and performances, with participation from artists Lunice, Myriam Boucher and Simon Chioini.


The MUTEK Forum is pleased to announce a new collaboration with The Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) for its 10th edition. The ISO will present a panel on Indigenous storytelling and the unique approaches to distributing XR projects. Speakers include James Monkman (Cree), discussing his immersive installation Mekwâc; Kim O'Bomsawin (Abenaki), presenting the fulldome project Telling our Stories: Our Connection with the Land, Dreams, and Skyworld; and Jason Brennan (Anishnaabe), highlighting the VR series William. Hosted by the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO), this conversation underscores the ISO’s commitment to supporting Indigenous screen-based storytellers and narrative sovereignty. The activity will be followed by a workshop, inviting Forum participants to dive deeper into XR distribution methods presented in the panel.


MUTEK is pleased to host an engaging session with TAIT on delivering audience-centric experiences through technology-enabled storytelling. Cynthia Sharpe, Senior Principal at TAIT, Ryan Howard, Co-Lead at Google Experience Institute, and Tina Blakeney, Principal of Project Development at TAIT, will take the stage for a dynamic discussion on how technological advancements are revolutionizing the way we experience physical and digital spaces—from theme parks and concert venues to large-scale immersive installations.


SESSIONS DESIGNED TO TRANSFORM THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

Discover tools and approaches to build a more collaborative, equitable, and open-source ecosystem for music. Presented by MUSICMOTION, NUO RANKU IKI AUSU (From Hands to Ears), a multisensory work of audiovisual poetry combining painting, collage, digital art, music, and soundscape will be showcased as an interactive demo to promote accessible music listening.

The sessions Art of Curation: The Balancing Act and the Future Festivals: Cultivating Temporary Utopias will gather artists, labels, cultural institutions, and festival makers for productive conversations to shape future infrastructure of the music industry. Building on the critical discussions ignited by the MUTEK Future Festival Summit on Monday, August 19, these sessions promise to deliver forward-thinking insights and thrilling new ideas for the evolution of our cultural landscapes.

Brown and Black women-driven not-for-profit FEMINAE NOX are presenting two dynamic and historically significant activities featuring Fabienne Leys, Artist Manager (Kelela) and Partner at ATC Management, interdisciplinary artist and historian Gloria Sherryl-François aka G L O W Z I, and artist and community program facilitator OmniDirectional Groove. The first is a discussion on the reclamation of electronic music as Black Music contextualized in the active erasure of Black women in electronic music, while the second is an interactive workshop and fireside chat on creative and brand management. The MUTEK Forum will also host a diverse array of workshops and masterclasses aimed to empower artists and audiences. Eris Drew will present Raver’s Tool Kit, offering unique techniques to enhance the rave experience. Pathwaves will host the Futures Worldbuilding Workshop, focusing on digital literacy for creative communities. SOCAN will present Music in the Digital World: Understanding the Landscape, covering essential digital platforms and royalty strategies. Additionally, an Introduction to Spatial Audio workshop will provide participants with a foundational understanding of spatial audio technology and its applications.


Eris Drew 2023 No 2 Photo by Desmond Picotte

DYNAMIC NETWORKING FORMATS TO FOSTER CONNECTIONS

MUTEK Forum will host a series of networking events that foster new connections for future collaborations. For MUTEK’s 25th edition, multimedia software company Derivative will invite the TouchDesigner community and anyone interested in interactive media art to share, exchange, and discuss topics related to the TouchDesigner visual development platform at the Monument-National on August 22. In addition to gaining insight into recent projects, this is the perfect opportunity to meet and connect with like-minded creatives and the Derivative Team. Beyond daily networking cocktails and the MUTEK Forum app, this edition will welcome a new event series, titled MUTEK Meet Ups, at Vino Disco. In partnership with accelerator La Piscine, MUTEK Meet Up: Tech, Talent and Business Models in Digital Creativity will showcase inspiring pitches from World Creation Studio, Noukii, and LVCIDIA, followed by roundtable speed dating. The Forum is also pleased to unveil the Visionary Pioneer Award to a trailblazing artist working in the digital arts on Wednesday, August 21, during the XR Salon and iX Symposium cocktail, presented by the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Xn Québec.


A WIDE RANGE OF TICKETING OPTIONS

Various options are offered at forum.mutek.org. Day Passes are now available for $65 CAD, Forum Passports at $210 CAD, and Festival + Forum Passports at $470 CAD (taxes and fees not included).

MUTEK Forum accessibility details will be available in July.

BOX OFFICE


MUTEK MARKET RETURNS WITH A FOCUS ON QUÉBEC AND CANADIAN TALENT

For the 5th year running, the MUTEK Market is back with an official selection of 20 artists from Québec and Canada. The Market is a career acceleration and business development program for artists and industry professionals. Artists are supported for several months through training and the creation of customized EPKs. Subsequently, the Market connects buyers and artists for one-to-one business meetings, which take place virtually a week before the festival, creating a space for negotiation and a solid basis for sales. This year, the Market will host representatives from 130 international festivals and cultural institutions including NODE Festival (Germany), Atlas V, Primavera, MUTEK.MX, WOS Festival, Lunchmeat, Sonar+D, HEK (House of Electronic Arts), Future Fantastic Festival, (India) and many more.


PARTNERS

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 production of 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 City of Montréal, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, FACTOR and Canada's private radio broadcasters, the Department of Canadian Heritage, Musicaction, Tourisme Montréal, Canada Media Fund (CMF), Indigenous Screen Office, Ubisoft, Derivative (TouchDesigner), Xn Québec, Applied AI Institute (Concordia University), Milieux Institute (Concordia University), Society for Arts and Technology (SAT), NAD-UQAC, SYNTHÈSE, Hexagram, TAIT, EA Motive, FEMINAE NOX, Vino Disco, Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), CURRENT, Hotel Monville, Dieu du Ciel!, EarthPercent, Composite, Abundant Intelligences, MUSICMOTION, La Piscine, SOCAN, Pathwaves (Envision Management), Encode Justice Canada, Sporobole and Moment Factory.

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