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Refraction Festival

16/07/2020 - 31/07/2020

On July 16th, Refraction unveils a new model for music and arts festivals in a socially distanced world. The two-week program of DJ sets, video exhibitions, installations and audiovisual performances from contemporary artists across sound, fashion, visual and digital art will take place entirely online, running nightly from July 16th through 30th.

Four of those exhibitions will be unveiled on the opening day, July 16th: a series of interstitial videos created by A$AP Rocky & Young Thug collaborator Robert Gallardo, a showcase from face filter/digital effects artists curated by Elissa Sing (AKA @face.effects), and two Refraction art openings.

The first opening, Refraction x Well Now WTF, explores the influence of contemporary glitch aesthetics in a collection of audiovisual pieces. The Refractions Digital Art Showcase heralds the launch of the new Generate app with an exhibit in the digital gallery known as the Harddiskmuseum. Other artists involved in the festival (such as Akiko Nakayama) used Generate to create works that will stream later in the month.

New projects will be revealed daily. The music program includes a number of live performances, DJ sets and audiovisual showcases. Electronic artists like Omar-S, Marcellus Pittman, Hieroglyphic Being, Sapphire Slows, D. Tiffany and Roza Terenzi, plus representatives of Canadian labels like Pacific Rhythm and Mood Hut, have prepared special live sets.

Some, like Mathew Jonson and Ciel, have teamed up with designers to develop a bespoke visual element for their performances. Others are planning to stream from special locations: Channel Tres will broadcast from a private warehouse in Los Angeles, Yu Su will host a meditative soundscape session in her front garden and DJ Stingray will stream from a Rooftop in Berlin in collaboration with Best Films Forever. Others include ISLA label boss Daniel Rincon delivering a sunrise DJ set on a Montreal rooftop and Japanese DJs Gonno and Sodeyama playing in the famous sound room at Contact club in Tokyo.

Unique live performances will also premiere from Amazondotcom, Hitmakerchinx and more. Teams like Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Festival and the design & fashion collective Grey 93 have curated audio-video showcases to premiere on July 18. London soul singer Tawiah worked with the visual artist group known as MYRRH for her set on July 25, while Palestinian hip-hop champion Muqata’a will perform from his new home in Berlin on the eve of the Refraction finale, July 30th.

The original idea for Refraction—to host simultaneous events in cities around the world—came from the creator of Vancouver’s long-running New Forms Festival and the artistic director of CODE (a digital arts showcase that ran during the 2010 Olympics). In light of the cancelled summer festival season, Refraction has decided to premiere each specially commissioned project as a livestream. All of them will then be available on-demand in a virtual gallery for the rest of the month. In lieu of tickets and festival passes, Refraction will raise money for ColorOfChange.org and TheBailProject.org at each event throughout the festival.


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