We hope this message finds you safe and in good health. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Sonic Acts has ceased all its activities until further notice. This global crisis brings with it new challenges for artists and the dissemination of their work – its impact felt through the closure of cultural venues and alternative spaces, and the cancellation of exhibitions and events. Despite the difficult circumstances, we believe it’s important – perhaps now even more so – that we keep up our connections and communication, and continue to support our network, and we are working on ways to move activities online.
In the meantime, the festival activities from Sonic Acts Academy 2020, which took place from 21 to 23 February in Amsterdam, have already resulted in a number of online materials that can be utilised, watched, read and listened to over the weeks and months ahead. These materials, including recordings of the Academy’s conference talks and performances, provide a timely reminder of the value of artistic research and the strategies of mobilisation that it carries. Complete videos of the lectures and presentations from the Academy conference are going to be published regularly over the coming weeks, and the first talks are now online.
Of these, Terike Haapoja’s presentation took 2020 as a landscape of deepening polarization in the political sphere as well as between people and Earth’s other inhabitants. At the core of these divides is a question of the ‘we’ of political community, traditionally defined as ‘we the people’. Starting from her collaborative art projects, Haapoja approaches questions of animalisation, law, interspecies communality, vulnerability and ethics in relationship to art and its role in political change.
Terike Haapoja at Sonic Acts Academy 2020, De Brakke Grond
T. J. Demos’ lecture discussed the ongoing research and exhibition project Beyond the End of the World, directed by Demos of the Center for Creative Ecologies at University of California, Santa Cruz. With reference to diverse traditions of the oppressed, this year-long research project addresses what lies beyond dystopian catastrophism, past and present end-of-world narratives, and how we can imagine and cultivate radical futures of social justice and ecological flourishing.
T. J. Demos at Sonic Acts Academy 2020, De Brakke Grond
Video reports of the Academy’s performances and interventions will also be published over the coming period, many of which offered takes on the relationship between environment, spectator and artist – a relationship that is now especially pertinent. Recap videos of Tomoko Savage’s performance of Waterbowls and Maika Garnica performing From Bow to Ear during the Academy opening evening at Stedelijk Museum are now online.
Tomoko Sauvage, Waterbowls, at Sonic Acts Academy 2020, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Maika Garnica, From Bow to Ear, at Sonic Acts Academy 2020, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
In addition to videos of the conference and performances, reading material and podcasts that have resulted from the festival activities will be published soon. A recap video of the Academy is also now online, offering a moment of distraction during this difficult time.
Sonic Acts Academy 2020 recap video
We will update you with information about future activities as soon as appropriate. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves and each other. If you yourself are an artist or freelancer affected by the crisis, the following are some helpful links:
• As a freelancer in the cultural and creative sector you can report your cancellations due to the coronavirus here
• The Dutch government helps affected freelancers. Existing and new regulations can be found here