TECHNO WORLDS: Blurring The Line Between Music And Art

This Montreal-based exhibition (May 13 to 19) reveals techno as a sense of life and time that transcends borders

Techno Worlds: Exploring the multi-faceted techno scene

If you are culturally inclined and in Montreal (Canada) middle of this month, then why not drop in at the TECHNO WORLDS, an exhibition at the intersection of music, art, pop, media and technology in relation to the multi-faceted techno scene. Organised by the Goethe-Institut Montreal, Centre PHI and Société des arts technologiques (SAT), the programme will start on May 13. There is no registration required and entry is free.

The Goethe-Institut has been highlighting contemporary German language and culture for decades by fostering strong international cultural collaborations. The SAT is a cultural hub dedicated to digital culture. The PHI Center is a multidisciplinary institution focusing on contemporary art and new technologies.

The main idea behind the three-part festival is to highlight that techno has not only shaped music history but also shaped pop and contemporary culture, art, media consumption and more. The exhibition is conceived as a parcours [journey] leading through the three institutions, the organisers said. The exhibition feature more than 20 international artists, musicians and filmmakers.

TECHNO WORLDS includes photo, video and installation works by DeForrest Brown, Jr., Jaqueline Caux, Tony Cokes, Chicks on Speed, Zuzanna Czebatul, Kerstin Greiner, AbuQadim Haqq, Rangoato Hlasane, Ryõji Ikeda, Maryam Jafri, Romuald Karmakar, Robert Lippok, Henrike Naumann and Bastian Hagedorn, Carsten Nicolai, Vinca Petersen, Daniel Pflumm, Lisa Rovner, Sarah Schönfeld, Jeremy Shaw as well as Tobias Zielony. 

The exhibition is curated by Mathilde Weh, curator, musician and artist is a consultant at the Goethe-Institut, where she is responsible, among other things, for tour exhibitions; Creamcake, an artists’ collective from Berlin, organises exhibitions, performances, concerts, symposia, DJ sets, digital projects and workshops; and Justin Hoffmann curator, musician in the band F.S.K. and art historian, and director of the Kunstverein Wolfsburg since 2004, among other things.

According to a note from the curators, “At the interfaces between music, art, pop, media and technologies the TECHNO WORLDS exhibition follows an interdisciplinary and open approach. The titles refers to the multifaceted techno scenes, genres and subcultural political projects of the 1980s to the present day – at different times and places – and traces cultural and economic appropriation processes.”

“Techno takes its inspiration from many different genres and from various regions of this world. Its birthplace, however, was the former car city of Detroit where in the mid-1980s African-American musicians were decisively involved in the development of techno music. It is inspired by many different sources, from electro and funk to European electronic pop by Kraftwerk and Georgio Moroder. The effects of technologization such as precarity and loss of security for the working classes could be directly felt in Detroit. Clubs represented a place of refuge where like-minded individuals could meet and form a community in which they were accepted and tolerated,” they elaborated in their note.

The day exhibition at the PHI Centre is based on three themes - history and sound of techno music, communities and networks, and techno & design. 

At the rave culture at SAT in the evening visitors will be taken to the underground rave scene recreated in the basement. ‘Through a series of photographic, video and luminous installations, the exhibition reveals a subversive militancy where liberation, self-discovery and the reclamation of physical, cultural and political spaces intersect,’ according to the organisers here.

The sunset to midnight open exhibition at Goethe-Institut includes talking about ‘the techno phenomenon from the perspective of cultural and musical history, feminism and Afrofuturism’ through documents, objects, videos and film programs; original fashion from the 1990s, magazines, fanzines and video installations will be there too. The window projections will be held every day from sunset to midnight, and film screenings every Friday and Saturday night for the duration of the exhibition.

TECHNO WORLDS is a Goethe-Institut exhibition on view in museums and other exhibition venues internationally. The Montreal edition  will be from May 13 to June 19 this year.