CTM Festival in Berlin remains one of the more adventurous international music festivals on the European scene – but in case you aren’t here to enjoy it, there are more ways than ever to take it in online, for free. Of course, I’m biased – things with three-letter acronyms the first of which is ‘C’ and the last of which is ‘M’ always warm my heart. (What do you mean, it’s confusing? Bah.)
Get your AVTV on
The pandemic has forced festivals to imagine audiences beyond just who can physically get in the door – overcoming ableist boundaries in a way that frankly we should have done earlier. Making this work technically and artistically is absolutely a work in progress, one that will take longer than the pandemic itself has so far afforded. But we’re seeing some first steps – and hey, you’ve got a display and some headphones, so join in.
Start with some out-there commissioned audiovisual goodies in the Jump Cut series:
»Jump Cut« is a six-part digital series conceived and created by Dana Gingras/Animals of Distinction as a response to the unpredictable and sudden end to international touring during the pandemic. The goal was to bring dancers, video artists, and musicians out of enforced isolation and to offer a new kind of spontaneous meeting ground for unpredictable encounters and connections between international artists.
Full credits for each are on YouTube, but I’ll include the description blurbs here, in reverse order:
The sixth episode pairs Montreal-based dance artist Hanako Hoshimi-Caines with New York-based sound artist Chloe Alexandra Thompson, and Portland-based artist Brenna Murphy. Their collaboration aims to intuitively find abstract meanings through mutual aesthetic exercises, exploring subtle energy lines as infrastructure, and ritual as a way to extend bodies across time in choreographies of human and non-human interaction. Sitting in the tension of attachment to »objects« as an ownership equation, the artists feel the knotted dynamics of agency between object and subject, or in other words, they sense that all things have a spirit.
Episode 5 is a frenetic, sensorial exploration of space within an environment where the elements of movement, sound, and the body inextricably merge. Images seen from the vantage point of a camera gradually melt into erosion until rendered indistinguishable from each other. Roger Tellier-Craig’s composition for this work takes from algorithmic processes of rhythm that mimic the unpredictable, pulsing shifts of the film.
This fourth episode, titled »Pedis Possessio,« is an audiovisual collaborative essay by Lucrecia Dalt, Aina Climent, Judit J. Ferrer, and Miguel Prado. An extraterrestrial lifeform visits the earth and stratifies itself into a geologic formation. When humans come into contact with this formation, their phenomenological time consciousness is altered. The work incorporates formulaic choreographic rituals held in different places around the island of Mallorca.
Featuring electronic musician Marie Davidson (Montreal), 3D video artist Sabrina Ratté (Paris) and choreographer/performer Dana Gingras (Montreal), this episode is inspired by galaxies of light, and the star beings and oceanic creatures of the earth that we are. The body as a living sculpture expresses itself through its blood, bones, and breath. Employing 3D scanning techniques, the human body is morphed into a virtual one. The organic and virtual engage with each other through a minutiae of synaptic initiations and rhythmic twitches, 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.« They have created an eerie offering set in a lost space that leads nowhere, filled with disembodied and embodied presences that roam, haunt, taunt, and multiply each other across planes.
Music on Bandcamp
This one is a must even if you are attending in person in Berlin – CTM has meticulously created not one, but three separate playlists of music you can purchase directly from independent artists and labels via Bandcamp, in whatever format you want. Downloads, as nature intended.
There’s a ton of great stuff, and whether it’s all your cup of tea or not, it’s still more evidence that we live in a time of great new music, not just a repeat of the past, and that the best of times is now. Well, creatively, anyway, the jury’s out on the rest.
Speaking of which, now is a great time to check out the expansive decentralized experiment that has been the Aliksah network:
As I explained previously:
Watch all the talks
We’ll have audio of the two Hacklab Inputs talks I curated yesterday, but meanwhile you can catch full video of the entire CTM Festival Discourse program online. The full playlist is here, and as per usual, you can tune in live or watch once the broadcast has completed.
So it’s time for Lockdown Lessons – and change:
That includes upcoming talks on topics like sonic ecology (including listening to fish, which sounds fascinating).
Already you can watch the first part of the festival from the start of this year, which included some terrific research panels, all with some folks whose insights I respect.
A talk on healing:
Asymmetries in Sonic Experiences of Power:
And more on listening to nature, a topic we regularly visit around this here neck of the woods:
Since most of you can’t be at CTM in person, I’d love to hear what interests you in the program this week, your reflections on any of the materials here, and what else we can bring you virtually from this festival or other events worldwide covering these topics and artists. Do shout out in comments – it’s the virtual equivalent of meeting at the bar or lobby.
More to come.