Chromatic Festival fuses art and technology

Robyn Fadden

Innovative art meets visions of our high-tech future at the Chromatic Festival, an annual celebration of creativity, featuring art exhibitions, electronic music, activities for kids and a cutting-edge conference, from May 26 to June 2.

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Artistic atmosphere

An essential part of the Montréal Digital Spring events, the Chromatic Festival brings together Québec, Canadian and international artists, cultural industry professionals and an enthusiastic public. For its 9th edition, the festival meshes digital futures with historical architecture in a new location: the Ancienne École des beaux-arts de Montréal, just a short jaunt from Place des Arts and the Quartier des spectacles. Chromatic transforms the beautiful, four-storey building – long ago a school of fine arts – into an avant-garde art gallery, a live music venue, a dynamic conference space, and a place for kids of all ages to play, learn and create.

Groundbreaking artists

Get ready for art to expand your mind at Expo Chromatic. In multimedia installations, photography, video art, painting, sculpture and virtual reality, 40 artists push the boundaries of what art can be – and how deeply it can be felt. While exploring the exhibition's many rooms, don't miss critically acclaimed Los Angeles artist (and Björk collaborator!) Andrew Thomas Huang's Flesh Nest, a nine-part sci-fi video series illustrating a post-apocalyptic digital purgatory. See yourself reflected and fragmented in Daniel Iregui's kinetic sculpture Amplitude, examine the LED light painting of Jason Yung, peer into Sabrina Ratté's paintings in motion, interact with a virtual reality version of yourself in Fred Trétout's OBJI, step into the psychedelic 3D world of Squarepusher's video for track Stor Eiglass, and experience other surprising creations by Expo Chromatic artists.

Atypical parties

The gallery becomes a relaxed lounge and kinetic dance club awash in colourful high-tech visuals for Nuit Chromatic, two nights of music curated by influential tastemakers Music Is My Sanctuary. On Opening Night, May 26, groove to the house rhythms of Jesse Futerman and 99 Wolves in the Chromatic Lounge while Seychelle and Seb Diamond play immersive melodic techno in the Moog Audio space. Don't miss the Closing Night party on June 2 as Pascale Project and Bowly let loose with electro-pop and hypnotic techno in the Lounge and the Moog Audio space fills with the afro-electronic rhythms of Bonbon Kojak and the deep house and soul sounds of Akpossoul.

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Creative kids

It's all about creativity in action at Chromatic Kids on May 27. All day, artists and other art-world pros lead a series of stimulating and memorable activities made just for families. In 15 different hands-on workshops, kids can create music with plants, turn themselves into holograms, learn to code, discover weaving techniques, colour in augmented reality, turn tote bags into art, kick back with some yoga and more. Chromatic Kids is a free event, but be sure to reserve your place ahead of time!

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Innovation hub

Adding a cultural-industry perspective on all that art and fun is Chromatic Pro, a  conference designed like a think tank for professionals in the arts, entrepreneurship and business. In presentations, round tables and workshops, speakers and participants tackle burning questions on digital culture, creative startups, funding and partnership, art marketing and collecting, virtual reality and other innovations that are changing not only the economy but the world as we know it.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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