Sonic Acts Academy 2018: Unpacking the Processes of Artistic Knowledge
Sonic Acts Academy is a new platform for investigation, speculation, and reflection, focusing on educational practices and the critical examination of knowledge production in the field of art. By expanding artistic experience into an academy of engagement and exchange, we wish to offer both a playground and a radical syllabus at odds with institutionalised learning.
Society is rapidly changing under the pressure of economic, technological, and political expansions. The temporary and unstable configurations that make up our world ask for new and flexible approaches to making, learning, and thinking. Specifically, while budget cuts and standardisation of learning dominate our education systems – turning education into a breeding ground for an economy of knowledge-as-commodity – it is essential to re-examine how forms of learning can take place when unrestricted by measurable outcomes or predetermined expectations. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to address the function of art and the artist and to expand the conversation to include the processes of the ‘decolonisation of thought’ – certainly one of the most critical factors in artistic practices today.
Instead of information moulded and pressed into a canon of ‘universal knowledge’ – a canon of power and force – we need to find space for the indistinctness of experience and knowledge that is shaped by our encounters with the here and now. The development of ‘harmonising’ education into exchangeable standards and norms inherently contradicts a process of learning that is personal and whimsical. A festival in the format of an academy allows us to experiment, test, and quickly react to changes in both the form and content of what we should know and invite everybody to participate in the discussion. This academy nurtures an inclusive community; it includes those who resist the privileged spaces of academia and those who do not have access to them. By avoiding uniform formulas of learning and knowledge development, by not levelling out the unique qualities of those involved, and by creating new formats from making visible hidden processes in artistic work, we develop a lively educational milieu that reflects the thinking and productive power of a diverse society.
Sonic Acts has always been a site for experimentation in both artistic practice and theory: a place to exchange, think, create, learn, and act. As the world becomes more radical and unequal, the need for change in the field of education takes on an increasing urgency. For answers, we are turning to the diverse community of artists, teachers, tutors, mentors, thinkers, and tinkerers. By presenting artistic investigations and research – the processes that challenge the notions of the petrified world – Sonic Acts Academy aims to advance experimentation by including various dynamic perspectives to the podium. Together, we need to rethink how education can again become a tool for discovery, growth, development, and emancipation, and not just a machine that disseminates dominant models of thinking.
The second edition of Sonic Acts Academy features a range of international artists, academics, activists, curators, and theorists, ready to articulate different examples of learning and to engage in an experimental setting free of institutional pressure and privileged classrooms. Their processes are revealed in a variety of open workshops, seminars, lectures, performances, screenings, sensorial walks, and installations.
About Sonic Acts
Sonic Acts was founded in 1994. Over the years, it has established itself as a thematic festival with a strong focus on contemporary and historical developments at the intersections of art, technology, music and science. Each festival edition explores the chosen theme by means of an international conference, a wide range of concerts and performances, exhibitions and screenings, and embraces a broad spectrum of fields, practices and disciplines.
Sonic Acts has developed into an organisation for the research, development and production of works at the intersection of art, science and theory. It also commissions and co-produces new works, often in collaboration with international festivals, arts organisations, funders and other partners. Recent projects include the three-year art, research & commissioning project Dark Ecology, predominantly taking place in the Arctic region, and its globally touring programme Vertical Cinema.