Berlin’s CTM Festival remains one of the most adventurous international music festivals on the European scene – but in case you’re not around to enjoy it, there are more ways than ever to follow it online, for free. Of course, I’m biased — things with three-letter acronyms where the first is “C” and the last is “M” always warm my heart. (What do you mean, it’s confusing? Bah.)
Turn on your AVTV
The pandemic has forced festivals to imagine audiences beyond those who can physically walk in the door – overcoming ableist boundaries in ways we frankly should have done sooner. Doing this work technically and artistically is absolutely a work in progress, which will take longer than the pandemic itself has allowed so far. But we see some first steps – and hey, you’ve got a screen and headphones, so join us.
Start with some ordered AV goodies in the Jump Cut series:
“Jump Cut” is a six-episode digital series conceived and created by Dana Gingras/Animals of Distinction in response to the unpredictable and sudden shutdown of international touring during the pandemic. The aim was to bring dancers, videographers and musicians out of forced isolation and to offer a new place of spontaneous encounters for unpredictable encounters and connections between international artists.
Full credits for each are on YouTube, but I’ll include descriptions here, in reverse order:
The sixth episode pairs Montreal dance artist Hanako Hoshimi-Caines with New York sound artist Chloe Alexandra Thompson and Portland artist Brenna Murphy. Their collaboration aims to intuitively find abstract meanings through mutual aesthetic exercises, exploring subtle lines of energy as infrastructure and rituals as a way to extend bodies through time in choreographies of human and non-human interactions. . Sitting in the tension of attachment to ‘objects’ as an equation of ownership, artists feel the knotted dynamic of agency between object and subject, or in other words, they feel that all things have a spirit.
Episode 5 is a frenetic, sensory exploration of space in an environment where the elements of movement, sound and body inextricably merge. Images seen from a camera’s perspective gradually merge into erosion until they are rendered indistinguishable from each other. Roger Tellier-Craig’s composition for this work is inspired by algorithmic rhythmic processes that mimic the film’s unpredictable and thrilling changes.
This fourth episode, entitled “Pedis Possessio”, is a collaborative audiovisual essay by Lucrecia Dalt, Aina Climent, Judit J. Ferrer and Miguel Prado. An alien life form visits earth and stratifies into a geological formation. When humans come into contact with this formation, their phenomenological awareness of time is altered. The work incorporates stereotyped choreographic rituals held in different locations on the island of Majorca.
Featuring electronic musician Marie Davidson (Montreal), 3D videographer Sabrina Ratté (Paris) and choreographer/performer Dana Gingras (Montreal), this episode is inspired by the galaxies of light and the stellar and oceanic beings of the earth that we are. The body as a living sculpture expresses itself through its blood, its bones and its breath. Using 3D scanning techniques, the human body is transformed into a virtual body. The organic and the virtual interact through a minutia of synaptic initiations and rhythmic jerks, disrupting our sense of time and space.
The inaugural episode features low-fi video artist Sonya Stefan (Montreal), musician/composer Tot Onyx (Berlin) and choreographer/performer Dana Gingras (Montreal) who first collaborated in 2018 on a live performance titled “anOther”. created an eerie offering set in a wasted space that leads nowhere, filled with disembodied and embodied presences that roam, haunt, mock, and multiply across the planes.
Music on Bandcamp
This one is a must even if you are attend in person in Berlin – CTM has meticulously created not one, but three distinct playlists of music that you can purchase directly from independent artists and labels through Bandcamp, in the format of your choice. Downloads, as nature intended.
There’s a ton of good stuff, and whether that’s all your cup of tea or not, it’s even more proof that we live in a time of great new music, not just a repeat of the past, and that the best time is now. Well, creatively, anyway, the jury is out on the rest.
Speaking of which, now is a great time to check out the vast decentralized experiment that the Aliksah network has been:
As I explained previously:
Watch all threads
We’ll have audio from the two Hacklab Inputs talks I hosted yesterday, but in the meantime you can watch the full video of the entire CTM Festival Discourse program online. The full playlist is here, and as usual, you can tune in live or watch after the broadcast is over.
So it’s time for lockdown lessons – and change:
This includes upcoming conferences on topics such as sound ecology (including listening to fish, which sounds fascinating).
You can already watch the first part of the festival from earlier this year, which included some great research panels, all with people whose ideas I respect.
A Conference on Healing:
Asymmetries in sound experiences of power:
And more on listening to nature, a subject we regularly visit around this corner of the country:
Since most of you can’t be at the MTC in person, I’d love to hear what interests you about this week’s program, your thoughts on any of the materials here, and what we can bring to you. virtually from this festival or other events around the world covering these topics and these artists. Shout out in the comments – it’s the virtual equivalent of a meeting at the bar or in the lobby.