UpgradeMTL est une organisation autonome, transnationale et rhizomatique de
rendez-vous pour la culture numérique et les arts technologiques à Montréal.
UpgradeMTL is an autonomous, transnational and grassroots organisation of
gatherings for digital culture and the technology arts in Montréal.

Upgrade Montréal is organised by tobias c. van Veen, Sophie Le-Phat Ho, Horea Avram & Anik Fournier. Founded in 2004 by van Veen as the third node of the International network, UpgradeMTL has attempted to explore the limits of the technology arts through a variety of strategies -- performance & exposition, presentation & installation, intervention & cabaret -- while extending our impact to a variety of spaces from galleries & institutions to interventions in the urban landscape. Existing in an officially bilingual city with a multilingual populace, and marking our uncanny home in the networks, we have encoded our city name as MTL.

contact _ tobias [at] upgrademtl.org | sophie [at] upgrademtl.org | anik [at] upgrademtl.org

[ archive of events ]

Since 2004 UpgradeMTL has featured diverse events bridging digital culture and the technology arts, from new media and net-art to electronic music and embodied performance. UpgradeMTL has undertaken large-scale initiatives such as the Cabaret for Critical Art Ensemble (2005), which raised funds to support persecuted bioartists The Critical Art Ensemble; Critical Practice Resuscitation (2006), the first North American Gathering of Nettime.org under the umbrella of the MUTEK festival; Remix: Voices of Aboriginal Women (2006) a celebration of International Women's Day with StudioXX and Quebec Native Women; [CTRL]: Technology Art Society (2007), a day-long event with keynote speaker McKenzie Wark, in partnership with Media@McGill; What is Natural Space? & Listen! Sonic ecology & the City (2007), collaborations with Artivistic festival of art & the political. Intimate events include the annual Art's Birthday January dérive of local artist-run centres while UpgradeMTL has sought to intervene in contemporary debate with events such as the Montréal launch of FUSE magazine (2005) featuring art of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. UpgradeMTL has also expanded to support local & international exhibitions of Upgrade artists, such as the espaceSONO:: audio.lab (2007).

As a forum for feedback and discussion, the Upgrade has become a space in which to engage political questions concerning technology and the arts in Montreal. We seek to connect various technology practitioners, artists and theorists across disciplines and divides through engaging contexts. By embracing the moment wherein technology and art raise complex social, historical and political questions, UpgradeMTL has focused upon the relation between human and machine that generates the technology arts.


In 2007 we are seeking renewal with a dream of the outside. Outside the institution, outside/r art, en plein air means to be inside the sector, inside the world, inside undecidable public-private space. Upgrade Salvador has proven inspirational with its bus-riding Upgrades & streetside productions. Being in the outside encourages urban interventions & nomadism while at the same time developing a time and space to explore & deconstruct the ongoing expansion of world technology networks


The first Montréal Upgrade took place on October 1st 2004 as part of the Art&D exhibition at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT), including representatives from Eyebeam, Turbulence.org, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Art Interactive, the Museum for Modern Art, Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute, Boston CyberArts and Upgrade's Yael Kanarek.

The Upgrade Montréal is supported by the SAT and collaborates with various organisations including Studio XX, La Centrale, terminus1525.ca, OBORO and Hexagram among others.


The Upgrade is an international, emerging network of autonomous nodes united by art, technology, and a commitment to bridging cultural divides.

The Upgrade began in 1999 with a regular gathering of new media artists and curators in New York City organised by Yael Kanarek. Upgrade New York partnered with Eyebeam in 2000, and in 2003-2004 the Upgrade went international with Vancouver, Boston & Montreal joining the network, expanding to 27 nodes as of 2007. The first International gathering was held in NYC at Eyebeam in Fall 2005; the second in Oklahoma City in Fall 2006. The third International gathering will be held in Skopje, Macedonia, in Fall 2008. [ http://theupgrade.net/ ]