Experience The Virtual Reality World While In Montreal!
If you’re in travelling to Montreal, it’s a wonderful opportunity to check out the amazing innovation that’s taking place amongst local artists and scientists in the VR and digital experience domain. Many people come to Montreal for its history – the architecture, cafe society, jazz, and fine arts. However, Montreal is also a hub for technology and innovation, with many universities and high-tech startups!
WHERE ART AND SCIENCE MEET
Montreal’s artists are just as engaged with new media and technology as the scientists. Founded in 1996, the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) is a an internationally active digital arts centre, with amazing exhibitions and performances. Located close to the St Laurent metro, the SAT includes a dome – the Satosphere – to enjoy fully immersive virtual reality experiences. The Satosphere, at 18 metres wide and 13 metres high, is also filled with 157 speakers for an incredible soundscapes.
There is also a good restaurant, bar, and roof terrace, so you can enjoy a meal or a drink before or after a show. The “Foodlab” restaurant features a seasonal menu, based on local produce, and a wine list focused on natural wines.
IMMERSIVE FILMS AND MULTIMEDIA PERFORMANCES
The SAT offers a huge range of shows and is often used as a venue for arts and music festivals . Performances include immersive animated films – such as “Cage”, “Lost”, and “Creatures”. “Cage” was inspired by Jack London’s novel, “The Star Rover”. It tells the story of a prisoner who manages to escape the horror of incarceration through vivid dreams that come to transcend the depths of consciousness. “Lost” plays with optical illusions and the way we see and feel the space of the dome. With glittering and complex light patterns, set against darkness, it creates an unusual and intriguing visual experience for the audience. “Creatures” is an ode to the diversity of life on earth. It explores semi-abstract ecosystems, algorithmic landscapes, and demonstrates how complexity can emerge from simple behaviours.
The SAT also hosts lots of musical shows, with artists such as Ulf Langheinrich. He is a musician, painter and photographer, creating magical spaces playing on perceptions that lead the audience into a state of deep meditation. The SAT’s electronic music shows often include interactive stage sets, powered by the latest software. VJing and videomapping add the visual element to DJs’ musical performances.
The interaction between humans and computers is a recurring theme in SAT shows. Featured in 2018 are international human-computer interaction artists from as far afield as Tunisia, Japan, China, and South Korea as well as Canada, the USA, and the UK.
CREATIVE LABS CONNECTING ARTISTS AROUND THE WORLD
The SAT includes the Metalab – a “live creative laboratory”. It researches and develops technology for producing cutting edge digital artworks. It also offers lots of training courses and workshops, for all ages including children.
Due to its pioneering work, the Metalab was the first North American member to be invited to join the Open Living Labs (ENoLL) network. The network is a group of more than 170 research and innovation centres from all over the world. The Metalab also runs a national and international artistic exchange program. This uses state-of-the-art “teleprescence” software tools for real-time broadcasting of audiovisual data over the Internet. So, artists don’t have to be in the same room or even in the same country to work together. This technology is also being used to connect 20 venues in Quebec to form a living laboratory of digital creation. This network of connected rooms is the first of its kind in the world! Another project, Bibliolab, connects libraries of the City of Montreal.
With so much exciting work going on at the SAT, it is well worth checking out a show. You’ll be amazed by the immersive experiences and intrigued by the exciting new realities the artists are creating there. We hope you get to try it all out on your next visit in Montreal!