For the last 13 years the end of May has signalled a global convergence of electronic music enthusiasts in Montreal for a week of performance, networking and revelry. It is no small feat that the MUTEK festival has grown far beyond its humble roots as an 'inside baseball' showcase of the rosters of boutique experimental labels into a robust platform for the promotion of techno, house and more experimental fair with widespread popular appeal. While MUTEK may flog the fact that it has become a bonafide tourist attraction (it has drawn crowds of more than 10,0000 in recent years), don't let the rhetoric fool you – the festival still has very sharp teeth when it comes to adventurous programming. Nowhere is this fact more clear than within the A/Visions stream, an event-series dedicated to imaginative, integrated audiovisual performances that was launched in 2006 and has consistently served as the locus of innovation within the festival. So, how did the 2012 edition of A/Visions measure up? Quite excellently, and in looking beyond some minor programming hiccups, this was clearly the strongest showing of AV material ever featured at MUTEK. Even more encouragingly, this year marked a welcome expansion of the AV programming into other event streams yielding an almost overwhelming amount of shows and screenings to choose from.
The following review is an attempt to identify some of the prominent themes in the A/Visions program and point CAN readers at some of the more noteworthy projects/performances featured this year.
On April 11–13th MUTEK Montréal presents the 4th edition of MUTEK_IMG, their offshoot festival focused on digital creation. CAN/HOLO was invited to curate five panels within this year’s program, that bring together leading artists and thinkers to consider pressing aesthetic and sociopolitical questions.