A Preview of Milieux at MUTEK 2023

MUTEK Montreal, an annual festival and forum dedicated to the presentation of electronic music and digital creativity, returns for its 24th edition from August 22nd to August 27th. 

As the MUTEK Forum unfolds from August 22nd to August 25th at the 7 Fingers in Tio’tia:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal, Milieux’s presence is poised to create a remarkable impact. Our commitment to fostering a progressive technological and creative environment aligns seamlessly with this year’s theme, “Future Currents.” This platform brings together a diversity of artists and industry leaders to explore our technological futures and the role of digital creativity within them, covering a diverse range of topics including digital creation and curation, artificial intelligence (AI), and extended reality (XR), amongst other avenues of innovation. 

Image from Chris Salter’s ANIMATE (2022)

An exciting highlight of the forum is the AI-focused day on Wednesday, August 23rd. This day extends the conversation initiated during our recent (de)Stabilizing Diffusions exhibition at SAT, amplifying interdisciplinary discussions related to crucial subjects at the intersection of AI, technology and society. In a significant contribution to this important dialogue, the Machine Agencies working group at Milieux and the Concordia University’s Applied AI Institute are sponsoring two activities

Dr. Sarah Myers West, award-winning researcher and Managing Director of the AI Now Institute, will deliver the keynote titled Shifting Narratives of AI: Confronting Tech’s Power, in which she will provide an in-depth examination of AI, highlighting the exploitation of material and creative resources that is often found within corporate power structures’ extractive practices.

The second activity is presented in collaboration with UKAI Projects. The workshop From Text to Sound: Building Multi-Modal AI Agents invites participants to explore the multimodality of AI and delve into the development of AI systems capable of handling diverse forms of data – images, sounds, text, and more.

Robot NAO at Café SAT (2023)

To wrap up the AI-day, the Robot In Residency team, comprising PhD candidate Ceyda Yolgormez, PhD student Zeph Thibodeau, and Concordia’s alumna Patil Tchilinguirian, will bring the NAO Robot to the Forum for an AI happy hour! They’ll host a unique meet and greet where attendees can interact with NAO and experience the peculiar expressions of their inner world.

Elsewhere in the Forum, Chris Salter, former Associate Director of Milieux and Director of Hexagram, will be delivering a talk titled “XR Landscapes.” Echoing the Forum’s aim to explore the interplay between technology, culture, and the ecological crisis, Salter’s presentation will feature three XR projects with a strong emphasis on climate and ecology. He will introduce attendees to his multi-sensory project, ANIMATE, which brings a Canadian climate-fiction short story to life through an immersive performance.


Maurice Jones, a PhD student at the Institute and MUTEK.jp’s Artistic & Communications Director, will lead two significant activities at the Forum. The “Future Festivals: Forging New Horizons” panel and the “Expanding orbits of future festivals” roundtable will open space for collectively rethinking and building the future of festivals, focusing on financial resilience, accessibility, inclusivity, and sustainability. Jones’ participation extends from his PhD research, “Festival as Methodology” (a collaborative endeavor between Concordia University and MUTEK, funded by MITACS), in which he advocates for viewing art and technology festivals as potential platforms for encouraging public participation in the shaping of AI and technology.

Mutek festival image, photo credit Maurice Jones

If you are a member of the institute interested in participating in the Mutek’s Forum you may be eligible for a student discount. Please get in contact with ariana.seferiadesprece@concordia.ca to get more information.

Check out the schedule and grab tickets here

Learn more about Destabilizing Diffusions, an entire day dedicated to AI, here

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