Supercuts: Sabotage by Montage - A Workshop with Sam Lavigne

Monday 16 May 13:44

Emerging in the early 2000s, "The Supercut" is a genre of video editing made out of a montage of short clips with a common theme. The catch-all term, initially coined by writer and net-culture commentator Andy Baio, describes the fast-moving, detail-obsessed videos that isolate a recurring pop-culture trope, iconic idiom or idiosyncrasy. While often humouristic, pointing out ridiculous, overused phrases, the videos are also adept at cultural and even political commentary. Examples from the height of the genre's popularity veer from a series of Arnold Schwarzenegger's screams to Bill Gates saying “uh” a lot, to an experimental clip in which all of the words were removed from George W. Bush’s 2008 State of the Union address.

The Workshop

Led by artist Sam Lavigne, attendees will use Python in conjunction with basic command line tools to explore the possibilities of manipulating video with code. The workshop will treat video as a textual as well as a visual medium, and focus on repurposing found footage to generate new compositions and narratives. Together, participants will interrogate the YouTube channels of corporate polluters like Shell oil and gas to create their own supercut videos. In this way, the supercut becomes a subversive tool, drawing critical attention to how large scale polluters justify, excuse and obscure environmental harm.

Practical details & how to sign up

Date: Thursday 9 June 2022 Location: Online Time: 16:00 - 19:00 CET Cost: €5 – Full Price €3 – Students Sign up via Homerun by 25 May to join the workshop and receive ticket options by e-mail. [Sign up now closed] This workshop forms part of a new series of events, Sonic Acts Practicum, focused on informal education and sharing knowledge between artists and researchers.

About Sam Lavigne

Sam Lavigne is an artist and educator who plugs into the interlocking interfaces of data, surveillance and policing, as well as natural language processing and automation. From publishing a database of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees in response to the Trump administration's family separation policy, to “White Collar Crime Zones,” a re-appropriation of a predictive policing algorithm, his work harnesses digital tools such as apps and information mining. These online interventions reveal the often opaque political and economic conditions molding computational technologies. He has exhibited at the Whitney Museum, Lincoln Center, New Museum, Ars Electronica and IDFA Doclab, amongst others, and his work has been covered by such platforms as The New Yorker, The Guardian, Motherboard, Wired, The Atlantic and The Ellen Degeneres Show.

Night Air: Shifting Sands

Friday 13 May 16:39

On Friday 22 April evening, another memorable rendition of Night Air took place at OT301, Amsterdam – the city built on sand. Digging into the relationship between sand, the history of pollution and economy, the event featured an audiovisual work by Félix Blume, talks from scholars Jeff Diamanti and Michaela Büsse, as well as films from Enar de Dios Rodríguez, Maika Garnica, Ans Mertens and Yanjin Wu. In the latter part of the evening, artist Farzané delivered a showcase of her performance LÖSS, before DJs Femi, TAAHLIAH, Snufkin and Europa took over for the night. → Browse through our photos on Flickr. Shifting Sands brought into focus the ecological impacts of sand excavation and consumption, which are marred by displacement and continuous colonial expansion. Shores, dunes and deserts were all figures that followed us throughout the evening. Firstly, sound artist Félix Blume’s Desierto (2021, 24’) transported the audience to altiplano Potosino in central Mexico, a major gold and silver mining hub. Commissioned by ARTE Radio, the piece is filled with recordings from these elevated plains, emphasising that the desert, far from being hostile, is prolific with life. Through their invigorating talks, scholars Jeff Diamanti and Michaela Büsse traced the flows of particulate matter – dust, emissions, pollen, sand – as they are situated and carried across geological time. Enar de Dios Rodríguez’ film Vestiges, along with Pia Borg’s Silica, Maika Garnica and Ans MertensInterlude, and 15” Sand Economy film loops, punctuating the intermissions by Yanjin Wu took us through the politics and poetics of sedimentary rock. Setting particles skittering, Farzané showcased ​​LÖSS, a sound performance simulating the system dynamics of sand formations that served as a model for critical states and self-organisation. Finally, DJs Femi, TAAHLIAH, our very own Snufkin, and Europa delivered the last blast, shaking the sand from beneath our feet. NIGHT AIR Night Air is a series of events that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations. **Night air is a myth with its origins in miasma theory (from the Greek for ‘pollution’). The theory held that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. The smell would intensify and worsen by night, so night air became synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours that could even cause pandemics such as cholera or plague. Only with developments in medicine and various scientific endeavours around the London cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s, did germs replace the ‘unhealthy fog’ as the culprit for diseases. And now, even though the idea has been abandoned, night air still echoes in words such as malaria (‘bad air’ in Italian), which actually connects air-borne poison with flying pests such as the disease-carrying mosquitoes. → Stay informed about future events! Subscribe to the Sonic Acts Newsletter.

Night Air: Breathing with Clouds

Wednesday 11 May 21:19

On Friday 27 May from 19:30, Breathing with Clouds marks the last Night Air event of the season at OT301. The programme of talks, performance, film and DJs sets, made in collaboration with Amsterdam-based artist Mint Park, invites us to tune into the turbulent processes of our atmosphere. VENUE OT301, Amsterdam House rules TICKETS €8 Full programme (starting 19:30) €6 Late entry (club night from 22:30) PROGRAMME Mint Park’s research, presented both during Night Air and at MACA on 26, 28 and 29 May, includes a fluid dynamic apparatus built to render air visible and audible. As concepts, the movements of air and clouds – noise, turbulence, drifting, dissipation – help to understand contingent dynamics. Clouds offer a methodology that challenges classification, circuits, limitless growth and technology. While materially at odds with meteorological clouds, the metaphor in the name ‘cloud computing’ signifies ubiquity, imperceptibility and retention. Pollution is a feature of both data farms, which consume energy massively, and the clouds that retain and displace toxic particles. With attention to this, Mint Park will also perform Darkening Days with Sébastien Robert, a live improvised score set to archival footage of pollution. Although a vast body of water is present in the air at all times, clouds are only perceptible by a careful combination of distance, moisture density, and light. Mist and fog, despite causing low visibility, are a way for earth-bound critters to experience clouds. As they hang low and cling to surfaces, we breathe them in and absorb them through porous bodies. Drawing attention to these intimate encounters, Hannah Mevis’ artwork inspired by morning dew, Filtered Clouds_do not store in container, invites us to taste clouds. Harvested locally, they will be sent travelling through our digestive systems and beyond. In Ho Tzu Nyen’s The Cloud of Unknowing, a multichannel cinematic installation that represented Singapore at the 2011 Venice Biennale, clouds are an exercise for the imagination and screens for projection. The film focuses on the cloud as the object that hovers in the background of landscapes – channelling divinity, illumination and mystic elevation, but also unrepresentability and emptiness. Moving away from historical classification systems that turned the atmosphere into a container, clouds are instead markers of perpetual change. Breathing with Clouds culminates at high altitude and low pressure, with DJ sets from Emiranda, Rapala700, Bugasmurf and DJ G2G. NIGHT AIR Night Air is a series of online transmissions and offline events that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations. The term ‘night air’ derives from a myth originating in the miasma theory (Greek for ‘pollution’) that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. Such smells would intensify and worsen by night, rendering ‘night air’ synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours.

Turbulence Studies: Latent Amongst the Air by Mint Park

Tuesday 10 May 12:18

Sound and new media artist Mint Park is fascinated by the ever-morphing shapes of turbulence. ​​From trembling airplane seats and rattling windows, to unpredictable weather patterns and disruptive states of disorder, as a concept, turbulence gusts through the realms of politics, meteorology and mechanical physics. Based on the phenomenon, Mint Park has been building a fluid dynamic apparatus since 2020 as a way to understand turbulence as a contingent process – an event that is shaped by nuanced changes in temperature and air pressure, velocity and density. Latent Amongst the Air, a performative installation resulting from this, will form an ephemeral landscape in which air is made tangible and audible through the visible movements of microscopic particles. Developed in collaboration with Zois Loumakis and Jesus Iglesias, the work takes up the delicate conditions that give rise to turbulence, using them as a speculative lens to encounter, viscerally, the interdependencies that make up our environments. The performative installation opens to the public on Thursday 26 May at MACA, followed by four additional performances taking place over the weekend, on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May. Park has also collaborated on the programme for Sonic Acts’ Night Air event on Friday 27 May at OT301, during which she will perform and give a talk. - Thursday 26 May at 20:00 (Opening) - Saturday 28 May at 16:00 & 20:30 - Sunday 29 May at 13:00 & 16:00 Visitors are welcome for drinks and to engage with the installation one hour prior to performance times. Performances last approximately 45 minutes. → Tickets (€5) are now available via Eventbrite

Mint Park & the Quiet Ensemble. Photo by Pieter Kers.

About the organisers

Born in Seoul, Mint Park is currently based in Amsterdam. Working at the intersection of music, technology, science and art, in recent years she has been researching the phenomenon of turbulence and devising a weather-like ecosystem of fluid dynamics with sound, air and light. Her audio-visual practice focuses on the experience of the inter-weaving physical environment and virtual spaces with immersive sound, light, and spatial apparatuses. Through spatial sound performances and installations, she explores the constantly fluctuating existential qualities in today’s binary spaces and machine-quantified time. Besides her own projects, she runs Unheard Records, a label focused on femme, minority, queer and under-represented experimental artists. MACA is a new creative workspace for filmmakers and audiovisual artists. An inspirational space for the film and AV community to meet, learn and share work and knowhow. Situated at the NDSM Wharf by the IJ river in Amsterdam Noord, the MACA warehouse hosts public as well as community-based workshops, screenings and exhibitions. maca.amsterdam Sonic Acts is an interdisciplinary arts organisation based in Amsterdam. Founded in 1994 to provide a platform for new developments in electronic and digital art forms, Sonic Acts has a year-round programme of activities geared towards supporting and showcasing artists, including a residency and mentorship programmes, publications, artwork commissions, workshops and events. Every two years Sonic Acts holds an intensive art, theory and technology festival motivated by changes in the ecological, political and social landscape. sonicacts.com

Anguille Vannamei and Erik Peters Selected for Underexposed

Wednesday 4 May 16:11

Sonic Acts is delighted to announce that duo Anguille Vannamei – composed of Noam Youngrak Son and Sarah Fitterer – and Erik Peters have been selected for the second iteration of the Underexposed mentorship programme. Underexposed is an online mentorship and training programme focused on supporting young, Netherlands-based artists during the early stages of their careers. It offers a mentorship period in which selected artists work with members of the Sonic Acts curatorial team, providing an opportunity to get feedback and professionalise their practice. More specifically, this round of Underexposed centres in particular on assisting artists with conceptualising their work, mostly in text or writing, and helps them improve the way they present artistic concepts, projects, plans and budgets in grant applications and other (public) presentations. Anguille Vannamei and Erik Peters follow Angeliki Diakrousi and Yara Said, who were selected to take part of the first iteration of Underexposed between May and June 2021. The second instalment will take place over a similar, six-week period from April to June 2022. Anguille Vannamei comprises Noam Youngrak Son and Sarah Fitterer, two artists who find themselves in continual attunement. The pair's research topics frequently overlap and intersect, finding fertile ground for cross pollination. For instance, as Noam began querying how eels might perceive human sex, Sarah was investigating anthropocentric visualisations of shrimp intercourse. SPA, their first collaborative project, reflects critically on the exploitative and profit-driven relationship between humans and aquatic species. Noam is an interdisciplinary media designer who attempts to convey the stories of marginalised bodies into designed forms. Sarah is a researcher, artist and occasional activist exploring the values that our food systems are built upon. Having both graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, their works have been featured at the Venice Biennale, MU Eindhoven, Gogbot Museum of the Future and Re:Kultura, Kraków. d-act.org fittererr.com Erik Peters engages with the world-building potentialities seeded in the act of storytelling, uncovering how speculative fiction can germinate new universes of being. His research-based practice is situated in the multiporous web of independencies between ecologies and technologies, human and non-human beings. Within his work, queer methodologies are evoked to create multidiscipinary scenarios; imaginative fables staged as spatial and interactive installations, workshops, publications and audiovisual works. Since graduating cum laude from AKI ArtEZ Enschede in Crossmedia Design, Erik has gone on to study Design for Art Direction at the London College of Communication, as well completed a course in Philosophy of Technology and Design at the University of Twente. Erikpeters.work

Looking back at Melting Cores

Monday 4 April 13:45

On the evening of Thursday 31 March at OT301 in Amsterdam, Melting Cores took place as an iteration of the Night Air event series. Exploring the politics of climate archiving, elemental collapse, and the (de)centralisation of cultural perspectives, Melting Cores included a talk from Louis Braddock-Clarke and Zuzanna Zgierska, a screening of Takashi Makino’s Generator and Susan Schuppli’s Ice Cores (with Q&A) as well as Transients I/O performed by Andreas Kühne, followed by DJ sets from Why Be and Yantan Ministry. All proceeds from the night’s ticket sales were donated to Giro555 for aid to Ukraine. Recordings of the talks will be available online soon. In the meantime, browse through our photos on Flickr. Night Air: Melting Cores

Tangle Eye: Worldbuilding with Mixtapes A Workshop by Arjuna Neuman

Wednesday 27 April 13:00

Making mixtapes is a practice of untrained amateurs, often for sharing between lovers, but it is also the medium of bedroom producers through to label-produced pop artists. Because of this wide reach, mixtapes have the potential to carry deeply subversive and critical content to unlikely audiences. In this workshop, we will create together a collective mixtape that explores the ecological unconscious of contemporary Black music. Along the way, we will learn some basic audio editing skills, as well as how to start thinking/speculating sonically. For a workshop taking place online on 31 May & Thursday 2 June, Arjuna Neuman invites participants to bring songs that build an argument, or even a new world, towards a collective mixtape that imagines the world as otherwise.

The Workshop

Spread over two days, we will first learn of the untold history of the Blues, how along with its roots in West Africa, it was also deeply inspired by Indigenous music and culture local to Mississippi. We will use this research as a model for compiling songs – where mixtapes become a speculative argument on how to understand the world differently. This process reverses the Afrofuturist tendency that takes Black music off-planet or under the ocean, and instead, we go into the soil, mud and earth of the Yazoo Delta. Following the first session, participants will be invited to bring a selection of songs that builds an argument, or even a new world. These selections may be historically informed, contemporary, or one’s own compositions. What is important in the selection, is that the songs relate, intersect, entangle and come alive when placed side-by-side. For the final session, together we will compile the songs towards a collective mixtape that imagines the world as otherwise. Suggested reading & listening For Lula, Mississippi by Arjuna Neuman The Strangeness of Dub by Eddie George

Apply

Apply by 23 May through Homerun to join the workshop. You will be asked to submit a brief motivation (no more than 300 words) and a short biography (no more than 150 words about yourself). If selected for participation, you will be sent a confirmation email with a payment link. Please note that we will document the workshop for internal use (archiving). Cost € 5 – Full Price € 3 – Students Dates Two online sessions (participants partake in both) Tuesday 31 May 18:00 to 20:00 CET Thursday 2 June 16:00 to 18:00 & 18:30 to 21:30 CET Requirements No prior skills are needed, but some knowledge of a DAW or audio editing software would be helpful. There are 12 spots available.

Arjuna Neuman

Arjuna Neuman is an artist, writer, and filmmaker based in Berlin. He works with the essay form with a multi-perspectival and experimental approach in which he explores the economic, social and ideological systems that shape our lived experiences. Selected projects include collaborations with a philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva on films and installations Serpent Rain (2016), 4 Waters-Deep Implicancy (2019) and Soot Breath // Corpus Infinitum (2021). His works have been shown at major biennials and exhibitions such as Berlin Biennial 10, Serpentine Gallery, Whitechapel, Sharjah Biennial, Bergen Assembly, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, etc. He also grows tomatoes and chillies in his studio.

The Story-Telling Eel-Orgy – A Workshop led by Noam Youngrak Son

Tuesday 19 April 11:05

On Saturday 26 March, interdisciplinary designer Noam Youngrak Son led participants online and in person at W139, Amsterdam, in a collaborative writing process as part of the first workshop in the Sonic Acts Practicum series: The Story-Telling Eel-Orgy – Writing as an Aquatic Intercourse. The result of this workshop was the publication of a unique zine, centred around text generated by attendees – with the interference of an algorithm. Photos are now available to browse online. Practicum: The Story-Telling Eel-Orgy – Writing as an Aquatic Intercourse The following quotes are extracted from the workshop participants' collaborative writing process: "My past, my present, my future. Is drown by circular motions. No start, no end, no middle. Only tinkering movements, entangling my being to become." "Squiggle squiggle across the currents of my being I just want to merge with a giant teddy bear from a pool of unlimited intercourse." "As a hydrophobic creature I am terrified of water. Scrimping eels in a puddle right there, the residue from my flesh can cling there if it wants to, that can be my legacy." Visit Noam Youngrak Son's website to find out more about the workshop, discover the zine, and keep scrolling to produce unique combinations of text – ad infinitum.

Nuclear Polders: A Workshop with Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou & Agnès Villette

Friday 8 April 16:17

Nuclear energy was recently labelled as green energy by the European Union. The Netherlands is planning to build two new nuclear power stations and France is in the midst of a “nuclear renaissance”, having contracted the construction of fourteen new reactors. This current climate of nuclear enthusiasm contrasts with the ‘70s and ‘80s that saw rampant waves of antinuclear activism, where ecological, antiwar and feminist struggles ballooned into larger citizens movements. For an inaugural first workshop, taking place on Friday 20 May from 15:00, Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou and Agnès Villette invite participants to engage with these histories and think of them collectively through the International Institute of Social History archive in Amsterdam.

The Workshop

The workshop is organised around a small exhibition composed of antinuclear material selected by Mavrokordopoulou and Villette - including posters, handouts from antinuclear marches, an audio piece and books. IISG members will present the archive, followed by an introduction to Nuclear Polders and the selected material, and a 15-minute lecture on Dutch antinuclear activism by Ruby de Vos (University of Groningen). The session concludes with a roundtable discussion, during which the group will assemble ideas and work towards conceptualising an antinuclear poster to be printed following the workshop.

Apply

This workshop is open to artists and researchers at every stage of their education or career, activists, and anyone interested in nuclear culture. Apply by Monday 2 May through Homerun to join the workshop. You will be asked to submit a brief motivation about why you are interested in the workshop (no more than 300 words) and a short biography (no more than 150 words about yourself). If selected for participation, you will be sent a confirmation email with a payment link. Cost € 12,50 – Full Price € 10 – Students

Nuclear Polders

Several ageing nuclear infrastructures, in Europe and beyond, are threatened by imminent water-level rising brought on by climate change. As shorelines creep inland and weather conditions worsen, the fragility of these robust infrastructures comes to the fore. Where does this leave us regarding the current nuclear optimism triggered by climate change? On the coasts of the Netherlands (Borssele), Belgium (Doel) and France (Gravelines), lie three nuclear power stations that share the mutable soil of the polder landscape – all three locations are threatened by water as the ground they stand on seeps away. There was no consideration of climate change when they were built. Today, it threatens the three nuclear plants and requires continuous construction of dykes and elevated buffers. Timing matters very much – consequences are set to take effect within the next five to fifteen years. Yet, since the nuclear plants are run by three distinct sovereign and juridical systems, they are managed according to national agendas. Adopting geological and political discrepancies as a starting point, Nuclear Polders consists in a research project combining art, field trips and investigative practices that explore the techno-natural entanglements at play in these three locations. By paying attention to the parallel, yet distinct, histories of these infrastructures, Nuclear Polders is an invitation to better understand the implications of our nuclear present and future. Through the accumulation of visualisations, theoretical reflection , and artistic speculation about the three locations, we will work collectively towards a publication connecting the fragile nuclear geographies of polder landscapes using an expanded archive of essays, artworks and a fiction. The project will unfold through a series of lectures and workshops that invite participants to explore and learn from nuclear geographies and histories, policy issues, activism and ongoing controversies. They will culminate in a group field trip to Gravelines, Doel and Borsselle. Nuclear Polders offers a unique package of online and in-person meetings, workshops, online lectures and field trips to active and decommissioned nuclear sites.

Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou & Agnès Villette

Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou is an art historian and curator working at the intersection of art history and the environmental humanities, with a special emphasis on nuclear technologies. She defended her doctoral dissertation Dwelling, Extracting, Storing. Nuclear Imaginaries in Contemporary Art (1970-2020) in November 2021, at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris). Previously, she was a fellow at the Environmental Humanities Centre, VU University, Amsterdam (2019) and the Climate Commons Working Group, Carleton University, Ottawa (2018). She has programmed and curated projects for institutions including Framer Framed and the 7th Moscow Biennial. Recently she acted as guest editor of RESOLUTION Magazine Hot Pictures (2021). Previously, she has taught classes at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam, Yale School of the Art, Esä in Dunkirk, and Carleton University in Ottawa. Agnès Villette is a PhD candidate at Winchester School of Art, her practice-based doctorate in Nuclear Aesthetics investigates the Radioactive Ruins of the Norman territory of La Hague. She is also a freelance journalist with an art practice in photography. Trained in literature, she gained an Agrégation in Modern Literature at Paris Sorbonne and a Master in Art Photography at London College of Communication. She has taught in different institutions and is currently a lecturer in Visual Culture at Cambrai Art School in France. She is working on four art and research projects at the intersection of photography, writing and theory, such as the photographic series Alien of the Species exploring invasive insects and entomology, Beta Bunker, researching bunker architecture, Haunted, her PhD project about the Norman peninsula and its nuclear Cold War legacy and finally Landemer, a nonfiction novel based on a cold case that took place in 1969, in Cherbourg.

Night Air: Shifting Sands

Tuesday 5 April 18:56

On Friday, 22 April from 18:30 to 3:00, Sonic Acts is back with a monthly Night Air series at OT301 in Amsterdam – the city built on sand. Our next gathering, Shifting Sands, brings together talks, films, sounds and performances to dig into the relationship between sand, the history of pollution and economy. Sound artist Félix Blume guides us on a listening journey to a major gold and silver mining hub in Mexico, emphasising that the desert, far from being hostile, is prolific with life. Scholars Jeff Diamanti and Michaela Büsse trace flows of particulate matter – dust, emissions, pollen, sand – as they are situated and carried across geological time. Enar de Dios Rodríguez’ film Vestiges, along with Pia Borg’s Silica, Maika Garnica and Ans MertensInterlude, and 15” Sand Economy film loops by Yanjin Wu take us through the politics and poetics of sedimentary rock. LÖSS, a sound performance by Farzané, simulates system dynamics of sand formations, which serve as a model for critical states and self-organisation. Finally, it wouldn’t be Night Air without a last blast from a lineup of unique DJs ready to shake the sand under our feet: Femi, TAAHLIAH, our very own Snufkin, and Europa. VENUE OT301, Amsterdam House rules TICKETS Doors open from 18:30 €8 Full programme (starting 19:00) €6 Late entry (performance & Club from 22:30) TIMETABLE 18:30 Doors open TALKS 19:00 Félix Blume – Talk + Listening Session 19:50 Jeff Diamanti – Talk + Q&A 20:30 Michaela Büsse – Talk + Q&A 21:10 Break FILMS 21:25 Vestiges by Enar de Dios Rodríguez 21:50 Silica – Film by Pia Borg 22:15 Interlude – Film by Maika Garnica & Ans Mertens 22:30 Break PERFORMANCES 23:00 LÖSS – Live performance by Farzané 23:35 Femi – DJ set 00:25 TAAHLIAH – DJ set 01:15 Snufkin – DJ set 02:00 Europa – DJ set 3:00 End time PROGRAMME Shifting Sands brings into focus the ecological impacts of sand excavation and consumption, which are marred by displacement and continuous colonial expansion. Shores, dunes and deserts are figures that will follow us throughout the evening. In their grains we can read the history of the world’s second most consumed material after water, shaping everything from our homes to our computer chips. Shifting, grinding, granulating… sand is matter in motion. It drifts ephemerally across landscapes and is industrially manoeuvred across oceans and continents. From fine powder to razor-sharp shingle, it is a geological archive transporting crystals of deep time into the present. Sound artist Félix Blume will take us on a listening journey to the altiplano Potosino in central Mexico, a major gold and silver mining hub. Commissioned by ARTE Radio, his piece Desierto (2021, 24’) is filled with recordings from these elevated plains, showcasing that the desert is far from empty. Currently residing between Mexico, Brazil and France, Blume’s process of sound-making is often collaborative. Focusing on practices of listening, he works with communities, utilising public space to explore human dialogues with their environments.

Félix Blume, Desierto.
Jeff Diamanti is Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities at the UvA. His book Climate and Capital in the Age of Petroleum (Bloomsbury, 2021) tracks the political and media ecology of fossil fuels across the extractive and logistical spaces that connect remote territories. His new research, Bloom Ecologies, is about phytoplankton, phosphorus, and the spectre of hypoxia. Together with Fred Carter, he organises the FieldARTS residency. As part of his talk Phosphate Futures: Body, Territory, Mutiny Diamanti will unfold the figurative force of elemental phosphorus across four fields on Earth: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Port of Elizabeth, South Africa; Laâyoune, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic; and the moraine of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Michaela Büsse is a Research Associate at the Institute of Cultural History and Theory, and Associated Investigator at the excellence cluster “Matters of Activity. Image Space Material” at Humboldt University in Berlin. Focusing on the centuries-long history of land reclamation in the Netherlands, during her lecture-performance Granular Grammer, Büsse will unearth how sand has become one of the country’s most important resources. She will present clips from her new film that question how an industry that started out as protection against flooding has become a serious business.
Courtesy of the artist.
Visual artist Enar de Dios Rodríguez’s film Vestiges (2020, 21’) tracks the extraction and transportation of sand – the irreparable consequences of the demand for this ever-depleting resource. The film reveals contours of devastation left by quarrying, and the gargantuan machinery of sand shipping: ‘temporary islands’ drifting enclosed in tankers or regurgitated through dredgers. Measuring up to the geological scale of these projects, the film traces immense trajectories that intersect industrial hubris, colonialism and remembrance.
Enar de Dios Rodríguez, Vestiges, exhibition view at RMIT Project Space, 2019
Installed at the Maltese Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 2017, Pia Borg’s film Silica (24’) captures the ghostly remnants of human settlements in the South Australian desert. Littered across the dunes are abandoned sci-fi film sets, traces of millennia-old Indigenous cultures, as well as withered towns – the last remains of opal mines following the industry’s gradual collapse. Winner of the Golden Leopard (best international short) at Locarno festival for Abandoned Goods in 2014, Borg’s latest film, Demonic, premiered during Critics’ Week at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. She currently teaches at CalArts.
Pia Borg, still from Silica (2017).
Abstracted through shapes, shadows and mirrors in highly granular texture, as well as through the sound of ceramic instruments that Maika Garnica makes herself, together with Ans Mertens their film Interlude (2021, 10’) draws viewers into an experience of intimate, tactile reflection. Resulting from an artistic residency at a residential care home in Edegem, Antwerp, during the pandemic, the film gathers insights from people with dementia. It imagines how lives resonate beyond their apparent fading: as vibrations in their environment. In the cinematic installation 15” Sand Economy, sand extraction slips through the cracks and bypasses regulation. After excessive dredging of Poyang Lake, the largest sand mine in the world located 600 km up the Yangtze river from Shanghai, the Chinese government restricted further sand extraction. Yanjin Wu attempts to capture the alternative sand economy that is developing in the aftermath, aided by independent sand-related advertising on TikTok. She compiled material from more than 400 videos creating a complex patchwork that speaks about the current sand crisis. Leading us into the later part of the evening, sound artist and researcher Farzané will perform a live rendition of LÖSS. The piece centres on a sonic phenomenon known as “booming sand”, where collapsing avalanches running down dunes produce a hypnotic, resounding vibration. Using techniques of granular synthesis and field recordings, the “booms” are spatialised into 4 sound channels to create an immersive experience. Conducting investigations into electroacoustic music composition, computer science, linguistics, cybernetics and acoustic ecology, Farzané’s recent works explore natural algorithms and human-machine interaction. ​​
Farzané, LÖSS.
Hailing from Stockholm, Femi has spent the past eight years organising parties and events in the city. Currently responsible for playlist curation and talent scouting at the Swedish record label YEAR0001, her sets are distinguished by fusing club sounds from various eras into a melodic and euphoric cocktail. From trance and techno to ambient and breakbeat, Femi pulls her tracks from across the genre spectrum, blending her eclectic selections to perfection. Glasgow’s rising star TAAHLIAH made a name for herself in the underground queer scenes of both Scotland and Berlin. Having initially started out as a DJ, she took to the stage as a producer in 2021, releasing her transcendent debut mini-album Angelica. Featuring razor-sharp sounds, laser-driven kicks and alluring vocals, TAAHLIAH creates unique, full-throttle musical experiences. Self-diagnosed chronic fever-dream Snufkin is an Amsterdam-based DJ shattering musical conventions internationally. Characterised by apocalyptic noise and harsh cuts, their sets wander down unlit and untravelled paths. With performances at Sonic Acts, Strange Days, PC Music, Progress Bar, Subbacultcha and Slagwerk, amongst others, Snufkin has solidified their cutting-edge versatility and intuitive reflexes time and time again.
Snufkin at Progress Bar, 2 November 2019, OT301. Photo by George Knegtel.
A tour-de-force of seismic magnitude, Europa (Europa in Flames) is a Hamburg-based DJ and producer. Ranging from highly innovative and forward-thinking club tunes to blissful ambient melodies, Europa showcases a unique understanding of his craft. Taking these skills to the decks always promises a thrilling ride full of rushing rhythms and climactic drops. NIGHT AIR Night Air is a series of online transmissions that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations. **Night air is a myth with its origins in miasma theory (from the Greek for ‘pollution’). The theory held that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. The smell would intensify and worsen by night, so night air became synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours that could even cause pandemics such as cholera or plague. Only with developments in medicine and various scientific endeavours around the London cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s, did germs replace the ‘unhealthy fog’ as the culprit for diseases. And now, even though the idea has been abandoned, night air still echoes in words such as malaria (‘bad air’ in Italian), which actually connects air-borne poison with flying pests such as the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Rest Assured: A Reading Group by MELT

Monday 14 March 15:13

Rest Assured is a reading group convened by MELT (Ren Loren Britton & Isabel Paehr) as part of the Sonic Acts Practicum series. The reading group will take place online in two sessions, with joyful interruptions on Signal in between. Each session includes ISL interpretation and Automatic Closed Captions.

Dates & Times

• 30 April 2022 (13:00 – 15:00 CET with 25 min break) • 14 May 2022 (13:00 – 15:00 CET with 25 min break)

Meets

Both times online with ISL Interpreter + Automatic Closed Captions **with joyful in-between (half meeting) interruptions with Signal**

Participants

If you self-identify as disabled or trans*/gender non-conforming, we will privilege you being in our group :). You can indicate this in the application form when you apply via the “Apply now” button found at the top right corner or the bottom of this page. This reading group will include closed captions & an ISL Interpreter, if you have any additional access needs, please indicate it in the sign up form or write to michela@sonicacts.com and we will make them happen — we want to make access!
Image Description: On a grassy ground, a blanket patched together in big stitches and from colourful fabrics holds two pillow objects that rest gently on and under the blanket’s patterns. Above, and shifted slightly diagonally is a simplified white outline illustration of the same blanket. It’s as though the blanket whispered: Rest with me!

About the Workshops

Rest Assured is a reading group on non-normative ways of experiencing, theorising, materialising, subverting and being in time. We meet twice (and a half): On the 30th of April from 1 - 3pm CEST as well as on the 14th of May from 1-3pm CEST. In-between (= the half), the group will stay in touch via a Signal group and share reflections, prompts, sounds, videos and more. Working with texts from Trans*feminism and Disability Studies, we will develop methods to be and read together when we meet synchronously and asynchronously throughout the in-between time. No preparation is required, but a slow engagement throughout the in-between time is wished for. The workshop will employ different modalities for learning and reading together–focusing on different approaches to time, such as trans*, crip, and kinship time. Engaging in deep reading, and thinking together, through different experiences of time acts as a path to return to, and intervene in, a normative framework of chronormative time. What non-normative understandings of time share is that they embrace non-linearity, loops, circles, palindromes, discontinuities, slowness, and attention to pace. In this moment of late stage extractivist capitalism this workshop provides space to rest together with texts as a way to create space for embodied joyful textual plurality amidst our reality of foreclosing worlds. With the title rest assured we invite you to rest with us – to feel assured in your need to rest - and rest your body alongside some texts and unfold what emerges with us. To tune into the themes and modalities of the workshop we invite you to engage with our website artwork never odd or even: overexposed.sonicacts.com/neveroddoreven

How to participate

Please sign up via this Homerun link by 12 April. You’ll need to fill out a short information form (name and email address) and answer some questions to help us get to know you better. This is not a competition, but space is limited for the workshop, so MELT will make a selection of participants. You’ll find out by April 17 if you’ve been selected to join the workshop. More about MELT meltionary.com Sonic Acts OVEREXPOSED residents

Practicum – A New Sonic Acts Programme

Friday 11 March 18:21

Getting our hands, eyes and ears dirty, Practicum is a new yearly programme organised by Sonic Acts that focuses on applied knowledge, making from research and learning together. It takes the form of a series of workshops, reading and listening groups, and excursions taking place from March to October 2022 in Amsterdam and online. Open to all, these gatherings are artist-led and emphasise collaborative, hands-on learning: attuning and creating together in ways that entangle modes of perception, production and knowledge-creation. Practicum means making equal participants in anti-nuclear activism, spatial sound, listening and thinking sonically, writing speculative stories or reading together. Though thematically varied, most workshops address ecological concerns, such as making synthesisers from e-waste, (deep) reading about climate change in relation to different approaches to time, or making radioactive pollution visible. Each workshop will feature a separate open call with a different set of parameters. Below is a short overview of the first workshops in the Practicum series.

Nuclear Polders by Agnès Villette & Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou

Friday 20 May from 15:00 at the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam Nuclear energy was recently labelled as green energy by the EU, yet several ageing nuclear infrastructures are threatened by climate change. As shorelines creep inland and weather conditions worsen, the fragility of these structures comes to the fore. On the coasts of France, Belgium and the Netherlands, lie three nuclear power stations – Gravelines, Doel, Borsselle – that share the mutable soil of the polder landscape. Nuclear Polders is a project that investigates entanglements at play in these locations, beginning with a workshop on nuclear activism and visual culture. agnesvillette.com

Tangle Eye: Worldbuilding with Mixtapes by Arjuna Neuman

Tuesday 31 May from 18:00 to 20:00, online Thursday 2 June from 16:00 to 18:00 & 18:30 to 21:30, online [Applications now closed] Making mixtapes is a practice of untrained amateurs (often for sharing between lovers), but it is also the medium of bedroom producers through to label-produced pop artists. Because of this wide reach, mixtapes have the potential to carry deeply subversive and critical content to unlikely audiences. Together we will create a collective mixtape that explores the ecological unconscious of contemporary Black music. Along the way we will learn some basic audio editing skills, as well as how to start thinking/speculating sonically. overexposed.sonicacts.com/for-lula

Supercuts: Sabotage by Montage by Sam Lavigne

Thursday 9 June from 16:00 to 19:00, online [Applications now closed] Sam Lavigne is an artist and educator whose work deals with data, surveillance, cops, natural language processing and automation. Combining aspects of data journalism, conceptual art and hoarding, this online workshop offers a methodology to make sense of a world in which everything we do is mediated by internet companies. It focuses on scrapism or the practice of web scraping for artistic, emotional and critical ends. lav.io

DIY E-Waste Analogue Synthesiser by Mina Kim

18 June, online/offline Mina Kim is an artist, researcher and performer based in the Netherlands and South Korea, who repurposes discarded media technology. Participants will join her in coexisting with the digital debris from our digital society and in exploring its relationship to the environment. This starts with making a simple circuit that connects e-waste together to create unique e-sounds and results in an analogue synthesiser made out of electronic garbage. mina-vitamina.net

Spatial Sound by Ji Youn Kang

Details to be confirmed A composer, sound artist and teacher at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague, Ji Youn Kang presents a workshop on spatial sound. The workshop includes hands-on activities together with deep listening sessions and discussions – addressing both theoretical and practice-based aspects. It will cover some technical ground, but also explore artistic applications for fixed media and live electronic music composition. jiyounkang.com

PAST

Rest Assured by MELT – Loren Britton & Isabel Paehr

30 April & 14 May, online Includes closed captions & an ISL Interpreter Sonic Acts’ Overexposed residents MELT present a reading group on non-normative ways of experiencing, theorising, materialising, subverting and being in time. Taking place over two online meetings, plus informal contact in between over Signal, Rest Assured invites participants to rest – to feel assured in their need to rest, to rest their bodies alongside some texts, and unfold what emerges together. meltionary.com overexposed.sonicacts.com/neveroddoreven

The Story-Telling Eel-Orgy: Writing as an Aquatic Intercourse by Noam Youngrak Son

26 March, offline at W139 and online This ‘story-telling orgy’ turns participants into freshwater eels gathered in the Sargasso Sea to have sex. Taking inspiration from the complex and enduringly obscure reproductive cycle of eels, the workshop involves collaborative and generative writing processes, with participants producing short stories about water that will be combined into a riso-printed zine. d-act.org

When I Sound, I am Speaking – Als ik klink, dan spreek ik by Polina Medvedeva & Andreas Kühne

5 & 12 April, IMC Weekendschool Aimed at young adolescents, the workshop focuses on the sense of listening as a starting point for experimental sound creation. It follows the framework of the Erasmus+ project Sound Experiments – New Approaches to Non-formal Learning in Music, and is organised in collaboration with the IMC Weekendschool in Amsterdam. andreaskuhne.net polinamedvedeva.net

Open Call: Underexposed – Mentorship Programme for Young Artists

Thursday 24 February 12:35

Sonic Acts is inviting young artists to apply for a new round of Underexposed, an online mentorship and training programme focused on supporting artists at the beginning of their career. A successful first round in 2021 resulted in the mentorship of Angeliki Diakrousi and Yara Said. Two other Netherlands-based artists will be selected for the programme, which will take place from 20 April – 1 June 2022. General information Similarly to last round, the programme provides support and mentorship to develop two young artists looking to professionalise their artistic practice. More specifically, this round focuses in particular on supporting artists in conceptualising their work, mostly in text or writing, and helps them improve the way they present artistic concepts, projects, plans and budgets in grant applications and other (public) presentations. Over the course of the six-week mentorship programme, artists will work directly with members of the Sonic Acts curatorial team in one-hour weekly online sessions where the team will provide feedback, support and insights into the artist's specific needs. Programme Writing an effective artistic proposal/grant application Creating a presentation and a project plan Developing realistic planning and a production budget Working on artist’s portfolio Exploring local and international presentation and commissioning opportunities An in-depth interview about the artist’s practice that will be published on Sonic Acts’ website and in Ecoes magazine Eligibility Underexposed is intended for young artists, 22 to 32 years of age, based in the Netherlands. The programme is open to makers, artists and designers working with experimental sound or moving image, and with a strong interest in ecological issues, who have graduated from art academies or similar artistic programmes, or can demonstrate interest in the field with at least one year of experience. Currently enrolled students are not eligible for the programme, but students graduating in 2022 are welcome to apply. Applications from both individual artists and collectives are welcome. Requirements Application texts should be in English and must include the following: Project plan or grant proposal that you would like to improve (max 1500 words), including a project budget for max. 40.000,- EUR A motivation letter (max 1000 words) in which you provide the following information: Give a short summary of the project including the current stage of development; Outline why you applied for Underexposed and your expectations of the programme; The main challenges you face and what you need help with most Portfolio, including a short bio (bio max 300 words, max 10 MB) Contact details and CV Deadlines and selection committee Applications should be submitted via Homerun before 11 April 2022 [deadline extended] Selected applicants will be notified by 20 April 2022 The selection committee comprises the curatorial team of Sonic Acts

Transients I/O by Andreas Kühne out now

Wednesday 16 February 16:48

Transients I/O, the debut solo release from Andreas Kühne, captures a hidden city at the edge of the Earth. Based on field improvisations recorded from 2018–2020 in Murmansk (the largest city above the Arctic Circle) the two-part electro-acoustic album uses the sounds of objects across Murmansk to speculate on the identity of this remote city – and how its young inhabitants adjust to living there. For Transients I/O, Kühne recorded site-specific musical improvisations with objects in Murmansk that are visibly present in the city but not audible. A nuclear submarine, abandoned vehicles, decaying harbours, factories and bridges – all resonate and tell their own stories. The multiformat release uses these to present the Arctic city in two very different ways: rough-hewn, explosive textures on a four-track digital release, versus the yawning, slow billowing natural overtones of ‘Carrier’ Parts I and II on vinyl. Order now from the Sonic Acts webshop

“Recording field improvisations in a public space often creates intimate moments, as you are not only exposing the sounds of urban objects but also positioning yourself in relation to their place and to other users of that place. It constantly forces you to reflect on what you’re doing and on how you will give back to that moment”
Transients I/O is being released alongside the forthcoming Settlers by Sergey Kostyrko. Both releases were developed as part of Murmansk Prospekt, and commissioned by Sonic Acts (NL) and Fridaymilk (RU) Murmansk Prospekt is a collaboration between Sonic Acts and Fridaymilk, exploring the ways that artistic and speculative research can reveal the hidden histories and lost identities of the city of Murmansk. The project aims to enable current and future generations of citizens to re-imagine and redefine the city and articulate their personal identity through digital arts. Murmansk Prospekt unfolds through three research labs stimulating knowledge exchange between emerging Dutch and Russian artists and thinkers, and results in commissioned collaborative works, public presentations in Murmansk (Inversia Festival) and Amsterdam (Sonic Acts), and an online platform. murmanskprospekt.net Andreas Kühne (NL) is an Amsterdam-based composer, sound artist, and drummer. He creates electroacoustic music, collaborative audio-visual performances, and interactive installations – often using field recordings. This allows him to explore the sonic qualities of inert objects through site-specific musical improvisation. His work has been presented at Inversia Festival, Sonic Acts Festival, and in Norway, Slovakia, Belgium and Brighton, UK. His many projects and collaborations include playing with Lisa and the F.I.X., Anne la Berge, Wilbert de Joode, Raphael Vanoli, Oene van Geel, Jasper Stadhouders, Bram Stadhouders, Ellen ten Damme and many others. andreaskune.net

Vacancies at Sonic Acts

Vacancies at Sonic Acts are published below: → Medewerker Fondsenwerving & DevelopmentProductie StagiairCommunications ManagerCommunications Intern Find out more about our vacancies and internship opportunities at sonicacts.homerun.co

Night Air: Melting Cores

Tuesday 8 March 19:55

On Thursday, 31 March from 19:00, Sonic Acts continues the Night Air event series with Melting Cores at OT301 in Amsterdam. This gathering gets to the heart of matter – a place of reaction and fusion, where insights are generated and imaginations proliferate. Featuring a talk from Louis Braddock-Clarke and Zuzanna Zgierska, a screening of Takashi Makino’s Generator and Susan Schuppli’s Ice Cores (with Q&A), Transients I/O performed by Andreas Kühne, as well as DJ sets from Yantan Ministry and Why Be, Melting Cores will explore the politics of climate archiving, elemental collapse, and the (de)centralisation of cultural perspectives. VENUE OT301, Amsterdam House rules TICKETSAll proceeds from ticket sales go to Giro555 for aid to Ukraine Doors open from 18:30 €8 Full programme (starting 19:00) €6 Late entry (performance & DJ sets from 22:00) LINEUP & PROGRAMME Louis Braddock-Clarke & Zuzanna Zgierska – Talk + Q&A Ice Cores by Susan Schuppli – Screening + Q&A Generator by Takashi Makino – Screening Transients I/O by Andreas Kühne – Performance Yantan Ministry – DJ set Why Be – DJ set Melting Cores is imagined as a journey to the core of things: from atoms to ice, from rare earths to the Arctic Circle. Fused together, stories from Louis Braddock-Clarke, Zuzanna Zgierska, Susan Schuppli, Takashi Makino, Andreas Kühne, Why Be and Yantan Ministry resonate with Indigenous cosmologies, local knowledge and sensitive methodologies. In a talk about their audiovisual project, Out of Focus, Louis Braddock-Clarke and Zuzanna Zgierska – both lecturers at KABK in The Hague – track down the widely dispersed fragments of a meteorite that fell thousands of years ago in Imnaminomen, Greenland. Previously hidden under the ice cap, the deposits have become an open invitation for explorative extraction. Their talk stems from field work in the region and brings forth stories that intersect geological events, mineral extraction and postcolonialism.

Susan Schuppli is Reader and Director of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, where she is also an affiliate artist-researcher and Board Chair of Forensic Architecture. Her publication Material Witness (MIT Press, 2020) is one of the inspirations for this programme. In it, matter, or the nonhuman, serves as witness and testimony to historical events. But moving away from the topics of war crimes and legal analysis, which have been prominent in her research and artistic production, Schuppli’s current work digs into ice as “tape recorders of climatic history”. Her experimental documentary Ice Cores (2019) is the first in a series of documentary films exploring the politics of cold. Approaching a different kind of meltdown, Takashi Makino’s film Generator (2011) was made as a response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Its layered images come slowly into focus, as aerial shots connecting vastly different scales – from atoms, to cells, to cities – create the sensation of an interconnected living Earth. A special treat in this deeply woven thread is the film’s soundtrack, composed by Jim O’Rourke. In his films, Makino actively collaborates with musicians such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Lawrence English and Machinefabriek. Generator is one of his most prized films and was awarded the Tiger Shorts Award at IFFR in 2012. Matter radiates throughout Andreas Kühne’s Transients I/O, a digital/vinyl release created in the context of a collaborative research project with the curatorial group Fridaymilk. Premiering in octophonic surround sound, the piece was composed from field improvisations with objects in the largest town above the Arctic Circle: Murmansk. Nuclear submarines, pipes, barrels and other pieces of infrastructure tell their stories about this curious place and its inhabitants. Kühne’s performance is both a celebration of his debut solo release and a tribute to daily life, local identities and imaginaries in Murmansk. Composer, live musician and DJ Yantan Ministry are known for their eclectic interests and mercurial transitions, with dancefloor experiments made to rattle emotional bodies and conjure mythical spaces. Tobias Lee aka Why Be, a member of HVAD’s collective/label Syg Nok and 2015 Janus resident, has established himself as a formidable emergent voice coming from the fringes of experimental dance music. Both performing as DJs to close the evening, they promise to melt our (hard) cores and send us dancing into the night air. NIGHT AIR Night Air is a series of events that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations. **Night air is a myth with its origins in miasma theory (from the Greek for ‘pollution’). The theory held that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. The smell would intensify and worsen by night, so night air became synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours that could even cause pandemics such as cholera or plague. Only with developments in medicine and various scientific endeavours around the London cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s, did germs replace the ‘unhealthy fog’ as the culprit for diseases. And now, even though the idea has been abandoned, night air still echoes in words such as malaria (‘bad air’ in Italian), which actually connects air-borne poison with flying pests such as the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The Uncontrollable Beast: An interview with Russell Haswell and Hugo Esquinca

Thursday 10 February 11:41

The Uncontrollable Beast: An interview with Russell Haswell and Hugo Esquinca

by Robin Mackay

The following interview comes from the second issue of Ecoes, a periodic magazine from Sonic Acts about art in the age of pollution. Read this and much more in print by ordering a copy from our webshop. Cadáver Exquisito Caleidoscópico en Cuatro Ejes is a new work by artists Hugo Esquinca and Russell Haswell, commissioned by Sonic Acts. The work incorporates the game of ‘exquisite corpse’ – a technique of collective assembly in which participants take turns contributing to a work after seeing only a portion of what the previous person has contributed. Initially intended to be presented on a live multi-channel system in the Spring of 2021, before its postponement as a result of Covid-19, Cadáver Exquisito is the second outcome of the collaborative approach the artists have developed through a series of virtual residencies. Now reconfigured to binaural audio, the work is available to download and experience in 3D stereo sound. Ahead of the release, Esquinca and Haswell sat down with Robin Mackay to discuss the development of the work amidst the contingency of the pandemic, and how elements of everyday life and current events came to permeate the auditory fragments they exchanged. Cadáver Exquisito Caleidoscópico en Cuatro Ejes (2021, 35 min) can be downloaded and experienced in 3D stereo sound at sonicacts.com/cadaverexquisito. Robin Mackay: You made two versions of your piece, Cadáver Exquisito, during the weird situation that we all experienced in the Covid lockdowns: a lack of living contact and a search for new modes of communication to work around it. Did you both suffer not being able to be out there doing performances? Russell Haswell: After we finished the first one, we were given the opportunity to do a piece for Sonic Acts on a multi-channel sound system. It was a continuation of the process: each of us would make five-minute sections of audio, share only the last thirty seconds, and then the other one would start from there. A lot of it is fuelled by the anxieties that have been created by Covid. During the first lockdown, there were no performances or travelling, and both Hugo and I were affected by it. However, we got an opportunity to do a virtual residency with the Goethe-Institut. We did not have to go anywhere; we could just stay at home and have daily chats as if we were meeting at a residency programme. At the time, musicians were DJing on top of mountains, being filmed by a drone, playing to no one; festivals did live streams of the gigs they organised with local artists. We did not want to stream anything; we did not want to do a live gig. The idea of applying the exquisite corpse method gave us the ability to create something different through an internet exchange. At the time, we both watched whatever we could find on YouTube, for example, Photography is Not a Crime movement videos[1], which led us to Ruptly’s[2] live feed coverage of the Julian Assange case outside the High Court, the lockdown protests in Hyde Park and in Paris – all in real time. At the end of the second lockdown, we were getting into things like ASMR, pimple popping, euro coin pusher, extreme ear wax removal, cooking, butchery, Anthony Bourdain, Asia Argento, St. John’s restaurant, anti-NFT, the Scottish islands… Hugo Esquinca: We tried to move away from the idea that collaboration is a form of direct improvisation. Instead, we engaged with possible consequences of constant exchange, but without it having to result in a sound piece. RM: So, you weren’t just silently passing the audio files between the two of you? You were hanging out in mutual isolation, with common moments, moods, a shared climate? HE: We never talked about the synthesis processes, or about fetishes around the gear we were using. It was just that everything that was happening around us permeated the slices of audios we were exchanging. Sometimes we would chat and have the live feed of the demonstrations in Paris running on another screen for six hours. At the same time, I went through my archive of newspapers in the genre of Mexican nota roja, which is an extremely yellow sort of journalism that documents physical violence and crime. All this content informed what we were doing. All this never became a direct reference, and the piece is not really an extension of it, but that dynamic, that overflow of information, was clearly there for both of us. RM: Is the piece a kind of bearing witness to this short period of history and all those upheavals and public events that were a part of it? RH: This lockdown was a bit like being trapped in your own pigsty and you’ve got to wriggle around in your own waste for a while… Our daily residency conversation was about contaminating each other with all the stuff we were consuming. It was all new, it was all real-time, it was what was going on in the world at the moment. This constant exchange, this exposure to materials, may have been sublimated into the piece. HE: The piece was surely based on this climate of dread and anguish. I think it becomes a testament, but without the moralising aspect, or sound as evidence of these last years. We are not trying to be didactic about the pandemic, but I think the piece definitely bears witness to the situation. Even our exchange, I suppose, is what makes it a kind of evidence of the circumstances. RM: You have both been involved in a number of collaborations before, so what was the experience of doing it this way? RH: This time we were in a bubble together. Obviously, there is something about actually being in the same room with somebody, but, in the end, we did not really have a problem with this. It was really straightforward. And at the same time, it was perhaps a way to deal with loneliness. There was the anxiety of the entire situation, not knowing how long it would go on for, there was the anxiety of the future, the reality and uncertainty of Brexit, which was also a major consideration for people who rely on travelling abroad for their income, fund applications... RM: You both tend to favour the production of disturbance and uncertainty in your work, putting audiences into a situation where they don’t quite know what is going to happen next. Does it change your practice, being inescapably embedded in a situation of contingency? HE: The slices of audio that we were sharing always concealed a part of themselves, and that had an effect on our work process. In the cadáver you compose something from whatever you are given and try to take it as far away as you can from where you started, knowing that the other person will do the same thing. It is based on the fact that you will accept whatever the other one is doing without question. In both pieces, we never reviewed what we had done, we only listened to it when it was compiled. There was never an opportunity to say, maybe we should do this part again or leave it out. It was whatever it was. RM: Russell, you have always had an interest in the concept of real-time, you even made a piece called Recorded As it Actually Happened. You have also used a technique you call ‘artificial worldizing’, where you take real-time recordings and re-record them in another space to make a new, displaced authenticity. It seems like the cadávers extended that interrogation into the lockdown situation by way of a refusal to be real-time. RH: We submitted to one another’s stream of consciousness because, in fact, we were working together in real time. We just did not generate the end result together in real time. But all of the recordings I made for both pieces were made in real time; I improvised, worked in my usual way, and then forwarded the recordings to Hugo. HE: I was also working in real time with what I was being sent, but we were never interested in engaging with the idea of the entire process happening for both of us simultaneously. That simultaneity was taken over by the Ruptly live feeds and our live chats, rather than engaging with the practical aspects of synthesis. There also tends to be some fetishizing about utilising real time within a stream, and that is always related to the problem of latency: how it can play a part in producing what is happening in different places at the same time. The alternative is to leave that aside completely and just try to operate within what is happening wherever you are. That is why I was not interested in having a complete idea of what our piece was until the end. That moment when it is played back is akin to real time. RM: As with the exquisite corpse, when you unfold the drawing at the end and see the monster in its entirety for the first time. What was that experience like? HE: The initial plan with the second cadáver was that we would listen to the piece only on the multi-channel system, without making any kind of stereo or binaural mix. So, this is still just a glimpse of the full picture. 1. Photography Is Not a Crime is an organisation and news website that focuses on rights of civilians who photograph and film police and other government organisations. 2. Ruptly is a Russian video news agency specialising in video-on-demand, based in Berlin. RUSSELL HASWELL is an artist, record producer, free improvisor, computer musician, noise aficionado, and curator. He was trained at Coventry School of Art, graduating in 1991. Russell has focused on the performance and methodology of large-scale sound works, sometimes using surround sound. As a curator, he has delivered projects for PS1/MoMa, All Tomorrows Parties, Aldeburgh Music and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. He lives and works in Glasgow. HUGO ESQUINCA is an instigator in Audio Electronics and Acoustic Interventions. His research as intervention/intervention as research in sound explores different degrees of exposure to thresholds of indeterminacy, spectral de-gradation, erratic processing techniques, and excessive levels of amplification. His work has been executed in different contexts such as Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, National Centre for Contemporary Arts NCCA-Moscow, Fondazione Antonio Ratti-Como, Aalto University-Helsinki, Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Berghain-Berlin. Originally from Mexico City, Hugo lives in Berlin. ROBIN MACKAY is a philosopher and director of the publisher Urbanomic, which aims to engender interdisciplinary thinking and production. As well as directing Urbanomic, he has written and spoken on art and philosophy and has also worked with a number of artists developing cross- disciplinary projects. Mackay has also translated innumerable essays and various book-length works of French philosophy, including Alain Badiou’s Number and Numbers, François Laruelle’s The Concept of Non-Photography and Anti-Badiou, Quentin Meillassoux’s The Number and the Siren, etc.

The Story-Telling Eel-Orgy: A Workshop by Noam Youngrak Son

Thursday 3 March 18:50

On Saturday 26 March from 14:00 to 17:00 CET, interdisciplinary queer designer Noam Youngrak Son presents a hybrid storytelling workshop with Sonic Acts. Taking inspiration from the complex and enduringly obscure reproductive cycle of eels, the workshop involves collaborative and generative writing processes, with participants producing short stories about water that will be combined into a riso-printed zine. Participants can either join online or in person at W139 in Amsterdam.

About the Workshop

Eels have sex in such an obscure way that no human has ever witnessed their spawning behaviours in nature. Unlike the linear, fragmented, aimlessly extending routes of humans, eels have drawn numerous circular paths overlapping, over generations, accumulating stories in their cells. The aquatic intercourse of eels resembles the collective process of writing that will take place in this workshop. Led by Noam Youngrak Son, an interdisciplinary queer designer, ‘The story-telling eel-orgy’ is a workshop that turns its participants into freshwater eels gathered in the Sargasso Sea to procreate. As sexually aroused eels, every participant in the workshop will produce short stories packed in ‘reproductive cells’, based on their lived (or fictional) experiences around water. In the workshop, the process of blending bodily histories will be demonstrated using a simple algorithm called a Markov Chain, a model ‘describing a sequence of possible events in which the probability of each event depends only on the state attained in the previous event’. Applied to generative writing, a Markov chain can be used to find the most probable phrase that will come after a specific phrase—in other words, an endless stream of text starting from the first word. The short stories created by participants will become the source materials for the algorithm to construct hybrid myths, like infant eels emerging from the Sargasso Sea. The ‘offspring’ will be published into riso-printed zines at the end of the workshop, which all participants will get to take home. Noam Youngrak Son is a designer based in Ghent and Eindhoven. They inscribe myths for the underrepresented in various mediums, from books to performances to 3D printed sex toys. They are excited about the unexpectedness that a well-designed fiction can open up, and the critical political discussions that it may cultivate. Their identity as a queer person of colour is one of the crucial axes of their design practices.

Practical information

Participants can either join in person onsite at W139 in Amsterdam, or they can join online. All participants, whether joining in person or online, will get a copy of the zine following the workshop. Participants will need a phone, computer, or tablet to participate in the workshop onsite. Date: Saturday 26 March 2022 Onsite location: W139, Warmoesstraat 139, Amsterdam* *Please note that the location is not wheelchair accessible. Time: 14:00 - 17:00 CET Cost: €10 onsite participation (full price) – SOLD OUT €5 onsite participation (discount tickets are available for queer, trans*, BIPOC identifying participants) – SOLD OUT €3 online participation A link to purchase tickets will be sent via email on completion of the sign up form.

Sign up for the workshop by 23 March

Sign up via Homerun and receive ticket options by e-mail. All applicants accepted. The few questions and optional CV that we ask for are simply to get to know you! We ask for an address so that we can send you a zine after the workshop. This workshop forms part of a new series of events, Sonic Acts Practicum, focused on informal education and sharing knowledge between artists and researchers.

MELT add new layers to artwork 'never odd or even'

Thursday 24 February 15:50

Delve into another layer of time, and of this ongoing project from OVEREXPOSED residents MELT (Ren Loren Britton & Isabel Paehr). Interwoven across online and print media, never odd or even explores multiple overlapping perspectives on numerous temporalities. As the project unfolds in various stages and formats, this latest development presents an essay and transparent inlay and in digital and physical form. Both will be published in the forthcoming Issue #3 of Ecoes, a periodic magazine from Sonic Acts about art in the age of pollution. The inlay can be physically overlaid on a laptop screen to fit the ‘map’ on their website. The essay explores many of the same temporalities addressed on the website – and more – in theory and in detail, spanning perspectives that intersect physics, hormone therapy, disability studies and climate change, among many others. Both essay and interlay can also be viewed on the never odd or even site, and the article can be read digitally in .pdf form. The never odd or even site also already features multiple works that consider non-normative ways of experiencing, theorising, materialising and subverting being in time – opening to different temporalities through its evolving tabs: Map, Colophon, Meditation, Lecture and Ice. Visit the website here.

A double screenshot of MELT’s feature in Issue 3 of Ecoes magazine. The left half of the image has a background with four spiky plant-like forms drawn onto a sheet of paper by MELT. Three of them are filled in with a felt-tip in different opacities and one remains an outline. Overlaid on this is the first half of the title that says “never odd” and a byline that says “MELT (Ren Loren Britton & Isabel Paehr)". Right half of the image is a screenshot of the next page in MELT’s Ecoes magazine feature. The second half of the header says “or even” with the subtitle “a wobbly map for time travel”, followed by a paragraph of text that says, “This is a wobbly map for non-normative ways of experiencing, theorising, materialising, subverting and being in time. On this map, crip time is time travel; Trans* time undoes chrononormativity; Sick time makes time for care; kinship time reads time through changes in non-individual kinship relations; and holding an ice block for six minutes and sixty-eight seconds hurts (we will get to that). What non-normative understandings of time share is that they embrace non-linearity, loops, circles, palindromes, discontinuities, slowness, and attention to pace.”

Sonic Acts Festival 2022 rescheduled to October

Wednesday 16 February 09:59

Sonic Acts Festival 2022 couldn’t take place as planned in February, but the programme lives on – we are now working on rescheduling activities to October! From 30 September until 23 October the festival exhibition will take place at W139, with more activities, including a conference, installations and performances, set to take place throughout the month at various locations in Amsterdam. More details will be announced later in the year → subscribe to our newsletter for updates. Sonic Acts Festival is a biennial art, theory and technology gathering motivated by changes in the ecological, political, technological and social landscape.

1. HEREAFTER, Sonic Acts Festival Exhibition 2019 opening at Arti et Amicitiae. Lineage for a Multiple-Monitor Workstation: Number One by Sondra Perry. Photo by Pieter Kers.
2. The Dark Universe, Sonic Acts Festival Exhibition 2013 opening. Revolver by HC Gilje. Photo by Pieter Kers.

never odd or even by MELT

Tuesday 25 January 14:12

Titled never odd or even, a new web-based work from OVEREXPOSED residents MELT (Loren Britton & Isabel Paehr) invites visitors to time travel. Unfolding over several months, the work begins now with a "wobbly plane" for non-normative ways of experiencing, theorising, materialising and subverting being in time. Presented as an (optional) game, this "Map" allows site visitors to move between various audio and textual ruminations on conceptions of past, present and future. In another fold, under the tab "Ice", the video work Temporal Drift relays experiences of pain, mutual support and ephemerality through the mediums of bodily heat and melting ice. MELT encourage visitors on never odd or even to go a their own pace and embrace non-linearity: navigating in loops and circles, playing along with palindromes, discontinuities or slowness. Look out for a feature on MELT in the next print issue of Ecoes magazine and watch this space for further developments. VISIT NEVER ODD OR EVEN

About MELT MELT (Loren Britton & Isabel Paehr) are arts-design researchers who work together on games, technology and critical pedagogy. Investigating the political and material conditions of technological infrastructures, they re-distribute agency through methods of queer play, unlearning and leaking. They were one of six artists and researchers in the first round of OVEREXPOSED, a residency programme from Sonic Acts. meltionary.com Melt on Instagram About OVEREXPOSED OVEREXPOSED is a residency programme from Sonic Acts investigating pollution and its effects on everything living and non-living, through which we aim to create awareness about pollution both in local surroundings and on a planetary scale. Using artistic research as an exploration of the connections between aesthetics, historical materiality and politics, the programme intends to stimulate thought and imagination about necessary steps – both locally and globally – and of course, direct action. The outcomes of the research will be presented in a variety of formats, including text publications, visual journals, and performative or discursive presentations.

Murmansk Prospekt double record release in collaboration with Inversia Festival

Thursday 3 February 12:37

Sonic Acts and Inversia will release two records as part of Murmansk Prospekt, an ongoing artistic research project to reveal the hidden histories and lost identities of Murmansk: the largest city above the Arctic Circle. Transients I/O by Andreas Kühne and Settlers by Sergey Kostyrko both result from extensive research trips and field recordings in the region. Though each very different sonically and conceptually, together they present a vivid, complex portrait of a region in flux, and a city at the end of the earth. Settlers, by Sergey Kostyrko (RU) from nearby Nikel, presents two very different windows into the region. Sounds of Migration on Side B turns data flows into sound with an automated noise composition that viscerally expresses the region’s dramatic decline in population. Side A, Murmansk Soundscape, presents an uninterrupted field recording marked by the sounds of trains, ships, harbour cranes and howling wind: a soundscape capturing the beating infrastructural heart of a city still buzzing with insistent activity, even as it slowly drains away. For Transients I/O, Andreas Kühne (NL) recorded site-specific musical improvisations with objects that are visibly present in the city but not audible. A nuclear submarine, abandoned vehicles, decaying harbours, factories and bridges – all resonate and tell their own stories. And the multiformat release expresses these in two very different ways: rough-hewn, explosive textures on a four-track digital release, versus the yawning, slow billowing natural overtones of ‘Carrier’ Parts I and II on vinyl. Listened to in any order, this cycle takes unexpected turns, presenting listeners with a vivid tour through a dynamic, distant landscape. Transients I/O is released on 18 February → Pre-order now Settlers is released on 25 February → Pre-order now Press kits & preview available on request: press@sonicacts.com

Both releases were developed as part of Murmansk Prospekt, and commissioned by Sonic Acts (NL) and Fridaymilk (RU) Murmansk Prospekt is a collaboration between Sonic Acts and Fridaymilk, exploring the ways that artistic and speculative research can reveal the hidden histories and lost identities of the city of Murmansk. The project aims to enable current and future generations of citizens to re-imagine and redefine the city and articulate their personal identity through digital arts. Murmansk Prospekt unfolds through three research labs stimulating knowledge exchange between emerging Dutch and Russian artists and thinkers, and results in commissioned collaborative works, public presentations in Murmansk (Inversia Festival) and Amsterdam (Sonic Acts), and an online platform. Andreas Kühne (NL) is an Amsterdam-based composer, sound artist, and drummer. He creates electroacoustic music, collaborative audio-visual performances, and interactive installations – often using field recordings. This allows him to explore the sonic qualities of inert objects through site-specific musical improvisation. His work has been presented at Inversia Festival, Sonic Acts Festival, and in Norway, Slovakia, Belgium and Brighton, UK. His many projects and collaborations include playing with Lisa and the F.I.X., Anne la Berge, Wilbert de Joode, Raphael Vanoli, Oene van Geel, Jasper Stadhouders, Bram Stadhouders, Ellen ten Damme and many others. Bandcamp Sergey Kostyrko (RU) is a sound artist with a focus on science and bio art projects, as well as a musician working in the field of improvisational and noise music. Besides this, he is an associate professor at St. Petersburg State University. He has a background in the development of analytical and computational methods for solving boundary value problems in elasticity theory. His research area covers the different aspects of mechanics and thermodynamics of thin film materials. Bandcamp

Yara Said: Sound as a Carrier Bag of Memories and Traumas

Tuesday 21 December 10:00

Yara Said: Sound as a Carrier Bag of Memories and Traumas

Interview with a participant of Underexposed – Sonic Acts’ mentoring programme for young artists

The following interview comes from the second issue of Ecoes, a periodic magazine from Sonic Acts about art in the age of pollution. Read this and much more in print by ordering a copy from our webshop. Sonic Acts: Can you tell us about Salwa – ‘an anti-institutional platform’ you have co-founded – and also about your perspective on being both a practising artist and a cultural organiser in these strange times? Yara Said: These strange times we live in are not new to me! I had to deal with a similar kind of scarcity when I studied Fine Arts at the University of Damascus. Resources were in short supply at the school, so we created a community in order to share experiences and learn from one another. I feel I have learned a lot about collectivity and caring for each other as curators, organisers and artists in times of difficulties. When I moved to the Netherlands six years ago, I felt the need to provide for artists like myself – immigrants and refugees. I founded the Salwa Foundation with the aim of creating a community similar to the one we had in Damascus.[1] Salwa is an Amsterdam-based platform that designs programmes for emerging artists with a migrant background. We want to amplify multiple artistic voices and provide an environment where they have the freedom to tell their stories and think about their position in the artistic field. We programme workshops, reading circuits and cultural activities, and collaborate with Dutch and international institutes. At the heart of Salwa is a community of artists that care about the future and want to make a positive change in the art world, which is hard to penetrate when one has to deal with (foreign) language and historical barriers. In my practice, both as an artist and an organiser, I always found myself drawn to the act of hospitality, not only in the literal act of saying ‘here is a space’, but on a more complex level. Modern organisational approaches strive for transparency and inclusivity, but often come up against bureaucratic constraints. But what if the approach started with a generous act of offering a space to artists and letting them decide on their own creative path? SA: Your artistic practice is research-based. What is your methodology when creating a new work? YS: The starting point for my work are my daily experiences. The research process can unfold from pop culture imagery, news channels or anything on YouTube; visual works, literature and poetry also play a big part in my process. Turning experience into sound, text or paintings is embedded in time and patience. In my paintings I use the technique of collaging, so I have a habit of constantly collecting things. From found documents to newspapers, printed photographs to stills or texts, the found imagery is always vivid in my paintings, functioning as a nostalgic and melancholic act. I believe that objects possess a strong narrative through the way they exist. I usually start several projects simultaneously and when one of them is ripe enough, I focus my attention on that. During the work process, I tend to be very critical, posing questions about the work that eventually lead to answers. And, of course, I invite a lot of feedback from my friends! SA: Could you unpack some of the ideas that you are researching at the moment? YS: I am reading and thinking about noise within urban structures. For example, I did a long-term research about jet fighters, which are used as weapons of war, and I am fascinated by the noise they produce. I want to know what effect the noise created by war artillery has on the human body. I am interested in knowing how bodies encapsulate fear. When I was young, my grandmother told me about jet fighters that used to fly over her house in our hometown of Sweida in Syria. My mother was about three years old at the time. I used to imagine what these fighters sounded like... When I was twenty-one years old, I got to experience those same aircraft flying over my house, with my grandmother and my mother beside me in the same room – three generations of women experiencing the same fear caused by war and jet fighters. In my upcoming research I would like to imagine a different reality, or even a parallel one, a space in time where we can slow down and listen to the world around us without reacting to it immediately and aggressively. I am trying to do that by posing questions about pain and sadness, love and care, as well as grief. What sort of audio-visual practices will emerge as a reaction to all the oppression and fear that we encounter as humans? Can vulnerable bodies take agency of their past? And how can my work provide a space for my own body to manifest its history? SA: Drawing and painting are a large part of your artistic practice. Can you tell us how you started drawing and how it has evolved during your studies? YS: I fell ill when I was a child and ended up housebound for a long time, so pencils and papers became dear friends to me. My mom kept bringing me colouring books and I drew and coloured hungrily, until I eventually ended up getting accepted to the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Damascus. My education was strongly based on oil painting and realism. During my final years in school, I realised I could capture the world around me in my paintings. The surface of the painting functions as a meditation. It becomes an escape vessel during difficult times. The period of 2014 and 2015 was a stressful time in my life, because the war was spreading throughout the country. This strong sense of uncertainty was reflected in my paintings, which started featuring the horrors of war and a very precarious reality. At the time, I mostly painted abstract images. My teachers pushed me to do realistic art, but I wanted to do something different. My affinity towards abstraction has continued to this day. I feel like I am at a point now where I can work towards finding different ways of painting the world around me. This process slowly started evolving into a practice of archiving everything that is somehow connected to me. I think of archiving as an act of remembering. It is hard to describe it precisely because I am trying to preserve something intangible; emotions and expressions that defy categorisation. SA: How did you start working with sound? YS: When I moved to Amsterdam, I was commissioned by Amnesty International to design a flag for the Refugee Olympic Team that competed in the 2016 Olympics. When the flag went viral, something changed in my practice. I felt that it was very difficult to find new ways of practicing visual art, so I shifted my focus to sound.
Yara Said, flag for a Refugee Nation – Refugee Olympic Team, inspired by the two colours of life-jackets, Moma, 2016. Photo courtesy of the artist.
At the same time, I discovered a book called Sense Sound Sound Sense about the Fluxus movement [2]. My formal education included very little theory, so I was inspired by my research about sound. I spent a lot of time reading and watching YouTube tutorials and videos about sound theory, both from a technical and academic standpoint, with writings by Salomé Voegelin, Brandon LaBelle, Jennifer Lynn Stoever, Steve Goodman and YouTube channels such as I suck at producing and look mum no computer. I like the endless formats sound can take and its ability to unleash imagination and challenge norms, so I experiment with text, voice, sonic images, reading, language, machines, etc. When I look at objects, I can hear various frequencies and melodies in my head, which stimulate emotions and pose questions of political and social nature. SA: What are the challenges you face when working with technology for sound production or editing? YS: It takes a lot of time to learn how to use technology, while the financial aspect is frustrating as well, especially for someone who likes to do everything from scratch. That is why I prefer to collaborate with fellow artists and technicians. SA: You have talked about sound as a personal archive and something that often gets passed down from generation to generation. Can you elaborate on that? YS: We often capture memories as visual content; we remember the fashion of a certain time, the architecture of a certain place... In reality, landscape changes so fast and all that is left is our remembrance of it. In the case of territories that have suffered the consequences of civil wars or natural disasters, the change is even more radical. I realised recently that the landscapes associated with a large portion of my life are no longer there and I started thinking about soundscape as a carrier of memories. I thought about folklore music, or shaabi, especially with female vocals, of old women singing with tear-drenched voices because of wars and the loss in their aftermath. These oralities and melodies of grief and loss, whether upbeat or ambient, are the closest visualisations of the landscapes from my past in Syria. SA: In your work you also explore sound as a field beyond the threshold of our senses. Can you talk a bit more about this? YS: This is one of the main questions in my work. As humans, we process so many sonic effects from the world around us. However, we often ignore and filter out the ‘noise’. I think this is a very dangerous aspect. This ‘noise’ can be many things, ranging from the way we consider otherness – different languages, cultural behaviours, ethnicities, etc. – or how we deal with the sounds of the city versus nature. Capitalism is a principal source of nuisance! With the Industrial Revolution, we drifted away from nature and that segregation placed us far away from silence and serenity. SA: Can you tell us about your plans for the future, both artistic and academic? YS: Artistically, I am aiming for a solo exhibition before October 2022. Academically, I am slowly pacing my way to a PhD programme.
1. https://salwafoundation.nl/ 2. Sense Sound Sound Sense — Fluxus Music, Scores & Records, Luigi Bonotto Collection, W. Rovere, P. Peterlini (eds.), publisher Danilo Montanari, 2015.
YARA SAID (1991) – with dieresis on the ‘i’ as one would pronounce it in the Middle East – is a multidisciplinary artist based in Amsterdam. She translates and reinterprets her environment departing from the direct expression of painting and her passion for making things. Yara’s practice unfolds in different outcomes, yet always in relation to sound. Also known as Noise Diva, Said transcends preconceptions and blurs the lines of art through mediums such as video, sound, painting, performance, installations, writing, DJing and music production. Yara is currently interested in documenting noise within urban structures; she is committed to understanding how certain sonic acts can be used both as terror and liberation mechanisms, and how one sound can produce such contrasting dichotomy in global narratives. For her, noise is connected to otherness, with inspiration coming from industrial noises, the breath of the city, shouts, hugs, death, (non)linear disrupted narratives and emotions in relation to trauma and grief. Yara offers a female gaze on the topic that is saturated with imagery of blood, cries and turmoil, hoping to open an honest and caring space for understanding the current global injustice. Yara Said holds a bachelor’s degree in Painting from the University of Damascus (2014, Syria) and a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Sandberg Instituut (2020, the Netherlands). She received a Golden Design Award at Lyonnes Design Festival (2017), and was nominated by the Design Museum for Beazley Designs of the Year (2017) and by European Design (2018) with the Refugee Nation flag for Amnesty International, which marked the participation of the first refugee team in the 2016 Olympics. Yara is also the co-founder and artistic director (2018–2021) of Salwa, an organisation from Amsterdam that develops programs for artists with a migrant background. Her work has been presented in Stedelijk Museum, Arti et Amicitiae, Nieuw Dakota (all in Amsterdam), MoMA (New York), Victoria and Albert Museum (London) and other spaces in the UK, Norway, Germany and Lebanon.

Ecoes Issue #2 out now

Thursday 16 December 16:41

Ecoes is a periodic magazine from Sonic Acts about art in the age of pollution. The magazine continues Sonic Acts’ emphasis on artists and thinkers that propose alternatives to the anthropocentric view that sees Earth and the non-human world as an endless resource. Our first issue presented artistic perspectives on mining, microplastics and more. Now, this second issue features work investigating the 'zombie clothes' of Senegalese salt harvesters; the 'oozy' words of conceptual, critical writing; the visual reaction signals of plants in 'botanical torture chambers'; the long ecological and political histories of the Mesopotamian Marshes; the sonification of 'exquisite corpses' during lockdown; and the contested visualisations of worlds, from colonial ocean mapping to Mars probes. Featured artists and thinkers include Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou, Lisa van Casand, Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner, Devin Hentz, Ameneh Solati, Russell Haswell and Hugo Esquinca, Angeliki Diakrousi, and Yara Said. Both issues of Ecoes are available to order now from the Sonic Acts webshop.

Sonic Acts Festival 2022 in February Cancelled

Tuesday 21 December 15:16

Unfortunately, reality has caught up with us much more quickly than anticipated for Sonic Acts Festival 2022. Despite our hopes and plans to adapt the festival programme to the evolving situation, the current government restrictions make this impossible for the coming period. We have therefore decided to cancel the festival in February. In the new year we will be working on rescheduling festival activities to a later date, while establishing new ways to showcase artists and their work. Until then, we are happy to share with you below some of the artistic developments that have materialised over the past year and that will continue into the next. For now, we wish you a healthy and brighter 2022. Stay safe and take care!

Looking back over 2021...

PUBLICATIONS Ecoes In 2021 we released two issues of this new periodic magazine about art in the age of pollution. Our first issue presented artistic perspectives on mining, microplastics and more, featuring Anika Schwarzlose, Brian D. McKenna, Sissel Marie Tonn, MELT, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Devin Hentz, Angela Chan, Ameneh Solati, Arjuna Neuman, Sarah Kanouse, Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou, Carson Fisk-Vittori and Rosa Whiteley. Issue 2 is now available to pre-order, exploring topics from 'zombie clothes' to 'botanical torture chambers', with contributions by Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou, Lisa van Casand, Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner, Devin Hentz, Ameneh Solati, Russell Haswell and Hugo Esquinca, Angeliki Diakrousi, and Yara Said. All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film This book by Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner presents a narrative assemblage of prose and image, investigating the curious presence of taxonomies of monsters at the heart of Early Modern European science. The word ‘monster’, comes from the Latin ‘monstrare’, meaning ‘to show’, ‘to demonstrate’, ‘to reveal’. Picking up on this etymology, the authors explore monsters as prisms for modes of seeing and deciphering the natural world, with the book extending a multimedia project the authors began with their film A Demonstration (2020). It is still available to order. EVENTS & ONLINE TRANSMISSIONS Night Air Night Air is a series of events and online transmissions investigating pollution and its effects by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity. Over 2021 we hosted online events with discussions of smog, soil and radioactive and water pollution, featuring curation, works and talks by Amy Balkin, Timothy K Choy, Meng Han, Harshavardhan Bhat, Dorsey Kaufmann, Felicity Mangan, Kunal Palawat, Martin Howse, Red Brut, Filipa César, Florence Lazar, Ameneh Solati, Merve Bedir, Menna Agha, Moad Musbahi, Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou, Agnès Villette, Jason Waite, Whitespace, Bruce Conner, Sandra Lahire, and Inas Halabi. Watch two recent iterations Soil Samples and Nuclear Unknowns. Shock Waves In November, we were able to present the latest iteration in the Night Air series with a live event at OT301 considering the materiality of sound as a powerful means of resistance and control. The event featured works and talks by Elena Cohen, María Edurne Zuazu, Yann Leguay, Noise Diva, whiterose, N/pantla by Paula Montecinos & Pedro Matias, and films by Aura Satz. Look back at the event. Night Air: Shock Waves RESIDENCIES & MENTORSHIPS Overexposed This home-based residency programme first presented research and work by Ameneh Solati, Angela Chan, Arjuna Neuman, Devin Hentz, and Maryam Monalisa Gharavi. A second round recently introduced MELT, Emilija Škarnulytė, Lucky Dragons, and pantea. Listen to the Overexposed Podcast in collaboration with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, in which residents discuss artefacts that have moved their practice in a lasting way. We look forward to sharing news from our most recent residents in the new year. Underexposed This online mentorship and training programme supports artists at the beginning of their careers. Also known as Noise Diva, Yara Said transcends preconceptions and blurs the lines of art through mediums such as video, sound, painting, performance, installations, writing, DJing and music production. Angeliki Diakrousi, meanwhile, is a Rotterdam-based researcher and artist whose work examines the politics of public realms through the lens of art, architecture and technology. Read interviews with Yara Said and Angeliki Diakrousi, both also featured in each issue of Ecoes. COMMISSIONS Long-throw explorations with Anthea Caddy This long-term research project is by artist and cellist Anthea Caddy. Following previous iterations including a performance at the Stedelijk during Sonic Acts Academy 2020, Caddy continues to experiment with projected sound energy, harnessing the power of parabolic speakers to interrogate the physicality of environments. Watch her discussion of ongoing spatial sound installations presented at various outdoor locations. Plastic Hypersea Sissel Marie Tonn created this interactive audio walk around a speculative world at Amsterdam's NDSM Wharf. Originally centred around an installation of custom boat sails and ceramic sculptures, the walk speculates on a possible future for the field of immunology in which it has merged with the field of Environmental Health. Watch an introduction to the work or listen to the audio walk here. Cadáver Exquisito Caleidoscópico en Cuatro Ejes This binaural audio release by Hugo Esquinca & Russell Haswell incorporates the game of ‘exquisite corpse’ – a technique of collective assembly in which the artists took turns adding to the piece after receiving only a portion of what the other had previously contributed. The release is available to download for free.

Overexposed Podcast & Exhaust featuring Maryam Monalisa Gharavi

Monday 29 November 10:49

Writer, theorist and Sonic Acts artist-in-residence Maryam Monalisa Gharavi deals with the paradoxes of our interactions with matter and immateriality, the seen and unseen, underlying everyday life and its common preconceptions. Addressing these concerns, Gharavi reflects on her work in the latest episode of the OVEREXPOSED podcast, as well as in a roundtable conversation on oil and data that took place during Exhaust, an online event earlier this year. In the OVEREXPOSED podcast, presented and produced in collaboration with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, participants of the residency programme OVEREXPOSED are invited to discuss artefacts that have moved their practice in a lasting way. With the second round of this residency now in progress, we present a further podcast from one the programme’s first six residents. This latest episode sees resident Maryam Monalisa Gharavi recalling the impact of watching Luis Buñuel’s 1950 film Los Olvidados (The Forgotten Ones, known in the United States as The Young and the Damned). In particular, she describes how a particular moment from the film – in which a blind man and a chicken stare at one another – struck her as a profound reminder of the limits of knowledge and visuality. This opens up a deeper discussion about issues central to her work, in an evocative reflection on extraction, exhaustion, covered faces, transparency, oil and data.

→ The Overexposed Podcast can be found on all major podcast platforms. Gharavi was also the co-producer of Exhaust, an online roundtable discussion that took place on 27 February 2021, featuring political and environmental anthropologist Omolade Adunbi, media artist and programmer Ryan Kuo, artist and geographer Helen Pritchard and interdisciplinary researcher Andrea Sempértegui, with moderation by critic, curator and art historian Murtaza Vali. Taking as its starting point the phrase ‘data is the new oil’ – coined in 2006 by British mathematician (and customer loyalty card inventor) Clive Humby – Exhaust drew on the insights of eminent academic thinkers and influential practitioners to speculate, critique and make visible the cultural geography of oil and data. → A recording of the discussion is now available, with captions, on YouTube and Vimeo, where you can also find many other conversations, performances and works from OVEREXPOSED residents and other Sonic Acts participants. About OVEREXPOSED OVEREXPOSED is a residency programme from Sonic Acts investigating pollution and its effects on everything living and non-living, through which we aim to create awareness about pollution both in local surroundings and on a planetary scale. Using artistic research as an exploration of the connections between aesthetics, historical materiality and politics, the programme intends to stimulate thought and imagination about necessary steps – both locally and globally – and of course, direct action. The outcomes of the research will be presented in a variety of formats, including text publications, visual journals, and performative or discursive presentations.

Looking back at Night Air: Shock Waves

Wednesday 17 November 16:16

Shock Waves, a gathering that marked a new season of events under the banner of Night Air*, took place at OT301 in Amsterdam on Friday 5 November. Over the course of the evening, speakers and artists came together with the audience to consider the materiality of sound as a powerful means of resistance and control. The event featured talks by Elena Cohen, María Edurne Zuazu and Yann Leguay, DJ sets and performances from Noise Diva and whiterose, the installation N/pantla by Paula Montecinos & Pedro Matias, plus screenings of the films Between the Bullet and the Hole and Preemptive Listening (Part 1: The Fork in the Road) by Aura Satz. As we take a moment to look back on Shock Waves, we would like to address a warm thank you to those who joined and participated. → Watch our recap video of the event on YouTube or Vimeo: → Browse through our selection of photography on Facebook or Flickr: Night Air: Shock Waves Sonic weapons like the Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), ‘roof knocking’, or ‘music torture’ are frequently used as part of the arsenal of state violence. Elena Cohen’s work as an attorney and professor specialised in repressive police practices offered case studies of how these are deployed in protest, detention, and warfare, causing a range of harm from disorientation and psychological distress to permanent internal damage. As María Edurne Zuazu spoke about in her lecture and wrote in Loud but Non-lethal: Acoustic Stagings and State-Sponsored Violence, such instruments rely on high-intensity and focused sound to suppress individuals by impairing their auditory systems. Yann Leguay’s performative lecture spoke to the dematerialisation of sound and the evolving effects of interfaces, featuring an electrical arc produced by a plasma speaker so powerful that it emanates magnetic disturbance. The two films by Aura Satz approached sonic obedience and disobedience through the trope of the siren and investigate ballistics as a field of study in relation to the role of women in early computing. If the energy of sound can be harnessed to cause harm and stifle dissent, it also constitutes a creative field for confrontation and resistance. Paula Montecinos and Pedro Matias’ installation N/pantla presented a corporeal debordering of fractured sound – addressing how intimately tied gendered and racialised capitalism are to our communal sense of self-preservation, while performances and DJ sets by local artists whiterose and Noise Diva embodied dissonance and noisemaking on the dancefloor. → More information about the event and participants can be found at sonicacts.com/night-air-shock-waves. NIGHT AIR Night Air is a series of events that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations. **Night air is a myth with its origins in miasma theory (from the Greek for ‘pollution’). The theory held that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. The smell would intensify and worsen by night, so night air became synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours that could even cause pandemics such as cholera or plague. Only with developments in medicine and various scientific endeavours around the London cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s, did germs replace the ‘unhealthy fog’ as the culprit for diseases. And now, even though the idea has been abandoned, night air still echoes in words such as malaria (‘bad air’ in Italian), which actually connects air-borne poison with flying pests such as the disease-carrying mosquitoes. → Stay informed about future events! Subscribe to the Sonic Acts Newsletter.

[Cancelled] Sonic Acts Festival 2022 planned to take place from 25 to 27 February

Thursday 9 December 11:41

READ OUR LATEST FESTIVAL UPDATE A weekend of talks, performances, films and reading groups will be accompanied by a month-long exhibition at W139, along with indoor and outdoor sound installations, workshops and excursions throughout February. The preparation of this edition of our biennial festival comes at a time when many cultural events across Europe are being cancelled or postponed. Despite a lot of uncertainty, we are continuing to monitor and adapt the festival programme to the evolving situation. In 2022, Sonic Acts reaffirms its ongoing focus on climate crisis, which began in 2015 with the festival edition The Geologic Imagination as well as the project Dark Ecology in Northern Norway and Russia. Our research builds on insights from critical theory and the environmental humanities as they continue to witness environmental degradation and systems collapse. It follows the devastation that humans leave in their wake, tracing the slow violence of extractive imperialism and toxicity. Over the past two years since our last edition, we have invited artists and thinkers to further their research and practices, with an eye to investigating pollution and its effects across life and nonlife. This has taken form in the home-based mentorship and residency programmes Underexposed and Overexposed, the year-round event series Night Air and the publication of Ecoes magazine – in addition to new commissioned works and other print and audio releases. Ultimately, Sonic Acts Festival 2022 intends to give substance and resonance to the unique takes of our collaborators, familiar and new. More information about the programme and participants will be announced soon. Tickets This year, we will not be offering festival passes. Tickets to individual events will be made available closer to the date. In the meantime, please keep an eye on Sonic Acts channels, subscribe to our newsletter and consider joining our volunteer team. Volunteer Help make Sonic Acts Festival 2022 happen: → Apply now to join our team of volunteers Stay in touch Be the first to receive news and updates about Sonic Acts Festival 2022: → Subscribe to the Sonic Acts newsletterRSVP on Facebook

Catch up on the first season of Night Air

Tuesday 23 November 11:23

Delve into Sonic Acts’ online archive of events, projects and commissions with us as we begin to reflect on 2021. Soil Samples and Nuclear Unknowns are two round table discussions that took place online earlier this year under the banner of Night Air – an event series that aims to make pollution visible. Video recordings of both discussions are now available to watch on our YouTube and Vimeo channels. Soil Samples gathered artists and researchers on Saturday 24 April for an evening of performances, presentations and discussions that addressed the topic of soil and its geopolitical, colonial, and bodily entanglements. The panel was made up of sound artist Felicity Mangan, researcher and 'tiny miner' Martin Howse, biogeochemist and critical ecologist Kunal Palawat working in tandem with visual artist Dorsey Kaufmann.

**English captions available via YouTube & Vimeo subtitle settings**
On Tuesday 22 June, Nuclear Unknowns took us down the complex path of radioactive pollution, exploring the subject’s ecological, artistic and geopolitical tangles. Moderated by art historian and curator Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou, artistic researcher Agnes Vilette and curator Jason Waite discussed different strategies to grapple with nuclear energy’s uneven and calamitous aftermath.
**English captions available via YouTube & Vimeo subtitle settings**
Both events were transmitted online from Rotterdam, with participants and the audience joining from various locations worldwide. → Find out more about each event’s programme via Soil Samples & Nuclear Unknowns. NIGHT AIR Night Air is a series of event that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations. **Night air is a myth with its origins in miasma theory (from the Greek for ‘pollution’). The theory held that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. The smell would intensify and worsen by night, so night air became synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours that could even cause pandemics such as cholera or plague. Only with developments in medicine and various scientific endeavours around the London cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s, did germs replace the ‘unhealthy fog’ as the culprit for diseases. And now, even though the idea has been abandoned, night air still echoes in words such as malaria (‘bad air’ in Italian), which actually connects air-borne poison with flying pests such as the disease-carrying mosquitoes. Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European

New binaural audio release by Hugo Esquinca & Russell Haswell

Tuesday 26 October 15:39

Cadáver Exquisito Caleidoscópico en Cuatro Ejes is a new work by artists Hugo Esquinca and Russell Haswell and commissioned by Sonic Acts. The work incorporates the game of ‘exquisite corpse’ – a technique of collective assembly in which they took turns contributing to the piece after receiving only a portion of what the other had previously contributed. Initially intended to be presented in a live multi-channel setting in the Spring of 2021, before its postponement as a result of Covid-19, Cadáver Exquisito is the second outcome of a unique collaborative approach the artists have taken through a series of virtual residencies. Now reconfigured to binaural audio, Cadáver Exquisito Caleidoscópico en Cuatro Ejes is available to download and experience in 3D stereo sound. The digital release is accompanied by a conversation between Esquinca and Haswell and philosopher and editor Robin Mackay, in which they discuss the development of the work amidst the contingency of the pandemic, and how elements of everyday life and current events came to permeate the auditory fragments they exchanged. → Free download Cadáver Exquisito Caleidoscópico en Cuatro Ejes (binaural)

Introducing the next OVEREXPOSED home-based residents

Tuesday 5 October 11:30

Sonic Acts is proud to announce three artists and researchers for a new round of OVEREXPOSED home-based residencies. OVEREXPOSED is the new residency programme from Sonic Acts, investigating pollution and its effects on everything living and nonliving. Following an inspiring first round of residencies earlier this year, we put out another Open Call and were delighted to receive almost 300 applications. After being impressed with the talent and thoughtfulness exhibited by many of the proposals, we are thrilled to have selected three candidates to welcome as our remote artists- and researchers-in-residence. Over the course of November 2021, they will each undertake a period of artistic research with the aim of sharing their unique perspectives on the ecological issues at the core of the OVEREXPOSED programme. The three selected artists and researchers are Emilija Škarnulytė, Lucky Dragons, and pantea.

ABOUT THE RESIDENTS Emilija Škarnulytė is an artist and filmmaker working between documentary and the imaginary. She makes films and immersive installations exploring deep time and invisible structures, from the cosmic and geologic to the ecological and political. Her films can be found in IFA, Kadist Foundation and Centre Pompidou collections and have been screened at the Serpentine Gallery (UK), the Centre Pompidou (France) and at numerous film festivals including in Rotterdam, Busan, and Oberhausen. She received an undergraduate degree from the Brera Academy of Art in Milan and holds a master’s from the Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art. She is a founder of and currently co-directs Polar Film Lab, a collective for analogue film practice located in Tromsø, Norway and is a member of artist duo New Mineral Collective, recently commissioned by the inaugural Toronto Biennial. → Website Lucky Dragons is an ongoing collaboration between artists Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck, researching forms of participation and dissent, purposefully working towards a better understanding of existing ecologies through performances, publications, recordings, and public art. Lucky Dragons have presented collaborative work in a wide variety of contexts, including REDCAT, LACMA, MOCA and The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, London’s Institute for Contemporary Art, The Kitchen in New York, the 54th Venice Biennale, Documenta 14, The Whitney Museum of American Art (as part of the 2008 Whitney Biennial) and The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, among others. The name “Lucky Dragons” is borrowed from the fishing vessel caught in fallout from American H-bomb tests in the mid-1950’s, an incident which sparked international outcry and gave birth to the worldwide anti-nuclear movement. → Website pantea aka Pantea Armanfar is an artist from Iran working with different media to imagine and share new narratives of ecological connections. She has experience in performance arts, film, photography, and music. More recently, she is focused on developing a socially engaged practice by exploring possibilities brought about by sound and listening. She is passionate about the environment, plants, and wetlands. She has performed and exhibited works in Iran, the Netherlands, Belgium, India, Turkey, and Scotland. pantea’s work on the plant Sundew has been published as creative nonfiction in Plumwood Mountain Journal. → Website ABOUT OVEREXPOSED OVEREXPOSED aims to create awareness about pollution both in local surroundings and on a planetary scale. Using artistic research as an exploration of the connections between aesthetics, historical materiality and politics, the programme intends to stimulate thought and imagination about necessary steps – both locally and globally – and of course, direct action. The outcomes of the research will be presented in a variety of formats, including text publications, visual journals, and performative or discursive presentations. Each resident is financially supported in their work with €2.000 over the course of the one-month residency period. The residents were selected by Sonic Acts curators and team members Mirna Belina, Pim Sem Benjamin, Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou, Gideon Kiers, Margarita Osipian, Yessica Deira, Maud Seuntjens, Lucas van der Velden and Stefan Wharton.

Water Resistance now available to watch online

Tuesday 28 September 13:24

On Saturday 22 May 2021, Sonic Acts transmitted Water Resistance under the banner of Night Air – a series of events dedicated to making pollution visible. Curated by artistic research resident Ameneh Solati, Water Resistance brings together ongoing stories about water bodies as sites contaminated by power relations. Its aims are to embed ecological struggles within the narratives of nation-building, development and modernisation. Water Resistance is now available to watch in full on the Sonic Acts YouTube and Vimeo channels.

**English captions can be activated via YouTube & Vimeo subtitle settings**
Water Resistance opened to introductory words from the evening’s moderator, Moad Musbahi, whose film Turbulant Flow was screened on repeat in parallel to the event. Ameneh Solati was then the first to dive in, taking the audience to the marshlands of Iraq, rereading the ecosystem’s unique history. During her talk, she revealed an alternative narrative of people’s resistance to subjugation, offering a new framework to address projects that continue to impact the marshlands today. In turn, Merve Bedir focused her talk on Maritsa (Evros/Meriç), a river that holds the national border among Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey; as well as part of the European Union border/Fortress Europe. Maritsa, we were shown, is a site of claimed sovereignties, infrastructural interventions, population control, and Anthropocene discourse. Menna Agha followed with a presentation in storytelling form, conveying the rupture between Nubians and their river, offering insight into environmental racism, dispossession and erasure, while asking questions about what water means to a Nile-based culture. For detailed programme information, visit the Night Air archive at live.sonicacts.com. PARTICIPANTS Ameneh Solati is a Rotterdam-based architectural designer, researcher and editor. Her practice engages with interdisciplinary methods in exploring forms of resistance within often overlooked spaces. She completed her MA degree in architecture in 2017 at the Royal College of Art in London. She is an editor and organiser at Failed Architecture and has previously worked with Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam and various architectural practices in Amsterdam and London. Merve Bedir is an architect based in Hong Kong/Shenzhen. Her ongoing research examines infrastructures of hospitality and mobility. Merve Bedir is an adjunct assistant professor in Hong Kong University Department of Architecture, Division of Landscape Architecture, and a founding partner of Land and Civilization Compositions. Merve Bedir holds a PhD from the Architectural Engineering Department at the Delft University of Technology, and a B. Arch. from Middle East Technical University in Ankara. Menna Agha is an architect and researcher. She is a 2019/2020 Spatial Justice fellow and was visiting assistant professor at the University of Oregon. Currently, she is coordinating a spatial justice agenda at the Flemish Architecture Institute. Menna holds a PhD from the University of Antwerp and an MA from Köln international school of design. She is a third-generation displaced Egyptian Nubian which ushers her research interests in race, gender, space and territory. Moad Musbahi is an artist and curator who works between London and Tripoli. He utilises exhibition-making, video installation and writing to investigate migration as a method for cultural production and political expression. Through researching the movement of stories, people and sound, he focuses on the social practices and forms of knowledge that displacement engenders. His works has been presented at the Architectural Association, Jameel Art Center and Beirut Art Center among others. He is a recipient of the Sharjah Art Foundation’s Production Programme (2020) and currently a resident at Gasworks, London (2021). NIGHT AIR Water Resistance was organised under the banner of Night Air – a series of online transmissions from Sonic Acts, aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations.

Meet Artist in Residence Maryam Monalisa Gharavi

Monday 13 September 09:47

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi is an artist, poet, and theorist whose work deals with the paradoxes of our interactions with matter and immateriality, the seen and unseen, underlying everyday life and its common preconceptions. As one of six artists and researchers particicpating in OVEREXPOSED, a Sonic Acts programme looking to create awareness about pollution, Monalisa delves deep into what she sees as ‘twin’ commodities: oil and data. Thinking carefully about aesthetic and political values means focusing on discourse and tracing the genealogies of what may otherwise be taken for granted. Monalisa’s work involves challenging the assumption that data is an infinite and interactive ressource, and treating it instead through the lense of an extractive logic and economy – just like oil, which depends intensly on human labour and behaviours. For her remote residency, Brooklyn-based Monalisa takes up “exhaust” as a term both signifying depletion and born out of an age of imperialism and mass industrialisation. Monalisa tells us that behind her artistic practice is the idea that “a work of art must betray its maker”. She elaborates further, “you start with your curiosity and enact what you want to do, but that the work needs to exceed your expectations and exist without you.” Along with a variety of written and editorial work, her creation includes ‘live film’, a form she describes as a cross between moving picture and live performance.

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi giving a lecture during Sonic Acts Festival 2017. Photograph by Pieter Kers.
Monalisa participated in the Sonic Acts 2017 festival The Noise of Being, where her lecture Face/Less: Human, Inhuman, Abhuman showcased research and collected fragments about the face as a politically (think: surveillance) and aesthetically charged organ. Read more about Maryam Monalisa Gharavi’s work in the first issue of Ecoes magazine, available at the Sonic Acts webshop.

Sonic Acts marks a new season of Night Air events with Shock Waves

Thursday 14 October 15:20

On Friday 5 November from 19:30, Sonic Acts marks a new season of Night Air events with Shock Waves at OT301 in Amsterdam. In an evening of talks, performances and films, Shock Waves considers the materiality of sound as a powerful means of resistance and control. Attend on Facebook VENUE & ENTRY OT301, Amsterdam House rules QR code (proof of vaccination or a negative test result) and ID required TICKETS Full programme: €6 presale (sold out) Performances and installation (from 22:00): €5 available online and at the door LINEUP Elena Cohen – Talk María Edurne Zuazu – Talk Yann Leguay – Talk and Performance Noise Diva – DJ set whiterose – Performance N/pantla, performative installation by Paula Montecinos & Pedro Matias FILMS by Aura Satz Between the Bullet and the Hole (2015) Preemptive Listening Part 1: The Fork in the Road (2018) Sonic weapons like the Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), ‘roof knocking’, or ‘music torture’ are frequently used as part of the arsenal of state violence. Elena Cohen’s work as an attorney and professor specialised in repressive police practices offers case studies of how these can be deployed in protest, detention, and warfare, causing a range of harm from disorientation and psychological distress to permanent internal damage. As María Edurne Zuazu writes in Loud but Non-lethal: Acoustic Stagings and State-Sponsored Violence, such instruments rely on high-intensity and focused sound to suppress individuals by impairing their auditory systems. Yann Leguay’s performative lecture speaks to the dematerialisation of sound and the evolving effects of interfaces, featuring an electrical arc produced by a plasma speaker so powerful that it emanates magnetic disturbance. The two films by Aura Satz approach sonic obedience and disobedience through the trope of the siren and investigate ballistics as a field of study in relation to the role of women in early computing. If the energy of sound can be harnessed to cause harm and stifle dissent, it also constitutes a creative field for confrontation and resistance. Paula Montecinos and Pedro Matias’ installation N/pantla presents a corporeal debordering of fractured sound – addressing how intimately tied gendered and racialised capitalism are to our communal sense of self-preservation, while performances and DJ sets by local artists whiterose and Noise Diva invite us to embody dissonance and noisemaking on the dancefloor. ARTISTS & SPEAKERS María Edurne Zuazu's interests focus on intersections between material and auditory cultures in relation to questions of cultural memory, social and environmental justice, and the production of knowledge (and of ignorance) in the West during the 20th and 21st centuries. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell’s Society for the Humanities. Elena Cohen is an attorney and professor within the City University of New York system. She is a founding partner of Cohen Green PLLC (“Femme Law”), a small firm serving the needs of the New York City queer and activist communities. She was lead counsel of a suit challenging the New York Police Department’s use of Long Range Acoustic Devices. Yann Leguay is a Brussels based artist who focuses on notions of dematerialisation, the use of interfaces and the materiality of sound. In concerts he pushes the boundaries of accepted norms of audio behaviour, using uncommon machineries for the playback of audio media: opened hard-drives as turntables, an angle grinder as a microphone or the sound of the electricity. N/pantla is a performative installation developed by visual artist Pedro Matias and sound artist Paula Montecinos. In a transdisciplinary approach they research attempts to involve the audience’s body into a dynamic ecosystem of sounds and extended sense of listening. whiterose is the stage name of Lecxi Doomer – an Amsterdam based performer, producer and artist premiering at Shock Waves with a new take on metal music. Noise Diva, also known as Yara Said, is a noise explorer and sonic chaos curator whose work draws its inspiration from industrial noises, the breath of the city, shouts, hugs, death, love, and linear and nonlinear or disrupted narratives. FILMS by Aura Satz Between the Bullet and the Hole (2015), 11 min A film centred on the elusive and complex effects of war on women's role in ballistic research and early computing. Like a frantic animation storyboard, it explores the flickering space between the frames, testing the perceptual mechanics of visual interpolation, the possibility of reading or deciphering the gap between before and after. The film questions how we read, interpolate or construct the gaps between bullet and hole, perpetrator and victim, presence and absence. Preemptive Listening Part 1: The Fork in the Road (2018), 8 min A short film that serves as part 1 of a larger research project on sonic obedience and disobedience through the trope of the siren. The film posits the siren's loud glissando wail as a conditioned and learned signal, one that can potentially be perceptually and musically rewired. Shot on 16mm, the film is literally driven by its soundtrack, as the voice becomes a beacon, activating emergency rotating lights. TIMETABLE 19:00 Doors open 19:30 Introduction 19:40 María Edurne Zuazu – Talk 20:00 Elena Cohen – Talk 20:15 Yann Leguay – Talk + Performance 20:45 Discussion 21:30 Films by Aura Satz 22:00 N/pantla – Performative installation by Paula Montecinos & Pedro Matias 22:30 whiterose – Performance 23:00 Noise Diva – DJ set NIGHT AIR Night Air is a series of events that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations. **Night air is a myth with its origins in miasma theory (from the Greek for ‘pollution’). The theory held that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. The smell would intensify and worsen by night, so night air became synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours that could even cause pandemics such as cholera or plague. Only with developments in medicine and various scientific endeavours around the London cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s, did germs replace the ‘unhealthy fog’ as the culprit for diseases. And now, even though the idea has been abandoned, night air still echoes in words such as malaria (‘bad air’ in Italian), which actually connects air-borne poison with flying pests such as the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Angeliki Diakrousi: Found in Transmissions

Monday 26 July 10:38

Angeliki Diakrousi: Found in Transmissions

Interview with a participant of Underexposed – Sonic Acts’ mentoring programme for young artists

Sonic Acts: Architecture plays an important role in your artistic practice. Can you talk about the ways in which you approach space and rethink public spaces in your work? Angeliki Diakrousi: I was trained as an architect engineer following the path of Art/Architecture in the Public Sphere at the Department of Architecture, University of Patras in Greece, which engaged in critical and artistic research in relation to this field. I am intrigued by architecture that challenges the political dynamics of public spaces, disrupts norms, thinks about different ways of appropriating a space, facilitates the environment, rethinks the process of building, and creates conditions for commonalities, gatherings, and multiple utterances.[1] It eventually allows space to become dialectical and relational in regards to humans, different organisms, ecosystems, and technological structures. It is very common, on the other hand, that the dialogue around architecture revolves around the aesthetics of the form or ‘smart’ urban design. That kind of design focuses on investments, fast developments, intrusive changes, and gentrified practices. It imagines an abstract notion of humankind, emptied of social structures, and goes hand in hand with similar technological developments that promise quick solutions to our problems. It all eventually ends up mostly facilitating the market and (re)producing inequalities. In my early work, Hybrid Bodies: Public Gatherings (2012), I investigated the ways in which people gathered in two places of the Occupy Movement in 2011: in Tahrir Square in Cairo and Wall Street in New York. In relation to that, I made a performative public action in Patras in Greece that was interested in the ways women use public spaces and in seeing how they are perceived in the public space – especially Muslim women. This work emerged from a very specific context – refugees from Syria and Afghanistan started coming in large numbers to Greece in 2011 and the image of Muslim women on the streets slowly became more common, but prior to that it was not a common sight. This action marked the beginning of the untangling of the different social potentialities of public squares in my practice.
Hybrid Bodies: Public Gatherings (2012), a page from a booklet with photographic documentation from the action in Patras.
I am inspired by the speculative aspect of architecture – its possibility to imagine other worlds. However, architectural projects often end up blending into the existing infrastructure and political and financial rules, and completely lose their revolutionary edge. That is why I think it is important to also imagine – together with physical spaces – the technological, cultural, political, and social systems that create and inhabit them. In 2015, I created a project called Sound Acts in Victoria Square.[2] I made audio devices in order to broadcast, in real time, pre-recorded conversations I had with native Greek, immigrant, and refugee women on a busy square in Athens back to that same square. (You can hear some of them here.) Daily visits, long observations, and conversations with people on the square helped me understand and map the social, architectural, historical, and cultural dynamics of this space. The long and slow process provided the opportunity for things to unravel gradually, to quietly reveal themselves. I often use this ethnographic slow observation and documentation process in my work. This enables me to see and make visible the incremental, but violent, interventions into public spaces by institutional or financial powers – changing things little by little so that people slowly get used to the changes and don’t see them for the takeover of public space that they really are.
Sound Acts in Victoria Square (2015), diagram of social spaces at the Victoria Square in Athens.
SA: Do you see a difference in public spaces in Greece and in the Netherlands? AD: Public space consists of many dynamics and layers. Every culture has a different perception of it. What makes a public space ‘public’? An open space doesn’t necessarily mean it is accessible and everyone can use it freely and safely. In some places, such as in Greece or Turkey, social interactions, collective utterances, and political decisions happen outside, in organised or random encounters. In the Netherlands, some public spaces seem more ‘privatised’ and public dynamics are expressed ‘inside’, at home, in the office or in public institutions – rather than on the squares or in the streets.[3] But people from all over the world also bring their own¬ ways of interacting with the environment and with others when they move here, so I would say that that also brings in an interesting mix.
Let’s Amplify Unspeakable Things (2019), screenshot from the project website that contains an audio archive from workshops at Leeszaal and Wereldvrouwen Rotterdam Foundation.
Architecture in Greece often comes with a political framing. There are layers of history and memory everywhere around us, like a palimpsest. Abandoned public buildings, old factories, urban voids, traces of people’s writings on the walls, and half-built constructions as contemporary ruins, are some of the most common elements in Greek urban landscapes. A lot of these spaces often host squatters, undocumented migrants or refugees, so they are occupied as emergency habitations and political places, thus allowing for other ways of using these abandoned spaces. The renewed use of these buildings creates new landmarks loaded with traces of untold histories. I have a feeling that public spaces in the Netherlands are much ‘cleaner’: the traces left by various social movements are erased faster, are contained, or are at least less visible. SA: Can you extend the notion of public space to the online sphere? AD: Since I started studying Experimental Publishing (XPUB) at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam – which investigates the acts of making things public and creating ‘publics’ in the age of post-digital networks through design and technology – my artistic practice has extended to digital spaces and networks. In my work I focus on the fact that public spaces and online spheres are interconnected and hypermediated by technological devices and infrastructures. The crucial question for me is how we can claim this hypermediation collectively, how we can understand it and transform it. In the collective artistic research WordMord (2019–ongoing) – which first started within the context of the Centre of New Media and Feminist Public Practices in the Department of Architecture at the Thessaly University – as a group we are intervening into existing legal, linguistic, social, and online structures with hybrid tools and methods for poetically subverting and rewriting derogatory narratives and consequently trauma and violence in public space. WordMord seeks to connect art with queer feminist activism and emancipated life through collaborations with artists, activists and feminist coding collectives, and shape an online rhizomatic space as an active archive.[4] SA: Sound plays a big role in your artistic practice. Can you talk about the connection of sound and space in your work? AD: I was always interested in the invisibility of sound. Sound, as a non-visual element, is mostly ignored in architecture. However, it plays an important role in our common spaces; it carries collective memories, such as oral histories and soundscapes, that make up the identity of a place. Sometimes it is also used to drive away specific people from public spaces, for example by transmitting high frequencies in border crossings or on the squares, or by playing annoying music outside supermarkets. There are many historical and current examples where sound has been weaponised against homeless people and refugees. These systems of oppression have been embedded in our cities, but this has been done at such a slow pace that the process seems less aggressive. We can also see it in the ways our presence in public space is nowadays controlled through apps and ‘smart’ technologies, or how our voice data is collected and processed through speech recognition technologies in mobile phones.[5] In my new work, Hunting Mosquitos – developed in collaboration with TENT Rotterdam and curator Linnea Semmerling – I am researching ‘smart’ technological devices in Rotterdam called ‘mosquito alarms’, which are used to control noise and loitering on the streets. These machines are tuned to emit frequencies that can be heard primarily by younger people, thus creating an environment that ‘repels’ kids and teenagers from gathering in public spaces. I am interested in the politics of listening and different perceptions of noise and I want to examine how (sound) technology changes the use of public spaces. I am also working a lot with digital infrastructures – such as online radio streaming platforms and server networks – and that gives me another perspective on sound in relation to public (digital) spaces. The difficulty to fully understand computational infrastructures such as social media algorithms – and the fact that the most common ones are made by commercial or state institutions – creates an alienated experience in the online spaces we communicate in. I think that technology is far from neutral – it reproduces biases and social injustices. There are some artistic, technological, and publishing initiatives I am connected with – such as Constant in Bruxelles, Varia in Rotterdam, and Hackers & Designers in Amsterdam – that are trying to rethink and redesign technologies as social mediums. SA: How did you start working with radio and streaming sound, and what interests you in those communities that work with radio? AD: I met various communities and artists that work with wireless technologies when I moved to the Netherlands. And I have realised that I am more interested in the complexities of making radio art than sound art. My sound is not sophisticated because I am mostly streaming it. I don’t use good mics or high-quality gear, and thus the sound comes out distorted. But I have become attracted to these distortions of the medium and they became part of my work Radio-active Monstrosities (2020–ongoing). This work is a web audio interface that enables computer microphones to transform our voices into various ‘malformed’ sounds, which I call ‘audio masks’ – a term borrowed by Laurie Anderson. The work addresses the ways of listening to voices that are perceived as ‘annoying’ because of the technological distortions of the medium and listening bias, which of course perpetuates racial and sexist prejudices. The technological structure of the radio creates conditions for collective actions. I am particularly inspired by the radio as a medium because of its ability to reach a wide range of audiences. I also like the involvement of amateur communities, which produce and share technical knowledge, although they can be very male and technology-only oriented and uninterested in the systemic issues around it. Since this year I have been working with a live streaming infrastructure called Narrowcast[6] at Varia in Rotterdam, a space I have joined in 2020, and have also been involved in the Temporary Riparian Zone project (2020).[7] It is a live composition interface that imagines online radio potentialities through explorative ways of streaming and speculative writing with a ‘together-made’ broadcast server and an online collective writing tool.[8] During the pandemic I have done a lot of online collective radio transmissions and it has been such a fun process.
Temporary Riparian Zone (2020), screenshot of the interface during a workshop at Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2020.
SA: You mostly work with already existing infrastructures. In other words, you are interested in finding different ways of appropriating technological and architectural mediums. Can you talk about this aspect of your work? AD: I want to relate to the medium, share the knowledge, and understand it collectively.[9] I prefer hacking or creating hybrid devices and technical infrastructures rather than designing and bringing new ones to the table. I am always aware that access to the medium differs depending on class, gender, race, geographic location, etc. So, I would say that this techno-social approach is about challenging the medium by communicating through it and, at the same time, ‘opening’ it and rebuilding it together with others. I have been organising, either alone or with others, numerous workshops where hands-on practices are combined with untangling of social questions and performative actions, such as Distortions on Air (2021), Temporary Riparian Zone (2020), Amplify Angry Voices (2019) and more. Hacking, open source, and low-tech approaches were always part of my work. My desire to understand the hypermediation of public spaces, the interconnection of digital and public spheres, and the workings of various technologies and infrastructures, drove me to engage with technology through a hands-on approach. This process also made me realise how limited the access to this kind of knowledge is because it is traditionally dominated by white male actors. Through my concerns about the presence of female voices in online and public spaces, and also through the need to find a safe space where I could acquire and share technical skills, I got involved with several techno-feminist groups and initiatives, such as Eclectic Tech Carnival (/ETC), Feminist Search Tools, and Feminist Hack Meetings. I like to think of technologies and mediums as social public spaces where random encounters and emergent imaginaries are allowed and encouraged.
1. In Greek language there is a beautiful word συμπεριλαμβάνω (symperilamváno), which means including together with other things, including more. 2. The work was developed under the context of my graduation year in the Department of Architecture, University of Patras with the supervision of Dr. Panos Kouros 3. In my graduation project Let’s Amplify Unspeakable Things (2019), I co-organised together with Christina Kaρagianni gatherings with the theme of amplifying female voices. We met in Leeszaal, a reading room in Rotterdam, and in the space of the Wereldvrouwen Rotterdam Foundation. In both of these cases, I interacted with active public spaces that exist ‘inside’. 4. The initial research group of the project consists Vassiliea Stylianidou aka Franck-Lee Alli-Tis, Angeliki Diakrousi, Christina Karagianni, Stylianos Benetos aka Oýto Arognos, Mounologies: Eleni Diamantouli and Anna Delimpasi. 5. OuNuPo + ttssr, Ecstatic Speech and Gossip Booth are a couple of experiments I did with speech-recognition tools. 6. Narrowcast was made together with Joana Chicau and Luke Murphy. 7. Temporary Riparian Zone was made in collaboration with Cristina Cochior. 8. The tools we used, Icecast and Etherpad, are open source, and are hosted on Varia’s server. 9. For example, in a recent online radio event called Platform Alliance hosted by fanfare and radioee.net, shared via PUB and joined by Varia and Mushroom radio, we shared knowledge and experience related to online broadcasting platforms.
Angeliki Diakrousi examines the politics of public realms through the lens of art, architecture and technology. Recently, she started working with collective speech platforms, listening channels, publishing and digital archives. She practices feminist approaches to technology and critical computing and she works with embodied practices and nurtures dialogical methodologies in relation to public spaces – her recent involvement in Katarina Jazbec’s film You Can’t Automate Me (2020) brought her even closer to such practices. Angeliki graduated in Architecture from the University of Patras in Greece and holds an M.A. from Experimental Publishing at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. She has joined a space called Varia in Rotterdam, where she is involved in co-learning activities and research. Angeliki is currently a tutor at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam.

Overexposed Podcast with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee featuring Angela Chan

Tuesday 17 August 13:53

In the latest Overexposed Podcast episode, presented and produced in collaboration with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, Sonic Acts artist-in-residence Angela Chan goes over her artistic research practice as a 'creative climate change communicator'. For Chan, this means focusing on systemic relations, especially abuses of power. It also means engaging with multiple perspectives of climate justice: the everyday agency of marginalised communities, as well as the social effects and colonial histories of extraction and pollutants.

Practically, these orientations have translated, along with youth-focused field trips and speculative fiction groups, into 'living room conversations'. Hosted by Chan, their goal has been to discuss climate and environment related issues, while allowing the exchange to meander without necessarily working towards an outcome – instead finding support for anxieties and grief in a safe and cosy space. In this episode, Chan invites us to think about how moss and lichen act as a kind of biotechnology and an indicator of our part in an ecology that can be mediated differently than through embedded and conflictual power systems. The “squidgy being” is not only a monitor, but, like Chan’s conversations, a dedication to softness. Materiality is central to Chan’s OVEREXPOSED residency, which maps the lasting effects of tear gas. Chan tells us that while research has shown how human bodies interact with and react to the chemical weapon, the looseness of the pollutant – the way it seeps into water cycles and becomes a degrading hyper structure – is underexamined. Chan’s multifaceted and nonlinear mediations are a way of manifesting the otherwise indiscernible. The Overexposed Podcast can be found on preferred podcast platforms. About OVEREXPOSED OVEREXPOSED is a home-based residency programme from Sonic Acts, in which six artists and researchers investigate pollution and its effects on everything living and non-living in a period of remote artistic research.

Overexposed Podcast with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee featuring Devin Hentz

Tuesday 20 April 16:56

OVEREXPOSED is a home-based residency programme from Sonic Acts, in which six artists and researchers investigate pollution and its effects on everything living and non-living in a period of remote artistic research. In the new Overexposed Podcast presented and produced in collaboration with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, the participants of the residency programme speak about artefacts that have moved their practice in a lasting way: from tenderness and floating schools to the Blues and The Last Angel of History. The first three episodes, featuring Arjuna Neuman, Ameneh Solati, and Devin Hentz are now available on your preferred podcast platform. Search for the Overexposed Podcast to listen.

The Overexposed Podcast is presented and produced in collaboration with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee with additional production by Monty Mouw. About OVEREXPOSED OVEREXPOSED is Sonic Acts home-based residency programme that aims to create awareness about pollution both in local surroundings and on a planetary scale. Using artistic research as an exploration of the connections between aesthetics, historical materiality and politics, the programme intends to stimulate thought and imagination about necessary steps – both locally and globally – and of course, direct action. The outcomes of the research will be presented in a variety of formats, including text publications, visual journals, and performative or discursive presentations.

Introducing the OVEREXPOSED home-based residents

Sonic Acts is proud to announce six artists and researchers for the OVEREXPOSED home-based residency. OVEREXPOSED is the new residency programme from Sonic Acts investigating pollution and its effects on everything living and non-living. In response to the Open Call, we received almost 400 applications including many imaginative and compelling perspectives on the core questions underlying the programme. As a result of the quality and breadth of the applications, we have doubled the number of residents to six. Each resident will undertake a one-month period of remote artistic research between December 2020 and May 2021. Stay tuned for updates on their practice and developments! The resident artists and researchers are Ameneh Solati, Angela Chan, Arjuna Neuman, Devin Hentz, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, and MELT.

About the Residents Ameneh Solati is a Rotterdam-based researcher, architect, editor, and educator. Her practice engages with interdisciplinary methods and explores subjects such as domesticity, displacement, environmental violence, geopolitics, and trauma inheritance. Ameneh seeks alternative lenses and sources of knowledge within often overlooked spaces and devices. She completed her MA degree in architecture in 2017 at the Royal College of Art in London. She is an editor and organiser at Failed Architecture and was previously a researcher and visual designer at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam and an architectural designer in Amsterdam and London. → Twitter: @Amna_solati Angela Chan is a curator, researcher, artist and ‘creative climate change communicator’. She holds an MA in Climate Change: History, Culture, Society from King’s College London, while her projects and research span decolonial climate justice, geography, feminist sciences and contemporary speculative fiction. Angela independently curates Worm: art + ecology, and collaborates internationally with visual artists, activists, speculative fiction authors and youth groups. She co-founded the London Chinese Science Fiction Group and her writing has been published in Science Fiction (2020, Whitechapel Gallery & MIT Press). → Website: angelaytchan.com
Arjuna Meuman & Denise Ferreira da Silva, 4 Waters-Deep Implicancy (2019) (Trailer). Courtesy of Berlin Bienale.
Arjuna Neuman is an artist, writer, and filmmaker based in Berlin. He works with the essay form with a multi-perspectival and experimental approach in which he explores the economic, social and ideological systems that shape our lived experiences. Selected projects include collaborations with Denise Ferreira da Silva on films and installations Serpent Rain (2016) and 4 Waters-Deep Implicancy (2019). His works have been shown at major biennials and exhibitions such as Berlin Biennial 10, Serpentine Gallery, Whitechapel, Sharjah Biennial, Bergen Assembly, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, etc. He also grows tomatoes and chillies in his studio. → Website: arjunaneuman.com Devin Hentz is an independent researcher and writer based in Dakar. Devin is interested in exploring the private experience of embodiment in what we choose to wear, as well as the global currents at play in getting certain items on and off of our bodies. Thinking between contemporary art and dress practices, she interrogates and sometimes intervenes in the black visual ecumene. Devin works with words, images and cloth as sites for play and to develop transcultural connections. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design, New York. → Instagram: devinhentz
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Face/Less: Human, Inhuman, Abhuman, at De Brakke Grond, Sonic Acts Festival 2017.
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi is an artist, writer, and theorist whose work explores the interplay between aesthetic and political valences in the public domain. She completed a PhD in Comparative Literature and Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University, where she was Lecturer in History and Literature from 2012 to 2017. Book publications include a translation of Waly Salomão’s Algaravias: Echo Chamber (Ugly Duckling Presse), the poetry volume The Distancing Effect (BlazeVOX), and the artist publication Apparent Horizon 2 (Bonington Gallery). She was an editor at The New Inquiry between 2012 and 2017 and is currently a lecturer at Northeastern University. Exhibitions, performances, screenings, and expanded publications include Nottingham Contemporary, Serpentine Cinema, Framer Framed, Art Dubai, New Museum, Triple Canopy, etc. Her most recent solo exhibition was Life of Mohammad at Recess, New York, in 2019.
MELT, Heating Matters / Change Flux (Trailer)
MELT (Loren Britton & Isabel Paehr) are arts-design researchers who work together on games, technology and critical pedagogy. Investigating the political and material conditions of technological infrastructures, they re-distribute agency through methods of queer play, unlearning and leaking. Their work crumbles structures, unbinds materials, dissolves technology and makes collectivities, often taking the form of video art and workshops. MELT are influenced by (melting) ice, freezers, software, signals, moving too fast/slow, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Denise Ferreira Da Silva, digital materialism, post-/de-colonial thinking, GIFs, climate protests, anti-racism and dancing. → Website: meltionary.com About OVEREXPOSED OVEREXPOSED aims to create awareness about pollution both in local surroundings and on a planetary scale. Using artistic research as an exploration of the connections between aesthetics, historical materiality and politics, the programme intends to stimulate thought and imagination about necessary steps – both locally and globally – and of course, direct action. The outcomes of the research will be presented in a variety of formats, including text publications, visual journals, and performative or discursive presentations. Each resident is financially supported in their work with €2.000 over the course of the one-month residency period. The residents were selected by Sonic Acts curators and team members Mirna Belina, Maarten de Bruijn (intern), Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou, Gideon Kiers, Margarita Osipian, CheeYee Tang (Programme Coordinator), Lucas van der Velden and Stefan Wharton. Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Open Call: Sonic Acts continues its OVEREXPOSED home-based residency programme

Tuesday 20 July 16:51

OVEREXPOSED Sonic Acts Home-Based Residency Sonic Acts is proud to announce the continuation of the OVEREXPOSED residency programme. With this renewed open call, we invite applications from artists and researchers working across the fields of environmental humanities with a special focus on pollution and experimental art and media. The deadline for applications is 1 September 2021. OVEREXPOSED is part of a four-year research programme from Sonic Acts on the materiality of pollution and systemic and political issues related to the contamination of our environment. It is an opportunity for artists and researchers to expand their practice and develop new ideas and methodologies while being financially supported in their work. Scheduled to take place in November 2021, the residency enables artists and researchers to develop their practice around the core questions underlying the OVEREXPOSED programme – investigating pollution and its (unequal) effects on all things living and non-living. Using artistic research as an exploration of the connections between aesthetics, historical materiality and politics, the programme intends to create awareness about pollution and its interconnectedness on a planetary scale, stimulate thought and imagination about necessary steps and, of course, mobilise direct action. For more information on the programme and how to apply, check out the open call on Homerun. Watch video introductions to previous OVEREXPOSED residents below, as they addressed overlapping ethnic and environmental struggles or looked at climate change and pollution in relation to different approaches to time.

Angeliki Diakrousi and Yara Said selected for Underexposed

Thursday 29 April 15:06

Sonic Acts is pleased to reveal Angeliki Diakrousi and Yara Said as the two artists selected for the Underexposed mentorship programme for young artists. Underexposed is an online mentorship and training programme – part of a Sonic Acts talent development initiative – that focuses on supporting artists at the beginning of their career. Motivated by the number of exciting projects from young local artists, shown by many of the applications to our recent OVEREXPOSED residency call, Underexposed includes a mentorship period in which artists work directly with members of the Sonic Acts curatorial team, providing an opportunity to get feedback on the development of artistic projects. Sonic Acts has selected two artists for the first iteration of the programme that will take place from the first week of May until mid-June 2021. Angeliki Diakrousi is a Rotterdam-based researcher and artist whose work examines the politics of public realms through the lens of art, architecture and technology. She is engaged with collective speech platforms, feminist approaches to technology, dialogical and relational methodologies, critical computing, and activation of public spaces. Angeliki is an Architecture graduate of the University of Patras (2015), and a graduate of the Experimental Publishing Master at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam (2019). Yara Said is an artist, researcher and educator currently based in Amsterdam. Yara draws inspiration from industrial noises, the breath of the city, shouts, hugs, death, love and linear and nonlinear or disrupted narratives. Said transcends preconceptions and blurs the lines of her art through different mediums. She holds an MFA from Sandberg Instituut (2020) and is the founder of Salwa Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 2019 that aims to diversify the cultural landscape in the Netherlands by providing a platform to immigrant artists and creatives.

Photos and videos of the first Dark Ecology Journey

After many months of preparation and four incredible days, the first Dark Ecology journey is over. With a group of 45 artists and theorists we visited sites on both sides of the border between Arctic Norway and Russia. We were in Kirkenes in Norway and the industrial towns of Nikel and Zapolyarny in Russia. Highlights include the lecture by Timothy Morton – the philosopher who coined the term Dark Ecology –, a visit to the mine under the iron ore plant in Kirkenes, and a truly mind-blowing concert in the gymnasium of the school in Nikel, featuring hiphop from Komi and an electrifying performance by Franz Pomassl. All the impressions still have to sink in, but in the meantime we have the first photos and videos to share with you.   For the first photos see the Dark Ecology Facebook or vk page, especially check this photo album on Facebook (photos by Sonic Acts' Annette Wolfsberger) and this Flickr album by Nik Gaffney. Matthijs Munnik made a visual essay about the first Dark Ecology journey. Our Russian partner Fridaymilk made video diaries of each day, you can watch all of them below. More photos, videos and reports will be published in the coming weeks on the Dark Ecology website.   Dark Ecology Day 1 video: Creators, artists, researchers and musicians meet in friendly Kirkenes.   Dark Ecology Day 2 video: Crossing the border to Russia, excursion in foggy Nikel, visiting a fascinating factory and presentations at the culture palace.   Dark Ecology Day 3 video: Sound performance in a garage, eye-tracking of the Northern landscape and tuneful Secret Chamber in a school gym.

A Day of Noise

During Dutch Design Week, on Saturday 25 October, Sonic Acts presents A Day of Noise in Temporary Art Centre (TAC) in Eindhoven. The programme dives into noise in design, daily life and music, and proposes noise as a methodology. Even though noise is a continuous and mostly unwanted aspect of the design process, most artists and designers are unaware of its potential and the influence it has on their decision-making. How can we be more aware of this potential in a world where aspects of time, constant transformation, unpredictability and uncertainty are becoming more and more important? A Day of Noise explores this question through a workshop, a programme of lectures, and a live concert. It is organised in cooperation with ArtEZ Institute of the Arts.   RSVP: facebook event   Workshop by Gijs Gieskes In the workshop with Dutch electronic musician and designer Gijs Gieskes, participants will be taught the fundamentals of circuit bending and embrace a DIY attitude towards technology. Participants will learn how to add an oscillator to a low voltage device like an old CD-player, cheap keyboard, torch or computer mouse, to transform it into an apparatus that keeps repeating the same activity.   Saturday 25 October 2014 Time: 10.00–16.00 Location: TAC Lecture Hall Temporary Art Centre (TAC), Vonderweg 1, 5611 BK Eindhoven Fee: € 20,- / € 15,- for students Join: Send a short biography and motivation to masterclass[at]sonicacts[.]com. Deadline for applications is Sunday 19 October.   Keynote lecture by Hillel Schwartz & presentation by Remco van Bladel Graphic designer Remco van Bladel’s presentation will draw analogies between contemporary graphic design and musical theories of the 20th century avant-garde. Going from the I Ching and mesostic to phase shifting, feedback, dissonance, and glitch, he touches on the question: ‘How can one define a (typo)graphic methodology based on the works of for instance John Cage, Steve Reich, John Zorn, Oval or perhaps even Merzbow?’   In his keynote lecture, cultural historian Hillel Schwartz will first talk about noise as a socio-acoustic phenomenon: how noise is conditioned historically, politically, and aesthetically by relationships between people and by convergences in the trajectories of technology, art, and culture. He will then talk about noise and time: how noise is experienced through time, and how noise affects our experience of time, which in turns affects our impression of the differences between the private and public spheres. The lecture is followed by a Q&A with Hillel Schwartz, moderated by Sonic Acts’ Arie Altena.   Saturday 25 October 2014 Time: 17.00–18.45 Location: TAC Lecture Hall Temporary Art Centre (TAC), Vonderweg 1, 5611 BK Eindhoven Entrance: €5,- / €2,50 students Tickets: regular / students   Live performances by Gijs Gieskes and André Avelãs The evening ends with live performances by noise masters Gijs Gieskes and André Avelãs, and dj Team of Orphax. Gijs Gieskes plays his own electronic devices, André Avelãs performs his work Oscillators on Band-saws, using old band-saws from the family sawmill to create low frequencies and resonating noise.   Saturday 25 October 2014 Open: 20.00 Location: TAC Tuinzaal Temporary Art Centre (TAC), Vonderweg 1, 5611 BK Eindhoven Entrance: €5,- / €2,50 students Tickets: regular / students   A Day of Noise is organised in cooperation with ArtEZ Institute of the Arts and is part of Uncertainty Studios, a week-long programme conducted by the Product and Interaction Design departments of ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, Arnhem. Uncertainty Studios showcases an exhibition by young and established product and interaction designers, a project with third-year students, and a series of lectures by international speakers on lightness, noise, fiction and psychology.   Biographies   André Avelãs (PT) is a sound artist who lives and works in Amsterdam. His works (performances, sculpture, installations, and recordings) explore the ways in which sound is produced, and how sound creates meaning in relation to space and the conditions under which it is heard. Central to his practice is a focus on sound not as a carrier of content but as a malleable material that shifts and changes in relation to the methods and machines through which it is generated, reproduced and experienced.   Remco van Bladel (NL) is a graphic designer, musician and art book publisher based in Amsterdam. He is the co-founder of Onomatopee and the online platform WdW Review. His studio focuses on editorial book design, (online) publishing projects, curatorial projects, institutional identities, interactive applications and websites. He is a typography and graphic design tutor at Art and Design, ArtEZ Institute of the Arts.   Gijs Gieskes (NL) is an electronic musician and industrial designer who builds and modifies his own electronic devices for audiovisual use. The devices are often sold as kits but can also be purchased pre-assembled.   Hillel Schwartz (US) is currently the Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. As a cultural historian he is the author of the impressive Making Noise: From Babel to the Big Bang and Beyond (Zone, 2011). As a medical case manager, he has published Long Days Last Days: A Down-to_earth Guide for those at the Bedside (2013). As a poet and translator, he has published, together with Sunny Jung, a translation of the work of the poet Kim Nam-jo, one of Korea's leading poets: Rain Sky Wind Port (Codhill Press, 2014).

Drilling Deep / Knowledge from Underground

SONIC ACTS RESEARCH SERIES #3   By Arie Altena   We have been studying the sky and the stars at least since Sumerian times. Looking up in the sky we look back into time. Our most advanced telescopes detect radiation from the birth of the universe – the birth of time. Beyond that there is nothing to see. We have ventured far into outer space. Voyager 1, dispatched by NASA in 1977, has left our solar system, entered interstellar space, and at a distance of approximately 19 billion kilometres from the Sun, is still transmitting data to Earth. What do we know about the ground below our feet? It is a cliché to state that we know more about the Moon than about the deep sea, but how much do we actually know about what is underground? We know about the composition of the Earth’s crust, mantle and core through remote geophysical methods. Seismic waves travel throughout the Earth, and from the behaviour of those waves we can infer the composition of the material through which they travel. We can ‘listen’ to the Earth to discover what is inside. But how deep have we actually looked into the interior of the Earth? Not very far, it seems. The deepest holes we have ever excavated only penetrate about one-third of the crust. We have never drilled deep enough to reach the mantle on which the continental and oceanic crusts rest.   Deep drilling is apparently as complex and adventurous as sending rockets into outer space, and it is likewise a feat of engineering. One problem is that the deeper you drill the hotter it gets. Temperatures easily go up to 200 degrees Celsius. Standard drilling equipment cannot handle such temperatures.   One reason we know more about the planets in our solar system and the stars than about the Earth's interior might be because our fascination for what is ‘up there’ is far greater than our interest in what is ‘down below’. Culturally what is ‘down below’ is identified with the dark and sinister: it’s the realm of the devil while ‘up there’ has generally been regarded as the realm of light and God. The charm of the subterranean has its own cultural history – Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Ludvig Holberg's Niels Klim's Underground Travels, and stories about mining by the German Romantics are well known examples. Yet, the subterranean imagination does not match the allure of what is up and out there.   The deepest natural cave that humans have descended into is the Krubera Cave in the Caucasus: 2197 metres underground. The deepest gold mines are now operating at depths over 3 kilometres, with the South African TauTona goldmine reaching 3900 metres. When we dig deep, it is usually for money: to extract from the Earth valuable minerals, oil and gas. We use these crushed dinosaurs and prehistoric plants to fuel our economy and lives. Fittingly for the current state of our world, the deepest boreholes are drilled for oil and gas. The current record, set in June 2013, is the Z-42 borehole on Sakhalin Island off the East Russian coast, which has a depth of 12,700 metres (source).

  Drilling deep is like inserting a telescope into the Earth. If you extract drill cores, you can see what is down there. We drill deep for science as well. At the moment scientific deep-drilling programmes occur out at sea. Whereas the much older continental crust can be between 25 and 70 kilometres thick, the oceanic crust is only 7 to 10 kilometres thick, so the mantle can be more easily reached. The first geologic deep-drilling programme at sea was the American Project Mohole, which aimed at drilling through the Earth crust to the Mohorovičić discontinuity, the boundary between crust and mantle. It started in 1961 as a geologic counterpart to the space race, but was stopped for lack of funding in 1966. It was continued in the Deep Sea Drilling programme, which is now the Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme. The deepest borehole in the ocean reached a depth of 3056 metres below the sea floor in May 2014.   ??????????????????????????????? Tower of the Kola Superdeep Borehole in September 2007. Photo by Andre Belozeroff, source   4 58976825 Kola Superdeep Borehole in summer 2008. Photo © andrusha084, source   Until 2008 the Kola Superdeep Borehole near the Russian mining town Zapolyarny on the Kola Peninsula was the deepest borehole in the world. No borehole is as legendary as the Kola Superdeep, which really was a telescope probing the Earth. It was drilled since the 1970s in the framework of the former Soviet Union’s programme ‘Investigation of the Continental Crust by Means of Deep Drilling’. The deepest of its boreholes, the SG-3, reached a final depth of 12,262 metres in 1989 (sometimes 12,261 is given as the correct depth. Note that the current record is just marginally deeper.)   There are not many superdeep boreholes in the continental crust that are drilled for science. Apparently the only superdeep one accessible at the moment is the KTB superdeep borehole in Windeseschenbach in northern Bavaria, Germany. It was drilled to a depth of 9101 metres between 1990 and 1994 by the German Continental Deep Drilling Program, reaching depths with temperatures of more than 260 degrees Celsius.   The Kola Superdeep is drilled at a spot that is called Vilgiskoddeoayvinyarvi, or ‘Wolf Lake on the Mountains’. The Sami are the indigenous inhabitants of this subarctic area in Russia, just across the border with Norway. Dotted with open iron ore and nickel mines and watched over by enormous smelters in the mining towns Zapolyarny and Nickel, it is a bleak, heavily polluted landscape. Even now foreign tourists are forbidden from leaving the main roads – though most likely nobody will stop you from doing so.   13 Schermafbeelding 2014-08-22 om 19.32.10 Screenshot of the exact location of the Kola Superdeep on the satellite image of Google.   When the plans for the Kola Superdeep were formulated at the end of the 1960s, Cold War competition drove geological research. When drilling near Zapolyarny began in 1970, in honour of the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, the Russians were eager to smash the record for the deepest borehole. In 1979 the world record for drilling depth – 9583 metres, held since 1974 by the Bertha Rogers hole in Washita County, Oklahoma – was broken by the Kola Superdeep. In 1983, the drill passed 12,000 metres, but after reaching 12,066 metres on 27 September 1984, the drill broke down. Repairing the damage took ages, as new equipment had to be built. Drilling was eventually resumed from a depth of 7 kilometres, but slow progress over subsequent years can also be attributed to the difficulties they encountered drilling at such great depth.   5 303384953_99e1333278_o_kleiner Rock from a depth of 12,260 metres. Samples from the SG3. Photo: superdeep.pechenga.ru   6 2410183702_bb734c0e20_o The 12-kilometre mark has been reached. The plan was to continue until a depth of 15 kilometres. Photo: superdeep.pechenga.ru, source   7 2410183880_f582674f77_o Retrieving the samples from the borehole. Photo: superdeep.pechenga.ru, source   8 2410184050_b72a1b136c_o Archive of the rock samples from the Kola Superdeep in Zapolyarny, 2005. Photo: superdeep.pechenga.ru, source   9 2410184392_46078c6959_o The Kola Superdeep in better times, early 1970s. Photo: superdeep.pechenga.ru, source   In 1989 the SG-3 borehole with a diameter of 92 centimetres at the top and 21.5 centimetres at the bottom, reached a final depth of 12,262 metres. A depth of 15 kilometres had been set as the target, with estimations that they would reach 13,500 metres by the end of 1990, and 15 kilometres in 1993. But they encountered serious difficulties: temperatures in this location and at this depth were as high as 180 degrees Celsius instead of the expected 100. Meanwhile the Soviet Union was dissolved, and funding for fundamental scientific research shrank. Drilling deeper was finally deemed unfeasible and was stopped in 1992.   The reason geologists chose Kola as the location for superdeep drilling is that the Fennoscandian Shield consists of very old rock, in some places the Precambrian crystalline igneous rock is exposed on the surface. Drilling deeper reaches even older rock, and enables us to see even further back into the history of the Earth. The Kola borehole encountered 2.7 billion-year-old rocks at 12 kilometres depth. The primary scientific goal of the Kola Superdeep was fundamental geological research. The secondary goal was the prediction of natural disasters based on analysing bore cores. The Soviet Union proposed creating a network of superdeep boreholes, distributed throughout the Soviet Union: Globus. It would monitor global tectonic activity to predict earthquakes and other natural disasters. Boreholes were planned, and sometimes started, for example, in Komi, in western and eastern Siberia, near the Caspian Sea, in the Dnepr-Don region, the Caucasus and Turkmenistan. These are all mineral-rich areas, and gathering geological data that aids in identifying new oil fields and mineral deposits certainly played a role in choosing these locations.   Geologically one of the more important findings to emerge from the Kola Superdeep was that gneiss was found at 7 kilometres depth. Gneiss is metamorphic rock that forms under high temperatures and pressure. At this depth the geological models assumed a transition from granite to basalt because of a discontinuity in seismic waves. The change in seismic velocities, however, turned out to be caused by the metamorphic transition in the granite rock. Even more surprising was that rock at that depth had been thoroughly fractured and was saturated with water. This could imply that water was part of the chemical composition of the rock minerals themselves and had been forced out of the crystals and prevented from rising by an overlying cap of impermeable rock. Other finds were that the rock at a depth of 3 kilometres was similar to rocks from the moon, and at 10 kilometres, in 2.5 billion-year-old rock, fossils of organisms were found, contradicting the scientific ideas of the day.   24 ZZ_deepdrill2 Chart of the Kola Superdeep Borehole. Source   From 1994 the director of the Kola Superdeep, Dr Huberman, continued research at onsite laboratories with significantly reduced funding. But the new governments were less and less interested in the Kola Superdeep. The plan to set up a network of superdeep boreholes was long forgotten, and the willingness to finance fundamental geological research faded away. International funding could not save the Kola Superdeep. After years of setbacks, the site shut down in 2008 – the laboratories were abandoned, the equipment and metal scrapped. For a few years there was still a small office in Zapolyarny, but even that has disappeared. The drilling tower has collapsed. What remains is a ruin.   19 z_58977074 The end of a legend, July 2009. Photo © andrusha084, source   20 z_58977163 Obliteration of history, July 2009. Photo © andrusha084, source   21 z_98103043_kleiner Kola Superdeep Borehole in August 2013. Photo ©  Andrej Evsegneev, source   22 z_98103060_kleiner ‘History should be conserved’, Kola Superdeep in August 2013. Photo © Andrej Evsegneev, source   What also remains is an urban legend, the ‘Well to Hell’ hoax. It originated with a Norwegian teacher who wanted to check the gullibility of his Christian American friends. To his surprise the story spread via the Christian fundamentalist media to the tabloids. According to this tale the drilling at the Kola Superdeep had to stop when they hit a hollow space and measured extremely high temperatures. A microphone was lowered into the borehole, and picked up horrifying screams. They had drilled all the way to hell. The story can be found in various versions and guises all over the Internet. It includes dubious ‘documentaries’ on Youtube, and remixes of the sounds of hell – which are actually based on a sound recording made for fun by geologists at the Kola Superdeep. The hoax is usually the hook for documentaries and magazine articles on the Kola Superdeep – illustrated with pictures of the ruins.   The ‘Well to Hell’ hoax is easily recognisable as a scam. Rather more disturbing are pseudo-scientific articles that begin by summarising reliable geological knowledge, go on to refer to the surprising geological findings of the Kola Superdeep and the difficulties of drilling further than 12 kilometres, and then use these as a rhetorical devices to convince the reader of the impotence of science and the truth of the Bible (see Emil Silvestru, ‘Water inside Fire’, Journal of Creation, vol. 22 no. 1, 2008).   The last research team to work at the Kola Superdeep did lower sound recording devices into the borehole. But what they recorded at 3 kilometres depth (the deepest borehole of 12 kilometres was long since inaccessible) were not the sounds of hell. They did detect variances in sound levels that were quite mysterious at first. After several recordings it was evident that the variances were very regular. They posed several hypotheses, ruled out the possibility that the device might have been recording itself, and after a while had to conclude that there was only one possibility left: at 3 kilometres deep they were picking up vibrations of activity at open mines around Zapolyarny. The variances in sound levels coincided exactly with the workshifts. Anthropocene sound pollution travels 3 kilometres deep (see A. S. Belyakov (e.a.) ‘New Results of Monitoring Acoustic Noise in the Kola Superdeep Borehole’ Doklady Earth Sciences, January–February 2007, vol. 412, no. 1, pp. 97–100, http://www.springerlink.com/index/WP261XR0776NJ944.pdf)   How important were the findings from the Kola Superdeep? Responding to a journalist who wanted to know the most important outcome of the Kola Superdeep project, geologist Vladimir Belousov is reported to have exclaimed: ‘Lord! Importantly it showed that we do not know anything about the continental crust’ (quoted in www.vokrugsveta.ru/vs/article/417/. Tragically, almost none of the research results from the Kola Superdeep left the Soviet Union. The location was secret, the area remote and restricted. However, in 1984 geologists from around the world who were invited to the 27th Geological Congress in Moscow were flown to Murmansk and travelled by bus to the Kola Superdeep. A booklet was published in Russian and English to introduce and promote the research (see item 1. under ‘Delving Deeper’). It was only after the break-up of the Soviet Union that scientific articles started appearing outside Russia. In the 1990s two books with scientific papers were translated from Russian to English and published by Springer Verlag (see item 7 under ‘Delving Deeper’). They were difficult reading even by scientific standards.   The Kola Superdeep has captured the imagination more than any other borehole or geological research. Since it is a ruin, it lives on as a legend. The site could have been a museum and tourist destination, paying homage to fundamental scientific inquiry – even without glorifying the research. It could have been monument to the human yearning to know what the Earth is made of. Here’s a borehole, 12 kilometres deep. We used it, not to extract oil to fuel our cars, but to know what is there. One wonders how much this hole – now closed by a rusty metal cap – would be worth if it was a piece of land art by Walter de Maria. On the other hand, that it is a ruin, abandoned and crumbling, presents a powerfully poetic image that invites reflection on the value of scientific research. We might know more about what is inside the Earth through seismic measurements, but we have never been able to see further into the Earth than we did with the Kola Superdeep.   16 (2012) Kola Superdeep Borehole in 2012. Author: Bigest, source   18 _2012_kleiner The secured borehole in 2012. Author: Rakot13, source    

A visit to Yuri Smirnov, geologist at the Kola Superdeep

  Arie Altena   In 2012 I visited the border region between Norway and Russia for the first time, with Hilde Methi, Lucas van der Velden and Annette Wolfsberger. Roman Khorolisov, born and bred in Nikel, was our guide on the Russian side. Somehow I had found out that one of the deepest boreholes was located in the hills between Zapolyarny and Nikel: the Kola Superdeep. Though Roman knew about it, it had not captured his imagination as much as much as it had ours. We visited the local museum in Nikel, which not only has a large exhibition dedicated to the Second World War (it still brings many German war tourists to the region), but also a room dedicated to the Kola Superdeep, with photos, rock samples, and geological maps. Roman only had a rough idea of where the Superdeep was located. On our way to Zapolyarny we took an unpaved side road near a mysterious antenna, and continued driving along it for several kilometres, thinking we were on the right road. The weather deteriorated and the thickening snow halted our progress. In the distance we could see a tower, but it was one of the mines and not the Kola Superdeep. We were still fairly close to the site, which was probably just a kilometre and a half away on the other side of the hill, but we couldn’t find it. To make up for not finding the Kola Superdeep we visited an abandoned open mine.   10 HPIM2703 (1) May 2012. We thought we were on the right road to the Kola Superdeep. The weather made it impossible to continue by car. The Kola Superdeep was just a kilometre and a half away on the other side of the hills but we couldn’t find it. Photo: Arie Altena   In 2013 we returned to Zapolyarny, and visited Yuri Smirnov. Smirnov was the head of geological research on the Kola Superdeep team. He had analysed the extracted rock from bore cores. Newspaper articles from the 1980s and 1990s usually introduced him as the scientist who hands a journalist a rock exclaiming enthusiastically: ‘This comes from 12 kilometres deep, imagine!’ Since the former director of the Kola Superdeep, Dr Huberman, died a few years ago, Smirnov is the person to interview about the Kola Superdeep.   23 z_p0000006 Geologist Yuri Smirnov with the archive of rocks. Photo: superdeep.pechenga.ru, source   Smirnov greeted us eagerly, extremely happy that people had finally come to enquire about this work. Over the past few years, he said, no one had come to find out about the Kola Superdeep, nobody seemed to care anymore. He welcomed us into his small flat in Zapolyarny. Geological maps covered the walls, the bookshelves overflowed with rocks and geological papers. They also held his collection of mugs, various paraphernalia, and a portrait of Stalin.   25 ZZ_P1090008_kleiner Chart of the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Yuri Smirnov’s flat, 2013. Photo: Annette Wolfsberger   26 ZZ_P1090015_kleiner Yuri Smirnov shows his photographs, 2013. Photo: Annette Wolfsberger   27 ZZ_P1090017_kleiner Yuri Smirnov shows the photo taken when the 11-kilometre mark was reached. Photo: Annette Wolfsberger   28 ZZ_P1090025_kleiner Yuri Smirnov in front of his shelves with rocks. Photo: Annette Wolfsberger   29 ZZ_P1090071_kleiner A gift made in 1984 with rock samples from the Kola Superdeep. Photo: Annette Wolfsberger   An old man, living alone with his many memories, Smirnov was actually just as eager to talk about his World War II experiences as about the Kola Superdeep. As a 13-year-old boy he ran away from home to fight in the north in the Second World War. Smirnov is a joyful and colourful character. He showed his photographs, recited his poetry – including poems about the Kola Superdeep – talked about his collection of mugs, while Roman Khorolisov interjected with our questions we had prepared. Questions that – in retrospect – he’d probably already answered many times.   Smirnov came to the Kola Superdeep in September 1970, just after the drilling had started, on 24 May. He was born in Mirhorod in Ukraine and went to university in Chisinau, now Moldavia. In Kola he was appointed Deputy Chief Geologist, and as such was the head of the laboratory of geological and geophysical research. Proudly he told us that he was awarded a medal honouring Vladimir Lenin for his work. We asked him why they chose a spot near Zapolyarny for the deep drilling programme.   ‘Because here a borehole would pass through the most ancient layers of rock. That is why they chose the Baltic shield, and not a location in Ukraine or elsewhere. This is where the surface is closest to the mantle, and deep drilling would go through different layers of the most ancient rock.’   ‘Are there similar locations elsewhere?’   ‘A similar location exists in Canada. But the location in Kola was also chosen because the geological research would simultaneously reveal the structure of the Pechenga copper and nickel fields. That was important, as the existing mines were beginning to be exhausted.’ He continued to explain the history of mining in the area: ‘Nickel exploitation around Nikel was opened up through research by Finnish geologists, and was first developed by a Canadian company. It was only after the Nazis were expelled from Russia that the territory became part of the Russian Pechenga region; from 1922 till 1944 it was Finnish. At that time geologists were drilling for minerals as well, but they did not find new sources. This can happen. When we started drilling the Kola Superdeep, we crossed two ore-bearing strata in less than a year. I documented those layers.’   ‘Do you consider reaching the depth of more than 12 kilometres the main achievement of the Kola Superdeep?’   ‘Of course. It was such a difficult engineering problem. The main goal of the project however was to study the structure of the crust. It was believed that there were three layers – sedimentary, granite and basalt – that all lie on top of the mantle. This was just a hypothesis at the time, based on seismic data. What we found was that at a depth where we expected a transition of granite to basalt, there was no such transition. That was a very important discovery. A second aim of the project was to predict any kind of environmental or natural disaster. So the main goals were about structure and foresight.’   ‘Wasn’t there a plan to set up a network of boreholes throughout the Soviet Union, or even the entire Earth?’   ‘Yes, this was project Globus. We offered it to the world. Geologists from all over the world came to visit us when Moscow hosted the 27th Geological Congress. They came because the members of the Congress set one condition: it could only take place if they visited Kola. The idea behind Globus was also to research the structure of the continental crust, of course.’   After leaving the Kola Superdeep Borehole, Smirnov continued to work in the Altai Mountains, in Karelia, and in Apatity on the Kola Peninsula. He is retired now. That the site of the Kola Superdeep is a ruin fills him with sadness. He deplores the lack of money for fundamental research as tragic, especially because it would not have been that expensive to continue researching at the Kola Superdeep, had it been kept in working condition. There were two unique sets of drills, made in Yekaterinenburg – then Sverdlovsk – that according to him could have penetrated to a depth of 15 kilometres. ‘Alas’, he said, ‘there is no interest, all the resources have shifted to drilling for oil and gas in the Barents Sea – where they use the knowledge of drilling gained at the Kola Superdeep. This is where they put the money.’ On the question of we should continue explorations like the one undertaken at the Kole Superdeep he replied with a resounding ‘Yes’.   14 Smirnow62_AW_kleiner Yuri Smirnov shows his medals at the end of our visit in June 2013. (In the background is his brother, a former professional wrestler, who was visiting for the first time in many years; Yuri Smirnov's collection of mugs is to the right). Photo: Annette Wolfsberger   15 Smirnow67_AW_kleiner Yuri Smirnov with a mug depicting the devil below the Kola Superdeep. Sitting next to him is his brother. Photo Annette Wolfsberger   30 ZZ_P1090072 One of Yuri Smirnov’s mugs, depicting an angel in the sky above the Kola Superdeep and a devil below. Photo: Annette Wolfsberger   Above his couch hangs a painting showing the Kola Superdeep site, the borehole, with the devil at the bottom of the borehole. Smirnov commissioned it. In his collection of coffee mugs there is one with a similar picture. He finds its absurd that people actually believe in a hell with a devil. He believes in science, in the possibility of finding out more, and the potential of fundamental research to enrich our understanding of the Earth. As a poet Smirnov probably understands the power of images and how an image sticks in the human mind. The bogus story of ‘drilling to hell’ has stuck in people’s memories, and along with its record-breaking depth, has helped to make the Kola Superdeep a legend in media-saturated minds, when it really should be because of the geological findings.    

Delving deeper / References and further reading

  The Kola Super-deep Borehole (guide) The English guide to the Kola Superdeep Borehole, published by the USSR Ministry of Geology for the 1984 International Geology Congress in Moscow. The booklet can be found in some university libraries. Yuri Smirnov showed it to us during our 2013 visit. Annette Wolfsberger photographed all the pages.   History of the Kola Superdeep superdeep.pechenga.ru ‘Official’ site of the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russian, with Russian newspaper and magazine articles about the Kola Superdeep and many historical photos.   Russian television documentary (2012) on the Kola Superdeep You can find many clips about the Kola Superdeep on Youtube. Most of them are rather short, and don’t provide any information beyond what can be learned from Wikipedia. The worst ones sensationalise the bogus ‘Well to Hell’ story, or claim that finding water at a depth of 12 kilometres proves the Bible is true. This Russian documentary made for public television is entitled Kola Superdeep, Road to Hell, but it is informative and shows the current state of the site. Yuri Smirnov appears in it.   English and Russian entries on Kola Superdeep on Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole The English and Russian Wikipedia pages on the Kola Superdeep provide basic information. Check the ‘references’ and ‘further reading’ sections for some of the scientific articles on geological and geophysical findings at the Kola Superdeep.   Panoramio photos of Kola Superdeep www.panoramio.com/map/ Google’s geolocation-oriented photo-sharing website Panoramio has recent photos of the Kola Superdeep and is a good tool to explore the area. The Kola Superdeep ruin is clearly visible in the satellite images on Google Maps.   Hoppla, wit haben die Hölle angebohrt www.spiegel.de/einestages/russischer-tiefendrill-hoppla-wir-haben-die-hoelle-angebohrt-a-947191.html Article (in German) published in Der Spiegel with a fine selection of photographs, the basic history of the Kola Superdeep, and an explanation of the ‘Sounds from Hell’ hoax.   Collections of scientific articles Fuchs, K.; Kozlovsky, E.A., Krivtsov, A.I., and Zoback, M.D. (1990). Super-Deep Continental Drilling and Deep Geophysical Sounding. Berlin: Springer Verlag. p. 436. ISBN 978-0-387-51609-7. Kozlovsky, Ye.A (1987). The Superdeep Well of the Kola Peninsula. Berlin: Springer Verlag. p. 558. ISBN 978-3-540-16416-6. Two English books (translated from Russian) with scientific articles on the findings of the Kola Superdeep. You can find them in a university library, or as a PDF in the back alleys of the Internet.   More scientific articles http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_vis=1 Google Scholar gives ‘about 1380’ hits for the search term ‘Kola Superdeep Borehole’. So far in 2014 the Kola Superdeep has been referenced in 49 scientific articles.   International Continental Scientific Drilling Program www.icdp-online.org/home/ Overview of continental scientific drilling projects, platform of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences.   Lotte Geeven: The Sound of the Earth www.geeven.nl/post/67567627667 In 2013 Dutch multimedia artist Lotte Geeven made sound recordings in the deepest accessible borehole, the 9101 metre deep KTB Superdeep Borehole in Windischeschenbach (Germany). Her work The Sound of the Earth uses these sounds from the Earth’s interior.   Notes on the Underground mitpress.mit.edu/books/notes-underground Rosalind Williams’ book Notes on the Underground. An Essay on Technology, Society and the Imagination, (2008, Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press), does not mention the Kola Superdeep, but it presents a fascinating overview of the ‘subterranean imagination’.   On an Ungrounded Earth punctumbooks.com/titles/ungrounded-earth/ Probably this is the only philosophy book to at least mention the Kola Superdeep. Woodard attempts to formulate a new geophilosophy.   MF3 Part of this research was generously funded by the Mondriaan Foundation in 2013. Many thanks to Roman Khoroshilov  and Pavel Borisov.

Vertical Cinema UK premiere

Vertical Cinema - the large-scale, vertically projected works by internationally renowned experimental filmmakers and audiovisual artists, commissioned by Sonic Acts – will have its UK premiere at the Leeds International Film Festival, which takes place from 5 to 20 November 2014. Vertical Cinema launches the first Leeds Free Cinema Week with two sold-out screenings on Friday 7 November in the spectacular setting of Left Bank Leeds arts and events venue.   Due to the huge demand two extra screenings of Vertical Cinema were announced this morning. The two extra performances will take place at 18.00hrs and 20.30hrs on Saturday 8 November at the Left Bank on Cardigan Road.   You can follow the Vertical Cinema project on Facebook or check the website.

Progress Bar: Klein, Crystallmess, James Massiah, Larry B & more

The only political party you can dance to returns to Paradiso Noord (Tolhuistuin) on Saturday 20 January. For the first edition of 2018, Progress Bar has teamed up with Klein to bring you a night of radical thinking and dancing, with DJ sets and live performances by Klein, 'clubcouture', Crystallmess, Dodomundo, James Massiah, Larry B and more. Buy tickets. Progress Bar aims to represent radical equality, communality and hopefulness. We are a growing community of artists, academics and activists who occupy clubs for a better politics. When confronted with the world today – institutional inequality, neofascism, platform capitalism, austerity and a dying planet – being happy becomes a political act. We support radical club cultures that believe resistance is necessary in order to change the world. Or, as a play on the famous quote by the feminist and anarchist activist Emma Goldman: If I can dance, I want to be part of your revolution.

Progress Bar S03E03 video trailer by Sam Rolfes
KLEIN is a London-based musician who’s neoteric vision has seen her quickly become one of the UK’s most intriguing and unpinnable producers and performers. Her often playful and restive approach to composition is instantly alluring. Samples of obscure Nigerian B-Movies clatter into jagged beats. Distant piano loops lurk in the haze whilst beguiling vocals fade in and out of the sensory World she has created. 'CLUBCOUTURE': Born in the club, 'clubcouture' describes itself as a space, culture and community whose values are rooted in creating collaborative DIY fantasy. CRYSTALLMESS regularly delves into fertile subcultures and corners of the past, playing a combination of west african rhythms, bass music, french house music and french Caribbean dancehall. DODOMUNDO is a rising club selector from Vilnius who calls the Netherlands her new home. The Lithuanian DJ mixes high-energy grime, kuduro and r&b awashed with post-club weirdness. JAMES MASSIAH is a poet & DJ from South London whose work explores ideas about sexuality mortality & ethics through performance writing & visual media. LARRY B is one-third of London's liveliest party PDA. The gender defying 26-year-old is a DJ, producer and singer, whose dreamily weird music floats through space and time. More artists and speakers to be announced soon. Progress Bar S03E03 Date: Saturday 20 January 2018 Venue: Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin Amsterdam Times: 21:00–04:00 (doors open 20:30) Tickets: €10,00 / €12,50 Buy tickets Attend on Facebook

Sonic Acts 2015 Programme at a glance

We present an overview of the preliminary programme for each day of the Sonic Acts Festival. The full programme will be online from 17 January onwards. For more information about tickets, see our Sonic Acts Festival tickets page.

Thursday 26 February 2015

Conference – Paradiso

In the four-day conference, artists, scientists and writers discuss The Geologic Imagination, and explore the radical transformations of our world and what it means to live in the Anthropocene. Graham Harman, philosopher and major figure in Object Oriented Philosophy. Timothy Morton, theorist who coined the term ‘Dark Ecology’. Reza Negarestani, writer–philosopher closely associated with Speculative Realism. Kurt Hentschläger, artist who creates audiovisual performances and installations. Douglas Kahn, media historian, author of Earth Sound Earth Signal, about art at ‘Earth magnitude’. Alan Weisman, research journalist and author of The World Without Us. Mark Williams, geologist and professor of palaeobiology.

Opening – Stedelijk Museum

The opening of the Sonic Acts Festival at Stedelijk Museum features the climactic third chapter in the trilogy of text–sound pieces Florian Hecker created in collaboration with writer–philosopher Reza Negarestani; Kurt Hentschläger’s latest audiovisual installation, Measure (2014), which reflects on nature as filtered through communication channels and media; and performances by Bas van Koolwijk & Gert-Jan Prins, part wild horses mane on both sides and Espen Sommer Eide. Florian Hecker, electronic music composer with major exhibitions and performances at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Guggenheim Museum New York, MoMA New York, documenta 13, Centre Georges Pompidou. Bas van Koolwijk & Gert-Jan Prins, video and sound artists focusing on electronic noise, co-developers of the Synchronator device. Kurt Hentschläger’s latest audiovisual installation, Measure (2014), reflects on nature as filtered through communication channels and media. Espen Sommer Eide, composer, artist and musician, who has released several solo albums as Phonophani. part wild horses mane on both sides, idiosyncratic duo who consistently defy experiential boundaries in installation and performance

Sonic Acts at OT301

Probing the deeper levels of audiovisual experience in relation to The Geologic Imagination, presented by Sonic Acts in cooperation with Viral Radio. Vessel live, feat. Pedro Maia, members of a new generation of producers who propel electronic music forward with exciting, unclassifiable ideas. Special performance with live cinema. TCF, contemporary artist and musician, explores themes of code and cryptography in his musical conceptions. M.E.S.H., Berlin-based producer, formative figure in the underground club artist community. Karen Gwyer, combines house and techno into hypnotic slow tracks and mixes African beats with heavy synths. Minor Science, producer who in addition to writing for Resident Advisor makes his own mix of house and techno. Killing Sound, abstract techno producer trio from Bristol. Juha van ‘t Zelfde, DJ and independent organiser with a preference for experimental electronic music.

Friday 27 February 2015

Conference - Paradiso

Noam M. Elcott, historian of modern art and media with an emphasis on photography and film. Jana Winderen, audiovisual artist with a background in mathematics, chemistry and fish ecology. Paul Bogard, author of The End of Night; Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light. Karl Lemieux, ninth member of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, for which he does live 16 mm film projections. Paul Purgas & James Ginzburg (Emptyset), one of the most innovative acts currently working in techno. Espen Sommer Eide, composer, artist and musician, who has released several solo albums as Phonophani. Martin Howse, artist interested in the intuitive connection between technology and the Earth. Liam Young, architect and researcher who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. John Tresch, historian of science and technology and author of The Romantic Machine.

Sonic Acts at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ

The programme at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ features amongst others the world premieres of DOLMEN, a new work by Mario de Vega; unearthed by BJ Nilsen & Karl Lemieux; and a new work by Jana Winderen. The last two were commissioned by Sonic Acts, and were inspired by the Dark Ecology journey to Northern Norway and Russia. And Mexican master of electronic music Murcof performs in a new collaborative project with visual artist Rod Maclachlan. Murcof & Rod Maclachlan - Mexican master of electronic music performs in a new collaborative project with visual artist Otto Piene (1928–2014) - performance of The Proliferation of the Sun, Piene is co-founder of the ZERO Movement in the 1950s and the first artist to make Sky Art in the 1960s. Jana Winderen, audiovisual artist with a background in mathematics, chemistry and fish ecology. BJ Nilsen & Karl Lemieux, composer and sound recordist BJ Nilsen and experimental filmmaker Karl Lemieux travelled to Northern Norway and Russia to make field recordings for a new collaborative audiovisual performance entitled unearthed. Herman Kolgen, multidisciplinary artist and audiokinetic sculptor. Mario de Vega, Mexican sound artist known for his confrontational works, Sonic Acts presents the world premiere of his new work DOLMEN Matthijs Munnik & Joris Strijbos, installation U-AV #2 build synaesthetic landscapes out of electronic sound structures, generative video and stroboscopic light

Saturday 28 February 2015

Conference - Paradiso

Benjamin Bratton, a theorist whose work spans philosophy, art and design. Jeff VanderMeer, novelist whose most recent work is the New York Times-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy. Jamie Kruse & Elizabeth Ellsworth, founders of media arts and design collaboration smudge studio and editors of Making the Geologic Now. Rob Holmes, landscape architect with an interest in large-scale anthropogenic landscape change, member of The Dredge Research Collaborative. Ben Woodard, philosopher who writes extensively on pessimism, horror film, and weird fiction. Michael Welland, geologist and sand enthusiast. Ele Carpenter, curator, and writer, who currently researches artistic involvement with nuclear materials.

Sonic Acts at Paradiso

Sonic Acts takes over Paradiso with an exhilarating audiovisual programme lasting into the early hours, in collaboration with Rewire. John Foxx & Steve D'Agostino feat. Karborn, present the European premiere of Evidence of Time Travel, a sinister sonic architecture of drum machines and analogue synths, with visuals by Karborn Shxcxchcxsh, knife-edged techno by enigmatic Swedish duo Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit, collaboration between electronic producer Friedman and legendary Can drummer Liebezeit Le Révélateur, aka Roger Tellier-Craig (G!YBE and Fly Pan Am) and Sabrina Ratté - ‘twinkling aesthetic resonance’ Robert Curgenven, brings a visceral psychogeography of settler colonialsm via field recordings, pipe organ, guitars, dubplates and film Grischa Lichtenberger, (raster-noton)- stages evocative sculptural beats Jacaszek & Kwartludium, a producer of electroacoustic music teams up with a contemporary music ensemble. They will open the night with Catalogue des Arbres - a sparse, droney and smoky set. With live visual work by Pedro Maia Shapednoise with sYn visuals presents Metaphysical, world premiere of the new audiovisual project of techno/electronics producer Shackleton, electronic music producer who likes to mix genres such as dubstep, garage, and techno & more to be confirmed

Sunday 1 March 2015

Conference - Paradiso

Raviv Ganchrow, sound artist and researcher focusing on interrelations between sound and space. Hillel Schwartz, cultural historian and author of the impressive study Making Noise.

Sonic Acts Field Trip

Raviv Ganchrow is developing Long-Wave Synthesis, a new land-art scale sound installation investigating infrasound. The work deals with extremely long waves, interacts with the landscape and is an invitation to ‘think at Earth magnitude’. A new prototype will be shown at an outdoor location (tba).

Sonic Acts at Vondelkerk

Tonaliens, with Hilary Jeffery (trombone), Amelia Cuni (voice), Werner Durand, Ralf Meinz, and Robin Hayward (microtonal tuba) Greifen by Gabriel Paiuk (composer and sound artist), performed by Ekkehard Windrich (violin).

New names for Sonic Acts Festival

Sonic Acts Festival confirms new names for the audiovisual programme on Saturday 28 February in Paradiso, a collaboration with Rewire. John Foxx and Steve D’Agostino present the European premiere of Evidence of Time Travel, a sinister sonic architecture of drum machines and analogue synths with visuals by Karborn. There is also knife-edged techno from enigmatic Swedish duo Shxcxchcxsh; drum legend Jaki Liebezeit performs with Burnt Friedman and Le Révélateur (Roger Tellier-Craig and Sabrina Ratté) delivers ‘twinkling aesthetic resonance’. Robert Curgenven brings a visceral psychogeography of settler colonialsm via field recordings, pipe organ, guitars, dubplates and film, while Grischa Lichtenberger stages evocative sculptural beats. Mexican master of electronic music Murcof performs in a new collaborative project with visual artist Rod Maclachlan on 27 February at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Previous confirmations for the programme in Paradiso (Saturday 28 February) include Jacaszek & Kwartludium performing Catalogue des Arbres – instrumental and vocal improvisations set against an organic drone of outdoor recordings – and the world premiere of Metaphysical, the new audiovisual project by Shapednoise with sYn. The performance programme on Friday 27 February in Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ starts with a performance of Otto Piene’s (1928–2014) spectacular Die Sonne kommt näher (The Proliferation of the Sun). Sound recordist BJ Nilsen and experimental filmmaker Karl Lemieux perform their new work unearthed; Jana Winderen premieres new work inspired by the Dark Ecology Journey in North Norway & Russia, Herman Kolgen performs Seismik, and Mario de Vega presents his brand new installation Dolmen, a collaboration with Donaufestival (Austria). An overview of the Sonic Acts Festival programme for each day can be found here.

John Foxx & Steve D‘Agostino feat. Karborn - Evidence of Time Travel

After the premiere at the British Film Institute last November, Sonic Acts Festival is honoured to present the European premiere of Evidence of Time Travel, a unique sound and video investigation into the terrors and pleasures of temporal displacement. It combines the sinister sonic architecture of John Foxx (Ultravox, Tiger Lily and Nation 12 a.o.) and Steve D'Agostino (who has worked with a.o. ADD N To (X), Thurston Moore, Depeche Mode and David Sylvian) with Karborn's haunting visuals. They describe Evidence of Time Travel as: “Span forty years in a moment . . . Ultimate time transfusion . . . skin crackles, a rhapsody in flames... witness images of torn, ruthless smiles through the crashed distortion; try to recall the future memory of a figure lost on a distant shore.” Evidence of Time Travel was released on the 6th October by Metamatic Records. Graphic volumes created by Karborn are released digitally monthly for free on www.evidenceoftimetravel.com. A limited collector’s edition book with all the graphic volumes and associated media will be available early this year. Boomkat: “Superb darkside electro & techno-pop instrumentals run thru VHS and Betamax for proper, tape-warped tension and metallic atmosphere”

Shxcxchcxsh

The once industrial city of Norrköping in eastern Sweden may not be the techno mecca of the world, but the two members of Shxcxchcxsh find their hometown a perfect place to focus on music. Their sound is a deadly serious techno born out of the elements of noise, drone, glitch, broken beats, and pounding industrial and much more. After releasing on Semantica and Subsist Shxcxchcxsh found a home in Avian, a sought-after contemporary techno label run by Shifted and Ventress. Their debut album STRGTHS successfully etched their unpronounceable name onto the audiences’ minds. The duo’s second album Linear S Decoded saw the light in September 2014 and was received with much appraise. Pitchfork: "Shxcxchcxsh have a light touch with heavy sounds, and as a result Linear S Decoded is the rare album that allows you to wallow in the techno muck and come out feeling vitalized." Resident Advisor: “this is still one of the most ferocious and uncompromising techno albums you'll hear this year— Shxcxchcxsh have just made it sound a bit friendlier with the loony disposition of '90s electronica rather than the corrugated textures of recent industrial techno. Whether they're surging through blackened tunnels of reverb and rumble or just bouncing along happily, Shxcxchcxsh have found a way to make faceless techno fun.”

Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit

For more than fourteen years electronic producer Burnt Friedman and legendary Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit have been collaborating on the Secret Rhythms series. It's been a fruitful partnership, generating umpteen records and countless live performances. Central to the secret rhythms concept is Liebezeit’s radical drum code in unison with Friedman’s range of archaic metal percussion and synth instruments.

Le Révélateur

Le Révélateur started in 2008 as a solo venture for Montreal-based electronic musician Roger Tellier-Craig (Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Fly Pan Am). Together with collaborator Sabrina Ratté, who creates the project’s videos and live visuals, they explore a common fascination for the combination of electronic image and sound, using a varying array of digital and analogue technologies. Le Révélateur has released recordings on Gneiss Things, NNA Tapes and Root Strata. Their most recent album Extreme Events was released in early September 2014. Factmag: “dense synthesized textures, unusual rhythms and melodies that get lodged in your brain for weeks. At a time when many of the legion of synthesizer fetishists that emerged in the wake of Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never have moved onto something else (minimal techno?), it’s refreshing to hear Tellier-Craig instead honing his sound and arriving on possibly the best material of his career.” Vice’s Creators Project: “Some tracks buzz and hum in glitched-out cacophony, while others incorporate warped sonic bodies through use of Analogue Solutions’ Telemark synth. The stunning visuals created by Ratté for the live and video performances perfectly integrate with Tellier-Craig's music and offer a puzzling A/V performance from another dimension.”

Robert Curgenven – They tore the earth and, like a scar, it swallowed them

Robert Curgenven is a composer and sound artist drawing on the physicality of sound - not just the physical impact on the body but the way in which the auditory can shape our perception of space and the flow of time. “Behind his music lurk such presences as Alvin Lucier, King Tubby, Murray Schafer and Eliane Radigue”(The Wire). Previous performances by Robert Curgenven include, amongst others, TodaysArt festival (Den Haag/NL), Ultrahang Festival (Budapest), Club Transmediale (Berlin) and Audiograft Festival (Oxford/UK). They tore the earth and, like a scar, it swallowed them is a very physical negotiation of territories voided by history, rendered via field recordings gathered over 10 years in over 30 remote locations across Australia alongside new work with pipe organ, guitar feedback, dubplates, turntables and low frequency oscillators. Curgenven: “Amidst the heat and the dust, in a landscape populated only by the insinuation of characters, settler colonialists’ blind enactment of will and violence against and into an unforgiving, arid interior is manifestation of a mortal struggle. The album traverses the historical dynamics of the settler colonial trope through the eyes not of the invaded but of the invaders to a harsh, remote land.”

Murcof & Rod Maclachlan

Murcof, together with visual alchemist Rod Maclachlan, will rework his recent surround sound explorations into a mesmerizing experience of light and sound, especially for the Sonic Acts Festival. Murcof is the performing and recording name of Mexican electronic musician and composer Fernando Corona. Brooding electronics and classical sound sources combine in the integrated sound world of Murcof. There is a limitlessness to his music that absorbs the listener, touching on themes of life, death and eternity. He draws on minimalism, post modernism and baroque music to create music that moves the mind and heart. He has released three critically acclaimed albums and an EP on The Leaf Label. Murcof's international reputation as a staggering live presence has been enhanced with a number of special collaborations, including events at Greenwich Planetarium (in collaboration with the Royal Astronomer), Montreux Jazz Festival (collaboration with Talvin Singh & Erik Truffaz) and L'Auditori at Sonar Festival in Barcelona (with the pianist Francesco Tristano). In 2008 he toured a new work called 'Oceano' in collaboration with classical musicians BCN216 and light sculptor Flicker, and his ongoing collaboration with Simon Geilfus (AntiVJ) has become known as one of the most awe-inspiring audiovisual collaborations currently on the circuit. Uncut: "Mindblowing, like Sunn 0))) playing Ligeti in a galaxy far, far away. SUBLIME" Roderick Maclachlan is Bristol based visual artist working with light and movement in conjunction with objects and architecture. These combinations of media are chosen so as to reveal relationships between perception and imagination, the physical and the ethereal. Maclachlan’s approach to visuals for music is one of improvisation, retaining a sense of immediacy and sensitivity to the flow of the piece by creating visual elements live on stage. Recent exhibitions include Disappearance, Enclave gallery, London and Life’s An Illusion Love Is A Dream, Liverpool Royal Standard. Soundcloud Murcof

Grischa Lichtenberger

Signed at 26 by high-standards experimental cult label Raster Noton, he released his debut EP ~treibgut in 2009, followed by his debut album and iv (inertia) in 2012. Lichtenberger defines himself more attracted to the creation process than to musical protocols. This young multidisciplinary artist has rewarded us with abstract but also very evocative work, full of fine “constructivist” refined sounds he has the knack for. He played audiovisual live sets on international festivals and realized several commissioned installations on both local and international sites.

Looking Back on the Sonic Acts Festival

This year’s Sonic Acts Festival has ended. We had a full week of masterclasses and workshops and four days of exploring, experiencing and immersing. The Sonic Acts Team would like to thank everyone who made the festival such a wonderful and successful event! A big THANK YOU goes out to: • Our speakers, artists and funders, and to all who contributed their time and energy; • Our partners, production support, technicians and everyone else involved; • Our amazing crew before and during the festival, our partner organisations and their staff – Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, OT301, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Vondelkerk – and to our bloggers, photographers and film crew, and our fantastic volunteers; • And last but not least to all of you who came to experience and participate in The Geologic Imagination.

Invitation for Feedback

Help us evaluate the festival in a meaningful way and improve future editions. If you attended the festival, please participate in our online survey. This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes of your time, and you can win great prizes. So share your thoughts with us on the conference and festival while they’re still fresh!

Photos and Videos

Our great team of photographers didn’t miss a thing of the festival. See their photos on Facebook or Flickr. Our Russian partners Fridaymilk made a video compilation of each day of the festival:

Sonic Acts Festival 2015 - The Geologic Imagination. Day 1 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Sonic Acts Festival 2015 - The Geologic Imagination. Day 2 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Sonic Acts Festival 2015 - The Geologic Imagination. Day 3 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Sonic Acts Festival 2015 - The Geologic Imagination. Day 4 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Read What Our Bloggers Had to Say

A dedicated team of bloggers covered the festival. Most of them participated in the Critical Writing Workshop Describing the Indescribable led by Gonzo (Circus) and The Wire. You can read their takes on the festival here.

Read the (P)Reviews

A selection of press coverage – interviews, previews and reviews – is listed below. Metropolis M Sonic Acts The Geologic Imagination [English] Volkskrant Overdonderende audiovisuele pracht tijdens Sonic Acts van Murcof [Dutch] De Correspondent Het is bijna officieel: wij leven in het Tijdperk van de Mens [Dutch] Everyday Listening Five sound questions to Jana Winderen [English] Motherboard Waarom klimaatverandering geen plaats heeft in onze verhalen [Dutch] frnkfrt Tonaliens: geologische scheephoorns [Dutch] DJBroadcast DJB Report: Sonic Acts [Dutch] Listen back to radio programmes: Café Sonore11 February [Dutch] X-Rated22 February [Dutch] Kindamuzik Reviews: The Geologic Imagination - Deel 1 [Dutch] + The Geologic Imagination - Deel 2 [Dutch] Preview: Sonic Acts: de interessante andere dimensie [Dutch] Review publication: Sonic Acts | The Geologic Imagination [Dutch]

We could not have done it without you...

Adam Ben-Dror, Adriana Rubio, Ajay Saggar, Akkemay Lammers, Alessio Crestani, Alex Jost, Alex Tirajoh, Alonso Vazquez, Alyssa Moxley, Amelia Cuni, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Andras Simongati-Farquhar, Andrew Watson, Ankie Snaas, Arie Altena, Assen Ivanov, Atama Pietrzyk, BAK Utrecht, Barbara Nordhjem, Barney Broomer, Bart Rutten, Bas de Beer, Bas van Koolwijk, Beamsystems, Ben Woodard, Benjamin H. Bratton, Bernadette Iseli, Birgit Bachler, BJ Nilsen, Britte Sloothaak, Bronne Keesmaat, Burnt Friedman, Cae Carvalho, Carsten Seiffarth, CCA Containers, Cecilia Martin, Christoph Grunenberg, Cindy Iseli, City of Amsterdam, Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Creative Industries Fund NL, Damien Castel, Danae Bos, Danyi Swell, Demi Wormgoor, Dick Moesker, Dina Roncevic, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Matthew Coolidge, Dirk Portegies, Dominik Hildebrand Marques Lopes, donaufestival, Dorien Immig, Douglas Kahn, Drukkerij Raddraaier, Durdica Zaric, Duty Management, Reception & Production Paradiso, Ed Jansen, Edgar Kapp, Ekkehard Windrich, Ele Carpenter, Elizabeth Ellsworth, Elizabeth Goldring-Piene, Enricko van Dijken, Erwin van ‘t Hart, Espen Sommer Eide, Esther Roschar, Eva Fischer-Hausdorf, Eve Dullaart, Event Connection, Fabian van Sluijs, Fatima Botan, Femke Herregraven, Filippo Lorenzin, Filmtechniek BV, Floor Spapens, Floortje Smehuizen, Florian Hecker, Fonds 21, Forklift Center Nederland, Frank Ströpken, Gabriel Paiuk, Gé Huismans, George Stamenov, Gerard Walhof, Gert-Jan Prins, Gideon Kiers, Gloria Malvido, Gonzo (circus), Graham Harman, Grischa Lichtenberger, Guenter Thorn, Guro Vrålstad, Hannah Roelofs, Hans Lentz, Hendrik Folkerts, Henk van Zwol, Henri Sandront, Henrik van Leeuwen, Herman Kolgen, Het Mobiel Catering Collectief, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Hilary Jeffery, Hilde Methi, Hillel Schwartz, Ida Lykken Ghosh, Ina Ciumkova, Ioana Bacanu, Ivana Hilj, Jaap Toet, Jacaszek, Jaki Liebezeit, James Ginzburg, Jamie Kruse, Jan Dietvorst, Jana Winderen, Jananne Al-Ani, Jeff VanderMeer, Jennifer Allan, Jeroen Henstra, Jesse Visser, Jez Cox, Joana Laranjeira, Josephine Bosma, John Foxx, John Tresch, Jolijn de Natris, Jonah Chambers, Jonathan Hagstrom, Joost Rekveld, Jorg Schellekens, Joris Strijbos, Juha van 't Zelfde, Julia Nuesslein, Julia ter Maten, Julie Dassaud, June Yu, Jutta Putschew, Karborn, Karen Gwyer, Karl Lemieux, Kathinka Verhoeven, Kees Peterse, Killing Sound, Kode9, Kodwo Eshun, Kresten van Leeuwen, Kulter, Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Kurt Hentschläger, Kwartludium, Larva Peruzzotti, Le Révélateur, Liam Young, Liesbeth Koot, Lisa Derksen Castillo, Lisandro Suriel, Livia Mirita, Logos, Lukas Grundmann, Lukas Marxt, M.E.S.H., Maarten Schermer, Maarten van Boven, MacBike, Macha Rousakov, Marc Breed, Marchien Bel, Margit Moisl, Maria Belen Munoz Roman, Maria Spivak, Marie Medevielle, Marijn de Jong, Mario de Vega, Marit Mihklepp, Mark den Hoed, Mark Edelman, Mark Minkman, Mark Williams, Marley Miedema, Martijn van Boven, Martin Howse, Martin ter Schure, Martina Raponi, Martina Smrekova, Maryse van Liere, Matthijs Munnik, Maud Canisius, Maurits Huygen, Mayke Haringhuizen, Menno Grootveld, Merel Somhorst, Merel van Gool, Meyer Sound, Michael Welland, Michiel Pijpe, Minghong Yu, Minor Science, Miriam Rasch, Mirna Belina, Mischa Rakier, Mondriaan Fund, Mosa Sebdani, Mumdance, Murcof, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Naledi Kuhlmann, Nanda Milbreta, Natela Lemondzhava, Nicky Assmann, Nico Bes, Nicola Godman, Nik Gaffney, Nina Vurdelja, Noam Elcott, Noortje Marres, Noot van de Sanden, Oleg Khadartcev, Oppenheim Travel, Paradiso, part wilde horses mane on both sides, Paul Bogard, Paul Purgas, Pedro Maia, Peperwortel-team, Per Platou, Performing Arts Fund NL, Pierre Ballings, Pieter Kers, Pim Peterse, Pleun Gremmen, PNEK, Port of Amsterdam, Powerrental, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Rachel Devorah Trapp, Ralf Meinz, Raviv Ganchrow, Rewire, Reza Negarestani, Rick Everts, Rijksakademie, Rob Holmes, Rob Renoult, Rob Wagelmans, Robert Curgenven, Robin Hayward, Rod MacLachlan, Ronald Lent, Rosa Menkman, Ruben Baart, Ruben de Roos, Ruth Timmermans, Sabrina Verhage, Sandy Tu, Sanne Lohof, Sara Liz van Til, Sebastian Frisch, Shackleton, Shapednoise, Shxcxchcxsh, Sidney Allen, Silvia Criado, Simone Kloeth, Sjaak Muster, Solomiya Moroz, Stadsherstel, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, STEIM, Steve D‘Agostino, Stine Alling Jacobsen, Story Sound, Studio 2M, Suze de Lang, sYn, Tanya Tatarskaya, TCF, Terapy beanbags, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, The Sprawl, The Wire, Thomas Jenkins, Tibor Bijl, Tijl Schroever, Tijs Visser, Tim van Kappen, Timothy Morton, Tomas Zierhofer Kin, Underbelly, UNSW Australia, Valentina Lisak, Vessel, Victor Mazón Gardoqui, Victoria Douka-Doukopolou, Viral Radio, Visionist, Werner Durand, WG Theatertechniek, Yaprak Sayar, ZERO Foundation, Zhanna Guzenko, and everybody who we forgot to mention.. Thank you!! Lucas van der Velden & Annette Wolfsberger

Publication The Geologic Imagination

This valuable collection will soon become one of the first essential go-to texts for artists and scholars who want to think about the Anthropocene, global warming and ecological issues in general. A treasure trove of original thoughts and creativity. - Timothy Morton
The book The Geologic Imagination (336 pp.) is truly a guide to the festival theme. The publication is a richly illustrated collection of essays, visual contributions and interviews, and is accompanied by unearthed, a new sound work by BJ Nilsen. You can order the book here. This new publication by Sonic Acts is inspired by geosciences and zooms in on planet Earth. Fundamental to The Geologic Imagination is the idea that we live in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Human activity has irreversibly changed the composition of the atmosphere, the oceans, and even the Earth’s crust. Humanity has become a geological force. Consequently, the perspective has shifted from humans at the centre of the world to the forces that act on timescales beyond the conceivable. These ideas challenge us to rethink our attachments to the world, and our concepts of nature, culture and ecology. With this book Sonic Acts examines how art and science map and document new insights, and how the changes and transformations that occur on a geological scale can become something humans can feel, touch, and experience. The Geologic Imagination features new essays by Timothy Morton, Douglas Kahn, Paul Bogard, Michael Welland, and Raviv Ganchrow; there are interviews with Dipesh Chakrabarty, Matthew Coolidge, Liam Young, Noortje Marres, Kodwo Eshun, Kurt Hentschläger, and Mario de Vega; and visual contributions by Femke Herregraven, Mirna Belina, Ellsworth & Kruse, the Center of Land Use Interpretation, Marijn de Jong, and BJ Nilsen & Karl Lemieux. The publication accompanies the Sonic Acts festival 2015. A major part of contributions is connected to the Dark Ecology project that started in October 2014. The book also contains unearthed, a new soundwork BJ Nilsen made during the Dark Ecology explorations of the border zone between Kirkenes (Norway) and Nikel (Russia).

Vertical Cinema at SXSW Festival

Vertical Cinema will have its North American premiere at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas (USA). Thanks to the interdisciplinary and experimental nature of the project, its questioning of the characteristics of cinema and its big sounds, Vertical Cinema is part of both the Music and the Film programme of SXSW. A double screening will take place on the 17th of March 2015. Follow our team in Austin through Facebook >> Vertical Cinema is a monumental audio-visual experience, a treat for the eyes and ears: A series of ten commissioned large-scale, site-specific works on 35 mm celluloid projected vertically (!), using a custom-built projector in cinemascope. Vertical Cinema ‘abandons’ traditional cinema formats and provokes the image to expand onto a new axis, rethinking the actual projection space and opening it up to alternative artistic approaches. The featured works by the internationally renowned artists and filmmakers Tina Frank (AT), Björn Kämmerer (DE/AT), Manuel Knapp (AT), Johann Lurf (AT), Joost Rekveld (NL), Rosa Menkman (NL), Billy Roisz (AT) & Dieter Kovačič (AT), Makino Takashi (JP) & Telcosystems (NL), Esther Urlus (NL), Martijn van Boven (NL) & Gert-Jan Prins (NL) offer a unique blend of abstract cinema, structural experiments, found footage, live laser action captured on film, immersive soundscapes and new compositions. This presentation is kindly supported by Creative Industries Fund NL. Tuesday 17th of March 2015 Central Presbyterian Church in Austin 20.00h & 22.30h Open to all badges! More information >>

ArtScience celebrates 25th anniversary

The ArtScience Interfaculty is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a full programme of performances, lectures and an exhibition on Saturday 27 June 2015 in Paradiso, Amsterdam. The programme is a collaboration of the ArtScience Interfaculty with Paradiso, Sonic Acts and the Holland Festival. The programme consists of selected works by ArtScience alumni of the past 25 years. The programme kicks off with two lectures: art historian Michael van Hoogenhuyze talks about his views on the creative process of the artist, and Edwin van der Heide and Taco Stolk focus in their lecture on Dick Raaijmakers' commentary on Pierre Boulez’s approach of live electronic music. Throughout the day and evening there are works and installations by Marloes van Son (COLC - undrown), Jet Smits (LC Environment), Sebastian Frisch (Biophonic Garden), Daniel Berio (Graffitizer), Ivan Henriques and Angela de Weijer. In the evening there are performances by amongst others Optical Machines (Rikkert Brok and Maarten Halmans), Joris Strijbos, Dieter Vandoren, Erfan Abdi, Mariska de Groot, Telcosystems (Gideon Kiers, David Kiers and Lucas van der Velden) and a closing performance by Mika Vainio (no ArtScience alumnus). More names will still be added to the performance programme. The ArtScience Interfaculty, founded in 1989 by Frans Evers and Dick Raaijmakers, offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor and Master programme that fosters curiosity driven research as approach for the making of art. The ArtScience Interfaculty has an extensive history of producing its own events outside of the school and initiated the Sonic Acts festival together with Paradiso and the Institute for Sonology in 1993. Saturday 27 June 2015 Paradiso, Weteringschans 6-8, Amsterdam Entrance: €12,50 / students €7,50 Tickets available online >

Sebastian Frisch - The Biophonic Garden (photo by Ed Jansen)

Programme ArtScience 25th anniversary

Exhibition

16:00 - 22:00 Marloes van Son COLC - undrown COLC - undrown takes you through an underwater vortex. This natural phenomenon, which is normally created when rapidly rushing water passes an underwater obstacle, has been a long time subject of interest to both mythology and science. This installation searches for a fragile equilibrium between a natural phenomenon and technology. While trying to control a piece of nature it emphasizes on its unpredictability. Through the manipulation of a water vortex a natural phenomenon controls sound and light imaging. COLC - undrown floods a space with whirling water, refracting light and stirring sounds. More info about the making process: lightwhirl.blogspot.com Marloes van Son builds systems in search for a fragile equilibrium between natural/scientific phenomena and technology. The electronic/mechanical systems that she builds, work together with a phenomenon in such a way that the result is a synergy of the two. Her installations try to control pieces of nature, while emphasizing on their unpredictability, which make them (almost) uncontrollable. While working as a ‘mad inventor’ she explores not just phenomena, but also experimental instruments, (interactive) installations and electronics. She gets inspiration from working with water, fire or air combined with light, movement and sound. By creating experiences through manipulating natural/scientific phenomena, she hopes that people will learn to see the 'real' world as art. Her installations guide people through phenomena to (re)construct a fascination for their direct environment. Jet Smits LC Environment Slightly over a century ago a new state of matter was discovered, between liquid and solid, with the remarkable propensity to self-organize into intricate lattices. Extremely sensitive to light, heat, electrical and magnetic stimulus, this breed of soft matter, known as liquid crystal, comprises all biological and cell membranes, soap solutions as well as most current display technologies. Inspired by the ephemeral dynamics of liquid crystallinity, artist Jet Smits collaborated with soft matter physicist Stephen Picken (TU Delft) to create the installation, LC Environment. New media artist Jet Smits explores the transitional border between the physical and the virtual world, investigating the transition point where data becomes sensorial, trying to capture that exact moment of change. She finds herself in the area of science and technology related to our perception. Her phenomenological approach results in the use of different media and technologies to create immersive, contemplative installations, based on empirical research as well as thorough artistic and scientific experimentation. Sebastian Frisch Biophonic Garden The Biophonic Garden raises questions about the communication of plants. An experimental laboratory setup is used to display a possibility to make a dialogue between corn seeds perceivable for the human ear. Sprouted corn seeds are arranged in a grid, which is situated in a container filled with water. The acoustic environment beneath the seeds is being recorded by an underwater microphone, which allows visitors to listen to the dialogue between the seeds. While the roots of the plants are submerged in the water, a constant sine tone of 220 hertz is played into the water. It seems that this has an influence on the growing process of the roots, which bend towards the sound’s source. Sebastian Frisch is an artist, musician and developer. He makes use of a diverse set of media technologies to create immersive experiences and discover possible connections between the digital and the palpable. His main interest belongs to the fields of music, interactive art and cultural hacking. Sebastian studied Sound Art and Computer Science at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences and is undergoing the ArtScience Master’s program at the Royal Conservatory and the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. Daniel Berio GRAFFITIZER GRAFFITIZER is an algorithmic graffiti installation, which creates graffiti pieces based on the drawing style of its creator; Daniel Berio. Resulting from years of experience as a graffiti artist, Daniel created this system during his ArtScience research as an attempt to merge the aesthetics of his own style of graffiti letters with algorithmic art. He developed generative graffiti algorithms whose output is fed to physical drawing machines and augmented with real-time projections, mixing real ink with projected light as a painterly medium. His graduate work, two graffitizers, will be presented at the first Coded Matter(s) event and Daniel will introduce them in a short Q & A. Daniel Berio (1978) is a programmer and designer from Florence, Italy. Daniel has loved drawing since an early age. At 4 years old he began to study the violin, which he played till the age of 18 while receiving general music education. He was exposed to personal computers at a very young age, and growing up spent a lot of time programming them. In his teenage years, after seeing the first tags around Florence (Italy), his creative attention shifted to figurative art and graffiti writing, which gave him the opportunity to paint surfaces of all types in Italy, Europe, and the USA. After a period of time traveling and tagging he returned to his passion for computers. He initially worked as a graphic and web designer, but went on to be a graphics-focused programmer, utilizing algorithmic means for creating visual designs, videogames and audio-visual softwares. And furthermore in the exhibition: Ivan Henriques Angela de Weijer
Dieter Vandoren (photo Ed Jansen)

Lectures

16:30-18:00 Michael van Hoogenhuyze - Thought Processes in Art Michael van Hoogenhuyze studied History of Art at Leiden University. Since his graduation in 1975 he has worked as an art historian and art history teacher, contributing to many curricula and working as school manager for many years. Next to his work as a teacher he is active in areas where art criticism and the reflection on art are transformed into actual contributions to the creative process. He participated in many projects of artists as a collaborator, researcher or dramaturge. In these projects he furthered his ideas about music, theatre and the geography of art. As part of his lectorate at the KABK, for several years he researched and wrote about his views on the creative process of the artist. As a result he published “Het Muzisch Denken”, “Thinking of the Muses” in 2007. Also he wrote many articles about artists and their work. Beside this field of interest he is a specialist in theories about space, the relation between visual art and music and the history and theory of teaching in the arts. Edwin van der Heide & Taco Stolk - Dick Raaijmakers' commentary on Pierre Boulez Lecture focusing on Dick Raaijmakers' commentary on Pierre Boulez’s approach of live electronic music.  
Mariska de Groot (photo Ed Jansen)

Performances

20:00-23:00 Optical Machines Optical Machines make a pure, authentic impression by combining their creations of sound(scapes) and visuals. Rather than (taking) a static position with flashy laptops they choose an open set-up, which invites the audience to their laboratory-like playground. Their set-up contains an obscure variety of modified record players, pattern models, lamps, lenses, cameras and analogue synthesizers to make an hypnotic and fascinating show. Optical Machinesis a real live show with visuals and sound created on the spot! Rikkert Brok Is fascinated by light and projections. By experimenting with lamps and lenses etc. Rikkert develops projectors with an unique view on moving images. The equipment is often as important as the projected images. Therefore Rikkert chooses for an open construction so the spectator can view the origin of the images. Rikkert studied at the Interfaculty Image and Sound in Den Haag and graduated in 2002. Maarten Halmans Started in the early 90's with electronic music and developed a great interest in analogue synthesizers. To be able to design his own analogue synthesizers and interfaces he went to college to get a degree in electronic engineering in 2001. In 2004 he started a company for repair, modification and custom build electronic musical instruments. Joris Strijbos Joris Strijbos is a Rotterdam-based artist whose work focuses on the synesthetic relation and interaction between moving image and sound. His work consists of a series of kinetic audio-visual installations and new media performances inspired by an on-going research into cybernetics, emergent systems, artificial life and communication networks within groups. In his installations he combines artificial, electronic and digital media with models and algorithms based on biological systems. In many of the pieces, the viewer witnesses a process in which machines, computer programs and the physical world interact with each other, resulting in a generative and multi sensorial composition. Dieter Vandoren Dieter Vandoren is a media artist, performer and developer. His work balances on the edge of creative arts and scientific research & development. Drawing from his diverse backgrounds in music, informatics and interactive architecture, he is currently occupied with the development and performance of spatial, immersive audio-visual instruments with a strong focus on the embodied aspect of performance. He is a guest tutor and researcher at the Hyperbody and ID-StudioLab groups at the Delft University of Technology (departments of architecture and industrial design, respectively), founding member of the iii collective and former director of cultural centre De Fabriek Rotterdam. He previously worked as developer and researcher at design office ONL[Oosterhuis_Lenard] and research group Hyperbody. He is part of the art direction team of Blikopener Festival & Producties. Erfan Abdi Erfan Abditakes advantage of the possibilities offered by technology with a DIY attitude, and constructs his instruments from found or re-purposed material, seeking new ways of relating to the world of production and consumption. He researches the concept of active perception in the context of performing arts, and the interactions between performer, instrument and audience. Looking for new ways to express the abstract, he creates spaces of simultaneous stimuli, and exposes the agential role as well as the phenomenal quality of the performer in intra-action with instrument and stage. Mariska de Groot Intrigued by the phenomena and history of optical sound, Mariska de Groot [1982, NL] makes and performs comprehensive analogue light-to-sound instruments and installations which explore this principle in new ways. Telcosystems Gideon Kiers, David Kiers and Lucas van der Velden are the founding members of Telcosystems. Lucas van der Velden (1976, Eindhoven) and Gideon Kiers (1975, Amsterdam) both studied at the Interfaculty Image and Sound, a department at the Royal Conservatory and the Royal Academy in The Hague. David Kiers (1977, Amsterdam) studied Sonology at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. In their audio-visual works Telcosystems research the relation between the behaviour of programmed numerical logic and the human perception of this behaviour; they aim at an integration of human expression and programmed machine behaviour. This becomes manifest in the immersive audio-visual installations they make, in films, videos, soundtracks, prints and in live performances. The software they write enables them to compose ever-evolving audio-visual worlds. Telcosystems’ installations and films focus on real-time, self-structuring, generative processes, in their live performances they focus on the interaction with these processes. Their work is the result of an on-going search for a language of non-referential image and sound, and is characterized by a lucid and restrained aesthetics, closely related to the technology they use. Mika Vainio Mika Vainio is the only part of the programme that is not directly related to the ArtScience Interfaculty. His performance will close off the evening. Mika Vainio, currently based in Berlin, was one half of the minimal electronic duo Pan Sonic from Finland, (the other half was Ilpo Väisänen). Before starting Pan Sonic in the beginning of the 90's, Mika Vainio has played electronics and drums as part of the early Finnish industrial and noise scene. His solo works, under his own name and under aliases like Ø, are known for their analogue warmth and electronic harshness. Be it abstract drone works or minimal avant techno, Vainio is always creating unique, physical sounds. He has released on labels like editions Mego, Touch, Wavetrap and Sähkö and he has been producing among others with Alan Vega of Suicide, Keiji Haino, Chicks on Speed, John Duncan and Bruce Gilbert.

ArtScience Interfaculty

The ArtScience Interfaculty, founded in 1989 by Frans Evers and Dick Raaijmakers, offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor and Master programme that fosters curiosity driven research as approach for the making of art. While situated between the Royal Academy of Art and the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, the ArtScience Interfaculty collaborates closely with Leiden University’s Academy for Creative and Performing Arts and Media Technology MSc programme. The ArtScience Interfaculty has an extensive history of producing its own events outside of the school and initiated the Sonic Acts festival together with Paradiso and the Institute for Sonology in 1993. The ArtScience Interfaculty has three key elements that make it unique in The Netherlands and the world: an interdisciplinary approach to the different disciplines; they see art and science as a continuum and promote interconnecting both; and they combine the experiential approach with a conceptual approach of art. More about ArtScience Interfaculty: www.interfaculty.nl

Vertical Cinema's Australian premiere at MIFF

Sonic Acts is proud to announce the Australian premiere of Vertical Cinema at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), which runs from 30 July to 16 August 2015. A special feature within the MIFF film programme, Vertical Cinema will be presented at the Deakin Edge Theatre in Melbourne. The full MIFF programme will be announced on 7 July and tickets are on sale from 10 July 2015. For more information about MIFF and the Vertical Cinema screening, visit the MIFF website.

Interviews with Noam Elcott and Bart Rutten on Verticality

On the occasion of the Australian premiere of Vertical Cinema, we present two interviews with Noam M. Elcott and Bart Rutten as #12 and #13 in our Research Series. In February 2014 Sonic Acts’ Vertical Cinemaprogramme was screened four times at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The programme was accompanied by four lectures by experts on cinema, video, new media, and contemporary art. The American scholar Noam M. Elcott gave an impressive presentation, which also sketched a possible genealogy of ‘vertical cinema’. Bart Rutten, Head of Collections at the Stedelijk Museum, gave a number of examples of the use of verticality in video art, such as Bill Viola and Stan VanderBeek, but also touched on the history of video games. After the screenings, Sonic Acts’ Arie Altena interviewed them both. You can find the full Research Series #12 and #13 with the interviews, including the videos of their presentations here: Noam Elcott - Research Series and Bart Rutten - Research Series .

Save the Date: Sonic Acts Academy

From 26 to 28 February 2016, Sonic Acts hosts a new programme at the intersection of art, music and science at several locations in Amsterdam. Over the course of three days, Sonic Acts Academy will invite artists, theorists, and scientists to expand on their research through lectures, concerts, film programmes, work presentations, masterclasses and workshops.

Michael Welland, Sonic Acts 2015. Photo by Pieter Kers
From 2016 onwards the Academy will be held every two years, alternating with the bi-annual festival, to create space for a more focused and research-oriented programme, offering thought-provoking new perspectives on the research into art, the research needed for art and especially research through art. The Academy relates to topics that are connected to the ‘dark matter’ theme Sonic Acts is currently investigating with its projects such as Dark Ecology and The Geologic Imagination, informed by the realisation that we live in the Anthropocene, and questioning how this forces us to rethink concepts of nature, culture, technology, and ecology. At the Academy you can expect science-fiction-like scenarios, innovative anthropological approaches, field recordings from extremely remote latitudes, the re-interpretation of groundbreaking experimental works, and also cutting-edge music and inspiring lectures. The opening of the event takes place on Friday, 26 February, at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and is followed by two days of lectures, presentations and films screenings at the Brakke Grond, a new location for Sonic Acts. On Saturday, 27 February, Sonic Acts will take over Paradiso’s main and small halls with concerts and performances, lasting until the small hours. In the weeks preceding and following the Academy, there will be masterclasses and workshops for artists, curators, students, theorists and cultural practitioners. Programme updates, information and ticket information will be announced through this website soon. Sonic Acts Academy 2016 Friday 26 – Sunday 28 February 2016 Locations: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Brakke Grond & Paradiso

Dark Ecology Critical Writing Academy

On 9 and 10 October 2015, Dark Ecology and Fridaymilk will organise a two-day Critical Writing Academy, in Murmansk, Russia. Dedicated to enhancing the art of critical writing and to creating a community of writers across the Barents Region, this workshop is aimed at emerging and mid-career writers, critics, bloggers, theorists and journalists in arts and culture from the Barents Region (which encompasses the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and Northwest Russia). Programme Critical writing is a special and powerful form of documentation that can open up an artistic work, and shape, expand or re-contextualise it according to a particular opinion, perspective or discourse. During the Critical Writing Academy, a selection of renowned regional and international experts will share insights into the specific aspects of their craft (language, style, framework, focus), and provide feedback on texts written by the participants. The Academy will be facilitated by the media-collective Fridaymilk and Dutch artist and theorist Rosa Menkman. It will offer practical tools, perspectives, new ideas, and inspiration, but will also provide insights into the regional situation, and background to the concepts that drive the Dark Ecology project. The proceedings of the Academy will be published as a series of articles, interviews and reports. A selection of participants will be invited to take part in the follow-up to the Dark Ecology Critical Writing Academy during the Dark Ecology Journeys from 25-29 November 2015 and June 2016. Practicalities Applicants are invited to send a short motivation and biography to info[at]fridaymilk[dot]com. We welcome applications in Russian, Norwegian and English; however, as the workshop itself will be presented in English, knowledge of the English language is an absolute necessity. The course is free of charge. Costs for travel and accommodation in Murmansk are covered by Dark Ecology, and the Troms County Council through Transfer North, funded by the Nordic Culture Fund, and through Norwegian-Russian Cultural Cooperation – Visual Art 2013–2015, funded by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture. The deadline for applicants from outside Russia is 25 August (due to visa processing times). The deadline for Russian applicants is 10 September 2015. See here for more information about Dark Ecology and the second research trip.

Photo's The Proliferation of The Sun at Stedelijk Museum

On Friday 3 July the Stedelijk Museum and Sonic Acts presented three fully packed executions of the performance The Proliferation of The Sun (1967) by ZERO artist Otto Piene, in honor of the opening of the exhibition ZERO: Let Us Explore The Stars. The exhibition runs until 8 November 2015.

Copyright Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Photo: Ernst van Deursen
Copyright Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Photo: Ernst van Deursen
Copyright Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Photo: Ernst van Deursen
Copyright Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Photo: Ernst van Deursen
Copyright Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Photo: Ernst van Deursen
Credits photos: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen With kind support of Sonic Act and ZERO Foundation

Vertical Cinema at Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)

Vertical Cinema is in Melbourne for its Australian premiere at Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). A special feature within the MIFF film programme, Vertical Cinema will be screened twice at Deakin Edge theatre in Melbourne on 14 August. On 11 August, Vertical Cinema filmmaker Joost Rekveld will take part in a panel discussion titled Cinema, Reimagined. For this panel on the development of vertical screens, expanded cinema and the future of film, Rekveld will be joined by artist Sally Golding, Vertical Cinema's technical producer Erwin van 't Hart and University of Melbourne film and cinema studies lecturers Wendy Haslem and Scott McQuire. Cinema, Reimagined is hosted by MIFF in collaboration with the University of Melbourne and part of Talking Pictures, MIFF's extensive series of talks and discussions exploring a broad array of cinematic subjects. Vertical Cinema screening Date: 14 August 2015 Start: 18.30 & 21.00 Location: Deakin Edge, Melbourne Tickets and information: Via the MIFF website Talking Pictures - Cinema, Reimagined Date: 11 August 2015 Start: 19.30 Location: ACMI Studio 1, Melbourne Tickets and more information: Via the MIFF website

The Geologic Imagination: Lectures, Interviews and Recordings

RESEARCH SERIES #19 At the end of November 2015 we will travel to the North of Norway and Russia for the second edition of Dark Ecology. There, we will explore diverse aspects of the notion of Dark Ecology in lectures, discussions and walks, and through the presentation of commissioned works in the Barents Region – more specifically in Kirkenes, Murmansk and Nikel. The Sonic Acts festival The Geologic Imagination, which took place last February, and the three-year Dark Ecology project, are thematically interconnected, and theorists and artists involved in the 2014 Journey and works commissioned for Dark Ecology were part of The Geologic Imagination. To get you in the mood for the upcoming Dark Ecology Journey, Research Series #19 is a viewing edition that includes recorded lectures, excerpts of live performances, sound recordings and interviews made during the festival with contributors such as Timothy Morton, Jana Winderen, Espen Sommer Eide, BJ Nilsen and Karl Lemieux, Raviv Ganchrow, Ele Carpenter and Graham Harman.

Jana Winderen presenting at Sonic Acts The Geologic Imagination. Photo by Pieter Kers
The term ‘dark ecology’ is borrowed from philosopher and theorist Timothy Morton. He is also the ‘inventor’ of the concept of the hyperobject, an idea that is probably as important to our research as ‘dark ecology’ is. Morton was the keynote speaker at the first Dark Ecology Journey, and gave a lecture at Sonic Acts 2015, when he spoke on the subject of subscendence – the inverse of transcendence. Subscendence happens when something shrinks into its component parts in such a way that the whole is always less than the sum of its parts. Morton explained why this new concept is very useful for thinking ecological beings, as in an ecological world, beings are necessarily fragile and incomplete, even the massive ones.

Timothy Morton: Subscendence from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

The Norwegian sound artist Jana Winderen was also present at both the first Dark Ecology Journey and the 2015 Sonic Acts festival. She conducted research in the Pasvik Valley on the border between Norway and Russia for her new work Pasvikdalen, which premiered live at Sonic Acts 2015. In her presentation Listening without Getting Answers she talked about her methodology, work and motivations. She focused on how recording and presenting sounds we cannot hear or access – for instance, from fragile underwater ecosystems – communicates stories and issues that are of grave concern.

Jana Winderen: Listening without getting Answers from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Interview Jana Winderen from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

The Norwegian artist Espen Sommer Eide is well acquainted with Kirkenes, and has spent quite some time up North. He gave a talk and performed in Nikel, Russia, as part of the first Dark Ecology Journey, and is currently working with Signe Lidén on a new work for the third Dark Ecology Journey. We invited him to the Sonic Acts festival to give a talk on his research project Material Vision – Silent Reading, which involves the creation of new musical instruments and a performance developed on the extremely remote Bear Island in the Barents Sea. In Material Vision – Silent Reading he investigates, through a combination of artistic and scientific performances, various ways of reading a landscape and how the viewer and the viewed relate to each other. He also performed at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. For his performance he played hybrid acoustic–electronic instruments that he had constructed himself for the purpose of tuning into and out of the present time and place. He uses several musical tuning systems, both old and new, from the eerie Norwegian ‘troll tuning’ for the Hardanger fiddle to Pythagorean pure mathematical intervals.

Espen Sommer Eide: Material Vision – Silent Reading from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Espen Sommer Eide: A Tuned Chord is like a Scientific Instrument Probing the Universe from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

In 2014 sound artist BJ Nilsen and filmmaker Karl Lemieux visited the border area between Norway and Russia, where the sparse beauty of the Arctic landscape meets industrial decay and heavy pollution, to collect material for an audiovisual collaboration. The result was unearthed, which premiered live at Sonic Acts 2015, and used film and sound recordings of, amongst others, Nikel’s red and white chimneys that hiss and growl as they spew out clouds of smoke. unearthed was released on a USB device that was included with the publication The Geologic Imagination, which also has a text by Lemieux and Nilsen as well as a collection of images by Lemieux. The Geologic Imagination is on sale via the Sonic Acts Shop.

BJ Nilsen & Karl Lemieux: unearthed from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Sound artist and researcher Raviv Ganchrow embarked on an investigation of infrasound, and developed a new work-in-progress, Long Wave Synthesis, of which a first working prototype was presented during the first Dark Ecology Journey A first full-scale installation was presented in Amsterdam harbour as part of Sonic Acts 2016. On that occasion Ganchrow presented an overview of his research into infrasound, showing how infrasound – extremely long sound waves (up to 171 kilometres in length) below the threshold of human hearing – literally connect the solid Earth to oceans and weather as well as to industrial practices. In Ganchrow’s Long Wave Synthesis project, marine oscillations, streaking meteors, calving glaciers, gas flares and nuclear explosions coexist; sound becomes so heavy that it is affected by gravity, and oscillations slow down to such an extent that they spill over into weather…

Raviv Ganchrow: In the Company of Long Waves from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Interview Raviv Ganchrow from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Raviv Ganchrow: Long Wave Synthesis from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Curator and writer Ele Carpenter, whom, like Dark Ecology keynote speaker Susan Schuppli, has worked on curatorial projects about art, the atomic bomb, nuclear energy and waste, introduced her research into nuclear culture at The Geologic Imagination. Can you imagine a darker ecology than that of radioactive nuclear waste? Carpenter talks about her field trips to underground research laboratories for high-level radioactive waste storage at Horonobe, Japan, and Bure in Northern France and reflects on the evolution of this ‘hyperobject’ of nuclear waste from state (weapons), to private (energy), to the public sphere. As we adapt to living in a radioactive environment, we have to consider what the nuclear archive should contain for future generations…

Ele Carpenter: The Nuclear Anthropocene from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Interview Ele Carpenter from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

The philosopher and one of the ‘founders’ of the Speculative Realism movement, Graham Harman gave a lecture titled Anthropocene Ontology at Sonic Acts 2015 in which he explained how the proposed Anthropocene Epoch is not an Anthropocentric Epoch, because it highlights the fragility of the human species rather than human supremacy. There is also a short video interview with him made by our Russian friends from Fridaymilk. Harman will also be a speaker at the upcoming, Dark Ecology Journey in November 2015.

Graham Harman: Anthropocene Ontology from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Interview Graham Harman from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Following his lecture, Graham Harman talked to Liesbeth Koot and Menno Grootveld on the Anthropocene. This interview was published as Sonic Acts Research Series .

Full Dark Ecology Journey Programme Announced

The second edition of the art and research project Dark Ecology will take place from 26 to 30 November 2015. The Dark Ecology Journey begins in Kirkenes in Norway’s northern extremes and travels via Nikel (Russia) to Murmansk, the largest Russian city above the polar circle. The programme includes lectures by UK-based artist and researcher Susan Schuppli and American philosopher Graham Harman, as well as presentations of new commissioned works by HC Gilje, Margrethe Pettersen, Joris Strijbos, Tatjana Gorbachewskaja and Hilary Jeffery. Susan Schuppli is Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths (UK). In her lecture ‘Material Evidence from Disputed Arctic Sunsets to Dark Snow’, Schuppli focuses specifically on the ways in which the transformations brought about by industrial pollutants and global warming are creating new material witnesses out of the chemistry of sunlight, ice and snow, and explores the ways in which these emergent toxic ecologies might operate as evidential agents that can testify to contested events. Graham Harman is Distinguished University Professor at the American University in Cairo, where he has worked since 2000. He is a founding member of the Speculative Realism movement and chief exponent of Object-Oriented Ontology. In his lecture ‘Morton's Hyperobjects and the Anthropocene’, Harman will compare Timothy Morton’s concept of ‘hyperobjects’, which refers to entities that exceed the usual dimensions of a human life, to ‘anthropocene objects’, which require human beings as one of their components, even if they are not exhausted by human access to them. The programme also presents new commissioned works by five international artists: Margrethe Pettersen (NO) created Living Land, a sound walk that will take participants above and below ground in Kirkenes; Joris Strijbos (NL) constructed IsoScope, a major kinetic light and sound installation that will interact with its environment. HC Gilje (NO) will present a video installation and a light intervention in public space in the Russian border zone. Hilary Jeffery (UK/DE) will develop Murmansk Spaceport, a new performance, with musicians from Murmansk and Bodø. Germany-based Tatjana Gorbachewskaja (RU/DE) returned to her former hometown of Nikel to work on a conceptual tour and an interactive map exploring the materiality of the town, in collaboration with Katya Larina. Visit the Dark Ecology website for the full journey programme. About Dark Ecology Dark Ecology is a three-year art, research and commissioning project in the Northern regions of Norway and Russia. It is initiated by the Amsterdam-based organisation Sonic Acts and Kirkenes-based curator Hilde Methi, in collaboration with Norwegian and Russian partners. Dark Ecology is informed by the idea that ecology is ‘dark’ (as the American theorist Timothy Morton has argued), because it invites – or demands – that we think about our intimate interconnections with, for instance, iron ore, snowflakes, plankton, and radiation. Ecology does not privilege the human, it is not something beautiful, and it has no real use for the old concept of Nature. What we now know about the impact of human beings on the planet has led to the need to rethink the concepts of nature and ecology, and exactly how humans are connected to the world. Though these issues are relevant anywhere in the world, they are especially pertinent in the Barents Region with its pristine nature, industrial pollution and open-pit mining. Speculation on global warming fuels local economic growth, as the prospects for both the exploitation of the oil and gas reserves below the Barents Sea and the trade through the Northern Sea route are rising. Disparate interests and approaches from both sides of the border have to negotiate. This interaction informs the Dark Ecology project and is a starting point to invite artists and theorists to develop new approaches and new works. For more information about Dark Ecology please visit the website.

Sonic Acts Commission Dolmen by Mario de Vega in Berlin

From 9 to 20 December 2015, Mario de Vega’s Dolmen will be presented by singuhr-projects at Meinblau Projektraum in Berlin. This installation was commissioned by Sonic Acts in collaboration with donaufestival and was first presented in the context of The Geologic Imagination, the 2015 edition of the Sonic Acts Festival. De Vega is known for his confrontational works, which, for instance, use infrasound or extremely high voltages. Dolmen is an intervention that explores the boundaries of human perception as well as the social, political and physical impact of telecommunications technology. It makes the public physically aware of the presence of wireless signals in space – the radio signals that are the carrier waves of our digital communications. The work evolved from interests in radio signals and in the possible negative influence of electromagnetic pollution on humans. For more information about the presentation of Dolmen and opening hours, go to the website of singuhr-projects. Click here for more information about commission by Sonic Acts and donaufestival. Watch an interview with Mario de Vega here, find an impression of the installation at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ during the 2015 Sonic Acts Festival here.

Sonic Acts & EYE on Art: Weather Report

Following the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, on 15 December Sonic Acts and EYE on Art will host a Dark Ecology inspired evening on climate change. The programme explores the subject from the perspective of Dark Ecology. Included are works from EYE’s collection as well as contributions by artists who are part of the 2015 Dark Ecology Journey. HC Gilje will give a lecture about his commissioned works for the 2015 edition of the Dark Ecology Journey. His new video piece Barents (Mare Incognitum) will be screened between 8 and 15 December on the wall of EYE’s foyer. It presents a slowly rotating view of the Barents Sea, a disorienting perspective that blurs North and South, East and West. BJ Nilsen made a selection of 35 mm films from the EYE’s archive and will perform a live soundtrack to this selection. Nilsen contributed to Dark Ecology in 2014 with unearthed, a commission in collaboration with Karl Lemieux, and will be part of the 2015 journey. Please note that tickets are subject to availability, order them via the EYE website. For more information about the commissioned works by HC Gilje and BJ Nilsen, visit the Dark Ecology website.

Interview with John Tresch on cosmograms

SONIC ACTS RESEARCH SERIES #20 American society and nature, cosmograms and matter By Liesbeth Koot and Menno Grootveld Sonic Acts was very happy to welcome John Tresch to the 2015 festival The Geologic Imagination, where he presented a lecture Fiat Lux and Earth’s Answer. John Tresch is an historian of science and technology and is Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. In his lecture he elaborated on the notion of humans playing a role in nature’s creation as having roots that long precede discussions of the Anthropocene. Very compelling are the Romantic era’s personifications of a living, growing earth, whose latest blossoms are humans and their technologies. After his lecture Tresch talked to Sonic Acts' Liesbeth Koot and Menno Grootveld, publisher at Leesmagazijn. In the interview Tresch elaborates on the idea of cosmograms as examples of people making an effort to represent the totality of the universe in a concrete way. He also discusses examples of cosmograms and their implications when thinking about the Anthropocene. John Tresch, Sonic Acts Festival 2015 at Paradiso, Amsterdam, Photo by Julia ter Maten MENNO GROOTVELD (MG): In your lecture you spoke in detail about Brian Wilson and the music of The Beach Boys as an example of a cosmogram. What is the connection between Brian Wilson and the Anthropocene? JOHN TRESCH: The idea is that The Beach Boys are the incarnation of two episodes of thinking about American consumer and technological society and nature. The first episode involves a kind of confused innocence, like the innocence of the early Beach Boys – California Girls, Fun Fun Fun – which is this party at the edge of the world. But while The Beach Boys are supposed to be all about the sun, surf and sand, this ‘nature’ only exists because of the process of settlement and industrialisation, the process of seizing and transforming the land and the water, and the electricity that makes the eternal daylight of California. There is no real endless summer in California. The only reason that it is possible to live there – on the scale that people do – is because of this artificial industrial transformation of the land. So, although The Beach Boys had a very intoxicating vision of the California dream, which Brian Wilson actually helped to create, just a few years later we see the second episode of thinking about American society and nature, and the innocence of the early Beach Boys dissolves. That was when Wilson caught another side of that dream: its crash and closure. This crash happened partly because Wilson was trying to do too much. With his last album, Smile, he was competing with the Beatles, trying to outdo Sgt. Pepper’s. It was a really grandiose and fantastic plan, but he broke down trying to do it. He couldn’t complete it. Nevertheless, there are a few marvellous songs that were released in this sunset moment, the fading of the sixties, 1971. In my talk I played a couple of songs from the 1971 Beach Boys album Surf’s Up. In the earlier vision, that phrase meant: ‘Come on, let’s ride these waves’, but now it’s ironic, melancholic: Surf’s up, the dream is over, the waves have gone out and ‘we are adrift atop of a tidal wave’ – that’s a line that Brian Wilson uses in the title song. This album has a very different feel, a very different emotional tone in which the California dream is shot through with pessimism and disappointment. The album came out in 1971, and the pessimism includes the acknowledgement that the dreams of the sixties are being corrupted and co-opted. And this is where Thomas Pynchon comes in, because his book, Inherent Vice – and the new film by Paul Thomas Anderson captures this tone perfectly – is all about the setting of that sun. There is a sense of that dream having collapsed. But also, and this is no coincidence, it’s the moment of the birth of a widespread environmental consciousness. That is really the connection to the Anthropocene.

'There is a sense of that dream having collapsed. But also, and this is no coincidence, it’s the moment of the birth of a widespread environmental consciousness.’
The year 1971 is when people started to say: ‘All of this consumption and industrialisation, which makes it possible for us to live in this eternal festival, in this endless summer, is actually bringing waves of garbage back to the shore.’ We have oil spills and there aren’t any forests anymore – in California they’ve all been covered with freeways. I think at that later moment Brian Wilson, and especially the kind of allegory told by his own life, starting with innocent hope and then his devastating crash, captured some of where we are in the Anthropocene. There was an earlier dream of being closely tied to nature, and then the recognition that some of the nostalgic versions of that Romantic naturalism actually weren’t connected to nature at all. They were fantasies produced by high industrialisation, by the mass media. And there is a price to pay for the industrialisation that made that romantic fantasy possible. Confronting the way in which we are outside of nature, but also connected to it, we now have to deal with what we have done. That is the Anthropocene. And the song ’Til I Die by Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, captures that sublimity of being a rock in a landslide, a leaf in the wind, or a cork on the ocean – he goes through all these identifications in the song, and the sound is this overwhelming ocean, a chorus that’s like an ocean. We are connected to this thing, which is much bigger than us and there is something quite beautiful and inspiring about that, but also something very menacing too. Because who we thought we were as humans and individuals, disconnected from nature, no longer stands. We are connected to it and in one way that’s inspiring, but it’s also something that’s very uncanny and difficult to deal with. And I think that where we are at in the Anthropocene, is likewise uncanny. MG: You know that Brian Wilson was actually afraid of the ocean? JT: Yes, I think partly why he wrote the song was because of his experience of being terrorised by the ocean wile swimming. LIESBETH KOOT (LK): In your lecture today you talked about your concept of the cosmogram, defined as ‘inscriptions of the cosmos as a whole’. How is the cosmogram connected to the concept of the Anthropocene? JT: Cosmogram is a neutral concept. It does not bring with it any specific metaphysics, or specific cosmology. It is just a general class of things that humans make: representations of the universe as a whole. And it has taken many, many different forms in history, and cross-culturally. All cultures have cosmograms, which are attempts to say: ‘This is how the world works, this is how everything fits together’ – humans, all the divisions of nature, all the divisions within human society, and then the divinities around it or above it, the metaphysics underlying it. In order to convey cultures and beliefs, to teach them, to re-inscribe them and make them true and activate them, they need some kind of form to embody them. And I call anything that takes that form a cosmogram. It can be a building, a painting, a poem, or a book like the Bible— or a song. It can apply to many, many different kinds of human products. LK: Today you elaborated on why we need to bring cosmograms from art, humanities and religion into debate with cosmograms from science. As you explained, it shows for example, how science not only brings facts into the world but also produces narratives, structures and feelings. JT: I think it is a useful term because it removes the obligation of saying: ‘This is what nature is actually like, and here are the representations of it’, which is this kind of modernist split, where we put nature on one side, and our interpretations of nature on the other. In the modern period, for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we thought that the sciences would provide the answer to what nature really is. And the sciences do provide observations, tested proofs and facts, of what the world is. But by introducing the notion of the cosmogram and saying that it is not just religions and cultures and belief systems that produce cosmograms, but also the sciences, what I am actually trying to say is that everyone has always been caught in that same state of being in-between. We never escape the fact that we are in the world with other people, in an intersubjective or interobjective world, that we deal with inscrutable and unstable things and have to make some kind of sense of them with whatever methods we might use. Science is one way of capturing certain kinds of regularities in the natural world, but so are all the ways we have of structuring our relations to nature and to each other. Cosmograms are what realise that in a big picture.
'[...] ... which is this kind of modernist split, where we put nature on one side, and our interpretations of nature on the other’
The modernist cosmology was founded on the division between knowing subjects, and a stable world of objects that is outside of us. What people are saying with ‘the Anthropocene’, by focusing on this term, is that the natural world outside of us is actually not outside of us. This is why Latour – the first philosopher to get how important this is – is so obsessed with the Anthropocene, as it means the scientists themselves, the great modernisers, are finally realising that the constitutive split of modernity between nature and culture doesn’t hold anymore. Nature now bears the marks of human activity, permanently. People a million years from now will see on the surface of the globe the effects of what humans have done to it. And the evidence is extinctions, changes in the chemical makeup of the water, global warming and everything that follows from global warming. Nature is no longer this thing in an entirely different ontological category from us; it is now invested with our intentions, with our plans, our actions. Anything we chose to do has been realised and come back to us as an answer, in very unexpected ways, in the form of nature. We are living in a form of nature that is reactivated and unstable in a way that it was not before. So taken to its ultimate conclusion, thinking about the Anthropocene teaches us that the cosmology of modernism-active subjects confronting passive objects is now gone. And the question is, what comes to fill its place? – which is what I think this conference is trying to ask. How do we represent this new state of affairs? Because the way in which things were done before has produced these potential catastrophes and imbalances. We are trying to answer: What is the cosmos we are in now? And how do we represent it? And not just represent it, but how do we use that idea of the cosmos and that representation as a way to institute, to really put into place, a better way of living with each other and with the world that could be more sustainable, less destructive, less violent, less hurtling from catastrophe to catastrophe. A cosmogram for the Anthropocene is something that people are trying to realise. In my talk, the last example by Panda Bear, the song and video Boys Latin, is a musical attempt to do this, and we are going to hear and we have seen many, many versions of a cosmogram for the Anthropocene at this conference. LK: You also gave the example of William Blake’s work. JT: Yes, the second half of my lecture’s title, ‘Earth’s Answer’, is from Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, from the transition between the ‘Innocence’ and the ‘Experience’ phases. Writing all the way back in the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century, he anticipated the shift from a narrow, innocent but deluded Romantic view of oneness with nature to one that is more experienced but pretty frightening, where we’re part of nature but where it’s both responsive to us and beyond our control. And in the history of Western cosmology and cosmograms, Romanticism plays a really important role. To better understand what kind of functions today’s cosmograms might have to fulfil, what I’m proposing in my research is to look at earlier cosmograms from the history of Western science, culture and religion and see how they carved up the world: how did they divide humans, nonhumans and divinities; how did they establish their relations; what kinds of objects did they have for doing that dividing, for doing that mapping – what kinds of buildings or artworks or rituals; how did they understand that work of representation? We have to try to track how modernist cosmology came into being and the different stages it went through and the different kinds of configurations that science itself has had. So I think that science does make cosmograms, but there isn’t a single, simple, scientific cosmogram. It consists of many, many different elements and the default common sense version of science as being materialist, mechanical, objective, took a long time to build from a lot of different elements. Looking at the history of cosmograms in Western culture and science shows how little by little those elements were put into place, but also – and this what I’m interested in – while that default, naturalist cosmology was built and instituted, alongside it were many minor natures, many minor cosmologies, which had very different views of what the world was like and where humans fit in that world. Romanticism, for instance, can be understood as one such minor cosmology. Studying how it tried to institute itself or how other minor cosmologies have emerged, and what they contributed, how they dialogue with the major cosmologies, is a subject of my research. The history of ‘dialogical cosmograms’, how they have interacted over time, is something that to me is fascinating as a history of ideas and practices, but it’s also interesting and useful for thinking about the cosmopolitics of the world we now live in. MG: For me, one of the most interesting things you talked about in your lecture was the Bridgewater Treatises. MG: I think the great irony of where we are now is that what we take as the clearheaded, rational view of the natural world is that it is made up of matter that is passive. And that the only kind of causality we can think of is efficient causality, or mechanical causality, particles interacting with each other. Something like final causality, teleological causality – if we go back to Aristotle – is seen as preposterous. The book Mind and Cosmos by the philosopher Thomas Nagel came out three years ago; in it he says that the idea that the world has come into being only by means of mechanical causality is totally implausible. And we need, in some way, to start thinking about other types of causalities such as teleology. He received the most violent reactions. Biologists and philosophers all said: ‘Oh, he’s lost his mind. How can he say something so scandalous and insane?’ It really showed that the common sense of philosophers, the people who see their job as defending what the rational world is and what the real world is and how we know it, says that any kind of causality that involves other elements besides stable particles that more or less mechanically interact, is an insane one. Many of the people making this argument also say that it is necessary to have that kind of vision of what the real, rational world is in order to preserve a rational, secular society, so that religion and individual idiosyncrasies don’t invade scientific knowledge, so that we can have neutral, objective science, and rational government. Another great irony that I noticed while studying the nineteenth century – and this is really following Simon Schaffer’s work on natural theology quite a bit – is that that notion of matter as passive, stable, mute, dead and only subject to mechanical causality was the invention of people like William Whewell, who was a philosopher and astronomer, but also a theologian, an Anglican minister. The Bridgewater Treatises of the 1830s, which were cosmological tracts and cosmograms, were written to ensure that despite all the new knowledge coming from geology, astronomy, physics, and biology, there would still be a need for free will, the human soul, and above all, an all-powerful God. Passive matter, dead matter and mechanical causality go hand in hand with an all-powerful God who, providentially, maintains those laws, and can, by his will, by fiat, suspend them if necessary, and bring other kinds of causes into nature. But only He can do that. In the Bridgewater Treatises, you saw that God’s role, first of all, was to sustain that world. If not, matter would just collapse, nothing would hold together, there would be no laws, there would be absolute decay. So it is God’s grace that preserves all of this. Also, if there were no God, life would not have been created from matter. All the different species had to have been made through God’s intervention, because no mechanical cause could explain them. Whether we’re talking about the first creation – the seven days – which is one example of God’s miraculous powers at work, or about what had just been discovered at that time in the stratographic record, in the geological record of extinctions – catastrophic extinctions followed by the appearance of new species – they can only be explained as coming into being through an act of God. We have the idea of natural selection; we have all kinds of arguments about geological change that don’t require miraculous intervention by God. And yet, our common sense idea of matter, which is now taken for granted, comes directly out of that theological conflict. That’s a fascinating irony: our secular, demystified, disenchanted common sense is the invention of a religious, conservative, defensive movement, from the fairly recent past, just 200 years ago. But, if we want to rethink matter and incorporate what all the scientists tell us matter is, it doesn’t actually match that view of matter as being passive and stable and dead. Matter as explained by quantum physicists is a very strange, quirky thing that shimmers and oscillates in and out of existence. It’s very hard to get one’s head around it; matter is not stable Lego building blocks. Science tells us that we have to discard that view of passive matter and somehow incorporate our new view into our understanding of the world we are in. And the Anthropocene is telling us that too. The world itself is reacting to us in a way that means it no longer makes sense to see it as this dead, inert architecture. If we want to rethink matter, it’s probably worth going back and realising how much we still borrow from this theology, which in terms of our public discussion at least, we claim to have abandoned. We are still trapped in this late eighteenth-century theology because we continue to believe in this late eighteenth-century concept of matter.
'That’s a fascinating irony: our secular, demystified, disenchanted common sense is the invention of a religious, conservative, defensive movement, from the fairly recent past, just 200 years ago.’
LK: In the political sense, in the societal discussion about the Anthropocene and climate change, would there be a fundamental change if we thought differently about matter? JT: Certainly. In changing the way we think about matter, we also change the way we think about science. It’s not as though there is this stable world out there and science comes in and tells us what it consists of. If we change our understanding of what the world is like and what matter is like, then we also change our understanding of what knowledge is like. And as we heard from geologist Mark Williams yesterday, he spends most of his time not originating facts about nature, but establishing what the limits of our knowledge are. He’s defining thresholds of plausibility and probability. Scientists could be more explicit about the fact that they deal with statistical phenomena, and that they depend quite a bit on chance, on relative likelihoods. If we recognise that science does not descibe the eternal stable structures with absolute certainty, then the politics of science and climate change and human intervention and our ability to make statements about what is true and what is good and where the society should go, changes. Because there isn’t this external scientific authority proclaiming: ‘We’ve got the answer once and for all’. There is no absolute authority for what the answer is. And this means that the work of creating good and stable facts is still very, very important, but we need to recognise how much that is an interaction and how much it already is a social process. Many actors who are involved in making a common world would then have to be involved in making decisions about what policy would be. I’m not studying the politics of climate change, but I absolutely believe that the way in which these kinds of debates occur now is reliant on a view of science, and a view – a kind of default understanding – of how science works and what the world is like that gets in the way of actually making a true politics of nature, a real cosmopolitics, as Isabelle Stengers calls it. That is why, in interrogating the history of this conception of matter, it is very important to see, first of all, where it comes from, what are the different elements that go into it – and analyse it and break it down into its historical parts. Isn’t it odd that it took theologians to insert and solidify this understanding of matter? But we also need to realise that within this tradition that we call science there have been many, many other ways of knowing, and methods{methodologies?}, and also conclusions about what the world is like and about how we know the world. Those conclusions can be resources that we can draw on for rethinking what the world is like now, and what role science has to play in it, and what roles people who aren’t scientists have to play in building a common world. And that is where history – and thinking about the history of cosmograms with a view to creating new cosmograms – can play a role; including helping us to escape from this restricting view of matter as this dead thing that we can do with as we will. LK: So that truly means ‘geologic imagination’. That’s great! JT: Yes, although I don’t think I knew that when I received the invitation to give a talk here. Another thing to add is that – alongside Whewell and the natural theologians and the cosmograms that they built – what I did in the talk and have done elsewhere, is point to the alternative cosmograms, and the other universes that are being built. Not by denying science and technology, but really rethinking it on the basis of a different cosmology. For instance, Romanticism, where there is usually an assumption of some kind of connection between the imagination and activity and growth of humans and the imagination and creativity and growth of the world. That is a real alternative to the early nineteenth-century concept of dead nature. Blake and Shelley imagined a world that is alive and that we are part of, and both we and the world have to awaken. But this isn’t expressed as propositions. It is expressed very much in a prophetic and imaginative mode. That doesn’t mean it’s just imaginary, though. In my book The Romantic Machine I wrote about the concept of matter a couple of decades later: a very different view of matter, matter that is alive, self-organising and can generate life and thought, those ideas that are there in Blake and Shelley were put to work in Paris in the 1830s and 1840s. They were incorporated into public action, arts, science, and politics. They were among the revolutionary demands to reorganise knowledge and society, to reorganise the benefits and products and conditions of labour. MG: If I’m not mistaken you even claim that in some measure they led up to the Revolutions of 1848? JT: Yes. They set the conditions for the idea that the people could redefine the social order themselves – which is how we usually think of revolutions. That absolutely applies to 1848. It’s what I call mechanical romanticism, a new way of thinking about machines and technology that is shaped by Romanticism, its organicism, aesthetics, its emphasis on imagination and novelty. Underlying that is the view that matter, and nature too, has its own intentions, activities and powers of organisation. The kind of republic that was imagined and planned in 1848 was one where nature’s interests, nature’s demands and nature’s activities would also be woven into a better, or changed, society. That’s a different take on the history of socialism, which played a role in the Revolutions of 1848 – the people deciding to make a society for themselves. When you look at the Saint-Simonians, or the Fourierists, or Auguste Comte, even the young Marx, the theorists of social transformation were also theorists of natural transformation and did not see the social and human on one side and nature on the other. A new conception of technology, or romantic machines, was what connected all the different concepts. So now, just like back then, the actions we do individually and collectively, the way we organise labour and consumption and waste, the tools we use to connect to the environment: all those have to be rethought to reorganise society. But rethinking nature— our relations to the earth, and what the earth itself is like— is also a factor in that transformation of thought and action. And that can happen through arguments, but also through the arts.

Dark Ecology Journey: First Journey Report

We are back home from a successful second Dark Ecology Journey. Over the course of five days, we travelled with a group of more than 50 artists, researchers, curators, writers and organisers to Kirkenes in Northern Norway from where we took a bus to Murmansk in Russia, to Zapolyarny and Nikel, and back to Kirkenes. It was the time of the polar twilight, when the sun does not rise above the horizon. During these long periods of darkness, life slows down and offers room for introspection. Yet, for many of us who had never been this far north before, it was surprisingly bright, and we enjoyed as much as four or five hours of beautiful twilight, as well as a full moon. The core of the Dark Ecology project is about investigating new definitions and imaginings of ecology, the connection between humans, nature and technology, and overcoming the nature–culture divide, all in the context of the ongoing transformations to the planet and the ecological crisis. The Barents region – where Kirkenes, Nikel, Zapolyarny, and Murmansk are located – has already undergone changes due to climate change, which has affected the economic and geopolitical situation. The programme kicked off with an expanded lecture by the American philosopher Graham Harman. It was followed by a short report on the rapidly changing political and economic situation of Kirkenes, touching on the closure of the Norwegian border at Storskog to refugees, the bankruptcy of the mine, and the collapse of trade with Russia.

Joris Strijbos, IsoScope, Dark Ecology Journey 2015. Photo by the artist
Dutch artist Joris Strijbos installed a new kinetic sound-and-light installation IsoScope, with wind generating the energy to power the revolving lights and the sound, on top of a ‘mountain’ just outside Kirkenes. We visited the work in the early evening. At the same time Norwegian artist Margrethe Pettersen presented the soundwalk Living Land – Below but also Above on the frozen lake, illuminated by small lights and an almost full moon. It was a magical experience.
Margrethe Pettersen, Living Land - Below but also Above, Dark Ecology Journey 2015. Photo by Michael Miller
The next day we travelled to Murmansk, which, including the border crossing, took us most of the day. (There were no refugees; the only visible evidence of what had happened there in the past few weeks were two containers filled with bikes). The travel was scheduled perfectly. We drove through the Pasvik valley at twilight as the fading light gradually gave way to darkness on the road to Murmansk. En route, we listened to a selection of podcasts that approached the subject of Dark Ecology from numerous perspectives. In Murmansk the day ended with a public talkshow featuring the artists who had developed new works for Dark Ecology.
LYSN, Murmansk Spaceport, Dark Ecology Journey 2015. Photo by Michael Miller
The next morning, artist and researcher Susann Schuppli presented her views on ‘dark matter’ and ‘material witnesses’ during a lecture at the Aurora Kinoteater. Trombonist and composer Hilary Jeffery had already been in Murmansk for two weeks, working on his commission Murmansk Spaceport which was performed by a new formation of LYSN with local musicians from Murmansk and Bødo. They performed the piece twice at the Roxy cultural centre to an audience who reclined on beanbags and cushions while listening to and absorbing the sound of the drones with their bodies.
HC Gilje, The Crossing, Dark Ecology Journey 2015. Photo by Michael Miller
We explored Murmansk in groups the following morning and afternoon, diving into the architecture, the history, development, and culture of this extraordinary harbour city. In the late afternoon we travelled back on the bus, first to Nikel to see HC Gilje’s work Barents (Mare Incognitum) at the local sports stadium, and then to Zapolyarny to see The Crossing, a light installation that used an abandoned concrete structure just outside the town (we still don’t know what it’s function was, or who it belongs to).
Tatjana Gorbachewskaja and Katya Larina, Nikel Materiality, Dark Ecology Journey 2015. Photo by Rosa Menkman
After a night in Zapolyarny it was back to Nikel for the last commissioned work, an extensive mapping of the architectural development and materials of Nikel by Tatjana Gorbatsjevskaja and Katya Larina, presented in the form of a lecture and a guided walk through part of the town. For those who had never been to Nikel, this was perhaps one of the most impressive parts of the journey, as Nikel and its smelter are simply that: impressive. This industrial behemoth unleashed a discussion about what we do with the world, and how our lives are intimately attached to beautiful things as well as to pollution and dirt. Visit the Flickr Album for a photo's of the journey. Go to the Dark Ecology Facebook page for a day-to-day report. In June we will return for a third and final Dark Ecology Journey.

Save the Date: Progress Bar - 16 January 2016

We're happy to announce that a new series of events, brought to you by Brighton’s Lighthouse and Amsterdam’s Sonic Acts and Viral Radio, will launch in Amsterdam next year. Part talkshow, part clubnight, Progress Bar makes an exciting shift from the regular to the radical. Providing insight into the creative practice of contemporary culture's most exciting names, from vanguard music producers and filmmakers to trending artists and activists, Progress Bar is an ear-to-the-ground evening of new art, new thinking, new music and, hopefully, new friends. Amsterdam’s first edition will be held at Tolhuistuin. The line-up will include a performance by musical crossover project King Midas Sound consisting of The Bug, singer/poet Roger Robinson, and vocalist Kiki Hitomi, with Austrian guitarist and composer Christian Fennesz. Together, King Midas Sound & Fennesz recently released Edition 1, described as “a slow-building, smoky crescendo of noise” by Holly Dicker in Resident Advisor. The evening will furthermore see a club night featuring Lexxi, Endgame & Kamixlo. These London figureheads are perhaps best known from the infamous Endless club night, which is often cited in the context of giving a "middle finger to the shadowy forces that conspire to shut [UK's clublife] down" (Dazed & Confused). Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details and tickets.

Progress Bar in Amsterdam!

King Midas Sound & Fennesz 2015. Photo by Jimmy Mould
"The ground is rumbling beneath my feet. Bass and rotor chug collide in the air and throb like a migraine. Thick, suffocating clouds of dry ice billow through the space between bodies. Somewhere in the gloom, occasionally picked out by white strobe light, I can just about make out the figure of Kevin Martin, clad in his standard-issue hoodie, hat and jacket uniform. The space in between is filled with faceless silhouettes thrashing back and forth." - Rory Gibb, The Quietus We’re thrilled to announce that Sonic Acts, Viral Radio and Brighton-based Lighthouse will present a special season of Progress Bars in Amsterdam from January 2016 onwards. Progress Bar was initiated by Lighthouse as its regular night for cutting-edge thinking and dancing, and presents a lively mix of talks, screenings, performances and a club in a single night. In collaboration with Sonic Acts and Viral Radio, the Progress Bar will be raised to another level. Amsterdam’s first edition, which will take place on 16 January 2016 at Paradiso Noord/Tolhuistuin, celebrates artists from Trinidad, Japan, Chile and the UK. It will kick off with talks by music and culture journalist Aimee Cliff from The Fader and King Midas Sound co-founder Roger Robinson. Following this, King Midas Sound & Fennesz, the new collaboration between King Midas Sound and Austrian electronic music pioneer Christian Fennesz, will take over Paradiso Noord with a performance of their album Edition 1 which Resident Advisor described as ‘a slow-building, smoky crescendo of noise’. Progress Bar will continue into the early hours with a club night featuring Lexxi, Endgame & Kamixlo – London figureheads and co-founders of Endless, the subversive, genre-breaking club night that propagates London’s most exciting new producers. 20.00-22.00 hrs - Lecture programme Admission is free of charge, reservation required via reservations@sonicacts.com 22.00-04.00 - concert & club programme Admission €12,50 (including membership) Tickets can be purchased on Ticketmaster and on the door. Please note that the Tolhuistuin is a bank card only venue. This edition of the Progress Bar is the start of a series that will see further editions throughout 2016 in Amsterdam. More details about Progress Bar Amsterdam in March, April and June will be announced on this website soon. Join the Facebook event and sign up to the Progress Bar newsletter for updates. Aimee Cliff Aimee Cliff is an Associate Editor of The FADER, based in their London office. Previously, she was a freelance music and culture journalist, writing for Dazed & Confused, Vice, The Quietus, Red Bull and more. She has interviewed innovative artists and musicians — from radical romantic Jam City to grime MC Stormzy to Metamodernist celebrity Shia LaBeouf — and her monthly column Popping Off interrogates pop cultural issues, from the presentation of sexuality in music videos to ageism in the media. She also co-hosts the monthly Radar Radio show Angel Food, with melodic grime producer E.M.M.A. Roger Robinson Trinidadian musician, writer and performer Roger Robinson has lived in London for 20 years. As a writer and workshop leader, Robinson’s major achievements include being chosen by Decibel magazine as one of 50 writers who have influenced the black-British writing canon; receiving commissions from London Opera House, National Portrait Gallery and the V&A, amongst others; and being shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize. His solo music album Illclectica, released in 2004, was chosen by Mojo magazine as one of their top ten electronic albums for that year. He is also a co-founder of King Midas Sound. King Midas Sound A musical crossover project, King Midas Sound is composed of The Bug, aka producer Kevin Martin, Roger Robinson and Japanese artist and singer Kiki Hitomi. The trio released their first album, Without You, in 2011. In 2013 they made a brief, but exciting return, with the single Aroo in which “drone, melancholy, and a sea of fuzz blisteringly collide.” This year sees them make a return with Edition 1, released through Ninja Tunes on 18 September 2015. Editions 2-4 will see King Midas Sound collaborate with a different artist: details to be announced later. Christian Fennesz Originally from Vienna, Christian Fennesz is now based in Paris. He uses guitar and computer to create shimmering, swirling electronic sound of enormous range and complex musicality. His lush and luminant compositions are anything but sterile computer experiments – they resemble sensitive, telescopic recordings of rainforest insect life or natural atmospheric occurrences, an inherent naturalism permeating each piece. While he releases solo material only every couple of years, over the past decades he has been a constant in the ears and minds of experimental music enthusiasts through a myriad of remixes, soundtracks, collaborations and other works. Endgame, Lexxi & Kamixlo “I want to start club culture from scratch and destroy homogenous and heteronormative 4/4 dance music – it’s dying a slow death and is beyond irrelevant.” – Endgame in Dazed and Confused Blending a mix of Angolan dance genre Kizola, Jamaican dancehall and British bass-laden dance music, the three South-London DJ's and producers Endgame, Lexxi and Kamixlo propel a worldwide sound akin to the diversity and novelty of online communities that are at once familiar, futurist and forward-moving.

Field Recording Workshop with Jana Winderen & BJ Nilsen

From 10–13 February 2016, Sonic Acts hosts a four-day field-recording workshop by renowned sound artists Jana Winderen and BJ Nilsen. This workshop is aimed at artists, composers and musicians with a background in sound and field recording who would like to expand their understanding and awareness of sound, and enhance their recording skills and their use of environmental sound. The workshop is practice-oriented, and focuses on the methods and processes involved in artistic research. Winderen and Nilsen introduce the practise, listening exercises and the tools. Each day, the participants make sound recordings which they present for critical reflection first to each other, and finally in an informal setting to the public. The heart of the workshop consists of field trips to specific locations in and outside Amsterdam, and the exploration the (sound) ecologies of water environments. Participants are encouraged to bring their own recording equipment. Jana Winderen (NO) studied at Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in London, and has a background in mathematics, chemistry and fish ecology from the University in Oslo. She releases her audiovisual works on Touch. Amongst her activities are immersive multichannel installations and concerts. She has performed all over the world. Jana Winderen researches the hidden depths with the latest technology; her work reveals the complexity and strangeness of the unseen world below us. The audio topography of the oceans and ice crevasses are brought to the surface. She finds and reveals sounds from hidden sources, also those inaudible to humans, as well as those from places or made by creatures difficult to access. www.janawinderen.com BJ Nilsen (SE) is a composer and sound artist based in Amsterdam. His work primarily focuses on the sounds of nature and how they affect humans. Recent work has explored the urban acoustic realm and industrial geography in the Arctic region of Norway and Russia. His original scores and soundtracks have featured in theatre, dance performances and film, in collaborations with Chris Watson, Gaspar Noé, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and others. He co-edited the book+CD publication The Acoustic City (2014), published by jovis. His two latest solo albums Eye Of The Microphone (2013) and The Invisible City (2010) were released by Touch. In 2014, Nilsen collaborated with filmmaker Karl Lemieux on the audiovisual work unearthed, which was presented along with the Sonic Acts publication The Geologic Imagination. www.bjnilsen.com Enrolement Only ten people can participate in this workshop. To apply please send a short biography, a motivation why you would like to attend, and your expectations to workshop[@]sonicacts[.]com. The deadline for application is 20 January 2016. Participants must attend the full programme. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. If we receive more than ten applications, we will make a careful selection in consultation with Jana Winderen and BJ Nilsen. A detailed schedule and more information about how to prepare for the workshop will be sent to the selected participants. Fee Participants pay a €50,- contribution. Lunches will be provided. Participants will receive reduced admission to the Sonic Acts Academy on 26–28 February 2016.

Looking back on first edition Sonic Acts Academy

Okkyung Lee, Opening Sonic Acts Academy 2016 at Stedelijk
The first edition of Sonic Acts Academy has ended. We look back proudly on an opening night with performances at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, five workshops and two days of presentations celebrating today’s artistic practices at de Brakke Grond, and an invigorating line-up at Paradiso that had visitors dancing into the early hours. We would like to thank everyone involved in making the Academy such a successful first edition. A big thank you to the artists, volunteers, partner organisations and their staff, funders, technicians, bloggers, photographers, film crews and everyone else involved. Last, but not least, a thank you to the audience – those who attended and those online – who joined us for the Sonic Acts Academy. It was amazing that so many of you actively participated in making it such a memorable event. Check out the photo stream on Flickr. If you missed the Academy or want to relive some of your favourite moments, keep an eye on the Sonic Acts website, audio recordings and videos will be shared in the coming weeks.

Invitation for feedback

Help us to evaluate the Sonic Acts Academy to improve future editions. If you attended the Academy, please participate in our online survey. This shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes, and we’ll randomly distribute some fine rewards among participants. So please share your thoughts on the Academy while they’re still fresh!

Sonic Acts Academy publication now for sale

In context of the Sonic Acts Academy, Sonic Acts published a 64-page ’zine’, which contains a beautifully designed and printed collection of short essays, manifestos, statements and visual contributions that provide invaluable insights into the exploration conducted and during the Academy. With contributions from Sonic Acts Academy participants: #Additivism, Thomas Ankersmit, Louis Henderson, Ewa Justka, Anton Kats, Okkyung Lee, Yoneda Lemma, Maryanne Amacher Archive, M.E.S.H., Anna Mikkola, BJ Nilsen, Sally-Jane Norman, Dick Raaijmakers, Daïchi Saïto, Susan Schuppli, Jos Smolders (WaSm), Raphael Vanoli, Ana Vaz and Frans de Waard (WaSm). Sonic Acts Academy Volume 1 is now available online via the Sonic Acts Shop.

Sonic Acts at EYE Filmmuseum with Tatsuru Arai and Red Brut

On 6 November, Sonic Acts presents an evening of audiovisual wonders at EYE Filmmuseum, with performances by sound and visual artist Tatsuru Arai and tape musician Red Brut. The programme is part of a spectacular exhibition at EYE Filmmuseum by leading electronic music composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda; and part of The Man Machine, a film programme with which Eye explores cinematic representations apprehending the fusion of man and machine and the role of high-tech and big data. Tickets are available via Eye. With this presentation, Sonic Acts looks at its shared history both with Ryoji Ikeda – an artist whose minimalist and breathtaking art has drawn on mathematical concepts, quantum mechanics, data, sound and light – and with changing perspectives on the essence of the human. It also looks ahead to Sonic Acts Festival 2019, which takes place from 21 to 24 February and continues the festival’s explorative path through sound and light, cosmology and physics, to the calibration of humankind, Earth and technology. Tatsuru Arai’s audiovisual performance Matters-ton is the second chapter of Arai’s innovative Hyper Serial Music project. The project expands on the history of serialism – an important 20th century method of music composition used by Arnold Schönberg, Karheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez, among others – by incorporating new technologies and new perspectives, including artificial intelligence. In his work, Arai unfolds the relations between sound and matter across the three dimensions of space. By means of algorithmic simulation and human perception, the principles of audiovisual design are shown to correlate directly to the physicality of the universe. The programme also features a performance by analogue-electronic artist Red Brut, who documents an intuitive and reflective journey through sensitive amateurism and musique concréte. Red Brut’s music is highly personal, subtle, and displays an ever-curious mind. Although rooted in the sinister absurdism of early 2000s experimentalism, her music embraces and redefines the concept of ‘music of the universe’, coined by the likes of John Cage and Daphne Oram. The Sonic Acts programme at EYE Filmmuseum will be followed by the screening of Tron. A combination ticket, which also grants access to the Ryoji Ikeda exhibition, can be purchased at a reduced rate here. Please note that the exhibition closes at 19:00. Tatsuru Arai (JP) studied a Master’s in Composition, Computer Programming & Multimedia Art at the Berlin Academy of Music. Approaching the perception of sound as a physical phenomenon that influences human beings, Arai aims to present the fundamental physical nature of the universe in the form of perceptional experiences. Red Brut (NL) is the moniker of Marijn Verbiesen, who is also part of Sweat Tongue and JSCA. As Red Brut, she is isolated, displaying a highly talented ear for day-to-day sounds, musique concréte composition and spontaneous sound collage. She recently presented her self-titled debut LP on Belgian label KRAAK. Sonic Acts at EYE Filmmuseum Date: 6 November 2018, 19:15 Location: EYE Filmmuseum Tickets available via Eye

Second Edition of Progress Bar: Lafawndah, Brood Ma, ITAL TEK, Fis, PYUR

On 26 March, the second edition of Progress Bar, a new collaboration between Sonic Acts, Lighthouse and Viral Radio takes place at Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam. Described as ‘cutting edge thinking and dancing’ by FACT Magazine, the event presents a lively mix of talks, screenings, live performances and a club night. From vanguard producers and filmmakers to trending artists and activists, Progress Bar gives insights into the creative practice of contemporary culture's most exciting names. For the second edition, Progress Bar presents live performances by Lafawndah (Warp, US), Brood Ma (Tri Angle, UK), ITAL TEK (Planet Mu, UK), Fis (Tri Angle, NZ), and PYUR (Unsigned, DE), and talks by James Stringer aka Brood Ma and co-founder of the London-based games and digital arts studio Werkflow and Lafawndah. They will be joined by Progress Bar resident and Viral Radio founder Juha. Spatial and light design by Marco Broeders (Co2RO). EVENT DETAILS Progress Bar ft. Lafawndah, Brood Ma, ITAL TEK, Fis, PYUR, Juha Date: 26 March 2016 Venue: Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin, IJpromenade 2, 1031 KT Amsterdam Times: 21:00–04:00 (doors open 20:30) Tickets: €12,50. Purchase via Ticketmaster or at the door (card only) Find more information and join the event on Facebook.

Progress Bar Amsterdam: Second Edition from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

PROGRAMME Lafawndah ‘Fantastical, not exotic – the Egyptian-Iranian performer draws on her heritage to create pop from another planet.’ – Adam Bychawski, The Guardian Releasing her first self-titled EP in 2014 and her second, TAN, earlier this year, Lafwndah’s music is imbued with influences from Middle Eastern and Caribbean rhythms to those taken from her time working with producers such as Teengirl Fantasy and L-Vis 1990 in New York. Brood Ma / Werkflow Genre-spanning London-based producer Brood Ma, aka James B Stringer, is known for twisting staple club signifiers into otherworldly shapes. His latest album Daze, released by Tri Angle records in February, described by the label as ‘a dizzying, exhilarating and terrifying soundtrack to dystopia’, is his most deliberate dancefloor statement yet. Stringer will also give a talk about Werkflow, the games-engine-focused, digital arts studio based in London he co-founded. During his talk he will elaborate on the studio’s practice, some of its projects and how gaming technology shapes the way they do things. ITAL TEK Brighton-based music producer ITAL TEK (aka Alan Myson) will release his fifth album Hollowed in March. Whereas his previous album Nebula Dance was described by NME as ‘clusters of dizzying breakbeats and swooning, sad house chords’, Myson states that in Hollowed he is ‘moving away from dance music and letting sound inhabit a space without shoving everything at the listener in the first few bars.’ Fis Since 2012, New Zealand-born music producer FIS has released numerous singles, EPs and the album The Blue Quicksand Is Going Now (2015). Leaving his drum’n’bass beginnings behind, today he is described as an artist who ‘comes from dance music, but attempts to break free of its conventions to pursue something otherworldly’, producing work that ‘ranks among the most original electronic music in recent years.’ – Resident Advisor. PYUR Originally from Bavaria, emerging music producer and visual artist PYUR now lives in Berlin, the centre of Europe’s electronic music scene. Her yet-to-be released work is inspired by the natural world and human relationships. Juha DJ and Viral Radio founder Juha plays Internet dance music. The artistic director of Lighthouse in Brighton since 2014, he unites the worlds of culture and technology. Lighthouse organises Progress Bar, a political party for new art, music and technology. In 2012, Juha won De Hallen Curatorial Scholarship for his proposal DREAD - The Dizziness of Freedom. As of 2016, Juha presents Viral Radio on ResonanceEXTRA, a monthly two-hour programme following new developments deep down the rabbit hole of Internet music culture.

Published on Vimeo: Sonic Acts Academy Plastic Futures

If you missed (parts of) the Sonic Acts Academy conference or would like to refresh your memory, keep an eye on the Sonic Acts Vimeo channel. We will be publishing recordings of lectures, performances and interviews in the upcoming months. Videos will be published in thematically linked albums, offering in-depth exploration of the subjects covered during the Academy. The first of these albums is titled 'Plastic Futures'. On Sunday, 28 February, Sonic Acts Academy welcomed its visitors to the ‘Plastic Futures Block’. Plastic has become the anthropogenic substrate not only for a whole new ecology of viruses and bacteria, termed the plastisphere, but also for a new aesthetic regime, the capitalist economy, and for unfathomable changes to the geological conditions of the Earth. Theorist Heather Davis started the block stating that while the forecasts are certainly horrific, we should not avoid thinking about these toxic and infertile futures, but instead embrace the nonfilial progeny that plastic, and the plastisphere, might produce. Davis also elaborated on what queer theory, disability studies, and theoretical approaches to the notion of toxicity might teach us.  

Heather Davis: The Queer Futurity of Plastic from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Also included in the album is an impression of the opening performance of the ‘Sonic Acts at Paradiso’ club night by Katrina Burch (as Yoneda Lemma) together with Anna Mikkola.

Yoneda Lemma & Anna Mikkola from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Subsequently, #Additivism, which is shorthand for a larger research project by artists Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke, considered how 3D printing can become a tool for social change. They stated that: ‘#Additivism is a vision of horror – a future in which we fill our lives with ever more useless trinkets of 3D printed plastic’, but also proposed that via Accelerationist and Xenofeminist movements, there still is a potential for radical intervention in contemporary technocapitalism.

#Additivism: An Encounter with The Fluid Outside from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Katrina Burch closed the block with her presentation on Dust Synthesis. Her talk connected the techno-sapiens’ living body to sound and proposed that sound has a physicality that can be shaped by a listener. By embracing the plasticity of sound, she suggests that a listener can create fictions and conceptions of reality in the same way an archaeologist builds narratives from features and artefacts in his landscape.

Katrina Burch: Paradigm patching in the analogic cockpit — Presentation on Dust Synthesis with/by Yoneda Lemma from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

The block closed with a 30-minute-long, Q&A session lead by Heather Davis.

Q&A with Heather Davis, #Additivism and Katrina Burch from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

The 3.5-hour-long Plastic Futures Block presented visions already embedded within our current techno-capitalist society. Subjects such as queer futurities, fluid outsides, and xenoplot carriers shaped the excursion through the speculative, yet impending reality awaiting humanity, speckled with visions of horror and potential.   Watch all the lectures and the Q&A in this Vimeo Album Related writings Hannah Klaubert, a participant of the Critical Writing Workshop, which ran in tandem with the Academy, reflects on Davis’ talk on the Critical Writing Blog. During Sonic Acts Academy, Nastassja Simensky interviewed Morehshin Allahyari about her Material Speculation project. Read her text ‘Decolonialising The Archive’ here. Nastassja Simensky posted: Between the Empirical and the Poetic: Katrina Burch on the Critical Writing Blog. Read the article here.

Vertical Cinema at GEGENkino in Leipzig

06-04-2016 20:53

Sonic Acts is very pleased to announce that Vertical Cinema will make its German debut as part of the upcoming edition of GEGENkino with a screening at the Paul Gerhardt Church in Leipzig on 28 April. Commissioned, curated and produced by Sonic Acts, Vertical Cinema was premiered at the end of 2013 and has since traveled the world. Vertical Cinema tips the all-too-familiar cinemascope screen on its side, creating a vertical monolith on which ten commissioned works on 35 mm film are screened. These works by internationally renowned experimental filmmakers and artists consist of abstract imagery, formal experiments, found footage and live laser action, accompanied by immersive soundscapes. The featured works are by Tina Frank (AT), Björn Kämmerer (DE/AT), Manuel Knapp (AT), Johann Lurf (AT), Joost Rekveld (NL), Rosa Menkman (NL), Billy Roisz (AT) & Dieter Kovačič (AT), Makino Takashi (JP) & Telcosystems (NL), Esther Urlus (NL), Martijn van Boven (NL) & Gert-Jan Prins (NL). The simple act of turning a screen 90 degrees creates alternative experiences and poses interesting artistic challenges that are highly suitable for GEGENkino and especially this year’s theme: Space. The festival strives to challenge the conventions of cinema, explore what else is possible and move beyond boundaries. Space often goes unnoticed and is often taken as a given, but is in fact full of meaning. GEGENkino departs from conventional cinema spaces and illuminates other venues with the projected image. Vertical Cinema filmmaker Johann Lurf will attend the screening and give an introductory talk about Vertical Cinema and his Vertical Cinema work Pyramid Flare. »Johann Lurf (AT) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and the Slade School of Art in London, graduating from Harun Farocki’s film class. His films Vertigo Rush (2007), 12 Explosionen (2008), Kreis Wr.Neustadt/A to A (2011), to name but a few, have been screened and won awards at numerous international film festivals. For more information about the screening click here, tickets and the full GEGENkino programme, visit the festival website. Visit www.verticalcinema.org for more information about Vertical Cinema.

Diary: Dark Ecology Journey 2016

Thursday 23 June 14:19

by Arie Altena Here are some initial impressions of the third Dark Ecology Journey, mostly written on the spot by Arie Altena, one of the curators of the project. The text is quite rough and at times personal, more diary-style than factual reporting.

Dark Ecology 2016 (Final HD) from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Wednesday 8 June I’m looking forward to the third Dark Ecology journey, especially because we’ll stay at the Svanhovd conference centre in Svanvik in the middle of Pasvik Valley. And I’m particularly keen about walking in the hills around Nikel, and visiting the ruins of the Kola Superdeep, which I’ve written about, but never seen with my own eyes. The weather in Kirkenes is bad. Our departure from Oslo is delayed, and it’s unclear if we will be able to land in Kirkenes. The alternative is the closest airport, plus a bus drive of six hours. But we’re lucky. The fog lifted for a moment. We land in Kirkenes on time. It’s raining, three degrees above zero with a strong wind. An earlier flight was diverted to an airport ’close by’, those of our group who were aboard that flight had to endure the six-hour bus ride in addition to their flight. That’s better than the plane that left from Tromsø: it was diverted to Oslo and five people spent the night there. In the bus we meet the participants who were already in Kirkenes. We head straight to Svanvik. After a hearty dinner we don our snowmobile suits. We didn’t really need them on our November trip, but we certainly need them now for our outdoors fireside welcome. Imagine 30 people in the rain wearing snowmobile suits around a fire, grilling sausages and drinking. The light is grey. The light is already playing tricks on us. It’s completely overcast. The light hardly changes. It could be late afternoon, early morning, or one o’clock at night. The light changes you, and changes how you connect to your own body and the world around you.
I’m particularly keen about walking in the hills around Nikel, and visiting the ruins of the Kola Superdeep, which I’ve written about, but never seen with my own eyes.
Thursday 9 June Get up. Overcast, clouds in various hues of grey and white. Breakfast with a view over the green Pasvik Valley. The morning lecture is by Heather Davis. While she talks about plastics, Timothy Morton types constantly. His quick summary and comments are already online when she ends. What I remember vividly from the lecture is the idea of a ‘geology’ of plastics, and the idea (which she derives from a First Nations anthropologist whose name escapes me now) that the First Nations already have lived through the Apocalypse. Thursday afternoon is for the ‘curated walks’. I’ve signed up for the ‘dark heritage’ tour. It’s the longest tour, and the furthest away. We travel about 70 kilometres by car, south along the Pasvik River almost to the Finnish border, to one of the spots where archaeologists have excavated ancient Sami fireplaces. They’ve been unearthed at three locations, and are dated to about 800 years ago. The location we visit has about ten fireplaces in a line, marked by stones arranged in a perfect rectangle. Our guide is a logger. He has lived at this spot in the valley since 1964; it’s just past Vaggatem, where he set up the campsite at the Pasvik River where we have coffee and waffles later on. He knows the area well, and hosted the archaeologists while they were doing the excavations. Here in the Pasvik Valley, there is no visible sign of pollution or industry, just nature everywhere. Soft mosses, lichen, birch trees with light green leaves, pines, all sorts of flowers, grasses, little ponds. I’m a bit concerned that this might create the contrast of ‘beautiful Norway’ versus ‘polluted Russia’. Here you don’t see the mines or the Nikel smelter. I hope the nature in the hills of Nikel, and around the Kola Superdeep will be equally impressive. Yet in Nikel one cannot escape the presence of mining, and the smelter will almost always be visible in the distance. The Russian side the Pasvik Valley is just as lovely, but because it’s the border zone it’s less accessible. Later on we hike 3 kilometres to the ruins of a prisoner-of-war camp in the woods, just a small barbed-wired plot where you can see the small circular wall that enclosed the tent where the POWs (Russians forced to work as loggers) slept. It’s surprising how present history is in the stories about this region. The other side of the river used to be Finnish. There was a ferry between Svanvik (Norway) and Salmijarvi (now Russia). Many people were forced to move after the Second World War and never returned to what they considered their home ground. Back in Svanhovd we enjoy Dmitry Morozov’s (aka :vtol:) installation Lessophon. Rolls of tape hang from the ceiling and slowly unroll. Contact mikes are attached to the rolls. The mics are connected to an FM transmitter which transmits the sounds mixed with sound created by an algorithm (generated using data from a camera that measures the height of the rolls of tape). Small radios are tuned to 99FM and transmit the sound. It sounds even better on an iPhone-FM radio, especially if you listen on headphones and there’s a bit of interference (what we used to call the sound of the ‘ether’). Jana Winderen’s Pasvikdalen, a work she composed for Dark Ecology, and which premiered live at Sonic Acts 2015, plays in a headphone version in a great space with large windows on three sides.
Here in the Pasvik Valley, there is no visible sign of pollution or industry, just nature everywhere.
Friday 10 June Wake up at 8. Breakfast. Overcast. Not too cold. Preparing for the Timothy Morton’s lecture. Timothy Morton’s lectures are really performances, even though every word is written out beforehand. Often he pushes his ideas just a little bit further than where you think they would still make sense. And I think he experiments a bit, to see if words, concepts, insights, lines of poetry, and ideas will stick together. Every time I hear him speak, there are things that I don’t get. But there are sentences that stay in your mind, like lines from a poem. Often they begin to make sense half a year later. This is also because he re-uses ideas, re-blending them in other ways for a new lecture. I now understand his concept of subsendence; I understand the ‘We never have been neolithic’-bit; I understand the idea of agrilogistics. He’s a great performer, and that makes him enjoyable to listen to even if you can’t follow the entire argument. I’m moderating, and as usual I’m stuck for questions afterwards, so I begin by relating the anecdote of R. (my almost 6-year-old daughter), who at some point claimed with great certainty that it’s bad to wash your hands because it kills all the little bacteria. This connects of course in various ways to the idea of coexisting with other beings. Interestingly the word solidarity pops up repeatedly in Timothy’s lecture – as does symbiosis. He’s writing a book for Penguin explaining all these things to people who don’t care. And a book for Verso, which will delve into Marxism. I can’t wait to read those. The bus is late, so we enjoy an extra hour of free time. The sun comes out. It begins to feel like summer. The border crossing to Russia seems to be easier every time we do it. Maybe it’s because we know the procedure now, and we’re comfortable chatting while waiting in line. At one point an alarm goes off for a few seconds. A red light flickers on a grey box. It happens just after Roger Norum goes past it. Two minutes later a border guard with a scanner asks him to pass through the grey thing again. Nothing happens. He asks Peter Meanwell to do the same. Nothing. He passes the instrument over our bags. Is it a Geiger counter? Nothing. It takes just 2 minutes and is done in a fairly relaxed way – or maybe it was because Roger didn’t get excited. We shrug our shoulders. That evening during dinner in Nikel one of our Russian friends who works in the Nikel administration tells us that a friend of his who works as a border guard phoned him earlier. The border guards had totally freaked out that afternoon because for the very first time ever the alarm that detects nuclear radiation had gone off. Nikel looks even better than it did a year ago, and so much better than four years ago. The Culture Palace is painted and so well maintained. We hear that someone is planning to open a hotel with a view of the smelter. Seventy locals turn up for the hike up the hill to Signe Lidén and Espen Sommer Eide’s work Altitude & History. That’s already moving in itself – such a large turnout from a city where you wouldn’t expect much interest in experimental art. Of course, the fact that Espen and Signe worked with the locals and collected the sound histories of Nikel’s old residents probably helped. But still. We walk almost an hour, 120 of us trudging up the hill outside Nikel. The view is glorious. There is absolutely no wind. It’s completely still. That’s actually not good for the piece, because Espen and Signe have built Aeolian instruments, played by the wind. They chose this hill because there is always wind there. On the way up Espen performs three short pieces: a voice recounting a sonic memory in Russian and English, accompanied by a self-made instrument. Their wind instruments, wooden speakers, a metal cap with a wire that amplifies the sound of the wind are spread out on the hilltop. And further down are four upright tubes (with little speakers underneath them). Espen and Signe play a metal stick, which makes a ringing sound, while the installation plays back field recordings. At the same time people from the audience swing the antenna-like wind instruments through the air. The piece is absolutely beautiful, and even better thanks to the initial ‘ritual’ of walking uphill, and because we’re free to play the instruments ourselves. Listening and looking across the valley, with the mountains in the distance, you just long to walk on straight through that landscape. You can do it; it won’t get dark. Many people stay on the hill for a while, many of the Russians play and interrogate Espen and Signe about how their instruments work. And Timothy Morton says: ‘it’s a masterpiece’. Peter Meanwell says: ‘playing these instruments is like inserting the wind into the landscape’. And Joost Rekveld says: ‘it’s so great to see the people, who would never think of going to an experimental music concert, play the instruments while Espen and Signe performed’.
Every time I hear him speak, there are things that I don’t get. But there are sentences that stay in your mind, like lines from a poem.
Saturday 11 June In the morning we go to the Kola Superdeep Borehole. I will get to see it at last. I’ve been asking if we can walk there and the answer is ‘no’. We expect a local audience of 100 people, which is a challenge for the production team, to say the least. (There are only 50 iPods for 150 visitors). The bus takes us up one of the unpaved industrial roads as far it can. From there Lada Niva’s will take us up further up the road to the Kola Superdeep site. The sun is shining. I’m not the only one who wanted to walk from where the bus dropped us. In the end we do walk the 4 remaining kilometres to the Kola Superdeep. First through a landscape of rubble, formed by what is dug out of the earth, then through a landscape that gradually becomes more beautiful, with little lakes, little rivers, some snow, moss, flowers. And then we see the ruins of the Kola Superdeep offices on Wolf Lake. It’s even more dilapidated than I expected. The area is breathtaking, with the lake and the small mountains. And all this wrecked Soviet science and engineering in the middle of it. Large office buildings, the carcases of electronic installations and rusting metal everywhere. It’s a sad place. High tech from the 1970s abandoned to dust. Once this was a place for avant-garde science and hi-tech experimental engineering. This major project was all about learning about the Earth, and it’s all gone to ruin. This is what is left if you choose to stop exploring and doing science. Maybe it was a typical Soviet-modernist scientific project with few qualms about nature and ecology – nonetheless, it’s still a moving sight. I walk around the building. I first want to take in my own observations, thoughts and emotions, before going through Justin Bennett’s narrative soundwalk. Yuri Smirnov – 87 now, and the former head of geology at Kola Superdeep – is also present. He’s happy and proud. Over a 100 Russians come by bus and car from Zapolyarny and Nikel (and even from further away). I see some faces that were also on the hill outside Nikel on Friday. Many people are taking photos, and I see Yuri Smirnov busily explaining things and telling stories. So many Russians come to see and hear Justin’s work that we run out of iPods with the Russian version. We end up putting the Russian version on the English-version iPods. Everywhere people walk around plugged into earphones, and head through the building towards the Borehole: the metal cap with 12.229 written on it. The hole once was over 12 kilometres deep. Afterwards people ask: ‘Where’s Victor?’ Victor is the (fictional) character in Justin’s narrative. But he’s not there. He doesn’t exist in this world. It so wonderful that we pulled this off – with the audience, and restoring respect for this scientific project as well. It shouldn’t be a ruin. There is nobleness in the drive to understand the Earth. (Though the methods might be crude.) On the way back I take a closer look at the location and the other hills and conclude that we’d been very close to this place on our first trip here, in 2012, when we couldn’t continue due to snow on the road. We were simply on the wrong side of the mountain. After lunch in Nikel, there’s only an hour left for ‘free research’. I walk down the ‘main’ path into Nikel. I want to see the small river. Forest fires have destroyed the landscape on the other side. The trees never re-grew, the moss stayed black, the barbed wire is from the Second World War. It’s a scarred landscape. Now I turn right, and it’s suddenly very green. A landscape with trees, a communal vegetable plot, green fields. The sun is warm. I have to take off my coats. It’s almost like a holiday, people on their Sunday walk. I have a look at the river before I have to turn around to get back. No time to walk all the way down to the lake.
So many Russians come to see and hear Justin’s work that we run out of iPods with the Russian version.
Sunday 12 June The last day of the third Dark Ecology Journey. Departing from Zapolyarny. The central square with the hotel and the Culture Palace, the colourful concrete boxes for plants and the little park. Full-on sunshine this morning. A car with open doors has been blasting Russian hip-hop and commercial pop since 8 o’clock. You think for a moment, what a way to start your free Sunday in the park. But these guys and girls are drunk; it’s a continuation of late night partying. Dmitry says: ‘A typical Russian day: someone is still drunk, someone is missing, someone has been beaten up.’ The weather is getting warmer. We cross the border without any problems. Indeed seems to go faster every time. Maybe they know us now? Peter and Mariaspot the Russian woman who was at History and Altitude with the Russian flag poking out of her bag, cycling from Nikel to the border, waving them goodbye. Coincidence? Russia is an intriguing country. We’ve met many great people, we have good friend in the Nikel administration. It’s peculiar to see that Nikel looks so much better now than it did 4 years ago. A new tourist centre for the Pasvik Valley in Nikel is being built. A hotel with 20 rooms will open in October: the rooms have a view of the smelter. Sure, we’re not the only ones to bring a new public to Nikel – there is mainstream tourism as well. But it’s still surprising to see these developments, as generally the economic circumstances in Russia aren’t improving (the same is true for Norway). People seem to be proud to be from Nikel. In the afternoon we walk up Langøra hill in Kirkenes, listening to Peter Meanwell’s specially commissioned podcast about Cecilia Jonsson’s Prospecting: A Geological Survey of Greys, the work we’re going to see. Further up the hill she drilled a 170-metre-deep hole with the help of geologists. The 170 metres of bore-cores are exhibited as a sculpture. Again, the whole experience is well designed: walking uphill in a scattered group of about 100 people, many of whom are listening to the podcast, to look at the sculpture and enjoy the landscape. Peter Meanwell’s podcast, with the voices of Cecilia and a geologist, focuses our thoughts and senses. I’m quite tired, the sun is agreeably warm, and the mosquitoes are inactive, so I lay down on the moss and have a rest. It’s quiet in Kirkenes. Literally. Until less than a year ago the hum of the separation plant (where they separate iron ore from the stone) was audible day and night. The hum was always there, as the plant ran 24 hours a day. But the company that exploited the mine and ran the plant was declared bankrupt in November 2015, one day before our second Dark Ecology Journey. All the personnel were let go. Only a handful of engineers stayed on for a few more days to take care of the machinery: after operating continuously for years it couldn’t be shut down just like that. It happened a few days later. Now there is only one caretaker on the premises. It is quite uncanny that our last event takes place inside this empty separation plant. It’s as if the workers have only temporarily left the building. The scaffolding full of machinery and spare parts, the lockers with work clothes, work boots left on the floor, refrigerators with notes stuck to the doors, cartoons on the wall, coffee mugs in the canteen. Nickel van Duijvenboden invites us to the canteen for his performance. He reads letters about his stay in Kirkenes, letters he wrote during the past week, the last one finished just an hour before the performance. The letters are about various subjects connected to the current situation in Kirkenes, our Journey, a visit to the Allthing in Iceland (location of the first parliament), philosophy, the theme of living together, connections, sociality, and the need to (sometimes) be alone. He takes the audience to the rooms where the workers changed their clothes. He narrates how he cycled all the way to the asylum centre near the airport. The guard didn’t want to let him in. ‘Who are you and why do you ask these questions?’ The reading of the letters is interspersed with drumming; he also plays some field recordings and a Moog. The piece is long, and sometimes awkward – in a good way. In the end he leads the audience to the enormous machine hall, where the drumming sounds phenomenal. Nickel’s performance is quite different from the other works in the Dark Ecology project because it is discursive, narrative, tries to weave different philosophies into the story, and because it is highly personal in a quite straightforward way: ‘Who are you and why do you ask these questions?’ (So we had two deserted locations for our events. Weird. The Kola Superdeep, once a pinnacle of Soviet hi-tech engineering and science; and the Kimek separation plant, once a hub of economic activity in Kirkenes. The first a memorial to Western – Soviet – science, the second symbolic of an economy in shambles.) The final performance is Mikro, a live improvised audiovisual piece by Justin Bennett and HC Gilje. Both have collected a lot of tiny objects during the Journey, bits of stone, moss, lichen – things connected to the places we visited. These are the material for the sounds and visuals that they generate with their set-up. HC Gilje uses a customised camera to photograph fragments, which he mixes together to become part of the projected abstract imagery, and Justin uses microphones and his laptop to create a cracking noise ‘soundtrack’. It feels like a good Sonic Acts evening in a (cold) industrial warehouse. As with our previous Journeys, our farewell party that evening is in the boathouse of the small boats harbour. We perform a vodka ritual to celebrate the ending, and hope for a continuation. But we can’t just leave yet.
Again, the whole experience is well designed: walking uphill in a scattered group of about 100 people, many of whom are listening to the podcast, to look at the sculpture and enjoy the landscape.
Wednesday 15 June Most of the participants leave on Monday. Some of us stay in Norway, because there is a joint Arctic Encounters & Dark Ecology Forum in Tromsø on Wednesday in collaboration with Fylkeskommune Tromsø. Annette Wolfsberger, Hilde Methi, Espen Sommer Eide and Margrethe Pettersen are on a Dark Ecology panel that I’m moderating, and we show Signe Lidén’s work Conflux – made for the first Dark Ecology Journey – in a film version. Berit Kristoffersen and Britt Kramvig, who were part of all three Dark Ecology Journeys, organised this conference and are present as well. The conference is in the beautiful Verdenstheatret and is well attended. Britt Kramvig quotes quite a bit from the interview with the Dark Ecology curatorial team, which is in the Living Earth book, to explain the project. We sell a lot of books. In the evening we close with an event at Kurant. This turns out to be the emotional finale to the Dark Ecology project. At 7 o’clock Jana Winderen gives a moving live performance of Pasvikdalen (another Dark Ecology commission), which leaves everyone in the audience – well, gasping for breath. In fact, it feels quite impossible to do anything after this concert. Just have a beer, stare into the distance, or go home to let it all sink in. But we’ve scheduled a lecture and Q&A with Timothy Morton for 8 o’clock. (Why we chose this order is a mystery to all of us). Timothy feels like Santana having to go on stage after the Mahavishnu Orchestra has blown the audience away. He has prepared a ‘love letter to dark Ecology/Sonic Acts’, and is quite emotional. The text is a 30 minutes mash-up of the e-mails we exchanged, interspersed with remarks about the Sixth Extinction event, and excerpts from texts he’s written for Dark Ecology. It’s a fitting finale – even after Jana’s breathtaking performance. He also says – I think it was during the introduction to the lecture – that he hardly understood himself what ‘dark ecology’ could be before we invited him, and that Dark Ecology has been life-changing for him. After Tim’s lecture, I – as a moderator – am confronted with the awkward task of initiating a Q&A. At first it stays quiet. The theme of the Q&A is very much ‘how to live together’, humans and non-humans. And maybe that’s the direction we should head towards with our Dark Ecology project.
The theme of the Q&A is very much ‘how to live together’, humans and non-humans. And maybe that’s the direction we should head towards with our Dark Ecology project.
Watch all video diaries about the Dark Ecology journey here

Young Echo Sound confirmed for Progress Bar on June 4

Monday 23 May 19:11

We've teamed up with Subbacultcha! and invited Bristol’s Young Echo collective to join Progress Bar on June 4! Currently made up of 11 young producers, vocalists and sonic provocateurs, Young Echo houses a number of aliases which venture between and beyond their roots of dub, bass, drone, grime and techno. We’re excited to be welcoming Ossia as well as Ishan Sound who’s been offering some of the finest dub influenced productions in recent years. Also set to join them from the collective will be Jabu, El Kid, Chester Giles, Amos, Manonmars and Rider Shafique. The night will will start with a series of lively talks with a selection of the artists performing, giving us insight into they creative process, before taking to the main hall for the big night. Line up: Elysia Crampton, Young Echo, Nidia Minaj, Sami Baha, False Witness, Yves Tumor, Kareem Lotfy and Juha. More artists means more hours – the night goes on until early next morning smile-emoticon Get your tickets for only 7,50 http://bit.ly/1NlcQVp More information

Nikel and Nikel Materiality

Thursday 2 June 06:59

RESEARCH SERIES #25 Compiled by Arie Altena Nikel is a small Russian mining city near the border with Norway. It was founded in the 1930s after enormous quantities of nickel were found nearby. At the time the area was Finnish. An infrastructure for mining the nickel was built in the 1930s with help from Canadian companies. Mining operations began in 1940. In 1944 Nikel became part of the Soviet Union after the Red Army defeated Finland. Nowadays slightly more than 12,000 people live in Nikel. The Norilsk Nickel smelter dominates the city. It was responsible for wide-scale pollution in the 1980s that destroyed much the surrounding nature. Since then pollution levels are lower, though walking through Nikel when a Northern wind is blowing often leaves the taste the sulphur. On a first visit, Nikel – with its blocks of flats, vacant buildings, heavy industry, the smelter and the boiler house – looks like the perfect location for a post-apocalyptic film. But looking closer reveals many different, warmer and humane aspects as well. We have visited Nikel numerous times with the Dark Ecology project, and have grown fond of it. Two years ago we met the Russian architect Tatjana Gorbachewskaja in Amsterdam. She was born and raised in Nikel. Meeting her led to a Dark Ecology commission: the research project Nikel Materiality. In Nikel Materiality Tatjana Gorbachewskaja and Katya Larina – a Russian specialist on Soviet closed cities – meticulously investigate the materials and textures of Nikel. More precisely Nikel Materiality explores Nikel through the lens of its materials and textures. They developed a model which captures the interaction between the architecture of Nikel, the historical development, and the harsh environment – the Arctic climate. In Soviet times Nikel was a planned mono-industrial city. The infrastructures – both material (heating for instance) and immaterial (higher wages, longer holidays, good facilities) – were well cared for. It was a city protected by an invisible ‘dome’. The planning hardly took the environmental consequences into account. Gorbachewskaja and Larina argue in their research that Nikel became a prime example of a city that is alienated from its natural environment. They describe Nikel as ‘a city in a bubble, protected by and therefore isolated by top-down state control for many years. This Nikel is a structure which can be artificially and technologically reproduced anywhere, it’s a place which denies its environment and is no longer related to its geological or climate context’. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Nikel was very much left to its own devices, and the urban structures, now poorly maintained, interacted with the environment. Through this interaction new textures and materials became part of the city. During the second Dark Ecology Journey Tatjana Gorbachewskaja and Katya Larina presented their initial research and guided groups of people through the city, pointing out many interesting aspects in the architecture and urban structure. A booklet catalogued the materials and described the analytical model they developed. They consider the artefacts they collected as objects from a cabinet of curiosities, as samples of a unique ecology which emerged under the ‘protective dome’ and were transformed when the ‘dome’ 'collapsed. They classified about 2000 artefacts using the ecological theory of John T. Lyle, which he proposed in his book Design for Human Ecosystems. The artefacts and material samples are grouped according to four themes: The Slag, Self-Organising Boundaries, Energy Infrastructures, and Historical Clash. The Slag is a new material, a copper-nickel dust, a by-product of smelting nickel ore. It’s everywhere in Nikel. Self-Organising Boundaries is a group of artefacts that illustrates the boundaries of a ‘competing patterns of existing ecosystems’ within Nikel’s ecology. Under Energy Infrastructures they collected all the artefacts related to the life support mechanisms of Nikel. Historical Clash contains the artefacts related to Nikel’s history: the city was shaped by successive ideological paradigms of Soviet and the Post-Soviet times. This includes five periods: the Finnish Era of the city’s development (1930s), the post World War II Stalin Era, the Khrushchev Era, the Brezhnev Era and the Post-Soviet Era. Each of these periods can be identified in the city. But, they argue, these historical epochs do not exist separately in different city districts, as in most Russian cities. Nikel’s architecture incorporates structures and experiences from previous periods, thus creating ‘a sort of bizarre overlay of the historical layers, where in one building we can see the imprint of different epochs’. Through the catalogue of artefacts they presented Nikel as a ‘material system’, or as they state, as ‘a multi-scalar expression of the new materials which appeared and evolved in the city fabric.’ The research is now available on the Dark Ecology website, which contains their analytical model, a catalogue and an interactive map. Series of photos trace how different materials emerged in Nikel. On a micro scale these show the physical properties of the materials, and on a macro scale they indicate the socioeconomic processes in the city as well as environmental processes of the region. Through the exploration of the ‘materiality’ of Nickel, Gorbachewskaja and Larina reveal the emergent symbiosis in Nikel of the natural environment and alien materials brought in through human activity. Nikel definitely is an example of an extreme Anthropocene landscape. The latest Dark Ecology book Living Earth (2016) includes an interview by Mirna Belina with Tatjana Gorbachewskaja and Katya Larina about their research. Here is an excerpt from their conversation. Mirna Belina So we could see this city as a living system? Katya Larina Nikel was initially set up as a very artificial system, controlled top down by the state. But in time it started behaving and expressing itself as a real living organism. All of its components, including the materials from which it is built, are changing and evolving to adapt to the transforming conditions. All materials behave dynamically in Nikel. They degrade faster than elsewhere. Nature is quite aggressive. It’s all about the energy the city shares with nature and for which it competes with nature. Tatjana Gorbachewskaja This city is slowly opening up to its environment. And this process is a self-organising process. No one controls it! MB What about the pollution from the smelter? TG The main ecological damage happened in the 1980s, when the company started smelting a non-local material, the nickel ore imported from Norilsk (the mining city further to the East in Russia), with a high concentration of sulphur dioxide. It killed almost all the vegetation around the city within just a couple of years. Another cause of major damage was the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. That had an even worse impact on Nikel. The city lost its source of social security and its future perspective. People started leaving the city. It’s still possible to trace the scars of these processes in the material tissue of Nikel. It’s a city fighting to survive. Nature is slowly recovering because the company now mostly processes local ore. The city is also starting to take on its proper size. So it is stabilising. Let’s hope! MB You said in your lecture in Nikel during the second Dark Ecology Journey that one of the most interesting parts of your research was the perception of the city as an infrastructural element. Could you elaborate on that? KL Infrastructures create comfortable spaces for people. An example is the heating infrastructure. Nikel needs such a comprehensive life-support infrastructure because it’s located in such a hostile environment. It was supported by an infrastructure for a long time but at some point in the 1990s, when it stopped functioning properly and had to interact with nature, it began falling apart, it transformed, and developed another life. In other cities these life-support infrastructures are not visible, they are hidden below the surface, but here their presence above the surface emphasises the city’s artificiality. TG In the Arctic, the most important thing is the artificial energy network. Nikel’s energy infrastructure requires very high maintenance; it is a high resource-consuming component of the city. For example, in Soviet times, buildings were regularly painted in bright colours so that the residents did not suffer from colour starvation. Now, because of the low maintenance financing and the harsh climatic conditions, all the layers of paint on the façades have cracked to expose the surface beneath them. Also, heating pipes are not underground in Nikel, they are built above the ground because of the permafrost. It’s like an exposed artificial organism. You see the flow, the veins. That’s how we set up our map of Nikel—we tried to show the infrastructure veins of the city. MB Did you present your insights about Nikel to locals? KL Yes, we had a presentation in Nikel for the local people. For us, the process of the environmental degradation indicates an evolutionary process of the city’s artificial system, revealing its qualities. For inhabitants, it’s mostly a personal tragedy. We were worried that we would be misunderstood, but surprisingly, we had quite a positive response. TG A teacher from the art school pointed out one more important energy resource in Nikel, another important resource of Nikel materiality: the people. And that is true: they really are the driving force of the city. Tatjana Gorbachewskaja (RU) is an architect and urbanist who grew up in Nikel, Russia. Before starting her own praxis in 2014, Gorbachewskaja worked as architect and leading designer at UNStudio in Amsterdam, under Van Berkel & Bos. She is currently a lecturer and PhD candidate at the Design School in Offenbach, Germany. Katya Larina (RU) is an architect and urban designer who received her MA in Landscape Urbanism from the Architectural Association, London. She is co-founder of the research and education project U:Lab.spb, which develops tools that are used in the fields of design and analytics of critical urban environments in Russian cities. U:Lab.spb focuses on socioeconomic strategies in combination with knowledge from urban planning and ecology to foster the redevelopment of Russian industrial cities and knowledge centres.

Dark Ecology Video Diaries

Friday 10 June 15:37

On Thursday June 9 the journey started with a lecture by Heather Davis on plastic geologies, followed by a programme of curated walks which explore different aspects of the Pasvik Valley: the pollution, the river, the brown bears, the archaeology, and the insect life. In the evening ::vtol:: presented his new installation Лесофон / Lesophon. Together with Fridaymilk​ we will publish a series of video diaries about Dark Ecology, including interviews with the artists and about the journey itself. All videos will be published on this website and at www.fridaymilk.com. Produced by Fridaymilk Concept and idea by Sonic Acts and Hilde Methi Music by Noya View all video diaries here

Looking back on Progress Bar in Amsterdam: More than Music

Monday 27 June 15:40

Looking back on the first four editions of Progress Bar in Amsterdam which took place at Paradiso Noord / Tolhuistuin between January and June of this year, resident interviewer Jo Kali recounts her experiences and positions these nights, which are characterised by the combination of talks and performances, within the contemporary (cultural) landscape. The packed Line-up included the likes of Abyss X, Aimee Cliff, Brood Ma, Crystallmess, Elysia Crampton, Endgame, False Witness, Fis, GAIKA, ITAL TEK, Juha, Kamixlo, King Midas Sound, Lafawndah, Ling, Nidia Minaj, Nkisi, PYUR, Sami Baha, Young Echo & Yves Tumor.

Progress Bar: More than Music Rewinding through Amsterdam’s first editions of Progress Bar is a little overwhelming. A stage in a small pocket of Amsterdam featured some of the most relevant, interesting and important acts of the day. Fader’s Aimee Cliff initiated the series with a sobering discussion about the future of London’s nightlife; how gentrification is slowly stampeding over the city’s cultural identity – a reality that resonates viscerally with many of us outside of London. Since that talk, there’s been physical, heart-breaking violence. An attack not just on the individual right to freedom in a club, but on targeted identities’ rights to even exist. The violence and injustice that happens outside makes everything that happened inside Progress Bar imminently more affecting. Progress Bar was a challenge to this age old, utopian design of music as a space in which we can all escape and find sanctity. The dance floor is a meeting ground where we are all equal – but only for a few hours, and only under the shelter of darkness. Progress Bar started a process that cast light on important questions rather than only providing us with temporary shelter from them. Creating a safe space for artists, and us as an audience, has been subsidiary to the weight Progress Bar has gained from actively provoking us all into discussing why these safe spaces need to exist in the first place, and the systems they feed on, both inside and outside a club. In order to do this, it focuses on the humanistic aspect of music, and invites the artists share their narratives. Music is all to often abstracted from the context from which it emerges. In the club environment we reduce music to a function, and we forget that music is always – ALWAYS – personal. For some, their music is reconciliation, a way of posing questions or seeking answers or imagining a future. Listening to their words as well as their music creates empathy but it’s also an important practice for ensuring their ideas survive through their work, rather than being co-opted and refigured into our own. In a time when lineups regularly feel stagnant and dull – reminders of their need to diversify – there’s an urging parallel thread that we don’t even have the language to do justice to the things we sometimes want to talk about – appropriation, culture, identity, nationality. Do we really still need to localise someone’s nationality and musical genre in order to understand them? How do these terms help us when online communities often appear to overtake the conversation? Can we still discuss the technical details of electronic music in such a dehumanising way without recognising them as an extension of the artist – is there a way of taking them in their context and re-humanising them? How can we identify that nexus within music that allows us to face up to matters we otherwise avoid – what in that space gives us the means to ask or imagine what we otherwise find difficult to put into words or pictures? There’s a vitality around Progress Bar in translating these issues from sounds to realisation and action and in the creation of a community that shares these interests. But, beyond the heavy words, the sounds themselves are enough to build a community – praising the multiple realms music is being projected into. There’s no way to sum up or bind the acts musically, apart from their tendency towards experimentation, innovation and careful composition. Progress Bar is a portal to a fascinating global music scene that is constantly refreshing our perceptions of what is possible/allowed in music. Jo Kali

patten confirmed for Progress Bar November

After summer Progress Bar is back with monthly shows at Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam. The next episode on 19 November will include the future-facing experimental duo patten, based in London. They will present work from their new album with an incredible new live performance. Other artists performing that night are Sky H1, who performed at the Sonic Acts Academy earlier this year, Dedekind Cut, who just released his first album on NON Worldwide and Jam City, the artist alias of Jack Latham, producer, songwriter and musician from London, TTB from London, Kate Cooper and Progress Bar resident Juha.

Progress Bar S02E02 - Design by Michael Oswell
Tickets on sale http://bit.ly/2dBa3Z5 DEDEKIND CUT (DJ) New York based experimental artist Fred Welton Warmsley iii (also known as Lee Bannon) is releasing new music under his new moniker Dedekind Cut (pronounced “Ded-da-kend Cut”). Dedekind Cut’s music draws out the dark calm of Coil, in the guise a modern approach to noise, new age and ambient music. Under various aliases, including Lee Bannon and ¬ b (meaning “not Bannon”), Warmsley has released music on Ninja Tune and Hospital Productions, as well as Chino Amobi, Nkisi and Angel-Ho’s NON Worldwide label. Dedekind Cut’s music points to issues of race and community in the independent electronic-sphere. JAM CITY (LIVE) Jam City is the alias of British producer and DJ Jack Latham. Active since 2010, Jam City’s music takes cues from UK club culture while blurring lines between house, grime and art-pop. Debut album ‘Classical Curves’, released in 2012, received excellent critical reception for its glossy, alien-sounding club tropes, while 2015’s ‘Dream a Garden’, which was inspired by the 2011 England riots, continued to expand on Latham’s socio-political conscience. Jam City’s music engages with the effects of neoliberalism and the personal effects of living under capitalism. Latham has also produced music with others including American singer Kelela. JUHA (DJ) DJ and Viral Radio founder Juha plays internet dance music. Since 2014, Juha has been artistic director of Lighthouse in Brighton, uniting the worlds of culture and technology. In 2012, Juha won De Hallen Curatorial Scholarship for his proposal ‘DREAD - The Dizziness of Freedom’, resulting in an exhibition, festival and an accompanying book. As of 2016, Juha presents Viral Radio on ResonanceEXTRA, a monthly two-hour programme following new developments deep down the rabbit hole of internet music culture. KATE COOPER (TALK) Liverpool native Kate Cooper employs a visual language termed ‘hypercapitalism’ while addressing the politics of labour and digital imagery. Informed by feminism and an interest in labour and collaboration, Cooper posits the aesthetics of advertising, television, commercial photography and computer-generated imagery to question representations of femininity in an age of consumption and digital technology, as well as exploring alternative forms of labour-structures within art practices. Cooper is co-director of the artist-run collaborative Auto Italia South East (est. 2007) and was winner of the Ernst Schering Foundation Art Award 2014. PATTEN (live) patten is a future-facing experimental duo, known in underground circles for their live performances. They have toured widely with intense audiovisual shows. This autumn they released Ψ (Psi), their new album on Warp, melding ultra-modern deconstructed club music with post-punk industrial, multiple strains of pop & hi-tech electronics. For Progress Bar, they will present work from their new album with an incredible new live performance featuring hyper-programmed lasers, drum machine hardware, LEDs, heavy smoke, live vocals, strobing visuals, oceanic bass, & HD projections framing their famed tripped out stage presence. SKY H1 (live) The music of Belgian producer SKY H1 is the result of myriad influences and cultures colliding. Drawing upon everything from R&B and instrumental grime to ambient and electronica, her music is both brutal and sublime in equal measure. Having made her debut on the Berlin label Creamcake in 2015, SKY H1 signed to Codes in 2016. Her debut ‘Motion’ EP has been a critical success, fusing ambient and grime into moving productions based on renouncing personal turmoil and stepping into something new. SKY H1 has also collaborated with emergent London collective Bala Club and previously performed at Sonic Acts TTB (DJ) London DJ and NTS resident TTB (otherwise known as Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura) presents a monthly radio show of dreamlike dance music, with a focus on new offerings and weird invocations. Her shows have evolved from label showcases featuring the likes of Principe and 1080p to personal revelations of her obsession with colour and pattern in a haphazard listening experience. Whatever the genre, TTB’s favourite kind of club music makes clever use of silence and texture. For Progress Bar, TTB brings her eclectic blend of club callings; expect to hear anything from Terry Riley and Mica Levi to Progress Bar alumni like Yves Tumor and Endgame. Progress Bar S02E02 Date: Saturday 19 November 2016 Venue: Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin Amsterdam Times: 21:00–04:00 (doors open 20:30) Ticket sale starts Saturday 8 October €10,00 presale / €12,50 at the door (card only) - http://bit.ly/2dBa3Z5 Free entrance before 21:00 HRS Free for Subbacultcha! members until midnight. Become a member: http://bit.ly/subbajoin Attend on Facebook

Workshop by Joost Rekveld as part of UNFOLD

Workshop by Joost Rekveld Sensory Augmentation and Obstruction As part of UNFOLD, organised by LIMA & Sonic Acts 29 November – 1 December 2016 in Amsterdam

Telc - The Vasulkas, 1974
There is a long history of thinking about technology and media as extensions of the body. According to this view, a hammer is an extension of our hand, a car an extension of our feet, and a telescope an extension of our eyes. Science has developed instruments to access phenomena we cannot perceive, since they are too small, too large, too fast, too slow, or because they involve forms of energy which are beyond the scope of our senses.
This workshop will focus on our senses and investigate the artistic potential of augmenting and obstructing them.
Joost Rekveld will introduce different schools of thought that deal with human perception, from ancient concepts of perception as a meeting of influences, to cognitive psychology and more recent ideas such as enactivism. Inspiration is taken from animal senses that, compared to human senses, have a range that is sometimes refined to the most basic imaginable. The workshop will provide examples of attempts to understand such non-human perspectives, as the sensory worlds of most animals are almost completely inaccessible to us. It will also consider research into the development of artificial eyes for blind people and think about cyborgs and the intimate relations between humans and technological devices. The group will examine projects by artists and designers who address, for example, the web of invisible relations within an urban environment, or reveal things we cannot normally perceive. A discussion about whether it is even possible to understand things humans have never perceived before will be part of the workshop as well. Using wearable devices, participants will experiment with the perception of our surroundings. Taking inspiration from two early video works by Steina and Woody Vasulka (Telc and Reminiscence, both from 1974), participants will translate the output of various types of sensors to real-time visuals. As a practical starting point Android phones in cardboard ‘virtual reality’ viewers will be used, with the possibility of extending the interference with other senses and devices. An important aspect of the workshop is the use by participants of their self-built devices during short field trips around the city, whereby they will become aware of one’s self-inflicted sensory modifications: How does modifying one’s sensory system affect interaction with one’s environment? Do we discover things we did not know before? A small reader with texts will be made available to participants. Large Android phones are welcome. There will be a very informal, semi-public presentation at the end of the workshop. Enrolment This workshop is aimed at art students and emerging artists, but is also open to people with different backgrounds and motivations. Up to 15 people can participate. To apply please send a short biography, a motivation why you would like to attend, why you are interested in research-through-practice, and your expectations to info[at]li-ma.nland workshop[at]sonicacts.com, with ‘application workshop Joost Rekveld’ in the subject line. The deadline for application is Monday 7 November 2016. Participants must attend the full programme. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. A detailed schedule, a small reader and more information about how to prepare for the workshop will be sent to the selected participants. Fee Participants pay a contribution of €30. Lunches will be provided. About Joost Rekveld Joost Rekveld (NL) is motivated by what we can learn from a dialogue with machines. In his work, he explores the sensory effects of systems of his own design, often inspired by forgotten corners in the history of science and technology. His films, installations and live performances are composed documentaries of the worlds opened by such systems. In their sensuality they are an attempt to reach an intimate and embodied understanding of our technological world. www.joostrekveld.net About UNFOLD UNFOLD is a new one-year research project conducted by LIMA and a collaborative, international research network that examines re-interpretation as emerging practice for the preservation of media artworks. UNFOLD researches processes of documentation and conservation of performance and post-net and digital art in relation to the live-ness of dance, theatre and music, which have ensured their survival and transmission through live performance. Bearing in mind that media and digital art share a number of characteristics with performance art, UNFOLD asks if we can develop new standards and techniques within media art preservation strategies by using reinterpretation to capture the hybrid, contextual and live qualities of an original piece, rather than proposing an ongoing process of changing platforms and operating systems. As part of UNFOLD, artist Joost Rekveld will re-interpret two works by The Vasulkas. Workshop by Joost Rekveld Sensory Augmentation and Obstruction As part of UNFOLD, organised by LIMA & Sonic Acts 29 November – 1 December 2016 in Amsterdam www.li-ma.nl

The Maryanne Amacher Archive Seminar

The Maryanne Amacher Archive: ‘Mini Sound Series’ Seminar A Sonic Acts collaboration with Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam & Blank Forms 12 – 13 December 2016 in Amsterdam The two-day seminar presented by Amy Cimini, Bill Dietz, and Robert The offers a selection of documents, images, and audio from various iterations of Maryanne Amacher’s THE MINI SOUND SERIES as well as works leading to its development, all recently digitised by the Maryanne Amacher Archive. It will be an intensive knowledge-exchange opportunity for those interested in Amacher’s work and in methodologies of post-Cagean sonic art. Following the second day of the seminar, a public listening session of additional unpublished Amacher audio will be presented as a practical elaboration for seminar participants, and as an introductory overview for the general public.

Maryanne Amacher - ‘the best kept secret in American New Music’ (The Wire, 1999)
Background For its festival in February 2017 Sonic Acts collaborates with the Maryanne Amacher Archive (US), Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL), and Blank Forms (US) on a programme dedicated to the work of Maryanne Amacher (1938–2009). Amacher is best known for her groundbreaking acoustic art that staged entire buildings and offered listeners exciting new ways of hearing. Following studies with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Amacher’s development of otoacoustic-based music with the help of Marvin Minsky’s Triadex Muse, her seminal telematic City Links series, and her collaborations with John Cage and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, in the late 1970s and early 1980s Amacher sought out a format that would best allow visitors to navigate her large-scale sound works. This led to THE MINI SOUND SERIES, a ‘serialized musical continuity’. Writing about this format, Amacher noted, ‘I wanted the kind of engaging format television has developed [...], an evolving sound work “to be continued”, as distinguished from a continuous installation, or traditional concert genre.’ As these rigorously site-specific installations were almost impossible to document (the impact of the sound could not be captured by audio recordings on CD or LP), these key works have yet to be discovered by a wider audience. As Amacher’s work anticipated many concerns and interests of 21st century sound art, Sonic Acts and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam find a re-assessment and re-interpretation of her work of the utmost importance. The overall programme will consist of a two-day seminar and listening session in 2016 as an intensive introduction to Amacher’s work and ideas, a two-week rehearsal period in 2017 with artists who will work toward a re-interpretation of Amacher’s MINI SOUND SERIES, and immediately following the rehearsals, a series of performances at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Enrollment This masterclass is aimed at artists, curators, scientists, and cultural practitioners with an interest in sound art, experimental music, psychoacoustics and architectural acoustics, non-standard art presentation formats, time-based media, and non-linguistic semiotics. Dedicated novices and experts are welcome, no institutional affiliation is required. Please send a biography and a short statement outlining your motivation to participate to workshop[@]sonicacts[.]com. Deadline for applications is 21 November 2016. Participants must attend the full two-day programme. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. A detailed schedule and more information about how to prepare for the seminar (including unpublished documents by Amacher) will be sent to the selected participants. Fee Participants pay a €40 contribution. Lunches will be provided.
Maryanne Amacher (photo by Peggy Weil)
Maryanne Amacher Maryanne Amacher was born in 1938 in Kane, Pennsylvania. She enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania in 1955, where she studied with George Rochberg, and Karlheinz Stockhausen during his tenure in Philadelphia in 1964 and 1965. After her work at University of Pennsylvania, Amacher went on to hold a series of fellowships at the University of Illinois’ Studio for Experimental Music, MIT’s Center for Advance Visual Studies (CAVS), SUNY Buffalo, the Capp Street Project in San Francisco, and many others, also internationally. In the late 1960s, while at SUNY-Buffalo, Amacher pioneered what she called ‘long distance music’, or telematic, site-related works that would later crystallise into her renowned City Links series. During her time as a fellow at CAVS (1972–76) she began developing her ‘ear tone’ (otoacoustic-based) music with the help of Marvin Minsky’s Triadex Muse, a synthesizer and compositional tool utilising principles of artificial intelligence. While at MIT, her extensive listening research was also profoundly influenced by a continuous, four-year long, live feed from Boston Harbour to her studio via a dedicated phone line. After meeting John Cage through Lejaren Hiller at the University of Illinois in 1968, she went on to collaborate with Cage in the mid-1970s on Lecture on the Weather, and later created Close Up, the sound component of Cage’s Empty Words. Amacher’s Remainder was commissioned for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company piece Torse, and later the Charles Atlas film of the same name. In the late 1970s and early 1980s she developed presentational models for how her subsequent work should be staged: Music for Sound- Joined Rooms and the Mini Sound Series. Amacher also spent the early 1980s working on the material for a multi-part drama originally imagined for TV and radio simulcast called Intelligent Life. While never fully realised, Intelligent Life reveals much of her thinking on music and the advancement of potentialities for future listeners, transcending the social and physiological limitations of music as we know it. Her work in the 1990s continued largely internationally in Europe and Japan. In the US she was commissioned to compose a large-scale work for the Kronos Quartet, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, performed at Woodstock ’94, and released her first CD on Tzadik. In the 2000s, she participated in the Whitney Biennale, joined the faculty of Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, released a second CD on Tzadik, and continued to work internationally. In 2005 she received Ars Electronica’s Golden Nica, their highest award. She died in Kingston, NY after sustaining a head injury and a subsequent stroke during the summer of 2009.

IMAfiction #06 13 Maryanne Amacher from IMA on Vimeo.

The Maryanne Amacher Archive Since its inception after Amacher’s death in 2009, The Maryanne Amacher Archive has taken up the challenge of formulating a posthumous structure for Amacher’s oeuvre in keeping with the radicality of the works themselves. Amacher’s lifelong pursuit of material intelligence, of a practice of ‘listening mind’, stands in timely contradistinction to many of the prevalent dichotomies that populate the contemporary sonic discourse. Locating listening in the nexus of body, mind, and history – in a listening subject’s encounter with a world – Amacher’s practice continually pursued a fugitive rigour which staged the encounter of emergent subjects and objects. Understanding Amacher’s work as a body of living thought provides the current archival initiative with a mission in essential proximity to forms of pedagogy and interpretation as an extension of Amacher’s own investigative methodology, now reflexively mapped back onto her own materials. As of 2015, the contents of the archive have been inventoried, and a partial digitisation of print materials has been achieved. The Maryanne Amacher Archive has collaborated in public presentations at Ludlow 38 (New York, curated by Axel Wieder and Tobi Maier), the DAAD Galerie (Berlin, also curated by Axel Wieder), Tate Modern (London), the Sao Paolo Biennial, and at the Bonner Kunstverein. As of 2016, over 20,000 documents have been digitised. Approximately 100 of reel-to-reel audio tapes are currently being digitised, and a handful of Amacher’s obscure video works have likewise been transferred to digital formats. Bill Dietz Composer and writer Bill Dietz, born in Bisbee, Arizona, and based in Berlin since 2003, is one of the supervisors of the Maryanne Amacher Archive. Since 2007 he has been the artistic director of Ensemble Zwischentöne, and co-chair of Music/Sound in Bard College’s MFA programme since 2012. He co-founded and edits Ear │ Wave │ Event with Woody Sullender. In 2015 Edition Solitude released his monograph 8 Tutorial Diversions, 2009-2014, with works listeners perform themselves in domestic settings. He is currently Guest Professor of Sound at the Academy of Media Arts (Cologne). Robert The Robert The is a New York artist known for his altered book pieces and signage, with works in many public collections including MOMA, LA MOCA, Yale, and The Walker Art Center. He initiated the Maryanne Amacher Archive together with Micah Silver in 2009; Bill Dietz joined them not long afterwards. Amy Cimini Amy Cimini is a historian and performer of music from the 20th and 21st centuries. She earned her Ph.D. in Historical Musicology in 2011 from New York University. Prior to herappointment at UC San Diego, she held an Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellowship in Music Theory at the University of Pennsylvania from 2011 to 2013 as well as a visiting position in Music Theory at the College of William and Mary from 2010 to 2011. She is interested how performers, composers and audiences practice and theorise listening as an expression of community, sociability and political alliance, with a special focus on improvisation, sound art and installation practices. Cimini is also an active violist working across improvised, rock, noise and contemporary classical genres.

Sonic Acts part of VPRO Tegenlicht

The prize-winning Dutch television documentary series, VPRO Tegenlicht, joined Sonic Acts on the last Dark Ecology Journey in June this year and interviewed Timothy Morton. The documentary, which focuses on the future of art, will be broadcasted on Dutch national television on Sunday 9 October, at 21:05 hrs on NPO 2. On Wednesday 12 October there will be a Tegenlicht MeetUp event at Pakhuis de Zwijger where we will expand on this topic.

VPRO Tegenlicht
Watch programme

Announcing Progress Bar December

The third edition of Progress Bar will be on Saturday 17 December at Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam. Continuing to support radical club culture and celebrate the work of vanguard music producers, filmakers, artists and activists, the December edition will include performances by DJ and NTS resident Cõvco; production duo God Colony with south London MC Flohio; Progress Bar resident Juha; experimental club artist Shalt; Shygirl with Glaswegian producer and Activia Benz signee Sega Bodega; and Wartone. Tickets on sale: http://bit.ly/2eQRLWK Timetable: 20:30 Doors 21:00-21:30 Lecture by Aaron McLaughlin 21:30-22:00 God Colony + Flohio interviewed by Stefan Wharton 22:00-22:30 Shygirl + Sega Bodega interviewed by Jo Kali CLUB 22:30-23:15 Wartone (DJ) 23:15-00:00 Juha (DJ) 00:00-01:00 God Colony + Flohio (Live) 01:00-02:00 Shalt (DJ) 02:00-02:45 Shygirl + Sega Bodega (Live) 02:45-04:00 Cõvco (DJ)

Progress Bar S02E03 - Design by Michael Oswell
CÕVCO (DJ) London DJ and NTS Resident Cõvco plays a deadly selection of footwork, grime, rap, r’n’b and club music. Radio shows on NTS have featured guest mixes by artists and labels including Eaves, City, DJ Earl and Beatgatherers, peppered with tracks by DJ Manny, Vybz Kartel, Imaabs and others. Cõvco has also contributed guest mixes for Tropical Waste, Absolute Zero and Angel Food, featuring alongside Aimee Cliff, E.M.M.A. and DJ Haram. As a DJ, Cõvco is intent on creating an atmosphere, essence, feeling or vibe, and asks the listener to be free and share that space. GOD COLONY + FLOHIO (live) London-based production duo God Colony recently released their debut EP 'Where We Were'. The record tells stories about cities and the lives inside them, and the duo felt a necessity to communicate that sprawling, chaotic sense of place. God Colony have also collaborated with previous Progress Bar act GAIKA on the video for their track “SE16”. The duo have a penchant for raw productions bound for dark club spaces, laden with screaming sirens, steely drums and zipping synths. Flohio is a south London MC with verses that make your hair stand up. Described as jaw-droopingly good and an undeniable natural talent in front of a mic, Flohio takes industrial and concrete beats and turns them into something personal. Full of fire and ‘dont care’ attitude, Flohio's voice comes out blazing, with a punchy, straight-talking, no-holds-barred flow. Flohio will perform at Progress Bar together with production duo God Colony, where cavernous productions meet a no-nonsense new voice. JUHA (DJ) DJ and Viral Radio founder Juha plays internet dance music. Since 2014, Juha has been artistic director of Lighthouse in Brighton, uniting the worlds of culture and technology. In 2012, Juha won De Hallen Curatorial Scholarship for his proposal ‘DREAD - The Dizziness of Freedom’, resulting in an exhibition, festival and an accompanying book. As of 2016, Juha presents Viral Radio on ResonanceEXTRA, a monthly two-hour programme following new developments deep down the rabbit hole of internet music culture. SHALT (DJ) British DJ and producer SHALT released the EP 'Acheron' earlier this year on The Astral Plane. Described by The FADER as “thrilling in its lurches and ripples, too melodic and rhythmic to be noise, too prickly and unpredictable to be labeled straight-up dance music”, the EP explores the idea and effects of prolonging individual lives by technological means in relation to the sense of self and of being human. SHALT’s upcoming release, 'Inertia', is a larger-than-life slab of harsh electronics, hook-like riffs and knife’s edge sound design. SHALT has also produced edits of tracks by Kid Smpl, Rizzla, Tim Hecker and Lotic. SHYGIRL + SEGA BODEGA (live) Shygirl is south London vocalist, lyricist and merchant of mysteries, bars for the Sydenham skets, poetry for the lonely ones at the front of the bus - hoods up, tears streaming down. From the leafy suburbs with bloodstained concrete right out to the rest of the fucking planet. Watch yourself. Sega Bodega creates music equally fit for the club as for the movie theatre. The Glaswegian producer presents a monthly soundtrack series on London’s NTS Radio, pitting re-composed film scores head to head with emo-dancefloor ballads. Sega Bodega’s music is cinematic and emotionally weighty — 'Sportswear' EP, released last year on Activia Benz, is a suite of lush, emotional club tracks accompanied by a made-to-order tracksuit. Sega Bodega is also one half of duo Y1640 (with french producer coucou chloé) and has recently worked with rapper Mikey Dollaz and experimental electronic group WWWINGS. WARTONE (DJ) Wartone is a regular feature of Amsterdam’s underground club scene, presenting a series of parties that have featured Lisbent, Why Be, Toxe, Mechatok and The Punishment of Luxury, among others. Wartone co-curated NTS Radio’s Unthinkable show with J. G. Biberkopf, examining ideas and theories across platforms, and was featured on Wasabi Tapes’ '美しい (UTSUKUSHII)' compilation alongside artists such as Ssaliva, Niclas, Brood Ma and Malibu; tracks have also cropped up in mixes by Tropical Waste, YYAA Recordings and NODE. FREE ENTRANCE BEFORE 21:00 HRS Progress Bar S02E03 Date: Saturday 17 December 2016 Venue: Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin Amsterdam Times: 21:00–04:00 (doors open 20:30) Ticket sale starts Wednesday 19 October €10,00 presale / €12,50 at the door (card only) http://bit.ly/2eQRLWK Free for Subbacultcha! members until midnight. Become a member: http://bit.ly/subbajoin Attend on Facebook First up: Progress Bar 19 November (with Dedekind Cut, Jam City, Juha, patten en Sky H1).

What Is Dark Ecology?

Monday 7 November 13:21

RESEARCH SERIES #26 In this essay, which draws on his book Dark Ecology, For a Logic of Coexistence, Timothy Morton — who originally coined the term dark ecology — explains what dark ecology is. He also argues how agrilogistics underpins our ecological crisis and our view of the world. This essay forms part of Living Earth – Field Notes from Dark Ecology Project 2014 – 2016. The publication Living Earth is available now at www.sonicacts.com/shop. Lighten up: dark ecology does not mean heavy or bleak; it is strangely light.

Progress means: humanity emerges from its spellbound state no longer under the spell of progress as well, itself nature, by becoming aware of its own indigenousness to nature and by halting the mastery over nature through which nature continues its mastery. — Theodor Adorno
Dark is dangerous. You can’t see anything in the dark, you’re afraid. Don’t move, you might fall. Most of all, don’t go into the forest. And so we have internalized this horror of the dark. — Hélène Cixous
The ecological era we find ourselves in — whether we like it or not, and whether we recognise it or not — makes necessary a searching revaluation of philosophy, politics and art.The very idea of being ‘in’ an era is in question. We are ‘in’ the Anthropocene, but that era is also ‘in’ a moment of far longer duration.

What is the present? How can it be thought? What is presence? Ecological awareness forces us to think and feel at multiple scales, scales that disorient normative concepts such as ‘present’, ‘life’, ‘human’, ‘nature’, ‘thing’, ‘thought’ and ‘logic’. I shall argue there are layers of attunement to ecological reality more accurate than what is habitual in the media, in the academy and in society at large.

These attunement structures are necessarily weird, a precise term that we shall explore in depth. Weirdness involves the hermeneutical knowingness belonging to the practices that the Humanities maintain. The attunement, which I call ecognosis, implies a practical yet highly nonstandard vision of what ecological politics could be. In part ecognosis involves realising that nonhumans are installed at profound levels of the human — not just biologically and socially but in the very structure of thought and logic. Coexisting with these nonhumans is ecological thought, art, ethics and politics.

We can trace the ecological crisis to a logistical ‘programme’ that has been running unquestioned since the Neolithic. Ecological reality requires an awareness that at first has the characteristics of tragic melancholy and negativity, concerning coexisting inextricably with a host of entities that surround and penetrate us; but which evolves paradoxically into an anarchic, comedic sense of coexistence. Ecological awareness has the form of a loop. In this loop we become aware of ourselves as a species—a task far more difficult than it superficially appears. We also grow familiar with a logistics of human social, psychic and philosophical space, a twelve-thousand-year set of procedures that resulted in the very global warming that it was designed to fend off. The logistics represses a paradoxical realm of human– nonhuman relations. The realm contains trickster-like beings that have a loop form, which is why ecological phenomena and awareness have a loop form. The growing familiarity with this state of affairs is a manifestation of dark ecology. Dark ecology begins in darkness as depression. It traverses darkness as ontological mystery. It ends as dark sweetness.

A bear monument in Nikel. Photo by Annette Wolfsberger, 2015.
I The Arctic Russian town of Nikel looks horrifying at first, like something out of Tarkovsky’s Stalker, only on bad acid. A forest devastated by a nickel smelting factory. Soviet buildings stark and bleak. Mounds of garbage sitting on hills of slag. A solitary tree, last of the pines destroyed by the sulphur dioxide. We were a small group of musicians, artists and writers. We had travelled there in late 2014 to start a three- year art and research project called Dark Ecology.

Then Nikel becomes rather sad and melancholic. A collection of broken things. Past things. Garages repurposed as homes. Broken metal structures in which people are living. Holding on to things for no reason. Peeling paint tells stories of decisions and indecisions and non-decisions.

And then for some strange reason it becomes warm. There is a Palace of Culture, full of wonderful kitschy communist art, Terry Gilliam sculpture-like lampshades, hauntingly luminous pale blues, pinks and yellows, the building grooving as hard as a Tibetan stupa. And on the outskirts the reality of death is so explicit. It’s a charnel ground almost identical to the one on Mount Kailash, another very friendly place where offerings (or are they huge piles of garbage?) litter the space at the top and nuns meditate in a land strewn with bits of corpses like an emergency room. People are dying, or are they going to live, or are they already dead? There is a lot of blood, severing and severed limbs. A lot of care.

It’s even a little bit funny. A drag queen poses for a photographer outside a metallic building. Some kind of joy is here. The demons and ghosts aren’t demons or ghosts. They are faeries and sprites.

II What is dark ecology?1 It is ecological awareness, dark- depressing. Yet ecological awareness is also dark-uncanny. And strangely it is dark-sweet. Nihilism is always number one in the charts these days. We usually don’t get past the first darkness, and that’s if we even care.

What thinks dark ecology? Ecognosis, a riddle. Ecognosis is like knowing, but more like letting-be-known. It is something like coexisting. It is like becoming accustomed to something strange, yet it is also becoming accustomed to strangeness that doesn’t become less strange through acclimation. Ecognosis is like a knowing that knows itself. Knowing in a loop; a weird knowing. Weird from the Old Norse, urth, meaning twisted, in a loop.2 The Norns entwine the web of fate with itself; Urðr is one of the Norns.3 The term weird can mean causal: the spool of fate is winding. The less well-known noun weird means destiny or magical power, and by extension the wielders of that power, the Fates or Norns.4 In this sense weird is connected with worth, not the noun but the verb, which has to do with happening or becoming.5

Weird: a turn or twist or loop, a turn of events. The milk turned sour. She had a funny turn. That weather was a strange turn-up for the book. Yet weird can also mean strange of appearance.6 That storm cloud looks so weird. She is acting weird. The milk smells weird. Global weirding.

In the term weird there flickers a dark pathway between causality and the aesthetic dimension, between doing and appearing, a pathway that dominant Western philosophy has blocked and suppressed. Now the thing about seeming is that seeming is never quite as it seems. Appearance is always strange.

Though the web of fate is so often invoked in tragedy, that default agricultural mode, words such as weird and faerie evoke the animistic world within the concept of the web of fate itself. We Mesopotamians have never left the Dreaming. So little have we moved that even when we thought we were awakening we had simply gathered more tools for understanding that this was in fact a lucid dream, even better than before.

Ecological awareness is weird: it has a twisted, looping form. Since there is no limit to the scope of ecological beings (biosphere, Solar System) we can infer that all things have a loop form. Ecological awareness is a loop because human interference has a loop form, because ecological and biological systems are loops. And ultimately this is because to exist at all is to assume the form of a loop. The loop form of beings means we live in a universe of finitude and fragility, a world in which objects are suffused and surrounded by mysterious hermeneutical clouds of unknowing. It means that the politics of coexistence are always contingent, brittle and flawed, so that in the thinking of interdependence at least one being must be missing.

What kind of weirdness are we talking about? Weird weirdness. Weird means strange of appearance; weirdness means the turning of causality. There are many kinds of loops. There are positive feedback loops that escalate the potency of the system in which they are operating. Antibiotics versus bacteria. Farmers versus soil, creating the Dust Bowl in the Midwestern United States in the 1930s. Such loops are common in human ‘command and control’ approaches to environmental management and they result in damage to the ecosystem.7 Some of them are unintended: consider the decimation of bees in the second decade of the twenty-first century brought on by the use of pesticides that drastically curtail pollination.8 Such unintended consequences are weirdly weird in the sense that they are uncanny, unexpected fallout from the myth of progress: for every seeming forward motion of the drill bit there is a backwards gyration, an asymmetrical contrary motion.

Then there are the negative feedback loops that cool down the intensity of positive feedback loops. Think of thermostats and James Lovelock’s Gaia. There are phasing loops. We encounter them in beings such as global warming, beings that are temporally smeared in such a way that they come in and out of phase with human temporality.9

Yet there is another loop, the dark-ecological loop. Ecognosis is a strange loop. A strange loop is a loop in which two levels that appear utterly separate flip into one another. Consider the dichotomy between moving and being still. In Lewis Carroll’s haunting story, Alice tries to leave the Looking Glass House. She sets off through the front garden yet she finds herself returning to the front door via that very movement.10 A strange loop is weirdly weird: a turn of events that has an uncanny appearance. And this defines emerging ecological awareness occurring to ‘civilized’ people at this moment.

III The Anthropocene is the moment at which we humans begin to realise that the correct way to understand ourselves as a species is as a hyperobject. This is a truly non-racist and non-speciesist way of thinking species, which otherwise is a problematically teleological concept: ducks are for swimming, Greeks are for enslaving non-Greeks...that’s the traditional Aristotelian mode in which we think species. In a twisted way it’s fortunate that the Anthropocene happened, because it enables us to drop the teleology yet preserve the notion of species, upgraded from something that we can point to directly (these beings rather than those beings). The Anthropocene enables us to think at Earth magnitude. Unless we try this, unless we endeavour to think the concept species differently, which is to say think humankind as a planetary totality without the soppy and oppressive universalism and difference erasure that usually implies, we will have ceded an entire scale—the scale of the biosphere, no less—to truly hubristic technocracy, whose ‘Just let us try this’ rhetoric masks the fact that when you ‘try’ something at a general enough level of a system, you are not trying but doing and changing, for good.

The concept of species, upgraded from the absurd teleological and metaphysical concepts of old, is not anthropocentric at all. Because it is via this concept, which is open, porous, flickering, distant from what is given to my perception, that the human is decisively deracinated from its pampered, ostensibly privileged place set apart from all other beings.11

Anthropocene’ is the first fully anti-anthropocentric concept.

The Anthropocene is an anti-anthropocentric concept because it enables us to think the human species not as an ontically given thing I can point to, but as a hyperobject that is real yet inaccessible.12 Computational power has enabled us to think and visualise things that are ungraspable by our senses or by our quotidian experience. We live on more timescales than we can grasp.

We are faced with the task of thinking at temporal and spatial scales that are unfamiliar, even monstrously gigantic. Perhaps this is why we imagine such horrors as nuclear radiation in mythological terms. Take Godzilla, who appears to have grown as awareness of hyperobjects such as global warming has taken hold. Having started at a relatively huge fifty metres, by 2014 he had grown to a whopping one hundred and fifty metres tall.13 Earth magnitude is bigger than we thought, even if we have seen the NASA ‘Earthrise’ photos, which now look like charming and simplistic relics of an age in which human hubris was still mostly unnoticed; relics of, precisely, a ‘space age’ that evaporates in the age of giant nonhuman places. We have gone from having ‘the whole world in our hands’ and ‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke’ to realising that the whole world, including ‘little’ us, is in the vice-like death grip of a gigantic entity—ourselves as the human species. This uncanny sense of existing on more than one scale at once has nothing to do with the pathos of cradling a beautiful blue ball in the void.

IV Global warming is a symptom of industrialisation and industrialisation is a symptom of massively accelerated agriculture. Of what is this acceleration a symptom? We could say that it was capitalism, but that would be circular: accelerating agriculture and subsequent industrialisation are symptoms of capitalism, not to mention existing forms of communism. So we are looking for the problem of which these things are symptoms. What is it? Why, if so influential, is it so hard to point to?

Two reasons: it is everywhere, and it is taboo to mention it. You could be labelled a primitivist even for bringing it up. Yet foundational Axial (agricultural) Age stories narrate the origin of religion as the beginning of agricultural time: an origin in sin. The texts are almost shockingly explicit, so it’s strange we don’t think to read them that way. Pretty much out loud, they say that religion as such (was there ‘religion’ beforehand?) was founded in and as impiety. We witness the extraordinary spectacle of ‘religion’ itself talking about itself as a reflective, reflexive loop of sin and salvation, with escalating positive feedback loops. Like agriculture.

There’s a monster in the dark mirror and you are a cone in one of its eyes. When you are sufficiently creeped out by the human species you see something even bigger than the Anthropocene looming in the background, hiding in plain sight. What on Earth is this structure that looms even larger than the age of steam and oil? Isn’t it enough that we have to deal with cars and drills? It is the machine that is agriculture as such, a machine that predates Industrial Age machinery. Before the web of fate began to be woven on a power loom, machinery was already whirring away.

The term agrilogistics names a specific logistics of agriculture that arose in the Fertile Crescent and that is still plowing ahead. Logistics, because it is a technical, planned, and perfectly logical approach to built space. Logistics, because it proceeds without stepping back and rethinking the logic. A viral logistics, eventually requiring steam engines and industry to feed its proliferation.14

Agrilogistics: an agricultural programme so successful that it now dominates agricultural techniques planet-wide. The programme creates a hyperobject, global agriculture: the granddaddy hyperobject, the first one made by humans, and one that has sired many more. Toxic from the beginning to humans and other lifeforms, it operates blindly like a computer program.

Agrilogistics promises to eliminate fear, anxiety and contradiction—social, physical and ontological—by establishing thin rigid boundaries between human and nonhuman worlds and by reducing existence to sheer quantity. Though toxic it has been wildly successful because the program is deeply compelling. Agrilogistics is the smoking gun behind the (literally) smoking gun responsible for the Sixth Mass Extinction Event.

The humanistic analytical tools we currently possess are not capable of functioning at a scale appropriate to agrilogistics because they are themselves compromised products of agrilogistics. The nature–culture split we persist in using is the result of a nature–agriculture split (colo, cultum pertains to growing crops). This split is a product of agrilogistical subroutines, establishing the necessarily violent and arbitrary difference between itself and what it ‘conquers’ or delimits. Differences aside the confusions and endlessly granular distinctions arising therefrom remain well within agrilogistical conceptual space.15

V Agrilogistics arose as follows. About 12,500 years ago a climate shift experienced by hunter-gatherers as a catastrophe pushed humans to find a solution to their fear concerning where the next meal was coming from. It was the very end of an Ice Age, the tail end of a glacial period. A drought lasting more than a thousand years compelled humans to travel farther. It happened that in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia, barley and wheat were growing wild beneath the trees. The same can be said for rice growing in China, corn, squash and beans growing in America, and sorghum and yam in Africa. Significantly, the taro of New Guinea is hard to harvest and low in protein, not to mention hard to plant (you have to plant taro one by one), and so the farmers in the highlands never ‘advanced’ from hunter- gathering. The taro cannot be broadcast. Incidentally, so many terms from agrilogistics have become terms in media (field among them), not to mention the development of that very significant medium, writing. How we write and what we write and what we think about writing can be found within agrilogistics.

Humans in Mesopotamia established villages with granaries. The storage and selection of grain pushed the harvested plants to evolve. Humans selected grain for its tastiness, ease of harvesting and other criteria favoured by the agrilogistical program. Scaled up the evolutionary pressure was substantial. Nine thousand years ago humans began to domesticate animals to mitigate seasonal variations in game, a modification to the agrilogistical programme that kept it in existence.16 Several agrilogistical millennia later, domesticated animals far outweigh (literally again) the number of non-domesticated ones. Humans represent roughly 32% of vertebrate biomass. The other 65% is creatures we keep to eat. Vertebrate wildlife counts for less than 3%.17 The term cattle speaks to this immensity and to a too-easy ontology humming away in its background.

Miserable social conditions were the almost immediate consequence of the inception of agrilogistics yet the virus persisted like an earworm or a chair, no matter how destructive to the humans who had devised it.18 Private property emerged based on settled ownership and use of land, a certain house and so on. This provided the nonhuman basis of the contemporary concept of self no matter how much we want to think ourselves out of that. Agrilogistics led rapidly to patriarchy, the impoverishment of all but a very few, a massive and rigid social hierarchy, and feedback loops of human–nonhuman interaction such as epidemics.19

The human hyperobject (the human as geophysical species) became a machine for the generation of hyperobjects. Precisely because of the sharp imbalance between the ‘civilisation’ concept and actually existing social space (which was never fully human), agrilogistics itself having produced this difference, ‘civilisations’ (the human structures of agrilogistical retreat) are inherently fragile.

Living Earth cover photo by Rosa Menkman, 2015.
VI Three axioms provide the logical structure of agrilogistics:

(1) The Law of Noncontradiction is inviolable.

(2) Existing means being constantly present.

(3) Existing is always better than any quality of existing.

We begin with Axiom (1). There is no good reason for it. There are plenty of ways to violate this law, otherwise we wouldn’t need a rule. This means that Axiom (1) is a prescriptive statement disguised as a descriptive one. Formulated rightly Axiom (1) states, Thou shalt not violate the Law of Noncontradiction. Axiom (1) works by excluding (undomesticated) lifeforms that aren’t part of your agrilogistical project. These lifeforms are now defined as pests if they scuttle about or weeds if they appear to the human eye to be inanimate and static. Such categories are highly unstable and extremely difficult to manage.20

Axiom (1) also results in the persistent charm of the Easy Think Substance. Agrilogistical ontology, formalised by Aristotle, supposes a being to consist of a bland lump of whatever decorated with accidents. It’s the Easy Think Substance because it resembles what comes out of an Easy Bake Oven, a children’s toy. Some kind of brown featureless lump emerges, which one subsequently decorates with sprinkles.

The lump ontology evoked in Axiom (1) implies Axiom (2): to exist is to be constantly present, or the metaphysics of presence. Correctly identified by deconstruction as inimical to thinking future coexistence, the metaphysics of presence is intimately bound up with the history of global warming. Here is the field, I can plough it, sow it with this or that or nothing, farm cattle, yet it remains constantly the same. The entire system is construed as constantly present, rigidly bounded, separated from nonhuman systems. This appearance of hard separation belies the obvious existence of beings who show up ironically to maintain it. Consider the cats and their helpful culling of rodents chewing at the corn.21 The ambiguous status of cats is not quite the ‘companion species’ Haraway thinks through human coexistence with dogs.22 Within agrilogistical social space cats stand for the ontological ambiguity of lifeforms and indeed of things at all. Cats are a neighbour species.23 Too many concepts are implied in the notion of ‘companion’. The penetrating gaze of a cat is used as the gaze of the extra-terrestrial alien because cats are the intra-terrestrial alien.

The agrilogistical engineer must strive to ignore the cats as best as he (underline he) can. If that doesn’t work he is obliged to kick them upstairs into deity status. Meanwhile he asserts instead that he could plant anything in this agrilogistical field and that underneath it remains the same field. A field is a substance underlying its accidents: cats happen, rodents happen, even wheat happens; the slate can always be wiped clean. Agrilogistical space is a war against the accidental. Weeds and pests are nasty accidents to minimise or eliminate.

Agrilogistical existing means being there in a totally uncomplicated sense. No matter what the appearances might be, essence lives on. Ontologically as much as socially, agrilogistics is immiseration. Appearance is of no consequence. What matters is knowing where your next meal is coming from no matter what the appearances are. Without paying too much attention to the cats, you have broken things down to pure simplicity and are ready for Axiom (3):

(3) Existing is always better than any quality of existing.

Actually we need to give it its properly anthropocentric form:

(3) Human existing is always better than any quality of existing.

Axiom (3) generates an Easy Think Ethics to match the Easy Think Substance, a default utilitarianism hardwired into agrilogistical space. The Easy Think quality is evident in how the philosophy teacher in Stoppard’s Darkside describes the minimal condition of happiness: being alive instead of dead.24 Since existing is better than anything, more existing must be what we Mesopotamians should aim for. Compared with the injunction to flee from death and eventually even from the mention of death, everything else is just accidental. No matter whether I am hungrier or sicker or more oppressed, underlying these phenomena my brethren and I constantly regenerate, which is to say we refuse to allow for death. Success: humans now consume about 40 percent of Earth’s productivity.25 The globalisation of agrilogistics and its consequent global warming have exposed the flaws in this default utilitarianism, with the consequence that solutions to global warming simply cannot run along the lines of this style of thought.26

VII The Philosopher Derek Parfit observes that under sufficient spatiotemporal pressure Easy Think Ethics fails. Parfit was trying to think about what to do with pollution, radioactive materials and the human species. Imagine trillions of humans, spread throughout the galaxy. Exotic addresses aside all the humans are living at what Parfit calls the bad level, not far from Agamben’s idea of bare life.27 Trillions of nearly dead people, trillions of beings like the Musselmäner in the concentration camps, zombies totally resigned to their fate. This will always be absurdly better than billions of humans living in a state of bliss.28 Because more people is better than happier people. Because bliss is an accident, and existing is a substance. Easy Think Ethics. Let’s colonise space—that’ll solve our problem! Let’s double down! Now we know that it doesn’t even take trillions of humans spread throughout the Galaxy to see the glaring flaw in agrilogistics. It only takes a few billion operating under agrilogistical algorithms at Earth magnitude.

To avoid the consequences of the last global warming, humans devised a logistics that has resulted in global warming.

The concept Nature isn’t only untrue; it’s responsible for global warming! Nature is defined within agrilogistics as a harmonious periodic cycling. Conveniently for agrilogistics, Nature arose at the start of the geological period we call the Holocene, a period marked by stable Earth system fluctuations.29 One might argue that Nature is an illusion created by an accidental collaboration between the Holocene and agrilogistics: unconscious, and therefore liable to be repeated and prolonged like a zombie stumbling forwards. Like Oedipus meeting his father on the crossroads, the cross between the Holocene and agrilogistics has been fatally unconscious.

Nature is best imagined as the feudal societies imagined it, a pleasingly harmonious periodic cycling embodied in the cycle of the seasons, enabling regular anxiety-free prediction of the future. Carbon dioxide fluctuated in a harmonious-seeming cycle for 12,000 years—until it didn’t.30 We Mesopotamians took this coincidence to be a fact about our world, and called it Nature. The smooth predictability allowed us to sustain the illusion. Think of how when we think of nonhumans we reminisce nostalgically for a less deviant-seeming moment within agrilogistics, such as fantasies of a feudal worldview: cyclic seasons, regular rhythms, tradition. This is just how agrilogistics feels—at first. The ecological value of the term Nature is dangerously overrated, because Nature isn’t just a term—it’s something that happened to human built space, demarcating human systems from Earth systems. Nature as such is a twelve-thousand-year-old human product, geological as well as discursive. Its wavy elegance was eventually revealed as inherently contingent and violent, as when in a seizure one’s brain waves become smooth.31. Wash-rinse-repeat the agrilogistics and suddenly we reach a tipping point.

The Anthropocene doesn’t destroy Nature. The Anthropocene is Nature in its toxic nightmare form. Nature is the latent form of the Anthropocene waiting to emerge as catastrophe.

VIII Let’s now explore another key term, the arche-lithic, a primordial relatedness of humans and nonhumans that has never evaporated. Bruno Latour argues that we have never been modern. But perhaps we have never been Neolithic. And in turn this means that the Palaeolithic, adore it or demonise it, is also a concept that represses the shimmering of the arche-lithic within the very agrilogistical structures that strive to block it completely. We Mesopotamians never left the hunter-gathering mind.

What is required to remember is that this is a weird essentialism.

Earth isn’t just a blank sheet for the projection of human desire: the desire loop is predicated on entities (Earth, coral, clouds) that also exist in loop form in relation to one another and in relation to humans. We are going to have to rethink what a thing is. We require a Difficult Think Thing. That I claim humans exist and made the Anthropocene by drilling into rock does indeed make me an essentialist. However, if we must attune to the Difficult Think Thing, such a thing wouldn’t cleave to the Law of Noncontradiction, agrilogistical Axiom (1). Which in turn implies that while beings are what they are (essentialism) they are not constantly present. Demonstrating this would constitute a weird essentialism in the lineage of Luce Irigaray, whose project has been to break the Law of Noncontradiction so as to liberate beings from patriarchy.32

As a performance of not seeming an idiot in theory class one is obliged to convey something like, ‘Well of course, I’m not an essentialist’ (make disgusted face here). Compare the ridicule that greets the idea of creating social spaces that are not agrilogistical (so not traditionally capitalist, communist or feudal). Such reactions are themselves agrilogistical. Both assume that to have a politics is to have a one-size-fits-all Easy Think concept. If you don’t, you are called a primitivist or an anarchist, both derogatory terms, and deemed unserious. Or you want to regress to some utopian state that ‘we couldn’t possibly even imagine’. ‘Of course, I’m not advocating that we actually try a social space that includes nonhumans in a noncoercive and nonutilitarian mode.’ Or its inverse, ridiculing ‘civilisation’: insisting that humans should ‘return’ to a pre-agrilogistical existence (John Zerzan, archivist of the Unabomber Ted Kaczinski). ‘Eliminate the evil loops of the human stain. Anyone with prosthetic devices such as glasses is suspect.’33 Once one has deconstructed civilisation into agrilogistical retreat it is tempting to think this way. But imagine the Year Zero violence of actually trying to get rid of intellectuality, reflection, desire, whatever we think is a source of evil, so we can feel right and properly ecological. The assertion that this problem has something to do with ‘domestication’—which is how Zerzan and others frame it—avoids the genuine agrilogistical problem. ‘Domestication’ is a term from some kind of fall narrative: once upon a time, we let things be wild, but then we took some into our homes and unleashed evil. Neanderthals lived in homes. Primates make beds of leaves. Dogs were fused with humans hundreds of thousands of years ago. ‘Domestication’ is a canard that is itself agrilogistical, straight out of a theistic fall narrative.

The question of origins is complicated by the way in which that question is contaminated in advance by agrilogistics. We need to figure out how we fell for it, in order not to keep retweeting it. What seems to be the case is that a default paranoia about existing—an ontological uncertainty —was covered over as a survival mechanism, and the compelling, almost addictive qualities of that mechanism of covering-over has provided enough ontological comfort, until very recently, so as to go unexamined.

IX To think in this new-old way, we will need to restructure logic. Nietzsche argues that logic itself is ‘the residue of a metaphor’.34 Despite the concept of logic ‘as bony, foursquare, and transposable as a die’, logic is saturated with fossilised social directives. Hegel had an inkling of this when he distinguished between logic and thinking, that is to say between the mind’s movement and the manipulation of preformatted thoughts. Nietzsche asserts that language is caught up in the caste system—and let’s not forget that that system is a direct product of agrilogistics. With uncanny insight, Nietzsche himself seems to confirm this when he then asserts that logic as such is a symptom of caste hierarchies. Without doubt, these hierarchies oppress most humans. The human caste system, itself a product of agrilogistics, sits on top of a fundamental caste distinction between humans and nonhumans, a founding distinction wired into the implicit logic of agrilogistics.35

Recall, furthermore, that some of the most common words for thinking and apprehension—gather, glean—derive from agriculture.36 What is required is no less than a logic that is otherwise than agrilogistical. A logic that is fully eco-logical. If you want ecological things to exist—ecological things like humans, meadows, frogs and the biosphere—you have to allow them to violate the logical ‘Law’ of Noncontradiction and its niece, the Law of the Excluded Middle. If we don’t, then it won’t be possible to explain the existence of vague, heap-like beings such as lifeforms and ecosystems, because they are not entirely self-identical.

According to the rigid agrilogistical logic format, there is no single, independent, definable point at which a meadow (for example) stops being a meadow. So there are no meadows. They might as well be car parks waiting to happen. And since by the same logic there are no car parks either, it doesn’t really matter if I build one on this meadow. Can you begin to see how the logical Law of Noncontradiction enables me to eliminate ecological beings both in thought and in actual physical reality? The Law of Noncontradiction was formulated by Aristotle, in section Gamma of his Metaphysics. It’s strange that we still carry this old law around in our heads, never thinking to prove it formally. According to the Law of Noncontradiction, being true means not contradicting yourself. You can’t say p and not-p at the very same time. You can’t say a meadow is a meadow and is not a meadow. Yet this is what is required, unless you want meadows not to exist.

X First peoples don’t live in holistic harmony without anxiety; they coexist anxiously in fragile, flawed clusters among other beings such as axes and horses, rain and spectres, without a father sky god or god-king. Yet because anxiety is still readily available—because agrilogistics has far from eliminated it— the divergence is an unstable, impermanent construct. We glimpse the space of the arche-lithic, not some tragically lost Palaeolithic. The arche-lithic is a possibility space that flickers continually within, around, beneath and to the side of the periods we have artificially demarcated as Neolithic and Palaeolithic. The arche-lithic is not the past.

The arche-lithic mind is immersed in a non-totalisable host of patterns that cannot be bounded in advance: lifeforms, ghosts, phantasms, zombies, visions, tricksters, masks. The idea that we might be deceived is intrinsic to the agrilogistical virus. The possibility of pretence haunts arche-lithic ‘cultures’ of magic as a structurally necessary component of that culture: ‘The real skill of the practitioner [of magic] lies not in skilled concealment but in the skilled revelation of skilled concealment.’37 (I must put ‘culture’ in quotation marks because the term is hopelessly agrilogistical.) Skepticism and faith might not be enemies in every social configuration. In arche-lithic space they might be weirdly intertwined.

There is an ontological reason why the play of magic involves epistemological panic giving rise to hermeneutical spirals of belief and disbelief. The dance of concealing and revealing happens because reality as such just does have a magical, flickering aspect. It is as if there is an irreducible, story-like hermeneutical web that plays around and within all things. An irreducible uncertainty, not because things are unreal, but because they are real.

XI What the Law of Noncontradiction polices most is the profound ambiguity and causal force of the aesthetic dimension. The aesthetic has been kept safe from something that looks too much like telepathic influence, though that is strictly what it is if telepathy is just passion at a distance.38 Right now, visualise the Mona Lisa in the Louvre — see what I mean? Something not in your ontic vicinity is exerting causal pressure on you. So the aesthetic and its beauties are policed and purged of the ‘enthusiastic’, buzzy, vibratory (Greek, enthuein) energies that shimmer around its fringe, forever turning beauty into something slightly strange, even ‘disgusting’ (at least at the edges) insofar as it can’t shake off its material embodiment, shuddery, rich, affective and effective.

This telepathic Force-like zone of nonhuman energy keeps nuzzling at the edge of modern thought and culture, as if with enough relaxed religious inhibitions and enough enjoyable products humans default to the arche-lithic.

There is something profound and perhaps disturbing about the aesthetic–causal dimension. And about life: ‘life’ is not the opposite of death. The homology between cancer cells and embryo growth bears this out. The only difference is that an embryo becomes shapely through another death process, apoptosis: the dying-away of superfluous cells. There is no final resting spot: there is always something excessive about the pattern.39 Life is an ambiguous spectral ‘undead’ quivering between two types of death: the machination of the death drive and the dissolution of physical objects.

And going down a level, this is because of the structure of how things are. Being and appearing are deeply, inextricably intertwined, yet different. This means that beings are themselves strange loops, the very loops that ecological awareness reminds us of. Much philosophical and cultural muscle has been put into getting rid of these loops, which are often decried as narcissistic, because they are self-relating, self-referential. But what is required for caring for nonhumans is precisely an extension of what is called narcissism! So attacking narcissism is something dark ecology won’t do: ‘What is called non-narcissism is in general but the economy of a much more welcoming, hospitable narcissism...without a movement of narcissistic reappropriation, the relation to the other would be absolutely destroyed, it would be destroyed in advance’ (Derrida).40

We have to accept the disturbing excess of the aesthetic dimension as an intrinsic part of everything in the universe, and indeed as the part that has to do with causality itself.

XII We think that existence means solid, constant, present existence. It is based on the fantasy that all the parts of me are me: that if you scoop out a piece of me, it has Tim Morton inscribed all over it and within it, just as sticks of English Brighton rock contain a pink word all the way through their deliciously pepperminty tubes. This is not the case. All entities just are what they are, which means that they are never quite as they seem. They are rippling with nothingness. A thing is a strange loop like a Möbius strip, which in topology is called a non-orientable surface. A non-orientable surface lacks an intrinsic back or front, up or down, inside or outside. Yet a Möbius strip is a unique topological object: not a square; not a triangle. Not just a lump of whateverness, or a false abstraction from some goop of oneness. When you trace your finger along a Möbius strip you find yourself weirdly flipping around to another side—which turns out to be the same side. The moment when that happens cannot be detected. The twist is everywhere along the strip. Likewise beings are intrinsically twisted into appearance, but the twist can’t be located anywhere.

So things are like the ouroboros, the self-swallowing snake. The Norse myth is pertinent: when Jörmungandr, the Midgard Serpent, stops sucking its own tail this is the beginning of Ragnarok, the apocalyptic battle. Agrilogistics has been a constant process of trying to un-loop the loop form of things. Finally to rid of the world of weirdness is impossible, as is devising a metalanguage that would slay self-reference forever. Violent threats can be made: ‘Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.’41 You are either with us or against us. Torture isn’t an argument any more than kicking a pebble is, and the threat of torture is no way to display intelligence, let alone proof. The violence of the threat is in proportion to the impossibility of actually ridding the world of contradiction. Beating and burning, something done to cattle and corn, witches and weeds, is not the same as thinking and arguing. Still, in the margins of agrilogistical thought, we cannot but detect the disturbingly soft rustling of the arche-lithic and its serpentine beings. Beings inherently fragile, like logical systems that contain necessary flaws, like the hamartia of a tragic hero.

The modern upgrade of the Cadmus myth is the idea of progress, for instance, the idea that we have transcended our material conditions. I’m Harold and the Purple Crayon, ‘I am the lizard king, / I can do anything’, ‘I’m the Decider, goo-goo-ga-joob.’42 (Harold and the Purple Crayon is a US children’s character who can draw whatever he likes with his crayon in the void. Say he is drowning: he can draw a boat.) But if things are nonorientable surfaces, philosophy had better get out of the mastery business and into the allergy medicine business. We need philosophical medicine so as not to have allergic reactions before we mow the allergens down and build a parking lot. To remain in indecision.

XIII The more philosophy attunes to ecognosis the more it makes contact with nonhuman beings, one of which is ecognosis itself. The world it discovers is nonsensical yet perfectly logical, and that is funny: the sight of something maniacally deviating from itself in a desperate attempt to be itself should remind us of Bergson’s definition of what makes us laugh.43 And this is because, in a sense, to say ‘Being is suffused with appearing’ is the same as saying being is laughing with appearance. Ants and eagles cause philosophy to get off its high horse and smile, maybe even laugh. The name of this laughter is ecognosis. You begin to smile with your mouth closed. To close the mouth in Greek is muein, whence the term mystery, the exact opposite of mystification.

We find this ecological smile within in the horror, disgust, shame and guilt of ecological awareness itself, because strangely, that joy is the possibility condition for all the other, more reified forms of ecological awareness. It goes like this. We have guilt because we can have shame. We have shame because we can have horror. We have horror because we can have depression. We have depression because we can have sadness. We have sadness because we can have longing. We have longing because we can have joy. Find the joy without pushing away the depression, for depression is accurate.

XIV We live in a reality determined by a one-size-fits-all window of time, a window determined by some humans’ attempts to master anxieties about where their next meal was coming from. As Agrilogistical Axiom (3) states, the logistics of this time window imply that existing is better than any quality of existing. So it’s always better to have billions of people living near to misery, than even millions living in a state of permanent ecstasy. Because of this logic industrial machines were created. The small rigid time tunnel now engulfs a vast amount of Earth’s surface and is directly responsible for much global warming. It’s a depressive solution to anxiety: cone your attention down to about a year—maybe five years if you really plan ‘ahead’. One of the most awful things about depression is that your time window collapses to a diameter of a few minutes into the past and a few minutes into the future. Your intellect is literally killing little you by trying to survive. Like a violent allergic reaction, or spraying pesticides.

We live in a world of objectified depression. So do all the other lifeforms, who didn’t ask to be sucked into the grey concrete time tunnel. No wonder then that we find mass extinction depressing and uncanny.

XV Let’s have more time tunnels of different sizes. Let’s not have a one-size-fits-all time tunnel. Let’s get a bit playful. Which also means, let’s not have a one-size-fits-all politics. We need a politics that includes what appears least political—laughter, the playful, even the silly. We need a multiplicity of different political systems. We need to think of them as toy-like: playful and half-broken things that connect humans and nonhumans with one another. We can never get it perfect. There is no final, correct form that isn’t a toy. There is no one toy to rule them all. And toys aren’t exclusively human or for humans. We don’t have to get back to a mythical time of need as opposed to want. That binary is an agrilogistical artefact, which means that not everything about consumerism is bad, ecologically speaking. There are some ecological chemicals in consumerism, because consumerism provides an ethical pathway for relating to nonhuman beings for no particular reason (that is, for aesthetic reasons). The ecological future is going to be about more playful pleasure for no reason, not less. Think about it this way. I recently switched my power provider to 100% wind. For the first few days I felt efficient and virtuous and pure, until I realised that what was really the case now was that I could have a rave in every single room of my house and do no harm to Earth. Efficiency and sustainability, which is how we talk to ourselves about ecological action, are just artefacts of our oil economy version of agrilogistics. Change the energy system, and all that changes.

Lighten up: dark ecology does not mean heavy or bleak; it is strangely light. Lifeforms play (‘This is a bite and this is not a bite’), because play is structural to reality, because things shimmer.44 A disturbing imbalance and fragility haunts this play in order for it to be play. This is why play isn’t just candy or glue but structural to reality. If you think of (agrilogistical) civilization as normative you have already decided that it is inevitable, and this means that you have decided that agrilogistical retreat is the only way to move across Earth.

XVI The trouble with consumerism isn’t that it sends us into an evil loop of addiction. The trouble is that consumerism is not nearly pleasurable enough.45 The possibility space that enables consumerism contains far more pleasures. Consumerism has a secret side that Marxism is loath to perceive, as Marxism too is caught in the agrilogistical division between need and want. Consumerism is a way of relating to at least one other thing that isn’t me. A thing is how I fantasise it. And yet...I fantasise, not onto a blank screen, but onto an actually existing thing, and in any case my fantasy itself is an independent thing. This thing eludes my grasp even as it appears clearly. You are what you eat. Doesn’t the mantra of consumerism (concocted by Feuerbach and Brillat-Savarin, almost simultaneously) put identity in a loop?46 Doesn’t this formula hide in plain sight something more than (human) desire? That the reason-to-buy is also a relation to an inaccessible yet appearing entity, to wit, what you eat? I imagine what I eat gives me luxury, or freedom, or knowledge. Yet there I am, eating an apple. I coexist. This can’t be! The formula for consumerism kat’ exochēn is underwritten by ecology! What a fantastic loop that is. Once we discover that what is called subjectivity is a cleaned, stripped, devastated version of something much vaguer and more spectral that includes the abjection that the idea of subject is meant to repress, then we are in the phenomenological space of ecological awareness. It is at first horrifying (to white patriarchy), because ecological awareness means noticing that you are profoundly covered in, surrounded by and permeated by all kinds of entities that are not you. That horror then becomes strangely ridiculous, like watching someone trying to escape the inevitable. This sense of the ridiculous is the first hint that at its deepest, ecological awareness has some kind of laughter in it. The laughter of ridicule subsides into a melancholic laughter in which we curate all the nonhumans that surround and permeate us without knowing exactly why, a bit like Wall E, the robot in an ethereal, goth-y realm of (other people’s) toys, like J.F. Sebastian’s apartment in Blade Runner. This not- knowing-why becomes beautiful and we sense the ungraspability of things. This sense in turn leads to a kind of joy. Abjection has been transfigured into what Irigaray calls nearness, a pure givenness in which something is so near that one cannot have it — a fact that obviously also applies to one’s ‘self’.47

Timothy Morton - Dark Ecological Chocolate from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

1. In 2013, Paul Kingsnorth published an essay called ‘Dark Ecology: Searching for Truth in a Post-Green World’ in Orion magazine (January–February 2013). Dark ecology is a term I coined in 2004 and wrote about in Ecology without Nature (2007). 2. Oxford English Dictionary, ‘weird’, adj. http://www.oed.com. 3. S.N. Hagen, ‘On Nornir ‘Fates’, Modern Language Notes, vol. 39, no. 8 (December 1924), pp. 466–69. 4. Oxford English Dictionary, ‘weird’, n. 1.a., 1.b., 2.a. oed.com. 5. Oxford English Dictionary, ‘worth’, v. oed.com. 6. Oxford English Dictionary, ‘weird’, adj. 1, 2.a., 3, oed.com. 7. C.S. Holling and Gary K. Meffe, ‘Command and Control and the Pathology of Natural Resource Management’, Conservation Biology, vol. 10, no. 2 (April 1996), pp. 328–37 8. Michael Wines, ‘Mys- tery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Wor- ry on Farms’, New York Times, 28 March 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/science/earth/soaring-bee-deaths-in-2012-sound-alarm-on-malady.html?pagewanted=all&_ r=0. Brad Plumer, ‘We’ve Covered the World in Pesticides: Is That a Problem?’, Washington Post, 18 August 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonk-blog/wp/2013/08/18/the-world-uses-billions-of-pounds-of-pesticides-each-year-is-that-a-problem. 9. Suzanne Goldenberg, ‘Americans Care Deeply about “Global Warming”—But Not ‘Climate Change’, The Guardian, 27 May 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/27/americans-climate-change-global-warming-yale-report/print, accessed 2 June 2014. 10. Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass in The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition, ed. Martin Gardner, New York: Norton, 2000, p. 157. 11. This idea is occurring to a number of people simultaneously. See for instance Charles C. Mann, ‘State of the Species: Does Success Spell Doom for Homo Sapiens?’, Orion (November–December 2012), http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/7146. 12. I use the term ‘ontic’ as Martin Heidegger uses it in Being and Time, tr. Joan Stambaugh, Albany, N.Y: State University of New York Press, 2010, p. 11. 13. I’m grateful to my talented Ph.D. student Toby Bates for pointing this out. 14. Timothy Morton, Dark Ecology, New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. 15. There are far too many texts to mention, but two reasonably recent ones that have stood out for me have been Geoffrey Hartman, The Fateful Question of Culture, New York: Columbia University Press, 1997; and Terry Eagleton, The Idea of Culture, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. 16. In New Guinea, native pigs can’t plough, so agrilogistics was stymied there again. 17. Jan Zalasiewicz, ‘The Geological Basis for the Anthropocene,’ The History and Politics of the Anthropocene, University of Chicago, 17–18 May 2013. 18. Jared Diamond, ‘The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race’, Discover Magazine (May 1987), pp. 64–66. Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons, New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. He offers a slightly revised discussion in ‘Overpopulation and the Quality of Life’, in Applied Ethics, ed. Peter Singer, New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998. 19. On the patriarchy aspect insofar as it affects philosophy as such, Luce Irigaray is succinct: woman has been taken ‘quoad matrem... in the entire philosophic tradition. It is even one of the conditions of its possibility. One of the necessities, also, of its foundation: it is from (re)productive earth-mother-nature that the production of the logos will attempt to take away its power, by pointing to the power of the beginning(s) in the monopoly of the origin.’ This Sex Which Is Not One, tr. Catherine Porter and Carolyn Burke, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985, p. 102. 20. See, for instance, Pedro Barbosa, ed., Conservation Biological Control, San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1998. 21. Rebecca J. Rosen, ‘How Humans Invented Cats’, The Atlantic, 16 December 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/how-humans-created-cats/282391. Gerry Everding, ‘Cat Domestication Traced to Chinese Farmers 5,300 Years Ago’, Washington University St. Louis Newsroom, 16 December 2013, https://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/26273.aspx. Carlos A. Driscoll, ‘The Taming of the Cat’, Scientific American, vol. 300, no. 6 (June 2009), pp. 68–75. Yaowu Hu et al., ‘Earliest Evidence for Commensal Processes of Cat Domestication’, PNAS, vol. 111, no. 1 (7 January 2014), pp. 116–20. 22. See, for instance, Donna Haraway, When Species Meet, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. 23. For arguments in support of this hypothesis, see Terry O’Connor, Animals as Neighbors: The Past and Present of Commensal Animals, East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2013. 24. Tom Stoppard, Darkside: A Play for Radio Incorporating The Dark Side of the Moon (Parlophone, 2013). 25. Richard Manning, ‘The Oil We Eat’, Harper’s Magazine, 4 February 2004, http://www.wesjones.com/oil-weeat.htm. See Richard Manning, Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization, New York: North Point, 2005. 26. Gardiner, Perfect Moral Storm, pp. 213–45. 27. Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998. 28. Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987, pp. 433–41. 29. It is well accepted that concentrations of O18, an oxygen isotope, track climate stability. O18 concentrations were remarkably stable from the start of agrilogistics until the start of the Anthropocene. 30. Jan Zalasiewicz, presentation at ‘History and Politics of the Anthropocene’, University of Chicago, May 2013. 31. I am grateful to Jan Zalasiewicz for discussing this with me. 32. See also Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa, tr. Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen, Signs, vol. 1, no. 4 (Summer, 1976), pp. 875–93 (882). 33. See, for instance, John Zerzan, ‘The Catastrophe of Post-modernism’, Future Primitive Revisited, Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2012, pp. 64–90. The first demon named is the loop of ‘Consumer narcissism’ (64). In contrast, Neanderthal mind was fully present to itself and to its environment in a pure, non-deviant circularity, compared to which even the pre-Neolithic divisions of labour and cave paintings seem like original sin: ‘Running on Emptiness: The Failure of Symbolic Thought’, Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization, Los Angeles: Feral House, 2002, pp. 1–16 (2–3). 34. Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’, The Nietzsche Reader, ed. Keith Ansell Pearson and Duncan Large, Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, pp. 114–23 (118). 35. Cary Wolfe, What Is Posthumanism?, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. 36. Oxford English Dictionary, ‘gather’, 4.a., b., c.; ‘glean’, v. oed.com: ‘1. To gather or pick up ears of corn which have been left by the reapers.’ 37. Michael Taussig, ‘Viscerality, Faith and Skepticism’, in Birgit Meyer and Peter Pels, eds., Magic and Modernity: Interfaces of Revelation and Concealment, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003, pp. 272–341 (273). 38. See, for instance, Nicholas Royle’s magnificent Telepathy and Literature: Essays on the Reading Mind, Oxford: Blackwell, 1991. 39. George Johnson, ‘A Tumor, the Embryo’s Evil Twin’, New York Times, 17 March 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/science/a-tumor-the-embryos-evil-twin.html?_r=0. 40. Jacques Derrida, ‘There Is No One Narcissism: Autobiophotographies’, Points: Interviews 1974–1994, ed. Elisabeth Weber, tr. Peggy Kamuf et al., Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995, pp. 196–215 (199). 41. Avicenna, Metaphysics I.8, 53.13–15. 42. The Doors, ‘The Celebration of the Lizard’, Absolutely Live (Elektra, 1970). The Beatles, ‘I Am the Walrus’, Magical Mystery Tour (EMI, 1967). 43. Henri Bergson, ‘Laughter’, in Wylie Sypher, ed., and intro., Comedy: ‘An Essay on Comedy’ by George Meredith and ‘Laughter’ by Henri Bergson, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1956, pp. 59 – 190. 44. Gregory Bateson, ‘A Theory of Play and Fantasy’, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, foreword Mary Catherine Bateson, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000, pp. 177 – 93. 45. Kate Soper ‘Alternative Hedonism, Cultural Theory and the Role of Aesthetic Revisioning’, Cultural Studies, vol. 22, no. 5, Taylor and Francis, September 2008, pp. 567–87. 46. Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, tr. Anne Drayton, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970, p. 13. Ludwig Feuerbach, Gesammelte Werke II, Kleinere Schriften, ed. Werner Schuffenhauer, Berlin: Akadamie-Verlag, 1972. 47. Luce Irigaray, This Sex Which Is Not One, tr. Catherine Porter and Carolyn Burke, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985, p. 31.

UNFOLD #3: Reinterpreting the digital

Wednesday 23 November 15:36

UNFOLD #3: Reinterpreting the digital 1 December 2016 at LIMA in Amsterdam LIMA is pleased to announce the third public event within the framework of UNFOLD on 1 December, continuing with the research line mediation by reinterpretation. How to revisit digital and media artworks over time? This evening programme will concentrate on the consequences that are brought about when using the mode of mediation as an act of reinterpretation specifically in digital- and media artworks. The key lecturers will concentrate on the idea of variability; posing concerns about authorship and transparency while taking - often limiting institutional protocols into account. How can we negotiate preservation strategies with regard to these principles? Preserving media artworks is undeniably related to issues of technological obsolescence, networked connectivity and the interactive nature of digital art. A range of elements stretches the boundaries of traditional preservation methods and requires insights from both the artist and the curator to determinate the future viability of re-staging the piece. Most conservation practices are concentrating primarily on authenticity and functionality in relation to the rapid development of browsers, computer hardware and operating systems. How do we deal with the changes of digital or media artworks over time, and how can the performative aspect of a work be preserved? UNFOLD presents and researches reinterpretation not as a strategy that reinvents the originally intended, but rather rethinks it. On December 1st, artists, academics and conservators will revolve around several topics in regard to the reinterpretation of digital art, followed by a panel discussion. Programme: 19:00 - 20:00 - The evening will start with a presentation of the workshop (applications closed) Joost Rekveld and LIMA organised together with Sonic Acts in the context of the UNFOLD research project, in order to create a case study to reflect upon. For more info on the workshop see http://li-ma.nl/site/article/workshop-joost-rekveld-sensory-augmentation-and-obstruction 20:00 - 21:30 lectures by: - Maaike Bleeker, professor of Theatre Studies in the Department of Media & Culture Studies at Utrecht University. - Sanneke Stigter, assistant Professor in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the University of Amsterdam. - Jan Robert Leegte, internet artist. 21:30 - 22:00 - Panel discussion moderated by Katja Kwastek, professor Modern and Contemporary Art at the Faculty of Humanities of VU Amsterdam. 22:00 - Drinks at the LAB111 Bar. For more info & updates, please keep an eye on the Facebook Event. Doors open: 6:30 PM Start: 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM 7.5 / 5 euro (pin only) This project is made possible by the Mondriaan Fund and Creative Industries Fund NL.

The Maryanne Amacher Listening Session

Listening Session: The Maryanne Amacher Archive presents The Mini Sound Series Tuesday 13 December, 20:00 hrs de Appel arts centre, Prins Hendrikkade 142, Amsterdam As legendary as Maryanne Amacher’s work remains, few if any of Amacher’s listeners have been able to experience her variegated body of work as a whole. Amacher’s prescient use of media coupled with her insistence on perceptually anchored situational specificity made the question of documentation and publication of her artistic work complicated, if not moot. Now for the first time as more and more of the materials from the Maryanne Amacher Archive are digitized, the first sketches of an overview of her life's work are on hand. The Listening Session offers a live-annotated audio-outline of moments throughout Maryanne Amacher’s 50 year career, comprised entirely of unpublished audio. The listening session is accompanied by pertinent and likewise unpublished images of scores, notes, and texts selected from the Amacher Archive, presented by Bill Dietz, Amy Cimini & Robert The.

Maryanne Amacher. Photo by Kathy Brew.
Admission: EUR 7,50 (students/CJP EUR 5,00) Buy Ticket The Listening Session is part of ‘The Mini Sound Series’ Seminar, organised by Sonic Acts in collaboration with The Maryanne Amacher Archive, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam & Blank Forms. This event is supported by de Appel arts centre.

Looking Back on The Noise of Being

Friday 3 March 10:30

The Noise of Being A shortish report touching on some of the highlights of the 2017 Sonic Acts Festival, written by a biased insider Arie Altena The Sonic Acts festival opened on Thursday, 23rd February at the Paradiso with a full evening of Vertical Cinema films, but it had actually already started three weeks earlier on the 1st of February. That Wednesday about 60 people convened at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ to travel by coach to St. Jansklooster, 100 kilometres from Amsterdam, the heart of the nature reserve ‘De Wieden’. There, Signe Lidén and Espen Sommer Eide had developed Vertical Studies, a vertical soundscape in the old, 46-metre-tall water tower. The audience, spread out over the spiral staircase inside the tower, experienced a performance with sounds that slowly ascended the tower, and using environmental sounds, took full advantage of the specific characteristics and possibilities of the architecture. The piece was performed several times over the next three weeks, each time with many attentive visitors.

The Noise of Being Exhibition Opening from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Back in Amsterdam Jana Winderen’s new sound piece Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone opened at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ. Outside on the terrace, by the waterside, an array of speakers played a precise composition of field recordings made in the Arctic during the brief plankton bloom in Spring – ecologically a very important event for Earth. Shrieks of seagulls blend in with the sounds of seals, cracking ice, fish, and underwater sounds. Jana Winderen was present and explained her work on the piece over the past two years, and what motivated her – also politically – to make it. That same evening the exhibition The Noise of Being opened in Arti. Five rooms, each with a room-filling installation, each with its own atmosphere, all meticulously produced. Five works by Justin Bennett, Pinar Yoldas, Kate Cooper, Joey Holder, and Zach Blas. Kitty AI by Pinar Yoldas, who uses an Internet or post-Internet aesthetic for her design fictions, might have been the favourite of the younger visitors. Joey Holder’s large installation, which felt like a hospital room, provoked the most questions from the audience. Justin Bennett’s fictional narrative of the Kola Superdeep Borehole Wolf Lake on the Mountains – a remake in installation format of the soundwalk he presented earlier in the year at the Superdeep Borehole near Zapolyarnye in Northwest Russia – seemed to be the overall favourite. Over the weeks I heard many people talking about it enthusiastically. (But that might have been just my friends…) The opening was packed, which meant that probably not all the visitors could enjoy the works fully, as each work demanded and deserved attention and time. Many came back over the next three weeks. So the festival had already begun prior to the opening. On the 8th of February during Taste the Doom I heard a great concert by Eisbein, with Gert-Jan Prins on drums and electronics, and BJ Nilsen playing field recordings; a week later we had an ‘evening with Joey Holder’. Yet, despite all these pre-activities, the opening at the Paradiso truly felt like the opening. (With some added stress for the Sonic Acts team as a storm raged over Western Europe causing many flights to be delayed, and some cancelled. But everyone did make it in time). The opening: a full house for the première of four new Vertical Cinema films, commissioned by Sonic Acts (and partner organisations). With a vertical science documentary on the meteorological research facility in Cabauw by Susan Schuppli, featuring the dizzying perspective of drone footage of the 300-metre-tall tower; a film on the urban and industrial landscape of Murmansk by Lukas Marxt; Karl Lemieux and BJ Nilsen’s almost abstract meditation on empty cities in China; and phenomenal abstract colour play by HC Gilje in his vertical film. The evening continued with Rainer Kohlberger, Roly Porter with MFO, and a screening of two earlier Vertical Cinema films.
Susan Schuppli, 'Atmospheric Feedback Loops' at the opening of Sonic Acts Festival 2017. Photo by Pieter Kers.
As before, this festival was probably more ambitious than the previous edition. For sure it was more ambitious in terms of night programming: three nights this time, and by night I mean after midnight. The first one was on Thursday at De School, located in a former school building far from the city centre in Amsterdam-West. (Conforming to the trend where new and adventurous culture finds a home in the periphery, not in the city centre). My highlight here was the Emptyset performance, which I enjoyed immensely once I started to listen to them as if they were a two-man noise metal band – which they are in a sense. It had been a long day and I only stayed for about 10 minutes of Violence, and not for Aisha Devi and JK Flesh. On Friday the conference kicked-off with a lecture by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi about cultural and political aspects of the face and the covering of the face. Very poignant, nuanced, not offering any simplified solution to any simplified problem. This was followed by Metahaven’s presentation that – though it was very strong and timely – seemed to be ensnared in the issue (timeline occupation by fake news and extreme distraction) it tried to analyse. But maybe that was the point. Erica Scourti performed living in a social media temporality. In the afternoon sessions, Nina Power, Isabell Lorey, and Peter Frase discussed the paradoxes of capitalism, and possible ways to escape from capitalist domination (either in a social or political sense). The first full conference day ended with John Palmesino (on some of the paradoxes of the Anthropocene) and Nathasha Ginwalla. There was an interesting film programme running partly parallel to the conference which I alas missed completely. (I would have loved to see Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s SF documentary Homo Sapiens).
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi at Sonic Acts Festival 2017. Photo by Pieter Kers.
The readout on the counter said: 1354. That’s how many visitors came to the Stedelijk Museum on Friday evening for a full programme of concerts and performances. I decided to start by listening to the first episode of Supreme Connections’ re-interpretation of Maryanne Amacher’s Mini-Sound Series. This was a recreation of an Amacher work, or better, an iteration of how Amacher might have approached making a new work at the Stedelijk, using visual and sounds materials from her archive. Amy Cimini, Keiko Prince, Woody Sullender, Sergei and Stefan Tcherepnin, Kabir Carter, and Bill Dietz – all former collaborators and friends of Amacher – worked in the auditorium and the cellar for more than a week to create this work. The overall effect was very moving, especially because of the way the sounds interacted with the architecture: creating strange and beautiful pockets of sound with physical and emotional impact. All the performers were dressed-up, as if they were channelling Maryanne Amacher. I stayed until the end of the first episode, which meant I was way too late to get into the performance of Jennifer Walshe’s Everything is Important with none other than the Arditti Quartet. I heard it was great and one of the best events at the festival. I also missed Jennifer Walshe’s second performance. I love Microtub’s work, but having heard them before I just dipped into their exploration of microtonality for a few minutes: that room was also packed. I decided to forget about trying to hear everything and simply experience the second episode of the Mini-Sound Series instead, going from the auditorium to the cellar a few times, and revisiting some of my favourite sound spots. The only other performance I caught was Cilantro, subtle free improv noise by Billy Roisz and Angélica Castelló.
Supreme Connections presents: 'Mini-Sound Series' at Sonic Acts Festival 2017. Photo by Pieter Kers.
The night hadn’t ended. Not at all. In fact, in retrospect it seems as if it had only just begun. From 11 pm, Paradiso hosted the Progress Bar with a truly incredible line-up of very contemporary ‘Internet dance music’: wild, diverse and hybrid in all respects. Progress Bar is a series of club nights that has been running for a while now at the Tolhuistuin – and with this XL-edition it has definitely put itself on the map as the most forward-looking club night in Amsterdam. I needed to be fresh for the conference the next morning, so I regret missing out on Nidia Minaj, DJ Earl and Kamixlo – who I would have loved to hear live – but at least I was there for the wild set by My Sword, the show by Flohio, and I did stay till the end of Le1f’s performance which so-to-say ‘blew the roof’ off the Paradiso. The diversity of Progress Bar – with so many genres and cultures in the mix – made it a true party. And that as such is a political statement as well.
Le1f at Sonic Acts Festival 2017. Photo by Pieter Kers.
On Saturday I had two panels to moderate at de Brakke Grond, the venue for the conference. I’ll only briefly mention that I was very happy to see how well Sarah Whatmore’s practical approach to political potency connected to the more philosophical talks by Rick Dolphijn and David Roden. Many people left towards the end of the panel, but this was because they wanted to see Fabrizio Terranova’s documentary about Donna Haraway, which started at 12.00 sharp. Though we hadn’t been able to convince Haraway to speak at Sonic Acts, her ideas were very present at the conference, and the room where the film was shown was completely packed, with many sitting on the floor. After lunch Erika Balsom powerfully and polemically called for a rehabilitation of observation in documentary film, in a world where fake news proliferates. She was followed by Ben Russell, whose films were also screened in the film programme. Helen Verran forced the audience to slow down with her oral account of cultural difference and the encounter with others. At first, this felt a bit irritating – in times of speedy Powerpoints and snappy presentations – but was very effective. Through nuanced repetitions she stressed the respectfulness of the encounter with the other and experimented with negotiating cultural and linguistic difference. The last panel of the day was with Noortje Marres, Jennifer Gabrys, Wendy Chun, and Armen Avanessian. This seemed like a strange combination, with Avanessian, who is often identified as an accellerationist, paired with the political philosophy of Noortje Marres, Jennifer Gabrys, and Wendy Chun’s critical media theory, but it worked. Chun’s talk was most powerfully delivered, and examined the erasure of difference – leading to racism – at the core of network theory. Noortje Marres spoke about street trials and self-driving cars, Jennifer Gabrys about practical experiments in political participation using sensing networks, and Armen Avanessian about the temporality of our ‘postcontemporary times’. In the evening the festival changed its location to the beautiful Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, with a night programme at the Bimhuis. To be honest, by now my head was filled with so many impressions and new ideas that I didn’t feel ready for more, and I decided to ‘take it easy’. I only caught the last 10 minutes of Pierce Warnecke and Matthew Biederman’s audiovisual performance, which was a wonderful ‘classic Sonic Acts work’: electronic music and abstract imagery with a powerful effect on the senses. I was very curious to hear Kara-Lis Coverdale: there was a lot that I found interesting musically, or in terms of composition. For instance, the way she juxtaposed live organ with pure electronic sounds. Sometimes it sounded like music without any reference. Musically it was my highlight of the evening. I did stay longer, even until after midnight, catching a bit of MSHR’s performance with self-built noise machines, and the no-wave of Yeah You at the Bimhuis (great atmosphere), but as I wrote: my head was already full.
Matthew Biederman & Pierce Warnecke, 'Perspection (squared)' at Sonic Acts Festival 2017. Photo by Pieter Kers.
As usual, the conference on Sunday started early in the morning – early for a Sunday, that is – with presentations by two artists who were part of the exhibition in Arti, Zach Blas and Pinar Yoldas, who provided a lot of background to their works. The talks by Daniel Rourke, Ytasha Womack, and Laurie Penny were about speculative fiction, SF, and the imagination: Daniel Rourke zoomed in on monsters, Ytasha Womack celebrated the imagination of Afrofuturism, and Laurie Penny took a powerful feminist stance against the proliferation of misogynistic new fascists (largely based on her piece ‘Fear of a Feminist Future’, published last year in The Baffler). I missed out on the Q&A and the last panel of the conference (with Jamon van den Hoek, Ingrid Burrington and Eyal Weizman) because I had to introduce the film Hyperstition and do the Q&A with Armen Avanessian afterwards. It was definitely a day that was very much about today, and – like the entire conference – about understanding what it means to be human, now. The final event of the festival was a celebration of the composer and musician Martin Bartlett, whose work remained obscure during his lifetime, and also afterwards. Luke Fowler made a documentary film about him, Electro Pythagorus: A Portrait of Martin Bartlett. The film was commissioned by Sonic Acts and the Stedelijk, and premièred at the Brakke Grond. I love the portraits that Luke Fowler makes of musicians and composers, and this one was no exception: a careful consideration of Bartlett’s life and legacy. The evening was also a rare opportunity to hear Martin Bartlett’s music, both in the film, and as mixed by Ernst Karel afterwards: a curious and interesting type of computer music that to my surprise sometimes did sound ahead of its time (considering it was composed in the 1980s and early 1990s). Fowler discussed the film and Bartlett with Amy Cimini. A double 16mm projection was also shown with sound by Richard McMaster, and then the festival was over. (Save for an afterparty, an occasion to catch up some more with old and new friends).

Sonic Acts Festival 2017 - Day 1 - Thursday 23 February from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Sonic Acts Festival 2017 - Day 2 - Friday 24 February from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Sonic Acts Festival 2017 - Day 3 - Saturday 25 February from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.

Announcing the Re-Imagine Europe project

We are very pleased to announce that our project Re-Imagine Europe has been selected for funding by the European Commission’s programme Creative Europe. Re-Imagine Europe is a four-year project presented by ten cultural organisations from across Europe, with an aim to respond to the social and political challenges that we are currently facing. Rising nationalism, climate change and migration are drawing European countries apart, while technological advances continue to change the ways that we interact, urging us to explore new modes of operation. Funded by Creative Europe, the project involves artistic residencies, commissions, workshops and symposia, using art to empower a young generation of digitally connected Europeans to explore new ideas. Re-Imagine Europe is initiated by Sonic Acts (NL) and coordinated by Paradiso (NL) in collaboration with Elevate Festival (AT), Lighthouse (UK), Ina GRM (FR), Student Centre Zagreb / Izlog Festival (HR), Landmark / Bergen Kunsthall (NO), A4 (SK), SPEKTRUM (DE) and Ràdio Web MACBA (ES). More information will follow soon.

Roly Porter & MFO at Sonic Acts Festival 2017. Photo by Pieter Kers.

Videos: The Noise of Being Conference

The 17th edition of Sonic Acts Festival took place in February. Under the title The Noise of Being, the festival revolved around the exploration of what it means to be human in the present time. The festival included a three-day conference at De Brakke Grond in Amsterdam, where internationally renowned artists and thinkers from various disciplines explored and speculated on what being human means in the present time. If you missed the conference (or would like to refresh your memory) you can now watch videos of the presentations and discussions on the Sonic Acts Vimeo channel, or read reports of the conference as part of our Research Series. Watch Nick Axel's panel discussion with John Palmesino and Natasha Ginwala below, and follow the daily reports for many more videos from the conference.

Research Series

Day OneDay TwoDay Three

Available now: The Noise of Being publication

Buy The Noise of Being The Noise of Being attempts to piece together the dissonance that was produced and gathered at the 2017 Sonic Acts Festival. The festival focused on a theme that resonates deeply when thinking about the contemporary – namely, what it means to be human, to be part of a world that is an ever changing network. Many different ‘noises’ were featured and produced at the festival conference, in the clubs, museums, and cinemas. This book is by no means a definite conclusion: more of a reminder and a chance to continue speculating about the strange and anxious state of being.

The Noise of Being. Design by The Rodina.
The book opens with Nina Power’s essay Anticapitalism, Postcapitalism, Decapitalism, a reflection on ways of visualising opposition to capitalism. Jennifer Gabrys is interviewed about sensor technologies and changing conceptualisations of the environment, political agency, the human, and the citizen. Referencing Arthur Rimbaud and Derek Walcott, Louis Henderson’s poetic text presents his animistic materialist cinematic practice, which focuses on the critical reading of colonial histories. In her interview, Ytasha Womack discusses how Afrofuturism, as an aesthetic and epistemology, facilitates different ways of navigating the world. Daniel Rourke’s essay takes John Carpenter’s The Thing as a starting point for a reflection on the ontology of things. Rick Dolphijn’s study, The Cracks of the Contemporary – The Wound, explicates living the wounds and the void. In the context of computational biology and the Google Genomics project, artist Joey Holder invented a speculative pharmaceutical company Ophiux. Neworked algorithms, big data, and habituation on the internet are the focus of a conversation with Wendy Hui Kyong Chun. In another interview, Eyal Weizman vigorously explains the political interventions of Forensic Architecture and how they gather and present facts. In By Any Lens Necessary, Jamon Van Den Hoek examines how satellite images provide and create accounts of geopolitical conflicts. Ingrid Burrington’s contribution, Forever Noon on a Cloudless Day, analyses Google Earth imagery for traces of military architecture. Juha van ’t Zelfde interviews the Dutch duo Metahaven about their artistic practices in graphic design and film. The book concludes with a series of photographs that provide an impression of The Noise of Being. The Noise of Being features contributions by Arie Altena, Ingrid Burrington, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Rick Dolphijn, Jennifer Gabrys, Louis Henderson, Jamon Van Den Hoek, Joey Holder, Rosa Menkman, Metahaven, Nina Power, The Rodina, Daniel Rourke, Lucas van der Velden, Eyal Weizman, Ytasha Womack, and Juha van ’t Zelfde. Format: 17 x 24 cm Edited by Mirna Belina Published by Sonic Acts Press Design by The Rodina Book, 212pp., English text, illustrated Special introduction price: 16.50 EUR (regular price 19.50 EUR) Buy The Noise of Being at sonicacts.org/sashop

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

We’ve been busy uploading videos to our new YouTube channel. We’ve documented tons of presentations, performances, interviews and video diaries throughout the history of Sonic Acts – which stretches back to 1994 – from festivals, events and international projects. With over 100 videos already online, you can dig deep into the archive with our various playlists: learn about rethinking nature and ecology through our Dark Ecology project; watch snippets from our Vertical Cinema series, with specially projected films in vertical cinemascope; keep track of the latest scientific and philosophical developments from our conferences; and view newly commissioned works from our festivals and academies. Make sure to subscribe to the channel to stay updated about new work and new ideas from renowned artists and thinkers, and new collaborations with our partner organisations, as we continue to upload more videos.

Book Presentation at Stedelijk

On 29 September the Stedelijk Museum’s Friday Night is all about books. As part of the programme, Sonic Acts will present The Noise of Being, a new book that offers a chance to continue speculating about the strange and anxious state of being human in the present day. The book will be introduced by the Director of Sonic Acts, Lucas van der Velden, and design studio The Rodina will give an artist presentation about the process behind its design. This evening is a chance for visitors to purchase The Noise of Being and is a must for book lovers! View the full programme here The programme of the second edition of Stedelijk Book Club: Press! Print! Publish! features presentations and performances by authors and artists in the newly designed entrance area and at various spots throughout the museum. The evening also includes the opening of two exhibitions: The Best Book Designs and Always at Risk, yet never in Danger: Rietveld Graphic Design 2017. The annual display of The Best Book Designs is designed by EventArchitectuur. The museum library also takes part in Stedelijk Book Club: the annual book sale takes place at the library, where visitors can purchase numerous publications on contemporary art from home and abroad, both used and brand new. With: Sonic Acts, Antonis Pittas, Florian Idenburg, Herman Verkerk, Ian Whittlesea & Pádraic E. Moore, Katja Gruijters, LAPS, Marjan Teeuwen, Michael Tedja, Radna Rumping, Stedelijk Publicaties & Roma Publications, The Sandberg Series, Het Poëzie Museum, Offprint Library Amsterdam and fanfare. The Noise of Being publication features contributions by Arie Altena, Ingrid Burrington, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Rick Dolphijn, Jennifer Gabrys, Louis Henderson, Jamon Van Den Hoek, Joey Holder, Rosa Menkman, Metahaven, Nina Power, The Rodina, Daniel Rourke, Lucas van der Velden, Eyal Weizman, Ytasha Womack, and Juha van ’t Zelfde. View the full programme here. More information about The Noise of Being publication: sonicacts.org/sashop

GAIKA to be joined by a stacked line-up at Progress Bar

Progress Bar S03E02 trailer by Sam Rolfes
On 2 December Progress Bar presents The Spectacular Empire with GAIKA and more at Paradiso Noord (Tolhuistuin). Mixing talks, performance and a club in a single night, Progress Bar has developed into a platform for leading artists and speakers whose work straddles the intersection between nightlife and socio-political activism. For this special edition of Progress Bar, Brixton-born beatmaker and vocalist GAIKA will present an explosive history of the future, in the name of The Spectacular Empire. GAIKA will be joined by a stacked line-up of collaborators and like-minded musicians, including 808INK, /aart, Cõvco, Gage, Gloria, Kojey Radical, Madam X and S4U. In addition, this edition of Progress Bar will feature a live performance by Vancouver-based producer City and talks by Novara Media co-founder Aaron Bastani and artist Rachel Rose O'Leary. Buy your tickets here. Full line-up: 808INK AARON BASTANI /AART CITY CÕVCO GAGE GAIKA GLORIA KOJEY RADICAL MADAM X RACHEL ROSE O'LEARY S4U The Spectacular Empire is a new project by GAIKA that imagines a future world in which authority has been removed and cities destroyed, a world where chaos reigns. For Progress Bar, GAIKA brings The Spectacular Empire into the physical realm, in the shape of a live show alongside collaborators and like-minded musicians. You can read GAIKA's vision of the future at Dazed Digital. GAIKA is one of the most visionary artists of the moment, with a singular, confrontational performance style. Blending grime, dancehall, garage, hip-hop and R&B, GAIKA injects powerful drama into poetic dub sermons about city life and society ‘in a state of emergency’. The recent Warp Records signee takes the sonic textures of the streets and crafts them into brand new, glistening shapes. Progress Bar S03E02 Date: Saturday 2 December 2017 Venue: Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin Amsterdam Times: 21:00–04:00 (doors open 20:30) Tickets: €10,00 presale / €12,50 at the door (card only) Buy your tickets here To reserve a seat for the talks, please send an email to rsvp@sonicacts.com
The Spectacular Empire Tour

Book Launch: The Noise of Being

We are pleased to invite you to the launch of our new publication, The Noise of Being, on Saturday 4 November 2017 at Paradiso Noord (Tolhuistuin) in Amsterdam.

The Noise of Being book launch. Design by The Rodina
TIMETABLE: 20:00 Doors 20:30 Intro 20:40-21:10 The Rodina lecture 21:10-21:40 Nina Power lecture 21:40-22:10 Bbymutha interviewed by Stefan Wharton 22:10-22:40 Metahaven lecture UPDATE: the reservation list for the talks is now closed. If you've made a reservation, please be on time. Doors open at 20:00 and the programme starts at 20:30. We expect a full house. Regular tickets are available at the door and in pre sale here: https://www.ticketmaster.nl/event/204201 Date: Saturday 4 November 2017 Venue: Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin Amsterdam Times: 20:30–22:30 (doors open 20:00) We expect a full house, so please come early. The Noise of Being attempts to piece together the dissonance that was produced and gathered at the 2017 Sonic Acts Festival. The festival focused on a theme that resonates deeply when thinking about the contemporary – namely, what it means to be human, to be part of a world that is an ever changing network. Many different ‘noises’ were featured and produced at the festival conference, in the clubs, museums, and cinemas. This book is by no means a definite conclusion: more of a reminder and a chance to continue speculating about the strange and anxious state of being. The book opens with Nina Power’s essay Anticapitalism, Postcapitalism, Decapitalism, a reflection on ways of visualising opposition to capitalism; and Juha van 't Zelfde interviews the Dutch duo Metahaven about their artistic practices in graphic design and film. Both Nina Power and Metahaven will be present at the book launch, along with the book's designers, The Rodina, to give three separate presentations about their work. The Noise of Being features contributions by Arie Altena, Ingrid Burrington, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Rick Dolphijn, Jennifer Gabrys, Louis Henderson, Jamon Van Den Hoek, Joey Holder, Rosa Menkman, Metahaven, Nina Power, The Rodina, Daniel Rourke, Lucas van der Velden, Eyal Weizman, Ytasha Womack, and Juha van ’t Zelfde. Jennifer Gabrys is interviewed about sensor technologies and changing conceptualisations of the environment, political agency, the human, and the citizen. Referencing Arthur Rimbaud and Derek Walcott, Louis Henderson’s poetic text presents his animistic materialist cinematic practice, which focuses on the critical reading of colonial histories. In her interview, Ytasha Womack discusses how Afrofuturism, as an aesthetic and epistemology, facilitates different ways of navigating the world. Daniel Rourke’s essay takes John Carpenter’s The Thing as a starting point for a reflection on the ontology of things. Rick Dolphijn’s study, The Cracks of the Contemporary – The Wound, explicates living the wounds and the void. In the context of computational biology and the Google Genomics project, artist Joey Holder invented a speculative pharmaceutical company Ophiux. Networked algorithms, big data, and habituation on the internet are the focus of a conversation with Wendy Hui Kyong Chun. In another interview, Eyal Weizman vigorously explains the political interventions of Forensic Architecture and how they gather and present facts. In By Any Lens Necessary, Jamon Van Den Hoek examines how satellite images provide and create accounts of geopolitical conflicts. Ingrid Burrington’s contribution, Forever Noon on a Cloudless Day, analyses Google Earth imagery for traces of military architecture. Juha van ’t Zelfde interviews the Dutch duo Metahaven about their artistic practices in graphic design and film. The book concludes with a series of photographs that provide an impression of The Noise of Being. You can order The Noise of Being at the Sonic Acts webshop or purchase it at the official book launch for the special introductory price.

The Noise of Being BOOK from The Rodina on Vimeo.

After the book launch you are warmly invited to stay for Progress Bar. The launch of The Noise of Being sets in motion a new season of Progress Bar – a club night that itself engages with the challenges facing society and club culture under capitalism. Now in its third season, Progress Bar has developed into a platform for leading speakers on a range of urgent topics, while featuring a genre-spanning line-up of international DJs and live performers, whose work straddles the intersection between nightlife and socio-political activism. Attend on Facebook

Continuum study programme in Shenzhen, China

Shenzhen, China
Continuum is a Pre-Master's programme founded by the Interaction Design, Product Design and Graphic Design departments of ArtEZ Arnhem and developed in collaboration with Sonic Acts. In November, a first phase of the programme will take place in Shenzhen, China, where participants will be able to critically reflect around the set theme of transit within a rapidly changing geography. During the month-long working residency, located in the Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab, participants will develop their research through guest lectures, hands-on workshops and project development. The research developed will be presented during Sonic Acts Academy 2018 (23–25 February) in Amsterdam. More info

'Sensing the Shipyard' at Damen Shiprepair

Sensing the Shipyard A Sensorial Journey Sonic Acts is currently working together with several educational institutes in the Netherlands and abroad. As part of the upcoming Sonic Acts Academy 2018, we are collaborating with the ArtScience Interfaculty in The Hague on Sensing the Shipyard: A Sensorial Journey. The project is part of ongoing research into the transformation and rethinking of modes in the artistic field. Under the guidance of artist and teacher Cocky Eek and Sonic Acts curatorial team member Nicky Assmann, a group of ten art students are running a research programme at the Damen Shiprepair in Amsterdam. During November, these students tapped into the different industrious rhythms of the huge shipyard, which is used to conduct numerous repairs on cargo and leisure ships. This terrain, located in the harbour on the north side of Amsterdam, next to the River IJ, is in operation for almost a hundred years and is bustling with energy and activity on an industrial scale. With the coaching of architect and creative researcher Renske Maria van Dam and sound artist BJ Nilsen, the students delve into questions such as: How do we relate our human presence to enormous living machines? How is this relationship sensorially inscribed at this rich and historic industrial complex? Field trip during Sonic Acts Academy By recording the different sounds, movements and smells, and investigating surfaces and scales by touch, the students explore this remarkable shipyard by sensorial mapping, whilst researching how they can recompose these location-specific stimuli into an artistic experience that the Academy audience can embark on. More information about the field trip and how to apply will be announced soon.

'I’m standing right here below sea-level next to the riverbank of the IJ in Amsterdam North. To be more precise, I’m standing at the bottom of dry-dock nr 3 of Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam, in front of the giant cruise ship, while tiny tiny men are tending it carefully. I’m facing the vertical front line of this giant ship towering out high above me. This dazzling vertical line connects me straight through the bottom of the ocean and up to the sky above. From the bow line of the ship, two sensuous steel planes curve upwards reaching out to the surface of the sea. When the gate will be opened the water of the IJ will fill the dock with fluid matter, lifting the body of this ship, to get itself afloat on the maritime waters of our world.' – Cocky Eek
Follow all updates about the project at sonicacts.com. Early Bird tickets for the complete programme of Sonic Acts Academy 2018 are now on sale. Buy your tickets here. This project is a collaboration between the ArtScience Interfaculty and the Sonic Acts Academy in Amsterdam. The ArtScience Interfaculty offers interdisciplinary Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes that foster curiosity driven research as an approach for the making of art. The programme considers art and science as a continuum and promotes the development of new art forms and artistic languages. The ArtScience Interfaculty is embedded in both the Royal Conservatoire and The Royal Academy for Fine Arts in The Hague, Netherlands.

First names announced for Sonic Acts Academy 2018

Sonic Acts Academy 2018: Unpacking the Processes of Artistic Knowledge Sonic Acts Academy takes place from 23 to 25 February 2018 at various locations in Amsterdam North, including Dansmakers and Paradiso Noord – Tolhuistuin, with several pre-festival events at the EYE Filmmuseum and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Regular tickets, Student and Group Passes are now on sale. Buy tickets here. Sonic Acts Academy 2018 is pleased to host the artists and thinkers Ane Hjort Guttu, Ase Manual, Catherine Christer Hennix, Charmaine Chua, Christina Kubisch, Cocky Eek, Daniel Mann, DJ Haram, DJ Lycox, Dreamcrusher, Drippin, Filipa César, Geng, Jennifer Lucy Allan, Jennifer Walshe, Kilbourne, Lorenzo Pezzani, Marija Bozinovska Jones, Mario de Vega, Martijn van Boven, Moor Mother, Nicole Hewitt, Nora Sternfeld, Renske Maria van Dam, Rick Dolphijn, Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, Sasha Litvintseva, Solveig Suess, Susan Schuppli, Swan Meat, and Violence. More names will be announced in January. Sonic Acts Academy is a new platform for speculation and reflection, focusing on critical examination of knowledge production in the field of art. It is an experimental setting free of institutional pressure and privileged classrooms, and it enables us to test and quickly react to changes in both form and content of what we should know. The Academy opts for an inclusive community; it involves those who resist or without access to the privileged spaces of academia.

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. By presenting artistic investigations and research – the processes that challenge the notions of the petrified world – Sonic Acts aims to include various dynamic perspectives to the podium. Together, we need to rethink how education can again become a tool for discovery and growth, for development and emancipation, and not just a machine that disseminates dominant modes 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, taking place at Dansmakers, EYE Filmmuseum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and other locations. The Academy includes two club nights at Paradiso Noord – Tolhuistuin, as part of the ongoing Progress Bar series. Aiming to represent radical equality, communality and hopefulness, Progress Bar is a growing community of artists, academics and activists who occupy clubs for a better politics. Organised in partnership with Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, EYE Filmmuseum and Dansmakers, and as part of Re-Imagine Europe, the Academy includes speculative ‘festival’ modules devised together with Continuum, Interaction Design (ArtEz, Arnhem), ArtScience Interfaculty (Royal Conservatoire & the Royal Academy for Fine Arts, The Hague), Centre for Research Architecture (Goldsmiths, University of London), Shadow Channel (Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam), and Research School for Media Studies (Utrecht University). Sonic Acts Academy 2018 is supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Mondriaan Fund, Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, The Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, and Paradiso. Attend on Facebook

Order the new Sonic Acts Academy publication

To accompany Sonic Acts Academy 2018, we have published the Sonic Acts Academy Reader – a beautifully designed and printed collection of short essays, maps, interviews, stories, speculations, and visual contributions. These come from a number of the artists, designers, and speakers to provide invaluable insights into the exploration conducted and presented during the Academy. The Sonic Acts Academy aims to unpack the processes of artistic knowledge, with a focus on educational practices and critical examination of knowledge production in the field of art. In keeping with the theme, the Reader is designed by The Rodina, a studio interested in self-reflection, critical design, and the reinvented connections between culture and technology. The Reader presents many interesting contributions, including a speculative text about the role of the museum from the year 2030 from our keynote speaker, Nora Sternfeld; a text by Marcus Boon about the composer and mathematician Catherine Christer Hennix; a beautiful story by Nicole Hewitt from her project This Woman Is Called Jasna, a speculative history in nine instalments covering 20 years in the life of a woman from Vukovar who works at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; a text about the history of the cargo container by Charmaine Chua; and research about sinkholes that rapidly started appearing in the past decades on shores of the Dead Sea (Sasha Litvintseva and Daniel Mann). With contributions from Sonic Acts Academy participants: Ami Clarke, ArtScience Interfaculty Research Group (KABK), Catherine Christer Hennix, Charmaine Chua, Christina Kubisch, Christoph Cox, Colm McAuliffe, Concrete Flux / 流泥, Continuum Programme (ArtEZ), Daniel Mann, Dreamcrusher, Jennifer Walshe, Juha van ’t Zelfde, Marcus Boon, Marija Bozinovska Jones, Mario de Vega, Nicole Hewitt, Nora Sternfeld, Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, Sam Rolfes, Sasha Litvintseva, Shadow Channel, Stefan Wharton, The Rodina, Yun Ingrid Lee. The Sonic Acts Academy 2018 Reader is available to order at the Sonic Acts webshop.

Elysia Crampton, Rabit and more at Progress Bar

The last Progress Bar edition of the season takes place on 26 May at Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin, with a programme of talks, live audiovisual performances and DJ sets. Representing radical equality, communality and hopefulness, Progress Bar is a growing community of artists, academics and activists who occupy clubs for a better politics. When confronted with the world today – institutional inequality, neofascism, platform capitalism, austerity and a dying planet – being happy becomes a political act. Progress Bar supports radical club cultures that believe resistance is necessary in order to change the world. Or, as a play on the famous quote by the feminist and anarchist activist Emma Goldman: If I can dance, I want to be part of your revolution.

Elysia Crampton. Photo by Boychild.
The evening begins in the venue's Tuinzaal with a series of talks. Filmmakers Polina Medvedeva and Isaura Sanwirjatmo will talk about their project #VerlorenJongensZullenWinnen, an inclusive transmedia documentary in the digital age. In its development stage #VJZW researches the new media as a tool of resistance in the hands of the new generation of visual makers, who – armed with a phone, a camera or a microphone – redefine political engagement, protesting against dominant power structures in our current society. Influential grime DJ and promoter Elijah will talk about Last Dance – a timely and urgent investigation into the rapid changes affecting UK club culture, and the impact of those changes on music and youth culture, presented as a series of blogs, podcasts, films and live events. Elijah is a rising international star in grime and UK club music, and a regular contributor to Boiler Room, Red Bull Music Academy and Vice. He is co-founder of grime label Butterz, described by the Guardian as “one of the genre’s smartest operations”. His work spans music programming, journalism, A&R and artist management, and shines a light on the artistic, social and economic challenges and opportunities for emerging artists. Later in the night, the club programme will feature live audiovisual performances and DJ sets until the early hours. Multi-disciplinary Aymaran artist and electronic musician Elysia Crampton presents her new solo show, Red Clouds, together with producer and DJ Why Be. Elysia Crampton’s eclectic and unrestrained electronic music is the flashpoint of a myriad influences opening upon the complexity and multifacetedness of Aymara becoming. She is joined by Korean-born, Danish-raised producer and DJ Why Be. After spending years intentionally on the fringes of experimental dance music, Why Be has become a formidable voice in dance music's larger conversation, with a singular, uncompromising style of club music that is both hectic and cathartic. Houston producer, composer, DJ, and record label owner Rabit will stage a live audiovisual performance with vocalist Cecilia. Chiseling out a bold vision of sound since 2012, Rabit has slowly worked his way to the forefront of an international group of artists seeking to create a fresh and uncompromising perspective on future dance music and the very fabric of the club landscape. The artist is accompanied at Progress Bar by Cecilia – the dissociative metamorphosis of DJ and producer BABI AUDI, known for Club Dead LTD (Hoss Records), Mommy Dust (self-released), and 6 page letter (DIS magazine). Her first full-length album, Adoration, on Rabit's Halcyon Veil imprint, follows last year’s visual EP Charity Whore, released on Yves Tumor’s Grooming Label. The programme also includes a DJ set from Dasychira, a South African electronic artist living in NYC. Working with unusual found sounds and textures, Dasychira offers a personal perspective on the media he works with. The artist's second record, Haptics, is being released via Blueberry Records, and features collaborations with Haleek Maul, and Progress Bar alumni Malibu and Embaci. More artists and speakers will be announced soon. Keep an eye on the Facebook event page here for updates. Date: Saturday 26 May 2018 Venue: Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin Amsterdam Times: 20:30–04:00 Tickets: €10,00 / €12,50 Buy tickets
Rabit. Photo by Lane Stewart.

Videos of the 2018 symposium are now online

The second edition of Sonic Acts Academy took place in February. With the aim of unpacking the processes of artistic knowledge, the Academy included a two-day symposium at Dansmakers Amsterdam. The Academy Symposium was a playground at odds with institutionalised learning, where internationally renowned artists and thinkers from various disciplines offered a radical syllabus through the exchange of ideas. If you missed the symposium (or would like to refresh your memory) you can now watch videos of the presentations and panel discussions on the Sonic Acts Vimeo and YouTube channels.

Thomas Ankersmit's Homage to Dick Raaijmakers released by Shelter Press

Thomas Ankersmit's Homage to Dick Raaijmakers, which was commissioned by Sonic Acts and was premiered live at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam at Sonic Acts Academy 2016, has been released by Shelter Press. Homage to Dick Raaijmakers is an all-analogue electronic music composition inspired by legendary Dutch composer, electronic and tape music pioneer, and multimedia artist Dick Raaijmakers (1930–2013). The work takes inspiration from Raaijmakers’ music from the 1960s, his texts on sound composition and notes on his own music. With his homage Ankersmit re-contextualizes Raaijmakers’ ideas about electric sound, composition, and spatial experience. Like Raaijmakers himself Ankersmit exclusively uses analogue devices and especially feedback processes between them. The music focuses on the sounds of raw electricity through creatively abused electronics, composing with analogue micro-sounds, and the creation of three-dimensional sound fields. The piece also uses tones produced by the listener’s own ears, inspired by Raaijmakers’ thoughts on 'holophonic' sound fields to be individually explored by the listener. With this phenomenon, the listener’s inner ears actively generate sounds that don’t exist in the recorded signal, and which can change with a small movement of the head.

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