“The robots just arrived, actually,” Muriel Devémy tells me midway through our phone call, as apology for asking me to wait on hold for one moment. The robots in question are sure to be one of the main attractions at tonight’s special AI-themed afterhours at the McCord Museum, which kicks off this year’s Digital Spring.
Montreal’s Digital Spring (Printemps Numérique) introduces people to the works of local digital creators. Last year over 700,000 people attended events. Digital Spring includes screenings and public installations, interactive spaces, visual performances, the latest in electronic music, immersive activities, 3D productions explorations into the world of visual effects, gaming and VR, studio tours and more.
Tonight’s event—a 5 a 7 of sorts that goes until 10 pm—features interactive workshops with robots, avatars, facial recognition technology with thematic bars (including a non-alcoholic kombucha bar) and a specially prepared food menu incorporating insects.
“It’s an event that we’ve organized for the past three years for Printemps Numérique,” Muriel Devémy, Head of Customer Development and Partnerships for the McCord Museum told MTLinTECH. “I’m in charge of the programming for the event and I scheduled different activities around the theme of artificial intelligence. We’re expecting more than 1,000 people, and think it will be a great event.”
Last year’s FashionTech themed event included fashion mapping, 3D scan stations, wearables, immersive demonstrations, interactive experiences, encounters with designers, VR fashion designs and creative workshops.
“We have a partnership with the Université de Montreal, and they’re going to have a few robots on site. People will be able to interact with them and see what they do.”
The robots in questions, Nao and Pepper—the only two in Canada—actually work with children with autism. They speak both French and English and will be able to answer attendees’ questions in either language.
There will also be paintings on display from UQAM students that are part of the Hexagram collective, presenting a digital theater of natural, artificial and collective intelligences.
“One of them is inspired by one of the Black Mirror episodes,” Devémy tells me.
You’ll also have the chance to contribute to the awareness campaign launched by the Antimodular artistic project, Level of confidence; see the installation Light Wires interact with the digital activity generated during the evening in real time; meet VOXA, a digital person who will communicate live with guests during the evening; and experience Helmetron, Alexandre Saunier’s helmet of virtual sensoriality, just to name a few of the activities on offer.
“We’ll have alcohol and kombucha available, as well as different food options from a special menu created by one of our other partners, Maurin Cuisine. The menu incorporates insects.”