Between creation and exploration, and reflection and innovation


August 24 to September 5, 2021

Cutting-edge electronic music and digital experimentation at a fest where beats are avant-garde.

Generous and unifying, the hybrid programming of the 22nd edition of its Festival and the 7th edition of its professional component, MUTEK Forum, will bring together 200 artists and speakers from the digital creation field and will offer nearly 100 works and activities.


Desert Mauve
Photo: Bruno Destombes

The Festival intends to offer Montrealers the pleasure of experimenting with digital creation and will meet its audiences in the physicality of a shared moment. As for the Forum, its programming—open to the international market—is developed between its in-venue and online components in a complementary way. With this 2021 edition, MUTEK continues to mesh art and ideas, wonder and awakening, as well as presential and virtual, allowing for a dialogue with its communities made up of festival-goers, artists and experts from Montreal, Canada and beyond.

“As the summer season comes to an end, we will offer the first event of the new cultural season. After spending a year mastering the virtual, this edition will be about reclaiming the real. Let’s relearn how to go out, interact and experiment together! More than anything, we want this upcoming MUTEK to be experienced as a “we”—with and for all of our communities.” Alain Mongeau, General and Artistic Director of MUTEK

The 2021 MUTEK programming will feature about 60 live performances of digital art and electronic music, intertwining in-venue shows at the Quartier des spectacles with a free virtual component.

MUTEK Forum will be held during the week, from Tuesday, August 24 to Thursday, September 2, on both an online platform and live from the creative hub Zù—which gathers, helps and promotes projects combining entertainment and innovation. This market for ideas aims to bring together artists and companies in digital creativity and electronic music, with the goal of exploring the latest artistic practices while stimulating reflection on the ethical and political issues related to technology and the digital world. Artificial intelligence, extended reality (XR), immersive creation and crypto art are among the many themes that will be explored by around 100 speakers through some 30 activities, presented in collaboration with Hexagram UQAM, Québec/Canada XR, the editorial and curatorial platform HOLO and many key partners. The program will also host the next phase  of The Montréal/Miami New Narratives Lab, organized with FilmGate Miami, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and O Cinema, as well as new artists, curators and innovators as part of the Keychange project and the AMPLIFY D.A.I initiative, developed by the British Council in partnership with MUTEK and Somerset House Studios.

For a second consecutive year, the Forum will also feature a virtual market that facilitates networking by showcasing Quebec, Canadian and international artists to buyers from around the world. Last year, more than 750 participants, including over 200 distributors, representing 400 different organizations and companies from over 50 countries, gathered on the online platform to attend conferences, panels and workshops, and to develop artistic connections and business opportunities.

In-venue MUTEK
Back for a second year in a row inside of Place des Arts’ Cinquième Salle, the Play series—the Festival’s experiential component—offers two double programs per evening from Tuesday, August 24 to Friday, August 27. These 16 performances, all world premieres, will highlight Montreal’s expertise and cutting-edge talent in digital art, audiovisual creation and electronic music. A total of 36 local contemporary artists will join the public in this space for experimentation that will provide a remarkable audiovisual experience. They will have the opportunity to share the culmination of a year of introspection and creative exploration, which will surely result in performances full of renewed imagination and striking offerings.
A limited number of tickets are available due to capacity restrictions.

The Nocturne series features three programs of four shows presented at MTELUS from Friday, August 27 to Sunday, August 29. These 12 performances, most of which are world premieres, showcase the talents of about twenty artists. Reimagined as an electronic cabaret, Nocturne continues to focus on more rhythmic forms and will bring festival goers together in an immersive and convivial atmosphere.


Machines – Personhood, Forum event 2020
Photo: ©Vivien Gaumand

The 7th edition of the XR Salon will continue last year’s deep dive into the metaverse, in particular through discussions about augmented reality, thanks to the participation of the creators of the Montréal/Miami New Narratives Lab, organized by FilmGate Miami, MUTEK,theNational Film Board of Canada and O Cinema. This year’s XR Salon will also put into focus the circulation and distribution of XR works, examining the results of a recent study undertaken by Québec/Canada XR that was spearheaded by Sandra Rodriguez, as well as the accessibility of VR, thanks to a partnership with Montréal’s Society for Arts and Technology and their SATELLITE project, and the participation of Canadian artists and web-VR educators Nancy Lee and Kiran Bhumber. Last but certainly not least, MUTEK is thrilled to host creator Sabrina Calvo—whose portfolio includes everything from poetry and novels to video games, XR and fashion—for an inspiring keynote on why we should free ourselves from the conventional limitations of “storytelling” and explore new ways of telling the stories that matter today.

Exploring Imaginaries of Artificial Intelligence Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a recurring theme at the Forum, with this year’s edition bringing together a group of international speakers to explore the diverse imaginaries of AI. This includes a keynote by Benjamin Bratton, author of the influential MIT-published book The Stack, whose upcoming publication The Revenge of the Real explores the future of politics and the role of AI in a post-pandemic world. Presented in collaboration with Ars Electronica’s Futurelab, a panel hosted by renowned AI music researcher Ali Nikrangwill dive into the topic of cross-cultural approaches to collaborative composition between humans and machines. Additionally, a set of short presentations by various creators and experts will offer insights into the impact of this technology on the future of music, digital arts, and XR, including one by former MUTEK AI Art Lab advisor Nao Tokui on demystifying creativity in AI-driven music making, and another by Keychange cohort member Celine Garcia,exploring the concerns of copyright in the creative application of AI.


Photo: Bruno Destombes

New Frontiers in Digital Art and Sound
Each year, MUTEK aims to present some of the most innovative artists who are pushing the boundaries of digital and audiovisual creation, and who contribute to developing, diversifying, and interconnecting our local and international ecosystems of creators and professionals. In this context, MUTEK is proud to team up once again with the AMPLIFY Digital Arts Initiative, an ambitious international project led by the British Council that connects an active network of women-identified artists and practitioners across Latin America, Canada and the UK.

Music Matters
Music is always at the heart of MUTEK’s initiatives, and all of the aforementioned activities and themes remain highly relevant to the electronic musicians evolving in a fast-paced and continuously changing industry. The Forum will once again feature a more targeted track involving several of the artists participating in the Festival and addressing a wide range of music industry-related matters. This year, MUTEK shines a light on pressing ecological concerns with a series of events hosted by Earth Percent, a brand new environmental sustainability charity co-founded by Brian Eno, featuring guest speakers from Client Earth, A Greener Festival and Music Declares Emergency. In parallel, the current cohort of the Keychange project—a recurrent partner of MUTEK—will join the Forum, including the participation of Ievgeniia Ivanova through a focused look at data-driven decision making and analysis, while a workshop on digital sovereignty for musicians will be offered by the online marketing expert Click & Mortar. Soundworks, a newly launched sound meditation app, will host a panel of artists and academics discussing creative approaches to mindful sonic experiences, and Montreal-based startup BeatConnect will partner with local producers to show how they’ve made musical collaboration more accessible for creators.

For the full schedule of events visit:

MUTEK is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination and development of digital creativity in sound, music, and audio-visual art. Its mandate is to provide a platform for the most original and visionary artists currently working in their fields, with the intent of providing an outlet of initiation and discovery for the audiences we seek to develop.

MUTEK’s principal activity is the annual presentation of its namesake festival, which has taken place in Montreal since 2000. Since its first edition, the MUTEK festival has distinguished itself as an international rendezvous for original and avant-garde programming. In terms of content, the festival’s range strives to be diverse, with interests in both the experimental and the playful sides of digital creativity. MUTEK’s programming intends to create a sonic space that can support innovation in new electronic music and digital art. This is a world of constant evolution and incessant refinement – the “MU” in MUTEK refers consciously to the notion of “mutation”.