New Forms Festival returns with new insights and ideas

By Hollie McGowan
New Forms Festival celebrates its 16th year, raising the profile of Canadian artists, media arts, underground, and subversive arts movements and practices both in Canada and abroad. Photo: Courtesy of New Forms Festival

New Forms Festival celebrates its 16th year, raising the profile of Canadian artists, media arts, underground, and subversive arts movements and practices both in Canada and abroad.
Photo: Courtesy of New Forms Festival

VANCOUVER — After a year-long hiatus, New Forms Festival is back for another instalment this month and local artists, electronic music aficionados, and new media devotees couldn’t be happier. “I’ve never been involved in something in my life where we didn’t have it for one year, and we received comments about it daily either through email, messaging, Facebook, or in person,” explains Malcolm Levy, executive director and co-founder of the New Forms Media Society. “There was just such an immense amount of support.”

Poster: Courtesy of New Forms Festival

Poster: Courtesy of New Forms Festival

Exploring a different direction in new media and event curation, the New Forms Media Society produced multiple one-off events throughout 2015 instead of the annual festival. Due to a high amount of inquiries, however, the team decided to re-evaluate their initial decision. “We talked about it with everyone and decided to move forward [with the festival format for 2016]. It also gave us the chance to really do New Forms in the way that I think it’s going.”

Over the years, New Forms has been held at various locations throughout the city. From The Waldorf Hotel to Great Northern Way and Science World, the festival has seen its fair share of venues with which the team has been able to experiment in the development of new creative ideas and insight. Now in its 16th year, the team will be taking their years of experience to a whole new level at the iconic A&B Sound building at 560 Seymour and the Satellite Gallery upstairs. “The space will look nothing like it has ever looked [before],” boasts Levy. “We’re basically re-contextualizing the entire space.”

“I’m really excited about the entire festival, and I’m not just saying that. I’m excited about every aspect,” shares Levy. Being in his final year as director of New Forms, Levy has witnessed the festival grow into the successful new media arts and music hub that it is today. “I’ve seen artists, labels, and communities blow up around the festival. I’ve seen so many friendships, collaborations, communication, discourse, and creative growth. I cherish and look really fondly on all of it.”

New Forms Festival happens at 560 Seymour Street from October 7-8.

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