Knowing when the future is postponed until yesterday.

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Most of the presenters on Friday arrived at sound analysis, and composing (experimental) music from a field outside of composition and music. The Infinite Sounds morning session started with Joel Ryan, a resident researcher at STEIM, who came to music from physics via philosophy [1]. He was followed by Ellen Fullman, who showed us the trajectory to performing her current string music from creating sculptural objects that could be interpreted as wearable instruments.

Photo update

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Sonic Acts is still going on and I will be adding some more photos to this set as the festival progresses, but here are some of the photos I made during the last couple of days.

unRavelling Time

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Sonic Acts is finished and I had a really wonderful experience. Beforehand, I expected the festival to give a broad and deep outline on its theme, which was this year 'time'. During the festival, I tried to get a grip on this complex theme. But as in any major, heavily programmed festival, my own perception of time has been .. shrunken, stretched and bended.. or maybe just quite confused. Besides that I have never philosophized or conceptualized time before.

Colour Music Past, Colour Music Future

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Colour Music Recollections' was the name of the screening that took place on the afternoon of the festival's second day at De Balie. It was introduced as "A programme with films that relate in different ways to historical performance practices of colour music." (Sonic Acts Website), and after watching it, 'historical' really seemed to be the keyword. The selection of the films themselves, their protagonists/authors as well as the order of their screening were true to the word in a very literal sense as the programme slowly made its way from Schwerdtfeger's early work of 1922, 'Reflektorische Lichtspiele' to Charles Dockum's '1969 Mobilcolor Projector Film', breaking the strictly linear timeline

Timothy Druckrey

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De laatste festival dag van Sonic Acts begon met een 'illustrated talk' van Timothy Druckrey. Druckrey liet een aantal indrukwekkende kunstwerken zien die allen te maken hadden met de ervaring van tijd en film. Omdat de tijd die hij kreeg niet oneindig was, moest hij een aantal werken doorspelen. Zonde natuurlijk en daarom hier een overzicht van de films die hij liet zien.

Rectangles

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Het avondprogramma van zaterdag begon met een aantal korte films. Met name Synchromy van Norman McLaren uit 1971 en Rectangles and Rectangles van René Jodoin uit 1984 vormden een mooi paar. Beide bestaande uit niet meer of minder dan gekleurde rechthoekige vlakken en zijn gebaseerd op zeer sterke concepten. Net als veel van de andere audiovisuele vertoningen op Sonic Acts zijn deze twee werken niet los te maken van hun oorspronkelijke dragers.

Deep Time & Disco3000 @ Paradiso (Friday 24 feb.)

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The name Deep Time that accompanied Friday evening’s program at Paradiso not only works as an ode to Pauline Oliveros and her ideas of Deep Listening but also invites speculation on what deep time can mean. It does hint at a sort of pleasurable drowning into time, a womb of timelessness and sound. Arguably the drone is one of the most effective musical means to achieve this state, as all artists proved during the evening which started with the performance of some pieces by Roland Kayn.

Paul Sharits' Shutter Interface

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In the small room of Paradiso, Amsterdam's primary music temple, four film projectors stand side by side on black columns. They each nervously change the color of their projector beam every split second, throwing bright colors at the wall opposite them. Four monochrome blocks of color overlap partly, creating two squares and five rectangles that jump and dance in front of us.

Beyond Time @ Paradiso (Thursday 23 Feb.)

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The opening night of Sonic Acts XIV was preceded by a keynote speech at Paradiso, in itself a symbolic gesture I quite liked because it brought together the worlds of ideas and music in one place. George Dyson’s lecture has already been dedicated with a detailed post elsewhere on the site so there is no need to summarize it in detail.

The problem with history is that it is analog

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The problem with history is that it is analog, and analog stuff is very persistent, persistent to the point of obstructive. This is my impression of nearly every panel, conference or symposium on media related arts in the past years. It is hard to find a balance between historically relevant facts and newly emerging phenomena. If a speaker is well informed about a history of computing (there are more than one, which was made clear by George Dyson's quite personal presentation on Sonic Acts' opening night), he or she is likely to be less knowledgeable about the history of art and culture. If someone is an expert in the field of pre-digital experimental art, he or she quite often has very limited ideas about art and culture in the digital domain.

George Dyson

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Na de officiële opening van het Sonic Acts festival in het Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst haastte iedereen zich naar de eerste key-note speaker: George Dyson. In de volle grote zaal van Paradiso nam hij ons mee in zijn onderzoek naar de geschiedenis van de computer, een onderzoek dat binnenkort gepubliceerd wordt onder de titel Turings Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe.

Repeat is not Return: A masterclass by Olaf Nicolai

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This years' year Sonic Acts-theme "GnillevarTime" sounds and reads like a riddle at first sight. GnillevarTime (a palindromic way of spelling "-t-ravelling Time"), can be understood in many ways; maybe I will travel time nonlinearly (what does that mean: backwards-to the future-? in a spiral? through a wave form?) or maybe the theme means that Sonic Acts will make me re:visit my experience of time completely. It is hard to say 'right now'. In any case, for me the Sonic Acts festival started three days early, on a monday, in a masterclass by Olaf Nicolai. So here is me re:visiting the first, three days early, very layered but somehow revealing masterclass.

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