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Edition 5

In these challenging times MUTEK.JP hosted its 5th anniversary edition from December 9th to 13th, 2020, in a hybrid format, connecting physical spaces in Tokyo with local and international audiences through our virtual festival platform. The physical performance program took place from December 10th to 12th at Shibuya’s Stream Hall, presenting 3-days of groundbreaking performances of electronic music and audiovisual art. The virtual festival extension saw the convergence of the two artistic communities of Japan and Mexico in an ambition to explore new virtual playgrounds to overcome physical disconnection and social isolation. For 5 continuous days MUTEK Japan and MUTEK Mexico joined forces hosting more than 35 performances across 3 virtual stages, an interactive Gallery exhibiting cutting-edge digital artworks, a series of lectures, talks and master classes in a virtual Digi Lab format, and a Listening Room with non-stop selections from the MUTEK network’s archives. The Mexican-Japanese core programming was extended through the MUTEK Connect series, which provided a space for collaborations with the global MUTEK branches and our international partners from Insomnia and Ekko Festivals in Norway, Italy’s Club to Club festival and South Korea’s B39/PRECTXE festival.

Edition 5 by numbers

  • A limited number of 500 visitors at the physical events in Tokyo
  • More than 8,500 users on over 5 days
  • Presented 12 physical performances at Shibuya Stream Hall and 6 Digi Lab sessions
  • 77 artists from 16 countries incl. 26 local Japanese jointly presented on the virtual festival platform
  • Supported by 44 partner organizations
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A/Visions & Nocturne at Shibuya Stream Hall

The physical performance program of Edition 5 took place from December 10th to 12th at Shibuya’s Stream Hall and hosted 3-days of groundbreaking performances of electronic music and audiovisual art.

傀儡神楽 ALTER the android KAGURA JP / Corey Fuller + Break Ensemble x Synichi Yamamoto US+JP / Daito Manabe JP / Eiko Ishibashi & Jim O’Rourke JP+US / Eiichi Sawado & Akiko Nakayama JP / Kafuka & Kezzardrix JP / Kyoka & Shohei Fujimoto JP / machìna KR/JP / Maika Loubté JP / Neutral (Fumitake Tamura & AOKI Takamasa) JP / Open Reel Ensemble JP / Yuri Urano & Manami Sakamoto JP

The A/Visions program, which showcases the most forward looking audiovisual endeavors, opened the 5th Edition of MUTEK.JP on December 10th with a special double bill. The opening performance saw the arrival of Alter 3, a humanoid robot, on the MUTEK.JP stage. In a unique collaboration with a Noh Actor for a ceremonial ritual dance called Kagura, the performance looked beyond our current challenges, in order to welcome a new era. Following Corey Fuller and his Break Ensemble joined forces with visual artist and long-time MUTEK.JP collaborator Synichi Yamamoto for a feast of synesthetic explorations.

On Friday, December 11, opened with a bang, showcasing a rare performance by Ei Wada’s reel-to-reel tape manipulators known as the Open Reel Ensemble. They were followed by rising vocalist and producer Maika Loubté, who performed an experimental live set inspired by her roots in pop melodies. Producer Kafuka and visual artist Kezzardrix debuted their audiovisual collaboration on the MUTEK.JP stage. Following mainstay Daito Manabe returned for the Japan premiere of his morphchore performance transcending technology, music and digital art in his renown blend of styles. Closing the night were raster representative Kyoka in collaboration with laser aficionado Shohei Fujimoto.

Saturday, December 12, was more musically focused. After a groundbreaking performance in 2019, Akiko Nakayama returned to MUTEK.JP, this time for the premiere of a new collaboration with pianist Eiichi Sawado. Experimental and improv legend Jim O’Rourke yet again joined forces with long-time collaborator Eiko Ishibashi to present one of their rare live collaborations. Following, up-and-coming Techno producer Yuri Urano collaborated with visual artist Manami Sakamoto for the premiere of a new transcendental audiovisual collaboration. Finally after her impressive Buchla performance, Korean artist machìna returned to the MUTEK.JP stages with a very special electric tesla coil surprise at hand. Closing the night was the beat-project Neutral consisting of Kanto-based producer Fumitake Tamura and a true pioneer of the Japanese electronic music scene AOKI takamasa.

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Digi Lab

MUTEK.JP’s annual conference program Digi Lab took place in a hybrid environment. On Wednesday, December 9, we presented a live-stream of a series of talks on questions of diversity, AI, and musical evolution from the MUTEK.JP studio at Kagurane. Thursday, December 10, on the other hand was more practically focused with a series of master classes and workshops.

The conference program will kicked-off on Wednesday, December 9, with a performative presentation on an archeological approach towards the evolution of music. The presentation was initiated by Patrick Savage, head of the CompMusic Lab at Keio University SFC, who was joined by a group of musicians live on-stage. Following Berlin-based music journalist Yuko Asanuma sought to "Redefine 'Diversity' in post-2020 Music Culture" together with Hiromi Matsubara, Mari Sakurai, and Mars89. In keeping with this spirit Rhizomatiks co-founder Seiichi Saito explored questions on art as a vehicle for imagining our digital futures in conversation with curator and writer Arina Tsukada.

Concluding the series of talks on was a collaborative session with the ALIFE conference initiated by professor Takashi Ikegami of Tokyo University,which invited media artist and researchers, Chris Salter, Victoria Vesna, professor at the Department of Design Media Arts at UCLA, Norwegian artist Lars TCF Holdhus, and French artist and researcher Justine Emard to explore ALIFE as a new and vital device for artistic expression, which is now becoming a larger movement.

Wednesday, December 10, focused on practical approaches towards artistic creation. Kicking off the day Hiroaki Umeda held a master class on his creative process transcending the fields of experimental dance, visual arts and electronic music. The master class was part of a collaboration with BAU Design College of Barcelona initiated by MUTEK.ES and supported by the Japan Foundation, Madrid.

The final workshop was held by media artist, professor and creative-coding enthusiasts Atsushi Tadokoro. His session gave a practical introduction to the world of live-coding mostly focused at beginners.

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Virtual Festival

The core program of the virtual festival activities revolved around the convergence of the two artistic communities of Mexico City and Tokyo. From Wednesday, December 9, to Sunday, December 13 the joint program of 23 performances brought forward the crème de la crème of both cities for a feast of audiovisual performances, musical explorations and technological experiments.

傀儡神楽 ALTER the android KAGURA JP / Amnl Prnt & Valeria Vicente MX / CNDSD & Iván Abreu MX / Corey Fuller + Break Ensemble x Synichi Yamamoto US+JP / Daito Manabe JP / Edgar Mondragón & Erik López MX / Eiichi Sawado & Akiko Nakayama JP / Eiko Ishibashi & Jim O’Rourke JP+US / Isaac Soto & Federico Torres MX / Jiony & Sabme MX / Kafuka & Kezzardrix JP / Kyoka & Shohei Fujimoto JP / Le Fantom Onde MX / Mabe Fratti & Milena Pafundi GT/MX+AR / machìna KR/JP/ Maika Loubté JP / Neutral (Fumitake Tamura & AOKI Takamasa) JP / Nohbords & AA MX / Open Reel Ensemble JP / Pepe Mogt MX / Wasted Fates & FF MX / Yuri Urano & Manami Sakamoto JP

The second convergence point of the two festival editions was the virtual gallery space. The joint exhibition invited local and international artists, long-time MUTEK collaborators, as well as new kids on the block for a showcase of cutting-edge digital artworks critically re-imagining our digital futures in a post-pandemic world.

Ainslee Alem Robson ET/US / Akiko Yamashita JP — Where does water come from? / Alba G. Corral ES — By the Sea & Continuum/ Alex Czetwertynski US — Vesica Pisces / Andy Martin MX — Moon / Elizabeth Ros RU — Ambrosian Flower / Florence To UK — ALUCIIN / Jorge Suaret MX — Digital painting / Kaoru Tanaka & Ikuko Morozumi JP — Tautology / Lucas Gutierrez & Robert Lippok AR/DE — Drawing From Memory / Marianela Fuentes MX — Tau / Omodaka JP — Synthetic Nature / Sabrina Ratté CA/QC — Aliquid / Taras Mashtalir RU — Mercury / Transgresorcorruptor & Ken-ichi Kawamura MX/JP — Sombra / Takuma Nakata JP — Slumbers Valley / THINK AND SENSE & Intercity-Express JP — Stillness / VAA MX — ETZNAB / Xochipeople RU/MX — Xochipilli 2.2

MUTEK Connect was a unique opportunity to develop, experiment with, and evaluate a new model of digital interconnectivity based on the creative connections existing between Tokyo & Mexico City, the global MUTEK branches and our international collaborators at Insomnia Festival and Ekkofestival in Norway, Italy’s Club to Club festival, and the B39 artistic centre and its associated festival, PRECTXE, in South Korea. Thanks to these fruitful partnerships the Connect series added an artistic edge that without doubt equaled the creative finesse of the Mexican-Japanese core program.

Alba G. Corral ES — By the Sea & Continuum / Balago ES / Bienoise x Allarme Rosso IT / Elina Waage Mikalsen & Ingrid Kristensen Bjørnaali NO / Francesco Tristano LU/ES — Pianorig Sessions / hm505 & VJ mentalny jeż US+PL / Lars Horntveth & The BIT20 Ensemble NO — Silencio & The Echo Bolero Stars / Mana & Nicole Neidert IT+SE — Mania / Moonshine CD/QC+CA/QC — SMS FOR LOCATION: Live edition / MURCOF & Sergi Palau MX/ES / Nelly-Eve Rajotte CA/QC / oOps.50656 KR — New Order of Parallax / Porto Porto! CA/QC / Qoa & Joaquina S. AR — Future Mythologies / RSBA KR / Super Heavy Metal NO / Tacobitch NO / Tarta Relena ES / Woochi KR — Cloudy

The ongoing effort of the Connect series to bring together artistic communities from around the world rooted in a commitment to diverse and inclusive programming was made possible only through the generous support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, Music Norway, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo, the European SHAPE platform, the We are Europe Association, the Japan Foundation, the British Council, Generalitat de Catalunya, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona and Amplify D.A.I.

The development of MUTEK’s virtual festival platform was realized by Folklore, AKUFEN Studio, and Timecode Lab. We would also like to thank our local partners in Tokyo, Tokyu Corporation, Shibuya City, Panasonic, and Yamaha, and our Mexican collaborators INTUS Interactive Design, SurfaceMx, El Foro, Secretaría de Cultura and SRE.