Montreal takes considerable pride in its digital life. The city is the birthplace of Softimage, the company responsible for special effects in Jurassic Park and Titanic. Both large and small digital arts initiatives have found a welcoming community here. In order to recognize and celebrate the digital world of Montreal, La Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ) is initiating the Montral Digital Spring, a giant collaboration/festival that fosters relationships between digital artists, industry, and the scientific community. This “festival” takes place between March 21 and June 21 and is essentially a city PR campaign to highlight digital arts in the city.
Of course, there’s no reason to be super cynical about it. Fact is, there are a lot of digital projects taking place in the city during this time period. These projects would be taking place, festival or no, but that’s beside the point. Collective recognition gives a boost to lots of little events and shows links between others. Scrolling through the Digital Spring “program” shows that events take place exactly where one expects: the MAC, the SAT, Articule, Eastern Bloc, the Phi Centre, and Studio XX. Other places jumping in include Pointe à Callière, Biodome (with an installation created by the Moment Factory), the Planetarium, and major outdoor art exhibits like the 21 Balançoires. Two other digital events that take place in the city are also included in the festival: the Digital Arts Biennial (BIAN) and MUTEK.
It’s somewhat difficult to pinpoint specific highlights to the event since the number of places participating is large. However, just focusing on the month of April, here are a few things that might be worth checking out.
Normal, a tribute to the filmmaker Normal Mclaren is a multidisciplinary events that has a dancer/choreographer Peter Trosztmer moving in an animated landscape. The SAT will feature four short immersive films from Canadian and international artists at Polynôme. Oscillations of the Visible, an exhibition of the work of Olivia Boudreau, a Montreal video artist, opens at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery. The works on display are self-reflective pieces that use repetition to communicate their messages about the body and the self. Julia Den Boer will perform works for the piano and live electronics on April 23 for live@CIMMRT.
Montreal Digital Spring takes place at various venues around the city from March 21 – June 21.