After last year’s edition of the festival, which delivered exceptional results, the programming committee was a little intimated to go back to the drawing board and face the blank page that represented MUTEK 2012. It’s not easy to reinvent the festival every year, to continuously evolve toward bigger and better.
Sometimes there are certain realities that shape the process, and specific projects or artists who arrive particularly distinguished in their offerings, that make the thread of direction all that much easier to navigate. More often, the line of thought that makes sense of the big picture begins to fray, and everything within becomes a challenge to re-contextualize.
MUTEK 2012’s programming is a result of these opposing forces. On the one hand, the festival is held together by its concentration, with much of the action gathering around the centralizing co-existence between the Monument-National, this year’s main meeting point; the Society for Arts and Technology, used to its full capacity; the Place de la Paix, where many of the festival’s daytime activities unfold; and the Metropolis, where festival nights finish off in spectacular fashion. We even decided to stay in the city for Saturday afternoon, to take better advantage of this urban playground, leaving us but one event with Piknic Électronik for the traditional Sunday outing on Île Sainte-Hélène. This concentration is accentuated all the more by programming that is equally dense and high quality, divided across various stages to vary the listening and viewing contexts. More than 130 artists will perform on a MUTEK stage this year, with numerous exclusive performances, including three world premieres, fifteen North American premieres, and twelve Canadian premieres.
At same time, the main program’s concentrated trajectory is tempered by an ever-branching diversity of numerous special projects that allow MUTEK to build cultural bridges across the city. By investing in Excentris with the CineChamber project, the new PHI Centre with MUTEK_Lab, and the Quartier des Spectacles with participation in the Parcours Numérique, the festival radiates across the city, connecting the different cultural protagonists who make Montreal such a vibrant and avant-garde metropolis.
But the festival’s reach is also much broader as well. In effect, the 13th edition is an occasion for the ICAS (International Cities for Advanced Sound) network to assemble. Gathering more than 30 member festivals from around the globe, MUTEK will host the “Tools for an Unknown Future” symposium, a new initiative appended to the festival this year.
As with every edition, MUTEK aspires to celebrate invention and shine a spotlight on all the strength and value of electronic music and the digital arts. A veritable international laboratory, MUTEK is an immersive journey, with many levels at which to explore the artistic contours of its many creative scenes. Our team wishes you an edition of rich discoveries. Bon festival!