MTF Labs: Ecosystem Living

Film by Nuno Barbosa

MTF places music and creativity at the heart of innovation across all domains to address grand societal challenges. The MTF Labs theme this year was ‘Ecosystem Living’. The Labs took place in Aveiro, Portugal as part of Aveiro Tech Week.

Building on 2020’s ‘Another Green World’ and 2021’s ‘Just Ocean’, the new ‘Ecosystem Living’ theme challenged MTF Labs’ expert participants to consider how human beings can live in specific relation to their surroundings and environment.

This challenge moves beyond and away from the concept of *urban planning* because we reject ‘urban’ as a necessary (or even desirable) condition for human habitation. ‘Ecosystem Living’ transcends the idea of spatial planning, since the focus of spatial planning is limited to the physical space and not the complex interactions between cohabiting species. Nor is it ecosystem planning because we do not seek to impose order, encourage extractive practices or create the conditions for entirely anthropocentric habitation.

We consider human beings and their activities to be part of nature and not separate from it, and so true ecosystem living is about harmony, alignment and balance, and finding an entire value network within a holistic cohabitation. This balance must synthesise and integrate artistic practice, scientific research, traditional craft professions and local cultural practices.




Aveiro Documentary

MTF Labs director Andrew Dubber discovers the culture of Aveiro, a city under imminent threat of ocean rise due to climate change and undergoing the loss of cultural heritage and traditional industries.



MTF Labs: Just Ocean - part 1

Aveiro, 2021

Chapter 1 of a 3-part documentary by filmmaker Francisca Siza examining the week-long experimental creative innovation labs event MTF Labs Aveiro.



MTF Labs: Just Ocean - part 2

Aveiro, 2021

Chapter 2 of a 3-part documentary by filmmaker Francisca Siza examining the week-long experimental creative innovation labs event MTF Labs Aveiro.



MTF Labs: Performance AI in a nuclear reactor 20 meters underground.

Stockholm, 2018

Photography by Andrea Grin Cerrato

Film by Fanni Fazakas 



#MTFLabs: Industry Commons pilot at Slush, tracking IP through blockchain in real time, neurofeedback control, accessible music tech, AI and cyborg performance.

Helsinki, 2017

Music Tech Fest by Ian Wallman

Berlin, 2016


Music Tech Fest is a nomadic digital community that meets at physical gatherings which are acupuncture points for its ongoing activities. The MTF community prototypes new systems to challenge existing systems, always starting from music and the creative arts as a driving force for investigation into all areas of human activity, including science, industry and politics, and always resulting in a performance which allows to experience the effect of new technological systems on human beings. The MTF community manages to occupy spaces within academia, industry, nuclear reactors, trade fairs and concert halls, each time reinventing the relationships between people, space, tools and machines, and provoking new intellectual directions from a renewed space of common understanding.  

#MTFLabs by @PeterKolskiArt

Berlin, 2016

MIT Media Lab presents a documentary by Sheila Hayman about #MTFLabs Performance+Body featuring Viktoria Modesta.

Berlin, 2016

A really magical happening, I’m challenged and excited - Eska, Mercury Prize nominee

Such a diverse and creative festival - Ian Wallman, Producer

Insane day of wonder and experiments - Viktoria Modesta, Bionic artist

Founded in London in 2012, Music Tech Fest has occupied various venues including the Barbican in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Microsoft Research NERD Labs in Cambridge MA, the Funkhaus in Berlin, Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana, and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. A giant creative laboratory, MTF connects artists, technologists and business in a vibrant environment. Unique collaborations, new works created on site, original research, premieres of future technology, and a visionary community, make each event an exciting landmark gathering. MTF is cross-genre, international, enriching, and inclusive. 


By bringing together the MTF community and companies, Music Tech Fest enables both talent and businesses to test their ideas, expand and innovate rapidly. Experts and talent unite to receive support and distribution routes for their projects. MTF has been consistently feeding innovation policy directly from grass roots creative prototyping, achieving 53% women in a multi-gender 800-participant festival, enabling breakthrough accessibility applications to uncover new human talents, testing the future of work through creative experimentation, and resulting in multiple awards for art, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Music Tech Fest ethos is underpinned by a Manifesto. In March 2014, amazing minds from the MTF community including researchers from Microsoft Research, MIT, Harvard, Oxford, McGill and Rutgers, gathered at Microsoft Research NERD Labs and created the international Manifesto for the Future of Music Technology Research which has since been undersigned by hundreds of supporters from a variety of backgrounds including science, arts, industry and politics.
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