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Northern Lights: EM15 Festival Brings The World's Brightest Tech Artist Innovators To Montreal

For their 15th anniversary Elektra and MUTEK, two pioneering events of digital creation, are teaming up to turn Montreal into an impressive 6 days creativity exploration.

by Benoit Palop
28 February 2014, 8:08pm

Elektra14 | Atom™ (DE) - HD, Usine C, Photo © Gridspace

The sky over Canada is glowing, and it's not the Aurora Borealis. Elektra & MUTEK, two prestigious events focusing on creativity and technology, are set to join hands this spring to celebrate their 15-year mark during a massive upcoming digital event called EM15

These two festivals are the cream of the crop in terms of digital creation, electronic music, and new media. In hindsight, it's easy to see that the enthusiasm of the last editions, and the international scope of the two events, were only made possible thanks to a single promise: to offer the public the best gigs in the industry. 

“It’s not easy to pinpoint only one factor, as it was more of a process that went through a lot of stages. But in March 2010, when both festivals, MUTEK and Elektra were laureates, ex aequo, of the Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal in digital arts--this sent out a strong signal, by identifying the two main bearers of this newly recognized discipline.” Alain Mongeau founder and Director of MUTEK and Alain Thibault Artistic Director of Elektra told us. “There was some back and forth after that, and then through the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, which was also going through significant  changes in direction, an opportunity arrived allowing both festivals to celebrate their 15th anniversaries together. It seemed like an interesting idea.”

For their 15th edition Elektra & MUTEK have decided to bring their audiences together for an extensive program running from May 27th to June 1st. Some of the illustrious names announced so far include Nicolas Jaar, Dinos Chapman, Robert Henke, and Rashad Becker. EM15 promises a creative symbiosis of unprecedented quality that is bound to be a one-of-a-kind event.

So far the goal of the collaboration is “To provide Montreal and North America...with the largest event of its kind in digital arts. Speaking for Elektra, the whole audience experience will be even more extensive, particularly with the installation / exhibition components we are presenting during the 2nd edition of the BIAN, the International Digital Arts Biennial, because works will be presented in major Montreal museums, galleries and artist-run centres.  This, we hope, will underline Montreal’s status as a global digital capital, and give it a heightened international visibility.”  Thibault told us.

This event is also unique because of the participation of the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (MACM). The buildings of the Montreal institution–and its content–will become the headquarters of EM15 and will allow for the exploration of new perspectives.  

For those in Montreal you'd like to glimpse a preview, MUTEK will officially celebrate the start of its 15th anniversary this Saturday March 1st during the Nuit Blanche. To celebrate, an electronic music “marathon” of 15 hours will give the public a first taste of what's to come...

Here are some highlights from previous editions:


Elektra14 | Jesse Osborne-Lanthier (Noir) & Sabrina Ratté (QC-CA) -Deliquescent, Usine C, Photo © Gridspace


Elektra14 | Mondkopf + Trafik (FR) - Eclipse, Usine C, Photo © Gridspace


Elektra14 | Nicolas Bernier (QC-CA) - frequencies (a), Usine C, Photo © Gridspace

Elektra12 | L-P Demers (QC-CA/SG), Phillip Schulze (DE), Armin Purkrabek (DE)  - The Tiller Girls, Usine C, Photo © Gridspace


FOCUS QUÉBEC | Purform (QC-CA) - ABCD_LIGHT, Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles, Photo © Ryszard Karcz

FESTIVAL MUTEK 2009 | Atom™  (Uwe Schmidt), Photo Caroline Hayeur.


FESTIVAL MUTEK 2009 | Herman Kolgen, Photo Caroline Hayeur.

FESTIVAL MUTEK 2012 | Les Momies de Palerme, Photo Caroline Hayeur


FESTIVAL MUTEK 2009 | Atom™, Robert Henke, Christopher Bauder, Photo Caroline Hayeur

FESTIVAL MUTEK 2013 | Matthiew Herbert, Photo Caroline Hayeur

FESTIVAL MUTEK 2013 | MAOTIK & FRACTION, Photo Caroline Hayeur

FESTIVAL MUTEK 2013 | 1024 ARCHITECTURE, Photo Caroline Hayeur

For more information on EM15, click here