Imagining Our Digital Futures: MUTEK_IMG 2019—August 20-22
The 5th edition of MUTEK_IMG, the festival’s professional forum on current practices in digital creation is thrilled to announce its 3 days of discursive activities and workshops will take place at the newly christened, multi-room venue Les 7 Doigts. A storied complex once occupied by the Just For Laughs Museum, the Cabaret performance hall, and back in 2003 the 4th edition of MUTEK—it has been reborn as a creation and production centre for Les Studios des 7 Doigts collective and configured into various research and state-of-the-art spaces.
Fueled by a wide variety of partners; private and public, local and international, forum programming reflects expertise that cuts a wide path through technological innovations and contemporary artistic practices. Covering mixed realities, artificial intelligence, and new iterations in audiovisual spectacle—from theory, to creative applications—the first contours of the conference program promise a stimulating range of fantastical and pragmatic contents.
Opening Keynote by Douglas Rushkoff
Named one of the world’s 10 most influential intellectuals by MIT, acclaimed author, broadcaster and academic Douglas Rushkoff opens the conference with his recent manifesto based on his latest book Team Human, which examines the anti-human agenda embedded in our markets and technologies. A leading voice for applying digital media toward social and economic justice he proposes strategies for crafting humanity’s best future.
As with previous editions of Forum IMG, HOLO Magazine/CreativeApplications.Net will curate discussions and workshops injected with a healthy dose of criticality into the program, focused on topics with sweeping ethical and social implications. Revelatory work involving Montréal’s Jason Edward Lewis and Suzanne Kite (Initiative for Indigenous Futures - Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace) considers Indigenous epistemologies applied to new technologies, in particular artificial intelligence. British artists Bill Posters (aka Barnaby Francis) and Daniel C. Howe open space for interrogating computational forms of propaganda and what they call the wider digital influence industry. They present Spectre, an interactive installation that invites audiences to “pray at the altar of dataism”. The artists were just announced as winners of Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities Commission, supported by Arts Council England, Site Gallery, the British Council, and MUTEK.
A New Era of Audiovisualists
A new partnership between MUTEK and Lune Rouge Entertainment launches at Forum IMG around their immersive, hi-tech, custom-built environment, PY1. Conceived as a large-scale, mobile entertainment structure, the pyramid is outfitted with the latest in audiovisual technology, intent on exploring new forms of collective sensory experiences. The Lune Rouge team will dive into the creative potential and challenges involved in designing and animating works for their futuristic theatre—while Gabriel Coutu Dumont and Janicke Morissette from Montréal’s Silent Partners Studio will present a case study of their inaugural piece for PY1, Through the Echoes.
Even more artists whose work travels the cutting-edges of audiovisual creation confirmed to present their visionary projects include: German A/V artist Robert Henke, who will share his inventive, often bespoke art practice; Lawrence Lek (appearing in partnership with the William Dawson Scholar of Cinema and Media History/McGill), whose recent virtual realities and simulations take on narrative forms that explore Sino-futurist worlds and alien AIs; and Iranian composer and filmmaker Ash Koosha who created the world’s first virtual reality album in 2015, and has since continued to employ algorithms and custom software, notably in his new holographic AI live performance YONA. Presented with support from the Consulate General of France in Québec, veteran audiovisualist Joanie Lemercier has been investigating all manner of installation, projection and screen work over his illustrious career and will be joined by long-time producer and curator Juliette Bibasse.
Esteemed Partners and Content Collaborators
The familiar VR Salon becomes XR Salon inside this edition of Forum IMG, reflecting the full spectrum of mixed realities. Taking place under the banner of Common Codes, it will link with the freshly founded Québec/Canada XR initiative, a project by Xn Québec, MUTEK, the Phi Centre, Montréal Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC), and the Montréal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), with support by the Government of Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts. This network of actors also joins the AFXR - Association francophone de XR, based in Paris.
This year also underlines one of the forum’s integral missions: to build bridges between the fields of education and research—and practitioners of digital arts and industry. Tapping into the rich milieu of local academic institutions, Forum IMG connects with the internationally engaged Hexagram network, dedicated to research-creation in the fields of media arts, design, technology and digital culture—as well as SYNTHÈSE - Pôle Image Québec, an initiative of Québec’s ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur (MEES), in order to integrate university content and facilitate access for students.
Long-time collaborators of the festival, Toronto-based company Derivative, creators of the visual design tool TouchDesigner, hold their own Summit in Montréal the weekend preceding Forum IMG, creating a dovetailing opportunity for those interested in attending both. Summit participants will have access to preferential prices on the IMG and Festival Passports, more information will be available at the TD Summit box office in early May.
And there’s still much more to come!
The IMG Passport, IMG Conference Pass, and combined IMG + Festival Passport are currently available through the MUTEK box office at Early Bird prices for a limited time.