Innovation Labs and Testbeds
“Our prototyping environments have led on experiments with humans-in-the-loop, where the impact of frontier technologies – such as AI, deep learning and brain-computer interfaces – can be tested in safe environments, and challenges addressed before applications are deployed at scale. These experiments test the extent to which the technology enables or obstructs human agency, decision making processes and accountability.
“This dimension is directly linked to safeguarding health and wellbeing, including new data- and media-driven issues of privacy, bias and discrimination, physical distancing and isolation, and social media impact on mental health. So in this sense, we see culture and design as safeguarding the social and ethical dimension of technology.”
MTF Labs: Ecosystem Living
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.
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
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
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: Industry Commons
#MTFLabs: Industry Commons pilot at Slush, tracking IP through blockchain in real time, neurofeedback control, accessible music tech, AI and cyborg performance.
Many are academics - doctoral, postdoctoral and professorial, others are professional artists and musicians, some are industry experts, many are scientists. MTF includes producers, curators, media professionals, policymakers and more.
They come together from fields as diverse as medicine, agriculture, oceanography, theoretical physics, automotive, aviation, policy, product design, social sciences, robotics and AI, music composition and performance, arts management, cryptography, business incubation, traditional and indigenous crafts, neuroscience, ecology and economics - and they pool their expertise in collaborations that could happen in no other context.
MTF is different everywhere it takes place.
At the centre are the curated expert labs, but it also includes performance showcases, exploratory field trips, youth education workshops, a research symposium, policy roundtables, music production challenges and more.
The events provide an opportunity to bring together members of the community, create new innovation and showcase the brilliant ideas and projects that emerge from that community.
MTF Labs is diverse, accessible, inclusive and ensures an at least even gender balance. At MTF Stockholm in 2018, 53% of participants registered as Female - the remaining 47% identifying as Male, Other, or “Prefer not to say” - and we placed women in the lead of all technology areas right across the festival.
A really magical happening, I’m challenged and excited - Eska, Mercury Prize nominee
Such a diverse and creative festival - Ian Wallman, Producer
Founded in London in 2012, MTF (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.