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SAT : SAT connections
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SAT Connections
Six remarkable festivals and art projects linked to the SAT
by Shirley Roburn

Introduction
The SAT is an essential hub in Montreal's vibrant digital culture scene. Over the years, hundreds of artists and researchers have passed through its doors; dozens of projects have been incubated through its artist-in-residence programs; and innumerable organizations (from cutting edge international festivals, to small grassroots technology and artist groups) have held meetings, parties, VJ nights, digital cinema presentations, new media demonstrations, and artist talks at the SAT space. SAT Connections is intended to present a cross-section of such projects and festivals. In one way or another, all of these initiatives have been associated with the SAT - yet each stands on its own as a uniquely valuable contribution to Quebec's new media culture.

Harpe à nuages
Have you ever heard the sky sing? SAT vice-president and UQAM professor of design Nicolas Reeves has been seeking out "architectones" (patterns of organization from which architectures may grow) in the natural world, and rendering them into new forms. His outdoor real-time installation, Harpe à nuages, reads the architectures of the clouds and transforms them into symphonies. An infrared laser aimed into the atmosphere senses the altitude and density of clouds; software then converts this "architectural" data into sounds and silences - music. The Harp, a modest-sized installation of multi-sized cubes, can be set up to make music in almost any public place, and has interpreted the clouds in Canada, the United States, France, Germany, and Poland.

Link :
NXI Gestatio Design Lab -- Harpe à nuages page
http://ingallian.design.uqam.ca/gestatio/IMAGES/WBG-harpe/index.html

Kondition Pluriel
How does a body move within "intelligent" space? In 1999, Marie-Claude Poulin (a choreographer and dancer with a theoretical background in kinanthropology - the study of the body in motion), and Martin Kusch (an accomplished new media artist and teacher) founded Kondition Pluriel. They began creating live performances fusing dance and interactive installations. Over the past four years, through dance "laboratories", workshops, and colloquiums, Kondition Pluriel has explored the use of technological tools (eg, wireless sensors attached to the body) that allow dancers to affect audio and video installations within performance spaces, creating intelligent environments where movement itself alters the stage. Staging becomes a dynamic experience where dancers engage in dialogue with the real and virtual spaces that surround them.

Link :
Kondition Pluriel
www.konditionpluriel.org

MUTEK
Where can you go to hear everything from minimalistic electro-pop to futuristic funk, Latin big band covers of Kraftwerk classics, dub, hip hop, techno-punk, electronic jazz, sound art, and improvised electronic music? Look no further than Montreal's MUTEK electronic music festival. The fourth annual MUTEK, held in May 2003, brought together over seventy artists featured in twelve performance programs and several professionally-geared panels. MUTEK has gained an international reputation for bold and provocative programming, expanding over the last two years to include: "MICRO_MUTEK" events in New York, São Paulo, Valparaiso, Toronto, Marseille and Berlin; a tour planned for Mexico in autumn 2003; and a series of immersive audiovisual experiences called ARCHI_TEXTURES hosted at the SAT space in Montreal.

Link :
MUTEK
www.mutek.ca

FCMM
The Festival international nouveau cinéma nouveaux médias Montréal (FCMM) is one of the few major international film festivals to experiment with the cinematic possibilities of new media. Its extensive programming offers everything from live VJ performances to interactive cinema where participants become part of the story through voice-recognition interfaces or audience-controlled puppets. In addition to art installations hosted at Montreal's SAT during the festival, and also evening programmes of digital film, remix cinema, and multimedia, FCMM's Forum series offers workshops and seminars on new media - including the prestigious "Cyberpitch" competition in which digital producers vie for a scholarship to the Bell Globemedia Interactive Project Lab. The SAT space was the main venue for FCMM's new media programming in 2003.

Link :
Festival international nouveau cinéma nouveaux médias Montréal
www.fcmm.com

ELEKTRA
Where can you see minivans suspended in midair and morphed into gigantic speaker systems belting out cutting edge Belgian electronica? Only at Montreal's ELEKTRA, a Montreal digital performance festival braiding together robotics, digital imaging, and electronic music. Founded in 1999 by Alain Thibault, ELEKTRA was conceived in a spirit of fusion: its eclectic programming aims to break down the barriers between new media genres and aesthetic approaches, and bring digital culture to a broad public. In 2002, more than six thousand people attended two weekends of performances. The 2003 festival takes place November 12-27 at USINE C, the Society for Arts and Technology, and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.

Link :
ELEKTRA
www.elektrafestival.ca

Silophone
The Silophone project, originally incubated through the SAT's artist-in-residence program, has turned an abandoned grain storage facility in the old port of Montreal into a gigantic musical instrument. The building's structure (twenty stories high and a quarter mile long) has 115 cylindrical chambers, each 30 metres high, which can be played like gargantuan organ pipes. Members of the public can play the Silophone in three different ways: by piping sounds in via telephone, by uploading sound files to the Silophone Web site, or by creating sounds live at the "sonic observatory" situated just outside the former granary. Sounds played through the silo are broadcast live to the sender over the Internet, or can be listened to at the sonic observatory.

Link :
Silophone
www.silophone.net

Shirley Roburn is Editorial Assistant for HorizonZero.

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