We've always been big fans of everything about Berlin-based CTM, the 'Festival for Adventurous Music and Art'.
CTM was founded in 1999 and is dedicated to left-field pop, contemporary electronic and experimental music. Each year's programme is loosely curated under a theme and presents a vast array of artists working in music and sound across various genres, scenes, disciplines, and interdisciplinary sites of experimentation. As well as performances, there's also a comprehensive programme of lectures, critical discourses and installation work.
This year's event is something of a different beast since it obviously can't take place in the usual club spaces and cultural venues at the moment (previous editions have spanned clubs like Berghain and venues such as Hau). Instead, 2021's CTM is all happening online before (hopefully) a later than usual series of live events in May.
Going online must indeed have been a prospect that was more than a little bit daunting for organisers when you consider the visceral, very physical nature of previous shows, brought to life with the sort of sound design, lighting and general intermingling of people that can't really be replicated digitally.
In recognition of this entirely new territory, the upcoming festival is dubbed "CTM Cyberia". Designed by Argentinian artist and industrial designer Lucas Gutierrez, it's wholly geared as an online event (rather than shoehorning live formats into a digital space, which often seems to fall short of the real thing.)
"CTM Cyberia invites visitors to explore the space as scrambled unstable avatars, watch CTM 2021's live stream programme, and interact with each other via chat, movements, and throwing emoji bombs," say organisers.
"Different aesthetics and sound environments can be found in its multiple rooms, psychedelic corridors, and outdoor spaces in a search for the imaginative, expansive, and permeable possibilities of online spaces."
The platform uses avatars as agents through which to navigate the digital artworks on show. These include several new commissioned works hidden throughout Cyberia's site, which its creators dub an "experimental playground."Among the performers and artists involved are Peaches, Pussykrew, Gabber Modus Operandi and Mouse on Mars.
The works are all loosely themed around the idea of "transformation" from various standpoints— social, personal, aesthetic and technological.
Created with the real-time developing platform Unity in collaboration with A MAZE Festival for Games and Playful Media, CTM Cyberia can be accessed free of charge around the clock via a web browser or a stand-alone app for Mac and PC.