In a year that was marked by continued uncertainty and a need for flexibility in planning, MUTEK.JP held its sixth festival edition returning to a full physical program over the course of five days from December 8 to 12, 2021. This sixth edition was supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of Japan in the fiscal year 2021. Despite returning to Odaiba’s Miraikan for one night of immersive program, the core of the festival took place in and around Shibuya. With international travel still proving difficult, the festival yet again focused on showcasing the local Japanese community of artists and professionals. As such, the festival curation equally focused on realizing new and boundary-pushing projects, as well as providing an extended space for emerging artists to gain experience and present their creativity to great acclaim in front of close to sold out audiences.
The 2021 edition, similar to 2020, included a virtual extension of the festival experience. MUTEK’s virtual festival platform virtual.mutek.org presented the online exhibition “2092” exploring our ways of digital being, as well as an on-demand archive of the festival activities and performances.
Edition 6 in numbers
- 5 days at 4 venues across Tokyo
- 1,569 physical visitors with capacity restrictions in place
- 18,161 virtual festival visitors
- 6 programs presenting a total of 18 physical performances, and 51 virtual contents
- 39 Japanese artists, 27 international artists
- 2 physical exhibitions and 1 online exhibition
- 3 educational talk and workshop sessions
- 22 partners from government, companies, and cultural institutions
The opening day of the festival saw the return to Miraikan’s dome theater for the A/Visions 1 program. The first part of the program co-presented a series of five immersive audiovisual works together with Montreal’s Society for Arts and Technology. The second part of the program showcased the updated 4K version of Synichi Yamamoto, Seiichi Sega, and Intercity-Express’ 3D audiovisual work “Noesis” presented on Miraikan’s renewed 8.1ch sound system.
Axel Helios CA/QC– Drichtel / Baron Lanteigne & Bobby Tank CA+UK– Anthologie / Desaxismundi & Terminal Wolf CA/QC– Inertia / Past Video & Deathvox CZ+DK– C0R3-C0LL4PS3 / susy.technology CA/QC– Indivisible / Synichi Yamamoto + Seiichi Sega & Intercity-Express JP– Noesis (2021version) Live
The second festival day saw a return to Shibuya’s LINE CUBE theater (formerly Shibuya Public Hall), the largest-size venue of the 2021 edition. The first of two shows invited Marihiko Hara & Ryo Shiraki and ensemble in an exploration of modern piano sounds, accompanied by strings, and the traditional Iraqi instrument Santoor. Ryo Shiraki guided the performance through visual imagery depicting geological forms reflected in astronomic and satellite imagery.
For the second performance the artist collective ANTIBODIES took over the stage, shrouding the audience in a soundscape of noise, drones, rhythmic repetitions, and uncanny poetry readings. At the same time an evolving group of dancers and performers caused havoc on stage, in an interplay of individual and group dynamics a stream of seemingly random interactions with each other, with the video projections, the sound layers, and ultimately the audience in an attempt to shift perceptions and ultimately consciousness. These performances were broadcasted live in partnership with SUPER DOMMUNE.
Marihiko Hara & Ryo Shiraki JP (Cb: Hiroki Chiba, Vn: Anzu Suhara, Vc: Masabumi Sekiguchi, Vc: Yumiko Iwao, Santur: Kazune Iwasaki) / Antibodies Collective JP – A Decade of Regression and Regeneration
The core program of the annual festival edition, Nocturne presented 3 days of audiovisual explorations representative of the latest in Japan’s underground and avant-garde scene. Shibuya Stream Hall provided the grounds for a showcase of live performances by both emerging and established artists, including several world premiers, specifically commissioned works, and new artistic collaborations.
Highlights of the Nocturne series included the Butoh-inspired performance by Saskia together with the contemporary dancers Kana Kitty and Yumi Sagara; an immersive and psychedelic sound experience delivered on a special multi-channel sound system by Wata Igarashi; a mystical audiovisual commission by experimental musician Lemna and animation artist Kaori Yasunaga; live spatial acoustics by YPY; Phew’s ethereal and impactful sound explorations; as well as the VR performance by emerging artist JACKSON kaki, which was selected through the festivals first-ever open call for artists under the age of 25. Further showing support for up-and-coming artists, the festival presented the collaboration by NTsKi & Saeko Ehara, as well as two shows curated by the digital arts community TDSW.
The 2021 festival programming reflects the continued efforts of presenting a diverse range of boundary-pushing works by the most innovative artists in fields such as experimental music, visual arts, dance, performing arts, VR, and immersive storytelling. At the same time the programming remains conscious of presenting accessible entry points for wider audiences to join for a communal exploration of digital art and electronic music.
Saskia, Kana Kitty & Yumi Sagara, Hitoshi Sato JP ‒ Low, JACKSON kaki JP / Lemna & Kaori Yasunaga JP / Wata Igarashi JP ‒ FLOW / YPY JP / NTsKi & Saeko Ehara JP / dhrma & Yuki Ishida JP / Masayuki Azegami & komakinex JP / Masayoshi Fujita JP / Chihei Hatakeyama & Seiichi Sega JP / Phew JP / Aalko aka Akiko Kiyama JP
MUTEK.JP x WOMB
Revamping their past 2017 collaboration, MUTEK.JP yet again joined forces with Shibuya venue WOMB for its all night program. Acting as a last minute replacement for Sato aka Satoshi Tomiie, who due to renewed travel restrictions could not join the festival, Kuniyuki & sauce81 brought their distinct groove to the festival floor. Returning to the MUTEK.JP festival stage, Risa Taniguchi premiered her first-ever live set presenting her hall-mark style of industrial techno. The live acts were joined by the DJ sets of Sapphire Slows and Satoshi Otsuki, respectively opening and closing the night. Visuals were provided by MUTEK.JP regular VJ Manami, and the emerging artists LUDO TAKEBE and Santa Naruse, who joined the festival based on their open call application.
Kuniyuki & sauce81 JP / Risa Taniguchi & LUDO TAKEBE JP / Sapphire Slows & Santa Naruse JP / Satoshi Otsuki JP / Manami Sakamoto JP / AIBA JP / MUTEK.JP Soundsystem (Maurice & Koki) JP
MUTEK.JP x Kalkul [Urban Sound Gallery]
MUTEK.JP joined forces with the mixed reality company Kalkul for an urban sound experience using the company's augmented reality audio application AURA. The [Urban Sound Gallery] featured 5 location-based audio snippets by participating artists: Aalko aka Akiko Kiyama, Lemna, Masayoshi Fujita, NTsKi and Risa Taniguchi. In addition, special, large-scale experiences by the festival regulars Saskia, and Yuri Urano enshrouded Shibuya in a layer of experimental sounds. The experiences were free for festival visitors and the general public to explore in and around Shibuya blending the physical and virtual worlds.
Aalko aka Akiko Kiyama JP / Lemna JP - "Closer to the Boundary" from immersive storytelling "Dusk" /
Masayoshi Fujita JP / NTsKi JP / Risa Taniguchi JP / Yuri Urano JP / Saskia JP
Shibuya Riverside Digital Art Wall
Over the 3-day weekend the projection mapping installation [Digital Art Wall] covered the Shibuya Riverside in front of the Stream Hall venue in audiovisual light. The installation presented the two works "IMPRESSIONISM" by Immersive Museum and "RAIN FOREST" by Akiko Nakayama.
Immersive Museum - IMPRESSIONISM / Akiko Nakayama JP - RAIN FOREST
Continuing their collaboration, Derivative and MUTEK.JP invited to Shibuya Cast for a one-day workshop of the audiovisual creation software TouchDesigner. The program, led by community experts Takashi Kawamura, Ryo Kanada, and Kenichi Kawamura, was targeted at intermediate to advanced users of the software.
The second day of workshops invited Ableton for a series of three workshops and talks sessions spanning the physical and virtual realms. The topics, aimed at exploring facettes of technology, education, and inspiration, included “Create your own MIDI controller”, “Inspire the Classroom”, and “Track Deconstruction”.
XR Audio Visual Workshop & Hackathon
Collaborating with MUTEK.JP, the creative company Teleport invited to Shibuya Stream Hall for the 2-day “XR Workshop & Hackathon” directed at elementary school, junior high school, high school and university students. The workshop taught the participants about tools and techniques to create virtual spaces, while the hackathon sought to implement those skills in a concrete project.
The 8 international artists of the online exhibition 2092 jointly explored the evolution of virtual personas and our ways of digital being on MUTEK’s virtual festival platform virtual.mutek.org.
Pussykrew PL/US / Sabrina Ratté CA/QC/FR / Eva Papamargariti GR/UK / Nicole Ruggiero x Ines Alpha US+FR / Andrew Thomas Huang US / KEIKEN UK/DE / Chris Dorland CA/US / Team Rolfes US
Fostering its international connections the virtual festival platform invited collaborators from the MUTEK network, as well as Norwegian partners Insomnia and Ekko Festivals for another rendition of the famed Connect program. In addition, leading up to the festival the platform showcased a carefully curated selection of the highlights of one-year of hybrid MUTEK events. Concluding the festival, the platform hosted an on-demand archive of the festival performances recorded during the sixth edition of MUTEK.JP, which was available for free until January 16.
[Connect Insomnia & Ekko]
André Bratten NO / Nilas NO
CLARAGUILAR CAT/ES - Mystery is All / Mathew Jonson & Acid Thermal CA+CATIES - Freedom Engine / Kyoka & Nobuko Hori & Myoung Kang JP+US - Water
Dolorblind IN / Aurora Halal + Ezra Miller US / Temp Illusion + Amir B. Ash IR
FORMA AR / AVRO10 / PRIEMA AR / Nico Sorín & Efe Ce Ele AR
[Best of Hybrid MUTEK - Selection 2020-2021]
Cy-Ens IR/QC, Chris Salter & Alexandre Saunier US/QC+FR/QC / Desert Bloom CA/QC / Line Katcho CA/QC / Ouri FR/QC / GOLPESAR IR/QC / Phèdre CA / Thisquietarmy x Philippe Léonard CA/QCPast Editions