MUTEK and the Artist Experience

Toronto techno producer Arthur Oskan recounts how his festival performances have affected his career

Arthur Oskan - April 24, 2012
MUTEK and the Artist Experience
MUTEK is a span of time I look forward to each year with creative anticipation. As the festival has evolved it’s exposed me to so many artistic concepts, contributed to my evolution as an artist in a variety of ways, and impacted my career as a whole.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of MUTEK is the platform given to create unique performances and take risks with an open minded audience. The collective experience that progresses over the 5 days opens dialogue among those attending.  As well, connecting with friends and colleagues isn’t always possible at other times and festivals during the year. I cherish these moments to catch up on life, art, music, and technology. This to me is an aspect that’s just as compelling a reason to attend.
MUTEK has inspired me to work within a new spectrum of sound that has resonated throughout my releases over the years. The first Piknic event I attended during MUTEK became a conduit to a track that was subsequently released. Sitting near L’Homme in a somewhat inebriated state, we were discussing some of the outstanding performances while laughingly monitoring the success of a group of people carrying a cooler through the gates. They were eventually stopped and our shimmering state translated to the track “Red Cooler”.

Many of the events that occur surrounding the festival demonstrate the underlying imagination of Montreal. An invitation in 2006 within the festival timeframe to perform at Le Placard started what was a turning point in my creative direction. The idea of performing for a crowd of people listening only through headphones at SAT was an exhilarating concept and allowed an outlet for some of the ideas stimulated by MUTEK. In the weeks following, the live experimental performance became the foundation for many tracks I would release as “Myers Briggs” – the pseudonym I chose to play under at the event. In fact, I would say that MUTEK and the Myers Briggs guise are inextricably linked. 

The following year was particularly special. We stayed the full week in Montreal in a loft space to share our honeymoon at MUTEK which just made the experience that much more whole. Musically I was becoming more driven with a sense strong sense of self-expression through what I was exposed to. The AV installations were and still are creative step off points for me. Refreshed, my INFP EP as Myers Briggs was conceived to and from Montreal on VIA and finished a few short months after MUTEK 2007 with the sounds and sights still echoing in my mind. To this day, elements of my Myers Briggs project exist through my current releases.

Other festival highlights over the years have included Robert Henke's several installations, Ernesto Ferreyra, Spooloops, last year's Tristan Perich 1-Bit Symphony show, as well as performances by Sutekh.

My performance at MUTEK_11 is a clear highlight over the years I’ve attended the festival and one I won't forget. I had the opportunity to perform new material from my just released debut album “A Little More Than Everything.” Making that connection with a tightly packed Savoy Room brought my experience with MUTEK full circle.

Arthur Oskan returns to MUTEK this year, where he performs at the Roland Pré_Nocturne showcase on Wednesday, May 30th.



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