SAT I Urban Hub

Information doc: 

Society for Arts and Technology [SAT] 1197 blvd Saint-Laurent, C.P. 1083, succ Desjardins Montréal (Québec) H5B 1C2




Founded in 1996, the Society for Arts and technology (SAT) is a hybrid cultural institution in Montreal, combining venue, artist residencies, research laboratories and a training centre. Internationally renowned for its active and leading role in the development of immersive and virtual reality technologies, and for the creative use of high-speed networks, the SAT was created to support a new generation of creators/researchers in the digital age. All in all, more than 10,000 artists and researchers have come to the SAT to present their work, music, immersive performances, installations and transdisciplinary projects.

Created in 2010, Urban Hub is the SAT’s Living Lab. It was the first Living Lab in North America to be recognised by the Enoll (European Network of Living Labs). The Living Lab’s mission is to foster a trickling down of digital arts through society. Through a close collaboration with the Metalab (the SAT’s R&D department), the Living Lab’s role is to advise and guide other fields in the transfer of technological innovations initially destined for digital arts. With industrial and institutional partners in the fields of health, culture and education, the team co-designs new experiences and discovers industry applications for the SAT’s technologies.


Historically, the SAT has been an experimental playground for immersive and network-based technologies. It is a leading expert in the creation of immersive content (including virtual reality) and in distributed scenography across different venues. The Metalab has, through the years, developed a series of specialized applications (video mapping on volumetric structures, sound spatialization, live immersive editing, multi-stream telepresence). It has also created custom installations (mobile domes, panoscopes, telepresence stations) that use those immersive and network-based applications. Each Living Lab project builds on one or more of these elements and develops new uses for these technologies.

The Ste-Justine University Hospital Center (UHC) was the SAT’s Living Lab’s first partner. This privileged partnership aims to humanize pediatric care through the innovative use of immersive and telepresence-based technologies. To this day (2017), more than half of the Living Lab’s projects has been developed through a collaboration with the different departments at Ste-Justine UHC, for therapy, health education or socialization purposes, for patients and their families.


In parallel to these projects for the health sector, the Living Lab also currently works on 2 projects connecting the territory of the province of Quebec through the use of the Scenic telepresence software.

  • Scènes Ouvertes: Quebec network of venues for co-creating, sharing, and directing collaborative distributed shows (2017). This project is part of the Plan culturel numérique du Québec by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications (MCC, Quebec’s ministry for culture and communications), and gives venues and producers the opportunity to collaborate in the creation of a new vocabulary for stage. Excerpt from Dieu est un DJ:
  • Bibliolab: an immersive and interactive telepresence installation through which distributed events can be organized between several libraries (on going). This project, developed in collaboration with the Ville de Montréal’s network of libraries, opens up uses for cultural mediation, training, conferences, and civic engagement. Telepresence makes it possible to connect and interact with one another, even at long distances, while immersion creates a joint space in which content can be shared.