The MUTEK festival enters the expanded reality art market

MUTEK Festival is starting production and distribution of digital art adapted to augmented reality (XR) by marketing on the popular platform of video games Steam an adaptation ofImmortala work for electronic instruments and video composed by Line Katcho and presented to the public for the first time in 2018. The initiative has the potential to transform the work of these artists who now have access to a new source of income by selling the works of them in this new market.

Let’s make the analogy with the music industry. The musician has two essential functions: to compose, then to perform his works during the concerts for which he sells tickets. Another source of income is the marketing of the recording of his works, in physical or digital media. What MUTEK proposes is to become, in a way, the “recording house” of digital artists by producing a “recording” of one of their works to distribute and market it as a musician does with his songs.

Essentially, [Immortelle] is a work I designed for a flat screen; with virtual reality, the screen is 360 degrees.

And for digital artists, who have never had anything to sell other than their live performances, this changes everything—starting with the very nature of their artistic approach: “We say it’s an adaptation, but it’s really a new work,” derived from the original, says Line Katcho.

“Essentially, [Immortelle] is a work I designed for a flat screen; with virtual reality, the display is 360 degrees” and also has an element of interactivity. “The viewer accepts the work in a completely different way” with a virtual reality helmet on his head and not in the room, the artist performing in real time in front of him.

Regarding the adaptation ofImmortal, the music remains practically unchanged, but Line Katcho had to rethink its animated images trying to preserve its essence, a painstaking job that requires mastering the new software (the Unity engine, developed by the video game industry) allowing him to transpose ideas into the immersive environment of virtual reality. “At first I thought it was great, this idea of ​​offering a virtual reality version of my work, but along the way I realized it was much more complex than I first imagined. »

Since November 15, Immortalthe first of three works adapted to virtual reality by MUTEK’s Immersive Collection, is accessible on the Steam platform for $4.95. “A price that does not reflect the value of the work, but that of its adaptation,” asserts Lola Baraldi, manager of collection production, partnerships and digital projects of MUTEK, joined in Tokyo, where he will present these adaptations. public and industry as part of 7e The Japanese edition of the Montreal festival.

“What is exciting about all this, says Lola Baraldi, is that together we can create a new system of values ​​for this kind of work”, which traditionally lives thanks to the circuits of festivals specializing in cinema and the latest musicals . create. It “represents new sources of income for artists and the organization” that funded the XR adaptation of the works, which can find an audience on platforms such as Steam, but also in the circuit of immersive modular theaters, such as Satosphere, and the Society for Arts and Technology .

A return and an evolution

For MUTEK, who has been working on the project for more than a year, with financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts, it’s also a return to production more than 10 years after his label suspended activities. MUTEK_REC. “These are our first steps as producers [dans ce domaine]and a reflection follows, since for a while, MUTEK was looking to find a way to work closer to artists by supporting them beyond the distribution and media coverage of a work. [dans le cadre du festival]that is, from his genesis”, specifies MME Baraldi.

Thus, MUTEK acts as the manufacturer of augmented reality adaptation. To facilitate the distribution of its works, the organization has concluded an agreement with Astrea, a new company that distributes online (on Steam, Oculus Quest, Viveport and Pico platforms) and at specialized festivals and belongs to Atlas. V, designer of XR content and experiences. “There is already a network through film festivals, while MUTEK has its own specialized network in the music sector. We join forces. »

It is still early to estimate the size of the income from the experience, but Line Katcho is pleased with this new exit, “especially after the pandemic, which has slowed us down in our activities.”

“Some may fear that it distorts our art to fall into its commercialization, but I don’t think of it in those terms. I find it quite interesting to be able to become known and make my work known. Wich is cold, also, is that on Steam people can leave comments. It’s good for me to find out what people think about my work. »


By Line Katcho. Available on Steam, on the MUTEK page.

To see it on video

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