If the performances, showcases and exhibitions at CTM.13 Festival had one thing in common, it was a conscious rejection of aesthetic boundaries. As the organisers put it, “contrasts, dialogue, exchange, confrontation, and crossovers from the broadest imaginable range of approaches, genres, scenes, traditions, networks and subcultures”, and an endlessly questing spirit, gave the festival its aim – to challenge as well as entertain.
Using the problematic of the internetʼs impact on artistic production as a conceptual springboard, CTM certainly rose to its lofty goals. No series of gigs hastily cobbled together, this week-long event included a gallery of visual art, a series of live and DJ performances, a discourse programme delivered by the likes of Atom™ and Kode9, and even a Hacklab of musical experimentation. Even though the bulk of its programme clearly catered to a niche, CTM had enormous scope, its organisers taking care to ensure that it never fell into the rut of predictability, with a lineup that included Diamond Session, Florian Hecker, Demdike Stare, Forest Swords, dʼ Eon, Andy Stott, Powell, and perhaps more unexpected acts like Skream, Mykki Blanco and Pantha du Prince.
Seven performances in particular used a number of artistic modes to create something quite new. Rather than defining as binaries the intellectual and experiential, bodily and digital, historical and present, or aural and visual, they brought them together synergistically. It’s always a struggle to give verbal form to the live experience but then again, the failure of a medium to describe a phenomenon only reinforces the CTM aim: “to test itself and all else to the max.”
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