The festival has presided over an explosive decade of growth in Mexico City as it has matured into a hub for contemporary electronic music and technological innovation, increasingly plugged into the global circuit. What began as a 3 night micro-festival in 2003, has evolved into a weeklong affair featuring more than 80 artists and professionals from 13 different countries, enjoyed by thousands of festivalgoers.
It has not been easy to pull off the event year after year, with so many challenges in terms of funding and logistics in Mexico, but MUTEK Montreal director Alain Mongeau has remained steadfast in his belief in the project: “Year after year since 2003, the MUTEK.MX team has shown a relentless determination to implement and develop the festival’s roots and philosophy in an always inspiring and daring manner in Mexico. For its 10th anniversary the festival clearly reached new heights and relevancy within the Mexican context, which is very promising for the future”. A special applause is in order for MUTEK Mexico director Damian Romero, and his decade of dedication to the festival.
A whirlwind journey from beginning to end, the trajectory of MUTEK Mexico carried us through a crazy array of experiences. The opening A/VISIONS concert at the stunning Teatro de la Cuidad, was sold out for the 10 piece, BRANDT BRAUER FRICK ENSEMBLE who had the entire place on their feet at the end. Another standout,RAIME, shook the foundations of the theatre a few days later, on a bill that includedHERMAN KOLGEN and the misfit genius of MATMOS, appearing in Mexico for the first time ever.
This year’s edition also hosted an international symposium, supported by the Centro de Cultura Digital and ICAS, which brought a new level of discourse and purpose with its overarching theme of Creativity and Innovation in the Public Space. Speakers and presenters from across the European and North American network intersected with their Mexican and Latin American counterparts to discuss collaboration, urban creativity, interactivity, funding and sustainability issues.
An important element of every MUTEK festival mandate, involves the cultivation of local scenes, communities and artists, and MUTEK.MX presented several programs under the PLAY banner that featured locals at the top of their game: FAX, VAMPIRE SLAYER, PEPE MOGT and POINT LOMA, from various points in Mexico, along with FRIKSTAILERS and MR. EDDY + REALITAT, from Argentina, just to name a few.
The sound and visuals were spectacular on a scale not seen before there, with the NOCTURNES conceived and executed by a cadre of gifted Montreal visual artists and scenographers: ALEXIS LAURENCE, IREGULAR, BAILLAT CARDELL & FILS and DIAGRAF.They transformed the Foto Museo Cuatro Caminos into a throbbing, immersive environment for stellar sets by ACTRESS, the full band version of THE FIELD and an epic, closing Dj set from JAMES HOLDEN — while in the venue’s smaller space, MACHINEDRUM’s Vapor City Live, stole the show. MOUNT KIMBIE, KODE 9 and JETS ran away with the next evening’s festivities at the Plaza Condesa, and AMON TOBIN’S final performances of ISAM 2.0 closed the circle on Sunday night. We are very proud to have been involved in the debuting of this project at MUTEK Montreal in 2011. ISAM toured through select festivals in the ICAS network and across the world for almost 3 years, bidding its final farewell during this edition of MUTEK Mexico, as the project in this form, is now officially retired.
Apart from a few glitches and delays, one of which was the torrential rain and hail that threatened to take down the set and equipment for ISAM 2.0, things ran very smoothly, with all venues operating at capacity and teaming with the unbridled enthusiasm of thousands of festivalgoers.
Creativity and Innovation in the Public Space
In association with ICAS and Centro de Cultura Digital!
Creativity has become a watchword among policymakers and specialists in design and urban regeneration, seeking to revive economic and cultural life in 21st-century cities. Concepts such as creative cities and creative industries have begun to influence thinking on how creativity can contribute to urban renewal. This Symposium aims to frame discussion around the challenges involved in developing creative projects in public spaces, and to explore how, through ever-evolving formats, artistic content, and diverse collaborations, creativity is becoming a crucial tool in shaping a city’s image, as well as its cultural
10:00! WELCOME !
Damián Romero – MUTEK.MX, Mexico City / Alain Mongeau – MUTEK, Montreal / Grace Quintanilla – Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico City!
10:10! PRESENTATION !
Ejival – Static Discos, Tijuana ! !
Ejival, the symposium’s host, will give some brief opening remarks about the program, its themes and the line-up of participants.
10:15 – 11:45! UPDATE ON PRACTICES, IN MEXICO AND ELSEWHERE
Gabriella Gomez-Mont – Laboratorio para la Ciudad, Mexico City / Susa Pop – Public Art Lab, Berlin.! The director of the Mexico City government’s creative think-tank, Laboratorio para la Ciudad, and the director of Berlin’s Public Art Lab, contextualize the current reality of creative work in public spaces, drawing on their experiences and taking the perspective of these two cities
11:45 – 13:45! COLLABORATIVE NETWORKS
Mike Stubbs – Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), Liverpool.!
! The director of the UK’s leading digital media center presents two case studies, in which he is directly involved, in order to underline the importance of devising new collaborative work tools to help create solid creative projects.
11:50! Case Study 1: EMARE. ! Adriana Casas – Multimedia Center, Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART), Mexico City. ! Mike Stubbs and the director of CENART’s Multimedia Center explain what the EMARE project is and how they develop artist residencies in Mexico, the UK, Germany, France and Holland, with the support of the European Commission’s Culture Program and in collaboration with other international organizations.
12:30 ! Case Study 2: CONNECTING CITIES! Susa Pop – Public Art Lab, Berlin / Mónica Cachafeiro and Patricia D. Larrondo – Medialab Prado, Madrid / Alain Mongeau – MUTEK, Montreal / Hugues Sweeney – ONF, Montreal.
15:30 – 17:00 ! SOUNDS IN THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT
This broad topic, introduced by Carsten Stabenow, will explore the multifarious relations between sound and architectural space.
15:45! Case Study 3: TUNED CITY! Carsten Stabenow -Tuned City, Berlin.!
TUNED CIY is a platform that examines the relationship between sound and
space within the urban environment, the methods of mediating between the
two, their importance in city planning processes, and how this research can be
translated to an audience and into the design of public policies.
16:15! Panel 1: ARCHITECTURE, SOUND AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN CITIES OF THE FUTURE. Carsten Stabenow -Tuned City, Berlin / Martin Craciun – alonso+cracium, Montevideo / Abel Perles – Productora, Mexico City / Natalia Britos – Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City! Building audiences, mediating, mixing fields, and blurring the limits of the art
fields. How to collaborate with local institutions, and their infrastructures, to try
to make things change from the very inside?
17:45 – 19:00 ! Panel 2: PRODUCING INTERACTIVE CONTENT IN THE PUBLIC SPACE! Hugues Sweeney, ONF, Montreal / Mafer Olvera, Instituto de la Juventud del Distrito Federal, Mexico City / Simón Levy, Calidad de vida, Mexico City / Pierre Fortin, Quartier des Spectacles, Montreal / Alejandro Machorro, Cocolab, Mexico City! The head of French-language interactive media production of the National Film Board of Canada, together with several project developers from Mexico City and Montreal, discuss how citizens can play a creative role in the urban space, and how the creation and production of valuable interactive artistic projects can have a social role in the spaces we inhabit. !
10:00 – 10:15 WELCOME! Ejival – Static Discos, Tijuana !
The host recaps the previous day’s key moments and conclusions, and present the program of the day ahead.
10:15 – 11:45 Panel 3. CREATIVE URBAN PROJECTS AS PROMOTIONAL TOOLS FOR CITIES Olof Van Winden – TodaysArt, The Hague / Paola Desentis – BONUS, Creative Week Mx, Mexico City / Pierre Fortin, Quartier des Spectacles, Montreal / Alejandro Ramos Saavedra – Aldea Digital Telmex, Mexico City!
This discussion will examine how creative infrastructures and events are important in cities’ cultural, economic, social and ecological agendas.
11:45 – 14:00 ! FUNDING & DECISION-MAKING Kate Lesta – Communikey, Boulder! The founder and director of this interdisciplinary organization dedicated to social, cultural and ecological innovation briefly introduces this session, that will look at new models of interrelationships between art, money and society. Kate will also the moderator of the panel analyzing the creative sector’s increasing contribution to the economy—both on a local and on an international level.
12:00! Case Study 4: SIETE MEDIA Roberto Lopez – Siete Media, Mexico City! Siete Media is a 100% Mexican company that specializes in the use of new media and focuses on innovation through the combination of design with technology. !
12:40! Panel 4: SOURCES OF FUNDING AND PARTNERS!
Mike Stubbs, FACT, Liverpool / Bryan Kasenic – Beyond Booking, New York City
/ Susa Pop – Public Art Lab, Berlin / Alejandro Alonso – Siete Media, Mexico City . Public funds, private investment or crowdfunding — How to fund creative events in the public space? This panel discusses themes that help to understand the complexity and challenges of funding, irrespective of its source, and how to collaborate with partners when organising such events.
15:30 – 17:00 hrs.!
Panel 5: THINKING ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY!
Nicolas Wierinck – Yes we camp!, Marsella / Olof Van Winden – TodaysArt, The Hague/ Kate Lesta – Communikey, Boulder! These three cultural figures discuss the possibility of applying the knowledge and experience gained from each project to set up sustainable strategies, through the efficient use of resources.
17:00 to 17:30 Break!
17:30 – 18:30 !
Josette Melchor – Gaffta, San Francisco!
Gray Area Foundation for the Arts uses an innovative model for the management of nonprofit creative organizations that combines research, education, public programs and exhibitions. GAFFTA is a diverse community of coders, artists, entrepreneurs, civic leaders that believe in the potential of creatively applied digital art and technology to transform society. In this last talk, the organization’s executive director shares her thoughts about the road ahead in terms of creativity and innovation in the urban space.
18:30 – 19:30!
Ejival – Torolab / Static Discos, Tijuana