[ISEA2015] Curator Statement: Alain Mongeau – THE MUTEK CABARET

Curator Statement

In the context of ISEA’s 21st edition in Vancouver, MUTEK is proud to present a series of audiovisual performances from some of Québec’s most internationally renowned and emerging artists working in this fi eld. With The MUTEK Cabaret, MUTEK deliberately recalls and echoes The Electronic Cabaret, a program presented during the last ISEA symposium in Canada, which took place in Montréal in 1995. In many respects, the event of 1995 marked the beginning of a process that led to Montréal’s emergence as a digital arts hub, creating a lasting impression and inspiring the realization of institutions such as the SAT (Société des Arts Technologiques) and the MUTEK and Elektra festivals. Presented at the now defunct Spectrum, the original Electronic Cabaret offered first glimpses in North America of avant garde digital work such as Modell 5 by Granular Synthesis, a revelatory presentation that seeded many of the experimental digital practices that have since matured in Québec and taken on their own distinct qualities and expressions. Curated by Artistic Director Alain Mongeau in both instances, this new program features eight startling and mesmerizing live audiovisual performances representing three generations of Québec artists active in the 20 years since the original cabaret. Herman Kolgen’s always visionary conceptual and technical intersections between sound and image and artifi ciel’s long running fascinations with illumination, power currents and the invention of new digital instruments, epitomize an original vanguard; Bernier and Messier (together and singularly) are a second wave of artists who have furthered audiovisual digital practices that play between the immaterial and material, adding elements of performer intervention and theatrical choreography to the oeuvre, while Myriam Bleau, Maotik & Metametric, Woulg and BetaFeed typify a new generation of practitioners building on the fertile and established terrain that has come before them, always advancing the theoretical, conceptual, affective and technical elements that define this most contemporary of forms. The full circle of creativity exemplified by The MUTEK Cabaret also offers a promise for what could happen in the Vancouver scene, as ISEA provides an opportunity to jump-start a new cycle of inspiration and stimulate ever more daring relationships between art and technology here.


  • Alain Mongeau, General and Artistic Director. Executive director ISEA95.
  • Audrey Powell, Executive Director
  • Patti Schmidt, Programmer and Editor
  • Bérénice Sensey, Administrative Coordinator
  • Chloé Douris, Communications Coordinator
  • Katharina Meissner, Strategic Development

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.