Solidarity and innovation for MUTEK and its network in 2020
MUTEK would like to look back on the last few weeks since its first hybrid edition was held from September 8 to 13, 2020. After taking on the challenge of producing a unique version of the MUTEK Festival and its professional market MUTEK Forum—with the undeniable luck of having been able to offer its audience programming both in person and online—MUTEK was awarded the Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal to celebrate a remarkable 20th edition in 2019. These events reveal the strength of the artistic communities with whom MUTEK and its network interact, and MUTEK’s ability to continuously evolve, after twenty years of existence.
Local mobilization and international radiance for creativity
In these unprecedented times, MUTEK was able to count on numerous support throughout the year: whether through the confidence of public institutions, who maintained their aid despite the uncertain festival landscape; the vitality of MUTEK branches and international cultural organizations that rely on a pool of inspired creators; or even the loyalty of electronic music and digital art enthusiasts who have followed MUTEK throughout this new adventure, and demonstrated their commitment with a series of donations amounting to over $11,000 CAD.
Thanks to all these combined efforts, MUTEK was able to not only produce 30 COVID-safe performances in venues with the help of nearly 200 employees, technicians, artists, and volunteers, but also to simultaneously broadcast online content during the festival in September, and for the month of November with MUTEK Replay. The virtual programming—presented entirely for free—was then accessible for an extended period of time without geographic constraints, thereby reaching a world-wide audience, strengthening international connections, and promoting Canadian talent beyond national borders. MUTEK maintains its commitment to gender equality and inclusion, this year having 55% of all local performances include at least one female artist and 32% one BIPOC artist.
As for MUTEK Forum, networking opportunities have been multiplied thanks to a dedicated virtual community, in particular for 21 Canadian artists who have benefited from personalized support from 600 professionals, including 250 international broadcasters.
New distribution contexts: a change for this 21st edition
By creating a customized digital platform, virtual.mutek.org, the experience of a hybrid festival has been translated into a unique virtual environment. Over six days, nearly 60 local and international audiovisual performances were brought together, a gallery made up of 26 digital art works, an auditorium featuring multiple conferences and panels from MUTEK Forum, as well as a listening room with 50 audio archives delving into some of the Festival's treasured performances from the last ten years. At the same time, the Forum was presented on a dedicated digital platform with 36 conferences, panels, master classes, workshops, and various personalized spaces that connected more than 700 participants from 52 countries.
This new virtual ecosystem, which has generated nearly 110,000 views, presents itself as an interesting and immediate opportunity to expand our activities for the network. The virtual.mutek.org platform has just hosted the joint edition of MUTEK Mexico and MUTEK Tokyo, which took place from December 9 to 13.
The evolution is not only technological since MUTEK took advantage of this year to adopt an eco-responsible act after ten years of constant efforts and to concretize its approaches to diversity and inclusion in a policy which will be finalized in 2021 and which will complement its real commitments to gender equality since 2018. In this regard, the addition of three new members on the Board of Directors allows MUTEK to reach parity while Raphaëlle Huysmans becomes the new President.
Now at the end of the year, filled with emotion and gratitude, the MUTEK team is more motivated and determined than ever to prepare for the 22nd edition of the Festival and the 7th edition of the Forum, which will take place from August 24 to 29, 2021 both in Montréal venues and virtually online. The call for local and national proposals is already open and accepting applications until January 31, 2021, with no submission fee and the promise of new artistic discoveries.
MUTEK Festival 2020 in a few figures
- 137 artists from 24 countries, including 63 women, and 61 BIPOC artists
- 56 performances including 44 premieres in 21 programs accessible free of charge (31 local, 25 international)
- 26 digital art works in the virtual gallery, including 9 open access premieres (11 local works, 15 international works)
- 10,882 people registered on the virtual.mutek.org platform from 55 countries
- 92,642 online views and 871 individual tickets sold
MUTEK Forum 2020 in a few figures
- 94 speakers from 15 countries, including 49 women, and 28 BIPOC experts
- 36 activities (conferences, panels, master classes, workshops) including 11 accessible free of charge
- 755 participants from 52 countries (41% from Canada, 59% from the rest of the world)
- 16,343 online views