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International Festival of Digital Creativity and Electronic Music
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December 22, 2020

Flashback MUTEK.ES 2020

"(...) from the International Network MUTEK we put ourselves to the task of finding solutions and opportunities to the challenges that this complex year brought with it."

The cultural sector has been seriously affected in this 2020, a year that is coming to an end and will be remembered by the great uncertainties, derived from the sanitary restrictions at global level because of the COVID-19. Artistic communities and professionals of the sector -in our case- in the field of digital creativity, are facing unexpected, new and complex challenges. As a form of support, from the International Network MUTEK, we are working from the first moment as an active part in the search of alternative formats that generate and provide new opportunities.

For MUTEK.ES, 2020 has been a year with a long journey of which we feel very satisfied, mainly because we have been more active than ever and we face the challenges ahead with renewed motivation.

Last March, the 11th edition of the MUTEK Barcelona Festival, we presented a total of 41 artists of 16 nationalities and 35 speakers actively participating in the different professional activities and the first edition of the MUTEK.ES Symposium. An edition that stood out both for presenting 7 world premieres and 15 debuts in the city on an exhibition level, as well as for promoting multiple spaces for reflection and debate, fostering professional networking, creating synergies with the main university centers of creativity and design in Barcelona and, above all, interconnecting a large number of institutions and projects, sharing values and working together to add up and be a motor for real change. It was also the year of the consolidation of Casa MUTEK x Reebok which hosted the festival and in February hosted the #WeAreEquals Music Academy, the British Council's platform for gender equality and diversity in the music industry.

In May, for the special edition of MUTEK San Francisco, MUTEK.ES showcased the first installment of the Pianorig Sessions of the Luxembourg artist based in Barcelona, Francesco Tristano, produced live, without an audience and exclusively for the program of MUTEK.SF: NEXUS Experience, with the support of the Luxembourg Government Ministry of Culture.

September was time for the 21st edition of MUTEK Montreal, with 104 artists, 58 performances and 32 premieres, in a hybrid format online and in physical spaces, and with the first delivery of the program MUTEK Connect on the virtual platform

Promo FT Live 1

From the Network, an ad hoc program of training (Digi Lab, MUTEK Forum) and exhibition contents (A/Visions, Play, Nocturne) generated for the first time from each of the venues and for a global audience, were presented. This, in addition to supporting the artistic communities of each city, has begun to draw up a network of professional exchange between the venues that will continue to function over time; and will promote a more sustainable and sustained model, which will facilitate and globalize the circulation of new content.

MUTEK Forum was presented as a VIRTUAL MARKET of ideas that has served to inspire and bring together creative and innovative minds through a program of conferences, presentations or round tables, in a hybrid format, with audiences present from their places of origin and with global audiences connected online. The content of the Forum inhabited the Swapcard online platform for 2 weeks and brought together over 600 people and 300 organizations with the aim of providing everyone with a path to online exploration tailored to their needs. From Spain, MUTEK.ES invited more than 25 creative companies, festivals, artists and/or collectives to connect with their counterparts in other parts of the world, creating synergies that have undoubtedly helped them to reformulate and face future challenges.

On an exhibition level, MUTEK.ES participated in this hybrid edition with the shows of Marina Herlop and Joana Gomila recorded live from Libertine (Casa Bonay), with a reduced audience capacity and broadcast to a global audience through the virtual platform of MUTEK Connect.

In December, the joint edition of MUTEK Mexico and MUTEK Japan took place. The virtual program of this hybrid edition has exhibited more than 35 performances in 3 different rooms within the virtual platform, an interactive gallery with 20 virtual reality works, artificial intelligence or AV pieces, as well as a listening room with continuous selections from the MUTEK network archives of the last 2 decades.

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From MUTEK.ES we presented the unreleased performances recorded at the Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm by Tarta Relena and Balago; the A/V show by Murcof & Sergi Palau, and the retransmission of Francesco Tristano pres. Pianorig Sessions' at three different times. Two AV pieces by Alba G. Corral, one of them with music by Carles Viarnès, were also exhibited in the platform's Virtual Gallery. The DIGI LAB program, developed in a hybrid format in connection from Barcelona with Tokyo, thanks to the support of the Japan Foundation, a Talk + Q&A was held with the Japanese artist and choreographer Hiroaki Umeda who presented the BAU students with a VR version of his choreographic piece Intensional Particle. And the Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa premiered his new work in s.asmbli (VR 360º) at the IAAC school of design and architecture.

In short, in 2020 not only were our objectives met, but we were able to expand them and have a significant increase in our activities throughout the year. These are circumstances whose lessons have led us to trace the path towards 2021, with: the 12th edition of our festival in Barcelona together with our brother in Buenos Aires; what will be the 3rd edition of MUTEK Connect and a new opportunity to interconnect with festivals and artists from all over the world. Without a doubt, 2021 will be a year full of challenges, but from the MUTEKES Association we will continue learning, building bridges and working for our artists, our professionals and for culture and art.

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