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Montreal Digital Spring 2014

April 29, 2014

Spring may be dragging its heels, but the Montreal Digital Spring 2014 is already in full bloom, urging us to step away from our screens and discover just how creative digital can be. This first edition of Digital Spring, organized by the CRE, promises to stimulate all the senses with a variety of creative digital installations. This multi-disciplinary showcase is a world-class event that will further Montreal’s reputation as an innovative 21st-century city.

2014 will be a landmark year in Montreal’s creative history: the BIAN is back for a second edition, two high-profile festivals, ELEKTRA and MUTEK, will be celebrating their 15th anniversaries by fusing to create EM15, and we’re also marking the 100th birthday of Norman McLaren and the 30th year of creative duo Lemieux-Pilon. All these numbers are a testament to a growing artistic desire to offer events that redefine the limits of perception and that blur the line between different disciplines, including art, science, technology, urban planning, psychology and robotics.

Montreal Digital Spring is offering an abundance of activities, all happening between March 21 and June 21. The variety makes my head spin, but I have put together a list of events that you won’t want to miss.

International Digital Arts Biennial (BIAN)

May 1-June 19

The theme for the second edition of BIAN, which is organized by Elektra, is Physicality. The music that accompanies the event video evokes the mischievous spirit we saw in Aphex Twin’s video for Come to Daddy; the digital geist manifesting a desire to become reality and conquer the city. The virtual breaking out of its physical confines to create anti-matter, a shockwave.

This year, BIAN headquarters is at the very venerable Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC). What could be more natural than the centre of contemporary art in Montreal also becoming the nerve centre for this city-wide digital event? Here are some events that I’m excited to see:

EM15

May 27-31

Digital art is sometimes criticized for having intellectual pretensions, but it’s not the case here. This fusion of two top Montreal festivals will encourage participants to let loose like never before. Among the big names on the list: Villalobos, Hawtin, Audion, Nicolas Jaar and Dinos Chapman (who is also exhibiting some apocalyptic artwork at the DHC/ART). You will also want to catch Evanescens by Todoroff & Colmenares Guerra, a musician and videomaker (respectively) who deconstruct and reimagine a live cello performance.

And…

Wall-to-Wall, video-projections (some interactive) to honour McLaren and 21 Swings at Place des Arts until June 1.

At the SAT, IX – Immersion Experience Symposium from May 21-25, offering conferences in the daytime and performances at night, including Nohista’s IRM.

Sight and Sound from May 20-24. Exhibitions and performances built around the theme of “Science Faction”. Notable: Doplereffekt.

And lastly, the Numix Awards Gala will celebrate digital creativity at the Olympia Theatre on May 15.

Now you don’t have any excuse – the digital art world is yours. Here’s hoping that you jump into the digital fray and get a glimpse of what the poetic future holds.