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

Thursday 14 October 15:20

On Friday 5 November from 20:00, 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: OT301, Amsterdam Tickets: € 6 presale → available here // € 8 at the door LINEUP Elena Cohen María Edurne Zuazu Yann Leguay Noise Diva whiterose N/pantla, 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. 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.

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.

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.

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, 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.

Night Air series continues on 22 June with Nuclear Unknowns

Saturday 22 May 16:57

On Tuesday 22 June, Sonic Acts continues its Night Air series of online transmissions with Nuclear Unknowns, moderated by Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou. Nuclear Unknowns takes us down the complex path of radioactive pollution, exploring the subject’s ecological, artistic and geopolitical tangles. During an evening of talks, screenings and performances, artists and curators will discuss different strategies to grapple with nuclear energy’s uneven and calamitous aftermath.Tickets (€3,50)Attend on Facebook Ticket-buyers receive a link to the Livestream (inc. film stream) via email. Beginning at 20:00 CEST, this live online transmission features talks by artists and researchers Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou, Agnès Villette and Jason Waite, before a thematic soundtrack to close the evening by artist duo Whitespace. The films Crossroads (1976) by Bruce Conner, Uranium Hex (1987) by Sandra Lahire and We Have Always Known the Wind’s Direction (2019) by Inas Halabi will be shown alongside the panel and can be viewed from Saturday 19 June, 20:00 CEST. Audience members are invited to join in the conversations via the live-chat Q&A. Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou is an art historian and curator. She is currently finishing a PhD at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris, on the subterranean imaginary in contemporary art, especially concerning nuclear spaces. She has contributed to various projects about nuclear technologies at the Environmental Humanities Center, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, where she co-organised the interdisciplinary event series Nuclear Waste Weeks. She coedited Kunstlicht: Nuclear Aesthetics (Vrije Universiteit, 2019) with Ruby de Vos. She currently teaches a seminar on art and nuclearity at the École supérieure d’art du Nord-Pas de Calais/Dunkerque with Agnès Villette, with whom she is working on a series of toxic tours across nuclear infrastructures in France. Mavrokordopoulou is an ARTWORKS curatorial fellow of the SNF Artist Fellowship Program in 2020–21. 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, London. She has previously taught at Glasgow University, Queen Mary College, London and Winchester University and is currently a lecturer in Visual Culture at Cambrai Art School in the North of France. She is currently developing four art 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 non-fiction novel based on a cold case that took place in 1969, in Cherbourg.

Jason Waite is an independent curator and cultural worker focused on forms of practice producing agency. Recently working in sites of crisis amidst the detritus of capitalism, looking for tools and radical imaginaries for different ways of living and working together. He is part of the collectives Don't Follow the Wind and This Useful Time Machine. He has co-curated exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo, The Kitchen, Art in General, and Casco Art Institute where he was curator. Don’t Follow the Wind is a long-term international project. It takes the form of an ongoing exhibition inside the restricted Fukushima Exclusion Zone – the area comprising parts of seven towns that was forcibly evacuated in the wake of the 2011 disaster due to radioactive contamination from the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, separating residents from their homes, land, and community. New works developed by twelve participating artists have been installed in the zone at multiple sites that were lent by former residents, all of which are contaminated and were evacuated immediately after the disaster. As the zone remains inaccessible to the public, the exhibition remains largely invisible, only to be viewed in the future, when the ban on entering the area is being lifted. After the Nuclear Unknowns panel, Whitespace closes the evening with a live thematic DJ set. Whitespace is a sonic dialogue between Casimir Geelhoed and Anni Nöps. Carefully interlaced textures, ambiences and abstract sounds carve out an intimate aural landscape, drifting between soothing serenity and chaotic collapse. FILMS Nuclear Unknowns is accompanied by a film programme that stages three acts of nuclear history through three films. The mesmerising image of a mushroom cloud blooming out of a serene seascape, again and again, serves as an introduction; then we are led underground, into the toxic messiness of radioactive deposits in uranium mines at the tail end of the Cold War. It concludes with a grim account on the possible disposal of radioactive waste in the West Bank. These works examine how ‘the nuclear’ – both as a physical and a technopolitical object – operates secretly but cruelly, exposing its uneven geographies and violent legacies. Slipping between visibility and invisibility, surface and depth, earth and bodies, the three films piece together seemingly unconnected yet interdependent episodes of nuclear pasts and presents.  We invite you to watch the films in chronological order, sketching out a loose timeline that starts with the overwhelming force of the atomic sublime that is Bruce Conner’s Crossroads (1976), a film that invokes the apocalyptic nuclear threat. Next, Sandra Lahire’s Uranium Hex (1987) moves away from the sublime visuality of the bomb and comprehends the nuclear viscerally in the wake of the Cold War. Lahire’s film is an oddity, revealing the cavernous permeability of the female body trapped in the irradiated underground. Finally, We Have Always Known the Wind’s Direction (2019) by Inas Halabi gestures at how nuclear technologies and power structures feed off each other, sometimes in ways that are just coming to light in the nuclear present. Crossroads (1976), 37 min, Bruce Conner 'Operation Crossroads' was the name of the first two of twenty-three nuclear weapons tests the United States conducted at Bikini Atoll between 1946 and 1958. Both tests involved the detonation of a weapon with a yield equivalent to twenty-three million tons of TNT–the same as the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki. More than seven hundred cameras, and approximately five hundred camera operators surrounded the test site. Nearly half the world’s supply of film was at Bikini for the tests, making these explosions the most thoroughly photographed moment in history. Bruce Conner (1933–2008) was one of the foremost American artists of the postwar era. Emerging from the California art scene, in which he worked for half a century, Conner’s work touches on various themes of postwar American society, from a rising consumer culture to the dread of nuclear apocalypse. An early practitioner of found-object assemblage, his relief and free-standing sculptural objects, such as Child (1959) and Looking Glass (1964), were widely recognized for their masterful compositions and daringly dark subject matter. Uranium Hex (1987) 11 min, Sandra Lahire (Netherlands IPs only) Uranium Hex by Sandra Lahire deals with uranium mining in Canada focussing particularly on the woman’s work and the destruction of the environment; the film uses a kaleidoscopic array of experimental techniques such as superimposition, re-filming, changes of speed, pace and an elaborate layering of sounds where ‘atmos’ recording mixes with voices, music. The constantly shifting images provide instances with extremely filmic qualities: the image of a man digging out uranium is superimposed over a woman’s back while brash sounds of machinery are heard and a woman speaks, '…it was like being under an X-ray machine day and night'. The film proposes a number of visual instances operating on different levels but never gelling together, the layers of images and sounds are disruptive, breaking up the surface, giving the piece a textural complexity. Sandra Lahire was born in 1950. She studied Philosophy at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne (BA), Fine Art Film at St Martins School of Art (BA 1984) and Film & Environmental Media at the Royal College of Art (MA 1986). Her films have been shown nationally and internationally at cinemas and festivals including Creteil, Locarno, Berlin, Montreal, Sao Paolo, Turin, Jerusalem, Australia and the Philippines. Writings include Lesbians in Media Education published in Visibly Female (ed Hilary Robinson, Camden Press 1987) and articles for Undercut. We Have Always Known the Wind’s Direction (2019), 12 min, Inas Halabi We Have Always Known the Wind’s Direction has an outward subject and an inward one. Via a gear-shifting combination of conversation, interview and expressive location footage, it probes the possible burial of nuclear waste in the South of the West Bank. But as the footage cycles between fragmented conversations with a nuclear physicist and landscapes that are uneasily underscored by what we hear (and sometimes tinted an ill-omened red), another context emerges. In various ways, Halabi deliberately thwarts, withholds or delays the delivery of information, and the film comes to turn on issues of representation and conveyance. The isotope Cesium 137, invisible but deadly, could be seen as a synecdoche for a more ungraspable invisibility – the systemic networks of power and control in the region – and this work as a meditation on how to account for the un-filmable but inexorable. Inas Halabi is a Palestinian artist working predominantly with film. Her practice is concerned with how social and political forms of power are manifested and the impact that overlooked or suppressed histories have on contemporary life. She holds an MFA from Goldsmiths College in London and recently completed a two-year residency at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. TIMETABLE All times CEST Tuesday 22 June 19:45 Livestream open 20:00 Introduction 20:10 Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou 20:20 Agnès Villette 20:40 Jason Waite 21:00 Q&A 21:35 Whitespace (DJ) Saturday 19 June, 20:00, until Wednesday 23 June, on repeat Crossroads (1976), Bruce Conner, film Uranium Hex (1987), Sandra Lahire, film We Have Always Known the Wind’s Direction (2019), Inas Halabi, film 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. Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union

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.

Ecoes – an independent magazine about art in the age of pollution

Friday 16 April 11:56

Ecoes is a new 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. The first issue presents artists that focus on mining, microplastics, the origins of the blues from an Indigenous perspective that sees humans as entangled with the environment, Cold War toxic legacies and depleted uranium, invasive species and deadly clouds in one of the epicentres of extractivist operations in the Russian Arctic. Featured artists and thinkers include 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. Ecoes is available now at the Sonic Acts webshop.

Artist in Residence Arjuna Neuman presents For Lula, Mississippi

Tuesday 6 April 16:28

For Lula, Mississippi by Sonic Acts artist in residence Arjuna Neuman is a two-part radio show and audio companion to a forthcoming book. The research unearths the ecological unconscious of Black music; by following early blues back to Choctaw music and culture, and forward through dub, drill and flute-trap, a certain buried history is uncovered. For Lula, Mississippi was produced as part of the Sonic Acts residency programme Overexposed. Following live audio broadcasts on NTS Radio and Dublab, both parts are now available to listen to online alongside an accompanying essay by Arjuna. Read and listen here Arjuna Neuman is an artist, writer, and filmmaker based in London. 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.

Interview: Marja Ahti's soundscapes

Thursday 1 April 10:51

Presenting her new era of abstract and elusive sounds, Marja Ahti tells us about working solo, performing live and her stance on clutter in her performances. The act of listening forms the cornerstone of Ahti’s artistic processes, allowing her to draw parallels between sounds and space. An amalgamation of field samples and acoustic sounds, molded by her vision of sound as a physical entity, her performance elevates the act of listening to a poetic and elusive experience. Moreover, working with a multi-channel setup for the first time, Ahti seeks to use this to its fullest potential in bringing across this acoustic sensation to the listener. Read the full article, hosted by Re-imagine Europe, here. More information on the Re-imagine Europe project can be found here. You can watch an excerpt of the world premiere of Marja Ahti’s multichannel speaker composition The Altitudes on the Sonic Acts YouTube channel.

Read online: Sensititve States of Perception with Kali Malone

Thursday 1 April 10:34

From Colorado to Stockholm and from sound technician to organ tuner: Kali Malone highlights artistic journeys, both physically and intellectually and what it means to her to combine her musical experience in vocal music with theoretical practices. In this interview Malone presents what drives her artistic processes and highlights the dichotomy between her self-proclaimed chaotic nature and the rigid set of concept-based discipline derived from her personal interest in instrument tuning. Read the full interview, hosted by Re-imagine Europe, here. More information on the Re-imagine Europe project can be found by clicking this link. Sonic Acts proudly presented the premiere of Kali Malone's multichannel piece Untitled at Sonic Acts Academy 2020. You can watch an excerpt of the performance below or at the Sonic Acts YouTube channel.

Book launch: All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film by Sasha Litvintseva & Beny Wagner

The publication All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film by Sasha Litvintseva & Beny Wagner is a continuation of a multimedia project that began with the film A Demonstration. The book launch coincides with the closing of Litvintseva's & Wagner's exhibition A Demonstration at CIAP. During the event, the artists will speak with curator and writer Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk about the book and their research. The talk will be live-streamed on CIAP’s website, on Wednesday the 31st of March, starting at 7pm. This event is held in English. All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film is a narrative assemblage of prose and image. At once historical, theoretical and personal, the book continues the authors’ inquiry into 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. When treated as perceptual apparatus, the monster also becomes a means of probing the medium of film and its relationship to indexicality, chance, corporeality, and metamorphosis.  This book extends a multimedia project the authors began with their film A Demonstration (2020). The film’s underlying modular formal structure is here reconfigured and brought into new relations specific to the book as a medium.

New book from Sonic Acts Press by Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner

All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film is a new book by Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner, published by Sonic Acts Press. A narrative assemblage of prose and image, the book is at once personal, historical and theoretical, and continues the authors’ inquiry into 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. When treated as a perceptual apparatus, the monster also becomes a means of probing the medium of film and its relationship to indexicality, chance, corporeality, and metamorphosis. This book extends a multimedia project the authors began with their film A Demonstration (2020). The film’s underlying modular formal structure is here reconfigured and brought into new relations specific to the book as a medium. All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film is now available at the Sonic Acts webshop. Click here to order a copy! Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner are artists, filmmakers, researchers and writers. They’ve been working collaboratively in moving image, text, and lectures since 2017. Focussing on moving image as a tool for the active production of new worlds, their practice has been driven by questions about the thresholds between the body and its surroundings, knowledge regimes and power, modes of organizing and perceiving the natural world. Their combined and individual work has been presented globally: Berlinale, Rotterdam, Courtisane, Cinema Du Reel, RIDM, Ann Arbor, Alchemy and Guanajuato film festivals, Eye Film Museum, HKW Berlin, ICA London, CAC Vilnius, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Berlinische Galerie, MUMOK Vienna, Sonic Acts, Impakt Festival, Berlin Atonal and the Videobrasil, Moscow Young Art, Wroclaw Media Art, Venice Art and Venice Architecture biennales. Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union

Volunteer with Sonic Acts in 2021

Are you interested in volunteering with Sonic Acts? In 2021, Sonic Acts will be organising a variety of on- and offline activities, including live streams, site-specific works and durational events. Like every year, Sonic Acts relies on the support of its volunteers, and while we are still determining the scale of help needed, opportunities cover a range of roles including hospitality and production to distribution and documentation, both before and during events. What do we offer? Volunteering at Sonic Acts is an opportunity to network, gain valuable experience, and get a behind-the-scenes peek at our events in a healthy and safe environment, in accordance with measures in force at the time. Each volunteer receives catering for the period of their shift, as well as a publication, t-shirt and tote bag, and, of course, our upmost appreciation. What are we looking for? We are initially seeking volunteers for the period of mid-April until mid-May 2021 and invite those who are interested to already apply via the form below. In order to volunteer at Sonic Acts in 2021, you’ll need to be located in Amsterdam (or surroundings). If selected, and once programme details are confirmed, you will be contacted by our volunteer coordinator to schedule an online introduction meeting as part of a pool of volunteers. We are happy to discuss your availability with you. Applyvolunteer application form If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us at volunteer[at]sonicacts[dot]com.

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:
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: 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: 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.

Listen to new Ràdio Web MACBA and Sonic Acts podcast with composer Jennifer Walshe

In a new podcast produced in collaboration with Sonic Acts, Ràdio Web MACBA talks to Jennifer Walshe about writing, annotating, teaching, collecting, eavesdropping, performing, faking, and a touch of machine learning. Listen to the podcast via Ràdio Web MACBA here. Jennifer Walshe studied composition and often performs as a vocalist, but her practice and a whopping list of works over the past twenty years put her in a twilight zone where music, performance art, theatre and stage writing intersect and converge. Walshe’s approach to texts, scripts and musical scores is based on a recursive process, a kind of feedback loop which includes and acknowledges all sorts of information about the text itself – the context and paratexts, which literary theorist Gérard Genette described as 'those liminal devices and conventions, both within and outside the book, that form part of the complex mediation between book, author, publisher, and reader.' Indeed, Walshe’s works (from operas, instrumental works and electronic pieces, to artistic alter egos with their own body of work and fictional histories) seem to extend that notion into a version of contemporary art and music that draws upon personal anecdote, paraphrased quotes, fiction, linguistic experiments and regurgitated pop culture. As she elegantly puts it in our conversation, 'when I make work with text I am not trying to write an essay, I’m trying to make a space where all this stuff is happening simultaneously. It’s all about talking about being alive'. Her talk Imaginary Histories at Sonic Acts Academy 2018 is also available to watch in full on the Sonic Acts YouTube channel.

Jennifer Walshe, Imaginary Histories, at Sonic Acts Academy 2018

Sonic Acts presents commissioned works by Anthea Caddy and Hugo Esquinca in Zagreb

Sonic Acts-commissioned works by Anthea Caddy and Hugo Esquinca will be presented at the upcoming Touch Me Festival in Zagreb, Croatia, organised by Sonic Acts' Re-Imagine Europe partner KONTEJNER. Hugo Esquinca’s live multichannel intervention On ​‘A Psychedelic Becoming’, which premiered at Sonic Acts Academy 2020, confronts recursion and its openness to the necessity of contingency. The work follows that of his collaborator, philosopher Yuk Hui, who outlines these notions in his book Recursivity and Contingency (2019). The compositional framework involves modal amplification, spatial distribution and processual (dis)organisation. Long Throw: An Exploration of an Expanded Energetic System for Cello and Loud Speaker by Anthea Caddy is a live performance that expands the physical properties of projected sound energy via amplified cello. In the work, which also premiered at Sonic Acts Academy 2020, the cello signal is projected by a custom-built parabolic speaker – projecting a beam of sound up to 3 km long and 60 cm in circumference. Its unnatural quality is enhanced by the spatially synthetic behaviour of the controlled beam and the cello’s sound projection. The reflection or refraction nascent to the site lends an uncontrollable element to the signal in a project that harnesses energy to create large-scale bodies of spatial sound phenomena.

Anthea Caddy at Sonic Acts Academy 2020, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
This year's Touch Me Festival also features a special film programme curated by Sonic Acts curator Mirna Belina. Entitled Evolution Passes Through the Stomach, with films and installations by Erin Espelie, Jenna Sutela, and Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner, the programme endeavours to delve into the interactions of the invisible agents in and around us, inspiring a feeling of community with our diverse physical and planetary ecosystems. Touch Me Festival takes place from 17 September to 3 October. More info about the programme will be available via the KONTEJNER website.

Summer Sale! Fill your shelves with reading material for the summer

With summer upon us, and with many of us spending more of the season at home this year – and with more time than ever to read – Sonic Acts is offering discounts on books – including recent publications Hereafter, The Noise of Being and Living Earth – as well as various package deals such as all available Sonic Acts publications with 60% off the total price. A new limited edition vinyl release by sound artist Hugo Esquinca is now also available, with a one-off digital rendering of the work purchasable via the Sonic Acts Bandcamp page. View the full sale at the Sonic Acts webshop. Although deliveries may take longer than usual due to limited working hours, we are continuing to take and ship orders as quickly as is safely possible.

New digital release by Hugo Esquinca available via Bandcamp

Sonic Acts publishes a new digital release by artist Hugo Esquinca. During Sonic Acts Academy 2020, ten limited edition 7" dubplates – pressed with rough edits of feedback manipulations from a Buchla 200 synthesizer – were played back and recorded as an exclusive ten-minute set. While none of the material pressed onto the dubplates has otherwise been preserved digitally, this specially recorded rendering will be released via Bandcamp on 5 June. As Bandcamp waives its fees for the day, the artist has committed all of his proceeds to the direct distribution of ear protection against potential LRAD deployment within an undisclosed network in the US and the MX/US border. All of Sonic Acts' proceeds via Bandcamp on 5 June will be directed to The Black Archives, Nederland Wordt Beter and Black Queer & Trans Resistance NL. The original 7" dubplates, which are also available to buy, are the result of a series of exercises in analogue, digital and acoustic feedback manipulations with a Buchla 200 synthesizer at Studio 4, Elektronmusikstudion Stockholm. The documentation emerges from interactions between the synthesizer, open microphones, indeterminate processing in different programming environments, induced crashing and the resampling of software and loose cable amplification. The audio file resulting from the initial analogue to digital conversion – pressed into the ten unmarked 7” dubplates – was obtained directly from the synthesizer output without additional processing or edits.

Hugo Esquinca’s work in sound focuses on exploring different degrees of exposure to erratic processing techniques, indeterminate occurrences, spectral de-gradation, abrupt irritation, the potential of involuntary modifications, opaque functioning and excessive levels of amplification. His work has been presented in different contexts such as Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, National Centre for Contemporary Arts NCCA (Moscow), Fondazione Antonio Ratti (Como), Ujazdowski Castle for Contemporary Arts (Warsaw), Ploschad MIRA for Modern Art – Siberia (Krasnoyarsk), A4 (Bratislava), Goethe Institut (Athens), MAYHEM (Copenhagen), Aalto University (Helsinki), BEARS (Osaka), Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Berghain (Berlin). Commissioned by Sonic Acts and Paradiso for Sonic Acts Academy 2020 Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Watch the 2020 conference talks and performances

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

Thank you for contributing to an unforgettable Academy

Sonic Acts Academy 2020 is a wrap! As always, we are extremely grateful to everyone involved in making this year’s edition another great success. As one of the most progressive and longest-running festivals in the Netherlands, Sonic Acts has celebrated compelling artistic perspectives for more than 25 years. We are proud that the 2020 Academy edition has been able to follow in these footsteps and we hope, as ever, that it’s opened up space for critical discussions and ecstatic experiences that might help lead the way to a future worth living. We would especially like to extend our gratitude to everyone who dedicated their time and energy to realising the Academy, including the ever-inspiring community of artists and speakers who gathered at the festival to offer their contributions, our production support and technicians, our incredible crew, our bloggers, photographers and film crew, our invaluable team of volunteers, and of course all of you who came to attend. We would also like to thank our generous funders and partner organisations Creative Industries Fund NL, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Mondriaan Fund, Performing Arts Fund NL, Netherlands Film Fund, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Re-Imagine Europe, the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, W139, OT301, Utrecht University, De Ateliers, Het Nieuwe Instituut, INA GRM, Bergen Kunsthall, Lighthouse, Underbelly, Indyvideo, Beamsystems, FilmTechniek, WG Theatertechniek, LedLease, Ampco Flashlight, Spatial Media Laboratories, Zwaan Printmedia, Twente University, The Wire, Engage! TV, Amsterdam Alternative, Crack Magazine, and Subbacultcha. We hope that you enjoyed the festivities as much as we did. Thankfully, our incredible team of photographers and videographers were on hand to capture every moment. Full documentation of the Academy’s performances, club nights, lectures, panels, workshops, sound walks, screenings and more is now available on our Facebook and Flickr pages.
Sonic Acts Academy 2020 recap video
More recap videos of the festival and videos of the conference lectures and presentations will be published over the coming period on our YouTube and Vimeo channels. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date and be notified when they’re online. Help us improve future editions If you visited any of the programmes, we would like to know your thoughts, hear your opinions, and learn about your experience of the festival. By filling in a short survey you can help us to improve future editions of Sonic Acts. The survey takes around six minutes to complete and by doing so you can be in with a chance of winning a free Sonic Acts Academy magazine. We appreciate your feedback!

MÆKUR's CONDITIONS : 1218-0719 now available as limited edition vinyl

Released as part of Sonic Acts Academy 2020 and now available for digital download and as limited-edition vinyl, CONDITIONS : 1218 – 0719 is the first release by MÆKUR, the collaborative project of Maiа Urstad, Eva Rowson and Anton Kats. During the Academy, MÆKUR transformed the space at De Brakke Grond into a radio studio, playfully engaging with FM and AM broadcasting formats. In their speculative performance they shared excerpts from the release, which includes recordings from the MÆKUR archive gathered from Blind Veterans UK Amateur Radio Society, Bergen Kringkaster (Bergen Broadcasting Association) and the Deutsche Welle radio archive, and improvisations recorded during residencies at Bergen Kunsthall (Bergen, Norway) and Lighthouse (Brighton, UK) in the past two years. The collective synthesizes artistic, sonic, radiophonic and curatorial practices to research and respond to communication technologies, amateur radio networks, archival practices and ways of listening. As new technological forms open up and others become obsolete, MÆKUR are interested in how methods of self-organising, listening and transmitting as well as the sounds of the technology itself — its errors, interruptions and signals — also evolve. At the core of the MÆKUR collaboration is theongoing archive, to gather and emphasise multiple soundings of technical development and the different communities that form around it. The release is available now as a digital download at the Sonic Acts and MÆKUR Bandcamp pages. A limited-edition vinyl is also available at the Sonic Acts webshop. For more insight into the MÆKUR collaboration and the artists involved, listen to recent podcasts with Anton Kats (co-produced by Sonic Acts) and Maia Urstad on Ràdio Web MACBA, and ​‘Send and Receive’: a podcast with Maia Urstad, Eva Rowson and Anton Kats on Lighthouse, in which they discuss their different ways of working with radio as tools for communication, programming and listening. CONDITIONS : 1218 – 0719 is a collaborative release co-produced by Bergen Kunsthall (Norway), Lighthouse (United Kingdom), Sonic Acts and Paradiso (Netherlands). Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

AV impressions of Sonic Acts Academy 2020 now online

Sonic Acts Academy 2020 took place from 21 to 23 February in Amsterdam – a three-day festival at the intersection of innovative audio-visual and performative art and critical thinking, motivated by changes in the ecological, political, technological and social landscape. For an impression of the Academy, complete photo documentation of the festival is now online at the Sonic Acts Flickr and Facebook pages. Look back on a complete collection of festival highlights and performances or browse through the daily photo recaps. • Day 1 – Friday 21 FebruaryDay 2 – Saturday 22 FebruaryDay 3 – Sunday 23 February Watch the Sonic Acts Academy 2020 aftermovie The Academy transformed the spaces of partnering institutions – Paradiso, De Brakke Grond, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and OT301 – into a thought-provoking live showcase with three evenings offer a rich programme of live cinema, experimental concerts and progressive club nights, alongside a two-day conference.
Sonic Acts Academy 2020 recap video
A particular highlight of the night programme, Progress Bar showcased a growing community of artists who occupy clubs to empower through sound. Moving fluidly between rave and reggaeton, breakcore and ballroom, this special edition of the monthly club night featured energetic hybrid performances, game demonstrations and live audiovisual premieres by some of club music’s most defiant voices permeating all corners of Paradiso.
Progress Bar at Sonic Acts Academy 2020 recap video
At OT301, Sonic Acts turned up the volume with a restless club programme of experimental electronics, generative sequencing and brutal rhythms. This adventurous programme is a dark reminder of the quivering extents where dance music lingers with chaos and disorder. A new wave of turbulent sonic explorers, rhythm analysts and improvisers present us with fragmented narratives and abstract impressions of technology that redefine the limits of dance music.
Spin Cycles at Sonic Acts Academy 2020 recap video
Interested in what else you might have missed? More recap videos of the performances and videos of the complete conference programme will be published in the coming weeks on our Youtube and Vimeo channels. Want to be notified when they’re online? Subscribe to our channels or our monthly newsletter.

Tomoko Sauvage, xin and Judith Hamann fill out Sonic Acts Academy 2020 opening programme

Sonic Acts Academy 2020 officially opens on 21 February at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the programme now fills out with new additions Tomoko Sauvage, xin and Judith Hamann. Paris-based artist Tomoko Sauvage combines water, ceramics and hydrophones in an experimental practice grounded on live performance that investigates improvisation and interaction with the environment. Berlin-based artist and writer xin warps, mangles and strangles rave tropes into something anew. And Australian cellist Judith Hamann joins French electronic composer Malibu; the soft strains of Malibu’s spoken voice overlaying the swell of cut-up sound and Hamann’s cello. Friday and Sunday Day Passes, and individual event tickets are available via Tickets. Academy 2020 participants: Ale Hop, Aliyah Hussain + Anna Bunting-Branch, Anja Kanngieser, Anthea Caddy, Arie Altena + Katía Truijen, AYA, Ben Russell, bod [包家巷] + Schwestern Sisters (SwS), Bookworms, Cõvco, Daniel Mann + Eitan Efrat, DEBBY FRIDAY, Dehlia Hannah, DESIGN EARTH: Rania Ghosn, DJ Serene, djb, Duncan Speakman, Elaine Gan, Elvin Brandhi, Ex Continent, Felicity Mangan, Go Me + Ity, Hatechild., Heleen Blanken + Karl Klomp, Holly Herndon, Hugo Esquinca, Jonáš Gruska, Kali Malone, KJDENNNM, Lag OS, LOKA, Lone Taxidermist, Lukáš Likavčan, MÆKUR: Anton Kats + Eva Rowson + Maia Urstad, Maika Garnica, Malibu + Judith Hamann, Marja Ahti, Marjolijn Dijkman, Meuko! Meuko!, Nabil Ahmed, Nadim Samman, No Bra, Philip Vermeulen, Roly Porter + MFO, Rosa Pistola, RUI HO, S280F / 011668 / vvxxii, Sadaf, SHYBOI, SITOI, Speaker Music (De Forrest Brown Jr.), T. J. Demos, Tadleeh, Terike Haapoja, Tomoko Sauvage, Underground Division: Helen Pritchard + Jara Rocha, Via App, Vincent Meessen, xin, Zohar. Visit the Programme page to discover more about the Academy 2020 artists and speakers.

First names announced for Sonic Acts Academy 2020

Today we announce the first wave of artists, thinkers and com­mis­sioned works for Son­ic Acts Acad­e­my 2020. Tak­ing place in Ams­ter­dam from 21 to 23 Feb­ru­ary 2020, the 20th edi­tion of Son­ic Acts – and the third iter­a­tion of its Acad­e­my set­up – takes its cue from inspir­ing artis­tic research with a spe­cial empha­sis on exper­i­men­ta­tion and inno­va­tion. Three evenings offer a rich pro­gramme of live cin­e­ma, exper­i­men­tal con­certs and pro­gres­sive club nights, while the con­fer­ence fea­tures cut­ting-edge emerg­ing and well-known artis­tic voices. Informed by the urgency of the cli­mate cri­sis and approach­es to new futures, the Acad­e­my is an open invi­ta­tion to lis­ten, talk and learn with one anoth­er. Fuelled by over 50 of the most excit­ing con­tem­po­rary artists and thinkers from around the globe. Ear­ly Bird fes­ti­val pass­es are now avail­able for €60 (reg­u­lar fes­ti­val pass €70) via the Tick­ets page. The first artists and thinkers to be announced for Son­ic Acts Acad­e­my 2020 are: Nabil Ahmed Mar­ja Ahti Elvin Brand­hi Anthea Cad­dy T. J. Demos Hugo Esquin­ca + Yuk Hui Mai­ka Gar­ni­ca Jonáš Grus­ka Terike Haapo­ja Daniel Mann + Eitan Efrat MÆKUR: Anton Kats + Maia Urstad + Eva Row­son Kali Mal­one Roly Porter + MFO Philip Ver­meulen Sadaf Speak­er Music (De For­rest Brown, Jr.) First Son­ic Acts Acad­e­my 2020 artists and thinkers: In review Dur­ing the two-day con­fer­ence at De Brakke Grond, con­tem­po­rary artists and thinkers, includ­ing Terike Haapo­ja, Daniel Mann and Eitan Efrat exchange ideas with the audi­ence in lec­tures, pre­sen­ta­tions and pan­els, togeth­er with live per­for­mances by Hugo Esquin­ca in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Yuk Hui, and the sound col­lab­o­ra­tion MÆKUR with Anton Kats, Eva Row­son and Maia Urstad. At the core of the MÆKUR col­lab­o­ra­tion is an ongo­ing archive, to gath­er and empha­sise mul­ti­ple sound­ings of tech­ni­cal devel­op­ment and the dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties that form around it. Award-win­ning writer T. J. Demos – Pro­fes­sor of Visu­al Cul­ture and Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Cre­ative Ecolo­gies, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San­ta Cruz – will give a lec­ture relat­ed to his cel­e­brat­ed research on art’s abil­i­ty to devel­op inno­v­a­tive and exper­i­men­tal strate­gies to deal with ecol­o­gy and glob­al pol­i­tics. As founder of INTER­PRT, artist, writer, researcher and musi­cian Nabil Ahmed makes a clar­i­on call for inter­na­tion­al crim­i­nal law to pro­tect against eco­log­i­cal impunity. At Stedelijk Muse­um Ams­ter­dam, the Acad­e­my presents a mul­ti­tude of live sound per­for­mances and instal­la­tions. Anthea Cad­dy and Mai­ka Gar­ni­ca are some of the first names to be announced, as well as Hague-based artist Philip Ver­meulen, whose per­for­ma­tive ​‘hyper­scult­pures’ that use sound, light and physics trans­gress bound­aries in seduc­ing the view­er through play, dan­ger and attrac­tion. He is cur­rent­ly devel­op­ing a new large scale instal­la­tion co-com­mis­sioned by Son­ic Acts and W139, pre­mier­ing dur­ing the 2020 Academy. With her break­through rag­ga track Still­ness in 2016, Sadaf, reared on vio­lin lessons, became an in-demand pro­duc­er, vocal­ist, DJ and per­for­mance artist. Her hyp­not­ic music is con­strained and lush, held up by the indus­tri­al noise that fed her as a young per­former in Mon­tréal, and soaked in free jazz, reg­gae­ton and Mid­dle East­ern music, deserved­ly launch­ing her into the New York club stratosphere. An immer­sive pro­gramme of rad­i­cal audio-visu­al and mul­ti­chan­nel son­ic stim­u­la­tions takes place at Par­adiso, fea­tur­ing, among oth­ers, Mar­ja Ahti, Jonáš Grus­ka, and Roly Porter in col­lab­o­ra­tion with MFO. Half of sem­i­nal late-2000s dub­step duo Vex’d with Kue­do (Jamie Teas­dale), Roly Porter’s solo work since chances at dance floor optics, but serves the bod­ies beneath with chant­i­ng choirs, beats and slow-mov­ing synths. In his return to Son­ic Acts the rest­less dri­ve of his music nour­ish­es his cat­a­clysmic audio-visu­al project Kist­vaen (2019) with Mar­cel Weber (MFO) and Mary-Anne Roberts (Bragod), large­ly record­ed on Neolith­ic bur­ial sites.

The Stock­holm-based com­pos­er and musi­cian Kali Mal­one pro­duces solo work in which she focuss­es on long-form com­po­si­tions that com­bine mod­u­lar syn­the­sis with acoustic instru­men­ta­tion. Active in Sor­row­ing Christ and Upper Glos­sa, the XKat­e­dral label co-run­ner recent­ly released her solo album The Sac­ri­fi­cial Code (2019). Amsterdam’s renowned cul­tur­al cen­tre also hosts Progress Bar, a club night that aims to rep­re­sent rad­i­cal equal­i­ty, com­mu­nal­i­ty and hope­ful­ness with hybrid per­for­mances by some of the most defi­ant voic­es, DJs, mul­ti­me­dia artists and poets from around the world. Son­ic Acts also presents a late-night pro­gramme at OT301 explor­ing the dark junc­tures of rhythm and noise. With DJ sets and live per­for­mances, a new wave of son­ic nav­i­ga­tors jour­ney into the most abstract reach­es of avant-garde rhyth­mic music. The first names to be announced include Welsh impro­vis­ing lyri­cist and pro­duc­er Elvin Brand­hi and DeFor­rest Brown, Jr., a New York-based rhyth­m­an­a­lyst and media the­o­rist. Brown’s mul­ti­me­dia prax­is called Speak­er Music uses sound and ges­tur­al input to cre­ate son­ic paint­ings or oth­er abstrac­tions through live mixing. Look out for the next Son­ic Acts Acad­e­my 2020 pro­gramme announce­ment to be made in December.

First artists announced for Progress Bar on 20 December

After an exhilarating first edition of the new season, Sonic Acts is excited to announce the first artists for the next edition of Progress Bar, taking place on 20 December 2019 at OT301. Progress Bar is an expanded club night dedicated to communal desire and collective joy. Every episode starts with a 90-minute talkshow with guests discussing their work in art, music and social action, and the conditions that shape it. After the talks we move into the club, this time with Hesska and Oli XL, as well as many more artists to be announced. Buy tickets. Keep an eye on the Facebook event page for more artist announcements and programme updates.

A staple in the Manchester club scene, Hesska utilises her background in the city’s noise and industrial scene to inform expert selection of forward-thinking club sounds and intense rave tracks. Hesska is a long-standing host at NTS Radio Manchester, has recently taken up residency at Threads Radio and has shown her abilities as an outstanding curator at Club CITS and previously Gesamtkusntwerk. Stockholm’s Oli XL has emerged as one of the most intriguing new artists in underground club music via his work as a producer, DJ, visual artist, and as head of the now defunct W-I label and its successor Bloom. As a producer, Oli has always been an artist to watch, be it his track on the PAN label’s celebrated ambient compilation Mono No Aware, or his contribution to Posh Isolation’s I Could Go Anywhere But Again I Go With You compilation. More than 100 artists, academics and activists from all over the planet have featured at Progress Bar, such as Elysia Crampton, Le1f, Bbymutha, Nkisi, Eaves, Klein, Gaika, DJ Nigga Fox, Sam Rolfes, Akwugo Emejulu, Ash Sarkar, Flavia Dzodan, Metahaven, Cakes da Killa, DJ Lycox, Linn da Quebrada, Flohio, James Massiah, Toxe, Evian Christ and many more. “A borderless melange of different voices, experiences and performances” – Charlie Clemoes, Crack Magazine More artists to be announced soon. Timetable 20:30 Doors open for drinks 21:00–22:30 Talks (lectures, artist talks and screenings) 22:30–03:00 Club (DJs & live performances) Progress Bar S04E02 Date: Friday 20 December 2019 Venue: OT301 Times: 21:00–03:00 (doors open 20:30) Tickets: €9 / €6 presale / €3 early entrance* Buy tickets *Coming for the talks? A limited amount of €3 Early Entrance tickets (arrive before 21:00) are available, including free entry to the club on top! Attend on Facebook Progress Bar is a co-production of Sonic Acts & Paradiso and part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Limited number of Blind Bird tickets available for Sonic Acts Academy 2020

A limited amount of Blind Bird festival passes for Sonic Acts Academy 2020 are now available for €50. Regular passes will be on sale for €70. Sonic Acts Academy is a three-day festival of innovative audio-visual and performative art and critical thinking, motivated by ecological, political, technological and social change in our environment. From 21 to 23 February 2020 in Amsterdam, the Academy transforms partnering institutions – Paradiso, De Brakke Grond, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and OT301 – into a thought-provoking space for new developments in artistic research. Three richly programmed evenings of live cinema, experimental concerts and progressive club nights accompany a conference featuring cutting-edge artistic voices from around the world. As a condensed rendition of its bigger sister, Sonic Acts festival, the Academy is interested in experimental artistic reflections on the impact of planetary transformations in the age of the Anthropocene. Informed by the climate crisis and with thoughts on the potential futures, the Academy is the place to discuss, listen, watch and share experiences with over 50 over the most exciting contemporary artists and thinkers working today. BLIND BIRD Limited amount of Blind Bird festival passes available for €50. Regular passes will be on sale for €70. Buy tickets SUPPORT PASS Sonic Acts is devoting more of its resources to commissioned works, organising master classes for students and young artists, and special projects. If you wish to support Sonic Acts, we gladly welcome you to buy a Support pass for €110. Buy tickets The programme will be revealed in the coming months. Want to stay up to date with artist announcements, programme updates and timetables? Follow Sonic Acts on Facebook or subscribe to the newsletter.

Progress Bar on 1 November: Nazar, SUUTOO, TAYHANA, Fossil Free Culture NL and more

A new season of Progress Bar kicks off on Friday 1 November 2019 at OT301, with talks by Fossil Free Culture NL and Nazar, as well as DJ sets by Nazar, Satin de Compostela, Snufkin, SUUTOO and TAYHANA, and a screening of the film Zombies by Baloji. Progress Bar is a club night dedicated to communal desire and collective joy. After one season in Brighton, and episodes in Vilnius, Kharkiv and Pristina, this is its fourth season in Amsterdam, in collaboration with Sonic Acts. Tickets for the first edition are now on sale. Keep an eye on the Facebook event page for more artist announcements and programme updates.

Fossil Free Culture NL, Dissonance Act2. Afterthought, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam
Fossil Free Culture NL consider it their duty to liberate culture from the influence of catastrophically unethical corporations. They are a collective of artists, activists, academics and other members of the public. Art has the power to confront vested interests and preserve our planet. They channel our sadness and anger into disobedient art to end oil and gas sponsorship of public cultural institutions. Nazar’s musical world centres around the extreme violence, injustice and omnipresence of a repressive state during and after the 27-year Angolan civil war, simultaneously exploring hope, resilience and pride in a country torn apart by conflict. After the civil war ended in 2002 Nazar who was raised in Belgium returned to Angola. It was at this point he began music production, making his own unique take on Angola’s kuduro music. Nazar inverts kuduro, weaving war sounds like guns cocking and airstrike swooshes, lacing cold synths with cascading percussion and swells of noise. His lyrics focus on massacres and violence, chanting and taunts against the dictatorship. Nazar calls this ‘rough kuduro,’ a term he coined through a hashtag on his Soundcloud page. On weaponising the genre Nazar states 'since people can’t really criticise on the streets, they do it on the internet and through their art...I couldn’t express my frustrations with what I was seeing on a daily basis and translate that uglier side, the existing Kuduro was too upbeat.' The Enclave EP reflects upon Nazar’s tumultuous journey, honouring the unnamed dead and piecing together Angola’s violent past in order to make sense of the present. It also represents a mental safe zone that he carries close to him wherever he goes - a reminder that in spite of airstrikes and whatever else may stand in the way, cities can be built anywhere when hope for a better future remains. Satin de Compostela is an Amsterdam-based Polish producer and DJ, whose debut After Touch Velocity was released earlier this year. The artist is known for her eclectic sets, spinning everything from ambient and experimental music through to obscure queer sounds and pop hits. Making his debut at a basement rave a year ago, Snufkin has been working his way up as a DJ in Amsterdam quickly. After a year of performing all over the city, including at Progress Bar during Sonic Acts Festival 2019, he is becoming a force to be reckoned with. He has since refined his sets to the fever-dreamish, emotional rollercoasters they are today, firing walls of sound at the listener for an overwhelming experience. Multi-disciplinary artist and musician SUUTOO creates sounds both harmonious and discordant, sending the listener on a journey through chaos, climax and utter bliss. As a DJ, SUUTOO explores the potentiality of sound: playing with time, repetition, tempo and climatic moments. Argentinian DJ and producer TAYHANA has established herself as one of the most powerful musical forces on the South and Central-American dancefloors. Her explosive energy and vast selection of vigorous club tracks, along with an extensive collection of regional hits, make her a favourite of many DJ’s and club-goers.
 In addition to producing and DJ’ing, TAYHANA also co-founded HiedraH Club de Baile, an essential party continuously revolutionising both the sonic and physical atmospheres of the Buenos Aires underground. HiedraH Club de Baile politically and provocatively dares to play with varying rhythms from “ghettos” around the globe all while pushing and preserving the experimental evolution of their local sound. Currently, TAYHANA is developing her new project, Encuentros Furtivos (translated to Stealthy Encounters in English), a platform for collaborating with different Latin friends and artists, via multiple forms such as music, clothing, and audiovisual elements. More than 100 artists, academics and activists from all over the planet have featured at Progress Bar, such as Elysia Crampton, Le1f, Bbymutha, Nkisi, Eaves, Klein, Gaika, DJ Nigga Fox, Sam Rolfes, Akwugo Emejulu, Ash Sarkar, Flavia Dzodan, Metahaven, Cakes da Killa, DJ Lycox, Linn da Quebrada, Flohio, James Massiah, Toxe, Evian Christ and many more. Every episode starts with a 90-minute talkshow with guests talking about their work in art, music and social action, and the material conditions that shape it. After the talks we move into the club, and, having spent time listening to the artists talk, dancing to their music will be even more magical. “A borderless melange of different voices, experiences and performances” – Charlie Clemoes, Crack Magazine More artists to be announced soon. Timetable 20:30 Doors open for drinks 21:00–22:30 Talks (lectures, panel discussions & artist talks) 22:30–03:00 Club (DJs & live performances) Progress Bar S04E01 Date: Friday 1 November 2019 Venue: OT301 Times: 21:00–03:00 (doors open 20:30) Tickets: €9 / €6 presale / €3 early entrance* *Coming for the talks? A limited amount of €3 Early Entrance tickets (arrive before 21:30) are available, including free entry to the club on top! Attend on Facebook Progress Bar is a co-production of Sonic Acts & Paradiso and part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Sonic Acts Podcast: Listen to the 2019 conference talks

The conference talks from Sonic Acts Festival 2019 are now available to listen to as a series of audio episodes, with lectures by leading theorists and artists including Rosi Braidotti, Susanne M. Winterling, Didier Debaise, Irit Rogoff, Jodi Dean, Gregory Sholette, Flavia Dzodan, Ramon Amaro, The Otolith Group and Elizabeth A. Povinelli, among others. You can also hear discussions with filmmakers including Maeve Brennan, Tony Cokes, Ephraim Asili and Louis Henderson, which were recorded following screenings of their respective films. The audio episodes are available to listen to at the Sonic Acts SoundCloud page or your preferred podcast platform. Visit the 2019 festival site

Save the dates: Sonic Acts Academy 2020 takes place 21–23 February

Sonic Acts Academy 2020 will take place in Amsterdam from 21 to 23 February. Stay tuned for more information to be announced over the coming months. Keep up to date:

Look back at Sonic Acts Festival 2019 Photos from the 2019 festival edition of Sonic Acts are online on our Facebook and Flickr pages. Watch the festival recap, as well as videos of the 2019 conference and previous editions, on our YouTube and Vimeo channels.

Summer Sale: Discounts on Sonic Acts publications and more

Summer is upon us, and what better way to spend it than to delve into one of the many Sonic Acts publications. For that reason, we are offering discounts on many of our books including recent publications Hereafter (€17,50; regular price €19,50), The Noise of Being and Living Earth (€14,50 each; regular price €19,50), and The Dark Universe and Travelling Time (€10 each; regular price €17,50). In addition, many of the Sonic Acts t-shirts and tote bags are available at 50% off. Take advantage of package deals, including on the Dutch Design Awards-nominated Hereafter resources – get the publication, sweatshirt and tote bag for a combined €37,50 (full price €54,50). Or the Sonic Acts Academy 2018 and 2016 publications for €9,50 (full price €16,50). There's also the opportunity to buy all available Sonic Acts books for €52,80 (a 60% discount on the total price). The Summer Sale runs until 31 July 2019 at the Sonic Acts webshop.

Videos of the 2019 conference are now online

This year, Sonic Acts celebrated its 25-year history with a festival edition dedicated to the topic Hereafter. It was as much a speculative position as it was, as always, a reality-check and an urgent call to rethink and act on the significant problems we are facing today. The three-day conference at De Brakke Grond reminded us of the festival's first quarter of a century and what has changed since, but also encouraged us to look ahead, beyond our current planetary crisis. Videos of the conference talks are now online on the Sonic Acts YouTube and Vimeo channels. The first day of the conference began with two keynote lectures by Rosi Braidotti and Rick Dolphijn, who asked about the logic of death; firstly, by rephrasing it through posthuman knowledges, and, secondly, by asking how art works with an idea of dying. This was followed by further keynote lectures by Susanne M. Winterling and Didier Debaise, who opened our eyes to the practices of life that we have hitherto been blind to and that our humanist concept of nature has refused to accept. The final session of the day was dedicated to artistic research. Irit Rogoff presented her current work on new practices of knowledge production and their impact on modes of research. And scholars and artists Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner spoke about their new film that addresses and shapes the possibility of alternative narrative models capable of responding to the complexities of contemporary perceptual realities. The second day of the conference started with a panel outlining the current political landscape on the Left and Right. Gregory Sholette wondered whether an anti-capitalist art can survive in a world of lolcats, doomsday preppers and xenophobic frog memes, while Jodi Dean showed how the twenty-first century puts forth a new choice: communism or feudalism. The panel was moderated by Ash Sarkar, an activist and senior editor for Novara Media. The second session of the day featured talks by Flavia Dzodan and Ramon Amaro. Dzodan was interested in how contemporary technologies become a tool of racial, gender and class exclusions, while Amaro discussed the domain of AI as an arrangement of axiomatic simplicity that, in its present form, diminishes variant domains of psychological and physical reality. After afternoon screenings of Black Celebration (1988) by Tony Cokes, and American Hunger (2013) and Fluid Frontiers (2017) by Ephraim Asili, the final session of the day comprised talks by these two artists and filmmakers. Cokes’ presentation connected three threads: his scepticism with regard to historical constructions, the media’s attempted conversion of ‘revolution’ into a marketing trope, and how these representations resonate in our current climate of fear and proto-fascism. Asili spoke about his own cinematic practice – Mindfulness Cinema – which includes jazz methodologies, meditation, African-American literary traditions, Sigmund Freud, Sun Ra and concepts of landscape/locational cinema. The final day of the conference began by dealing with the legacies of artist Julius Eastman (1940–1990), the queer African-American avant-garde composer, pianist, vocalist and conductor, and Amy Ashwood Garvey (1897–1969), political activists. Their pioneering and important work has been revived in new artworks by The Otolith Group in The Third Part of the Third Measure (2017), and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa in Carrying Yours and Standing Between You (2018). We also welcomed Annie Fletcher to this panel, a curator from the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, who is preparing a large solo exhibition of The Otolith Group in May 2019. Later, in talks by Elizabeth A. Povinelli and Louis Henderson, we learned about the artistic collective practices with which these two artists and thinkers are associated: the Karrabing Film Collective, a grassroots Indigenous group from Australia’s Northwest Territory that produces films representing their lives and intervening in the representation of 'indigeneity'; and The Living and the Dead Ensemble, a collective created in Port-au-Prince with artists from Haiti, France and the UK who have translated and performed the play Monsieur Toussaint by Édouard Glissant from French into Haitian Creole. The final conference session problematised the usual ‘real of fiction’ and made arguments for the ‘fictions of the real’, whereby, after a talk by Stoffel Debuysere, Filipa César closed the conference with a performative reading called Meteorisations. Watch more videos from the conference on our YouTube and Vimeo channels. Visit the 2019 festival site

Thank you for making Sonic Acts Festival 2019 a success!

From early February until the beginning of March, Sonic Acts Festival 2019 welcomed over 120 artists and theorists in a month-long programme of exhibitions, workshops, talks, films, concerts and club nights across Amsterdam. This celebratory festival edition – which culminated from 21 to 24 February – marked 25 years since we first began back in 1994. But instead at looking back at our history, we set out to explore what might, could or should happen hereafter. 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 photographers, film crew, bloggers and our fantastic volunteers; and last but not least to all of you who came to experience and participate in HEREAFTER. PHOTOS AND VIDEOS Our great team of photographers and videographers didn’t miss a thing at the festival. For photos, take a look at our Facebook and Flickr albums. Watch the festival recap video on our YouTube and Vimeo channels. And keep an eye out for videos of the conference talks, which will be published online very soon.

READ THE P/REVIEWS A selection of press coverage – interviews, previews and reviews – is listed below: – NRC Verwondering en diepdreunende bassen tijdens Sonic Acts [Dutch] – Volkskrant Festival Sonic Acts schiet je even bruut naar een andere wereld én een andere tijd [Dutch] – Metropolis M Wat Hereafter? - Lucas van der Velden over 25 jaar Sonic Acts [Dutch] – Glamcult Progress with performer Charm Mone – AQNB Brave new worlds: rkss shares a mix – NRC Jennifer Walshe: ‘Daadwerkelijk in het moment zijn – dat is lastig’ [Dutch] – De Groene Amsterdammer Tijd tijd tijd [Dutch] – DJ Broadcast Sonic Acts: Nieuwe artiesten, nieuwe muziek [Dutch] 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. Visit the 2019 festival site

HEREAFTER publication available at the Sonic Acts shop

This year, Sonic Acts celebrated its 25-year history with a festival edition dedicated to the topic Hereafter. The full scope of issues discussed during the festival – which took place from the start of February until early March 2019 – is very much represented and palpable in the tone of this year's festival publication, or 'the reader', a coalescing of contributions from the festival's conference speakers, performers, filmmakers, and other participants. The publication includes contributions by Mirna Belina, Jodi Dean, Gregory Sholette, Clausthome & Mārtinš Ratniks, Flavia Dzodan, Rana Hamadeh, Susanne M. Winterling, The Living and the Dead Ensemble, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, William L. Fox, The Rodina with Lukáš Likavčan, Sasha Litvintseva & Beny Wagner, Stoffel Debuysere in conversation with Jacques Rancière, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Filipa César, Ephraim Asili, Polina Medvedeva & Andreas Kühne, Ana Vaz, Arie Altena in conversation with Jennifer Walshe, Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou, and Lucas van der Velden. In addition to the publication, there are beautiful new HEREAFTER tote bags and sweatshirts designed by The Rodina. Sonic Acts is also proud to be selling a special extended version of BJ Nilsen's ORE, including a cryovial tube containing 2.0 ml iron ore from Kirkenes, Norway, and an individual download code to Nilsen’s sound piece; and the Martin Bartlett CD Ankle On: Electronic and Orchestral Works – compiled and edited by Luke Fowler in consultation with Jennifer Lucy Allan. The Hereafter publication, audio objects and merchandise are available at the Sonic Acts webshop. Visit the 2019 festival site

Call for applications: Seminar on Contemporary Theory, Creativity, The Earth and Us

February 14, 2019 | Utrecht University Rick Dolphijn Close Reading Session: Still Alive and Already Dead February 21, 2019 | University of Amsterdam Rosi Braidotti, Rick Dolphijn and Susanne Winterling Workshop: a Necropolitics of Life February 22, 2019 Sonic Acts Festival Rethinking Death… and Ways to Live Led by Rick Dolphijn, Sonic Acts and Platform for Posthuman Ecologies and the Contemporary (post)-Humanities (Utrecht University) are organising a seminar in collaboration with the Research School for Media Studies (RMeS). The seminar comprises a close reading session, a workshop with prominent guests – among others, Rosi Braidotti and Susanne Winterling – and a Sonic Acts festival visit and intervention, and aims to map some key thoughts that relate to life and death from a posthuman perspective. At the interstices of contemporary philosophy and contemporary art, psychoanalysis and ecology, we get together for a triptych of events that explore the concepts of death and life differently. Leaving modernist and anthropocentric oppositions behind us, our aim is to explore how different ideas of death give rise to different forms of life, and how these concepts relate to the organic and the inorganic, to space and time.

Enrolment Please note that this seminar is intended for PhD candidates and RMa students. A limited number of external artists and practitioners can also apply via Sonic Acts by sending a CV, a short biography and motivation letter outlining why you would like to attend to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. If we receive more applications than expected, a careful selection will be made based on motivation and diversity of backgrounds. More information, including a detailed schedule, will be sent to the selected participants. The deadline for applications is 1 February 2019. Fee Participants pay a €50 contribution for the seminar. The fee also grants access to the Sonic Acts conference on Friday 22 February. Rick Dolphijn teaches and does research on media theory and cultural theory. He has written on new materialism, ecology, ecosophy and art and has great interest in the developments in continental philosophy and speculative thought. His academic work has appeared in journals like Angelaki, Continental Philosophy Review (with Iris van der Tuin), Collapse and Deleuze Studies. He currently holds a Senior Fellowship at the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University. Rosi Braidotti is a contemporary philosopher and feminist theoretician. A ground-breaking scholar in both materialism, continental philosophy and gender studies, she has enriched the Information Age with her postmodern feminist considerations of cyberspace, prosthesis and the materiality of difference. Braidotti is the founding director of the Centre for the Humanities in Utrecht, and the author of numerous books, including Nomadic Subjects (2011), The Posthuman (2013), and co-editor of publications such as The Posthuman Glossary (2018; with Maria Hlavajova). Susanne Winterling works across a range of media to explore the sentient economy, digital cultures and the social life of materials across our built environment. Her practice reflects upon political as well as aesthetic entanglements and power structures among human/animal/matter. Winterling also remains focused on historical feminist practices and the commons, and puts spotlight on different ways of knowledge through embodiment.

Call for applications: The Hidden City workshop with Christina Kubisch

In keeping with her ongoing project Electrical Walks, pioneering sound installation artist Christina Kubisch leads a three-day workshop, from 25 to 27 February, in which participants explore an otherwise imperceptible urban soundscape. Kubisch’s public walks use specially made headphones that receive electromagnetic signals from the environment and convert them into sound, opening up a remarkable view of our everyday environment. The workshop is based on research of sound waves we cannot normally perceive with our ears, including electromagnetic waves, underwater sounds and radio waves. Another point of interest is the comparison of these hidden sounds with our real soundscapes. The Hidden City aims to explore and record these hidden signals in the city of Amsterdam and to transform and transcribe them into a work that will be discussed and eventually presented at the end of the workshop. Collective work in groups of 2 to 3 people is encouraged. The result of the research can be a choreography through the city, a composition, performance, a written project, or other. What is most important about the workshop is the experience of the participants and the discussion about it – by the use of technology we comment on technology. Enrolment The three-day workshop is open to (sound) artists and anyone with a basic knowledge of how to use recording facilities. Some special recording facilities for exploring hidden sounds will be provided, but participants are required to bring their own sound recording equipment (these can also be video recorders), good headphones and a laptop with an editing programme, such as Protools or Reaper. The number of participants is limited. To apply, please send a CV, a short biography and motivation letter outlining why you would like to attend to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. Participants must attend the full workshop programme. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. If we receive more applications than expected, a careful selection will be made based on motivation and diversity of backgrounds. More information, including a detailed schedule, will be sent to the selected participants. The deadline for applications is 1 February 2019. Fee Participants pay a €75 contribution for three days. Lunch will be provided.

Interview with Christina Kubisch by Fridaymilk. Sonic Acts Academy 2018.
Christina Kubisch is a pioneer of sound art installation and one of today’s most prominent European sound artists. Kubisch is trained as a visual artist, musician, and composer in Hamburg, Graz, Zurich, and Milan. She studied flute and piano before turning to electronic music and later focusing on sound sculpture and sound installations, which often involved ultraviolet light, solar energy, and electromagnetic induction. In 2003, she began an ongoing project Electrical Walks: public walks with specially made headphones that receive electromagnetic signals from the environment and convert them into sound. She has developed 66 walks worldwide, including for ZKM, Karlsruhe; The Kitchen, New York; Ars Electronica, Linz; Kontraste, Krems; and documenta 14, Athens. Kubisch was Professor of Sound Art at the Academy of Fine Arts, Saarbrücken, Germany (1994–2013). She has been a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin since 1997. This workshop is a co-production of Sonic Acts & Paradiso and part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

More names confirmed for Sonic Acts Festival 2019

Sonic Acts is pleased to reveal the second batch of names for Sonic Acts Festival 2019. Under the heading Hereafter, the 25 year anniversary edition of the festival reflects on the entangled issues of power relations, neo-colonialism, capitalism, technological advancement and the implications of those practices for our environment. From 21 to 24 February, the festival will move through conversations with artists and thinkers at a three-day international conference, plus a programme filled with audiovisual performances, concerts, films, installations, exhibitions, and club nights at various locations in Amsterdam, including Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and Arti et Amicitiae. New confirmed artists and speakers are Ryoko Akama, Alobhe, Bergsonist, Jonas Bers, Maeve Brennan, Zeno van den Broek, Clausthome and Mārtiņš Ratniks, Tony Cokes, Mieriën Coppens, Quay Dash, Stoffel Debuysere, Rick Dolphijn, HC Gilje, Rana Hamadeh, Louis Henderson, Lyra Hill, Lukas Marxt, Polina Medvedeva and Andreas Kühne, Charm Mone, The Otolith Group and Annie Fletcher, Drone Operatør and Mette Rasmussen, Ulrike Ottinger, Oxhy, Claude Speeed, Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner, Dave Quam, Ash Sarkar, Jung An Tagen, Ana Vaz, Olivier Marboeuf and Nuno da Luz, Susanne M. Winterling, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, and YATTA. The complete programme will be revealed at the end of January. Read about the previously confirmed artists here. Festival Passes are now on sale for €100 (€80 for students). A special group discount is available for visitors in groups of four or more at €70 per pass. Day Passes and event tickets will be available at the end of January. Buy tickets A three-day conference at Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond features lectures and discussions from artists and theorists probing some of today’s most urgent questions, while this year’s film programme, which runs parallel to the conference, offers several speakers the possibility to expand their lectures with moving images. Conference panels will be moderated by prominent writers, journalists and academics, including Ash Sarkar, a senior editor at Novara Media and a lecturer in global politics at Anglia Ruskin University. Sarkar also teaches as part of a master’s degree in film, graphic design and propaganda at the Sandberg Instituut, and is a contributor to publications such as The Guardian and The Independent. At Sonic Acts Festival 2019, she will preside over a panel with Jodi Dean and Gregory Sholette, discussing topics around communism and the radical imagination. Writer and philosopher Rick Dolphijn returns to Sonic Acts to host a conference session with Rosi Braidotti and Susanne M. Winterling. Dolphijn’s work to date, which focuses on continental philosophy, contemporary art, activism, and life, includes authoring Foodscapes (2005), and New Materialism (2012) with Iris van der Tuin, and editing This Deleuzian Century (2014) with Rosi Braidotti. Dolphijn teaches at Utrecht University and holds an honorary associate professorship at Hong Kong University. As a part of this year’s Sonic Acts programme, Dolphijn is also organising a Research School for Media Studies (RMeS) seminar and close reading session on contemporary theory, creativity, the Earth and us.

Joining Dolphijn’s panel is Susanne M. Winterling, who works across a variety of media including film, photography, sculpture and performance. Winterling is primarily known for her time-based installations which critically engage the representation of reality. Prevailing modernist concepts, power structures and hierarchical historiographies are captured and investigated in her work in the form of spatial constellations. With an emphasis on enhancing our perceptual and critical consciousness, Winterling undertakes affective and material-based research that highlights the subjective interaction between producers, viewers and species in our ecology. She will also feature as part of Rick Dolphijn’s RMes seminar, alongside Rosi Braidotti and others. Elsewhere at the conference, filmmakers and researchers Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner will introduce their long-term project Universal Syntax, which seeks to untangle the human tendency to read the natural world as a text. Wagner’s research themes include the cyclical regeneration of media technologies, the history of science, the thresholds of human and nonhuman life, affective feedback, agricultural production and the politics of waste. He was a researcher at Jan van Eyck Academy and is currently a senior lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Litvintseva is a lecturer in Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London and is currently completing a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London. Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa’s talk will focus on her artistic practice. Working in a wide range of media, for­mats and con­texts, she has studied the roles that rep­re­sen­ta­tional prac­tices played in European powers’ attempts to advance argu­ments in favour of colo­nialism and its per­pet­u­a­tion in Africa right up to and during the lib­er­a­tion strug­gles of the mid-twen­tieth cen­tury. Wolukau-Wanambwa is Director of Research at the Nagenda International Academy of Art & Design (NIAAD) in Namulanda, Uganda, and Research Fellow in Fine Art at the National Academy of Art & Design in Bergen, Norway. In line with his new project around Toussaint Louverture – one of the leaders of the Haitian Revolution – Louis Henderson presents Bring breath to the death of rocks (work in progress), a film that suggests an archaeology of the colonial history of France buried within its landscapes and institutions. Many millions of years ago the Jura was a tropical ocean, as it metamorphosed into the mountain range it left behind large sedimented layers of time. The film dramatises the escape of the ghost of Louverture from his castle prison. Through historical detournement the past is revisited in order to imagine an alternative future, and in doing so the film offers what Édouard Glissant described in the introduction to his play Monsieur Toussaint (1959) as ‘a prophetic vision of the past’. Henderson will also talk about the project at the conference. Maeve Brennan’s film Listening in the Dark (2018) unearths the repercussions caused by the presence of wind turbines located near the regular flight paths of bats. Framed by the current ecological crisis, the study steers an agile, intuitive but increasingly troubled and disconcerted course through these fast-changing environmental conditions. Maeve Brennan is an artist and filmmaker based in London. She was educated at Goldsmiths, University of London, and was a fellow of the Home Workspace Programme at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut (2013–14). She received the Jerwood/FVU Award 2018. Brussels-based researcher and curator Stoffel Debuysere is a head programmer for the Courtisane festival, and a lecturer in Film Critical Studies at the School of Arts in Ghent, where he recently obtained a PhD with his research project Figures of Dissent (Cinema of Politics, Politics of Cinema). Active in the fields of cinema and visual arts, he has organised numerous film programmes, lectures, performances, and exhibitions in collaboration with a variety of organisations and institutions. Alongside his conference talk, Debuysere curates a special programme of films, including a new work by Mieriën Coppens. Attempting to absorb images through remembrance into daily practice, Coppens’ works appear as forgotten images, images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation, which find a resonance where fiction and reality meet. In the lead up to the festival, an expansive exhibition cumulates from 8 February to 3 March at Arti et Amicitiae (opening 8 February), Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond (opening 16 February) and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (opening 22 February), comprising spatial audiovisual installations, video art, and sound works by a number of influential contemporary artists. Three chapters unfold through different topics and focuses, dealing with questions of landscape manipulation, pollution, and ethnographic gaze (Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond); excavating structures of power, and making visible their cultural, and political engagement with colonial projects (Arti et Amicitiae); and with an emphasis on emancipatory struggles and their media representations (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam). Among the numerous artists and works to be featured at Arti et Amicitiae will be a new commissioned piece by visual and performance artist Rana Hamadeh. Drawing on a curatorial approach within her artistic practice, Hamadeh develops longstanding discursive projects that think through the infrastructures of justice, militarism, histories of sanitation, and theatre. Her work stems from an extended investigation into specific concepts and terms, treating the field of theory as fiction. In 2011, she initiated the Alien Encounters project, which has since been operating as an incubator for a growing series of propositions aimed at complicating the notion of ‘alienness’. She graduated with an MFA from the Dutch Art Institute in 2009. She is the recipient of the 2017 Prix de Rome for Visual Arts. At Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, Lukas Marxt presents a video installation and a series of paper works entitled Imperial Valley (cultivated run-off), which he made in 2017. The work deals with the problem of agricultural exploitation of California’s Imperial Valley through a gigantic irrigation system fed by the Colorado River. Fertiliser run-off from the nearby farms are collapsing the ecosystem of the Salton Sea, an artificial lake at the edge of the valley. The lake’s continuing desiccation and the resulting release of toxic particulate matter puts the Salton Sea at risk of becoming one of the biggest health hazards in US history. Marxt is a an artist researching deserted places and violent geographies such as oil rigs or Arctic coastlines. In 2012 Marxt was involved in The Arctic Circle Residency Program. Ulrike Ottinger is one of the most prominent German avant-garde artists. She spent much of the 1960s working as a painter in Paris – where she also studied with the likes of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Louis Althusser – before launching her film career in Berlin in the early 1970s. Her first feature film, Madame X (1977), drew the interest of queer and feminist scholars. She has collaborated with Delphine Seyrig in two features from that time: Freak Orlando (1981) and Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia (1989). In 1990s, Ottinger shifted away from the theatrical extravagances to a carefully observed documentary. Her travelogues focus insightfully on the quotidian reality of everyday people. China. The Arts – The People (1985) is the first in a series of long documentaries made in the course of Ottinger’s travels through Asia. In 1992, she made an eight-hour film Taiga and in 2016 twelve-hour long Chamisso’s Shadow, which will be presented at Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond. The 12-hour film is a journey to the Bering Sea in three chapters and will be presented in its entirety several times during the exhibition in an improvised cinema. Ana Vaz is an artist and filmmaker whose films, installations and performances explore complex relationships between environments, territories and hybrid histories, pushing the boundaries of our perception. Assemblages of found and shot materials, her films combine ethnography and speculation in exploring the frictions and fictions imprinted upon situated spaces and their multiple inhabitants. She will present a 3-channel installation Mediums (Voyage Out). Vaz will also be performing at Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond with Olivier Marboeuf and Nuno da Luz at the exhibition opening. Marboeuf is an author, critic, performer and independent curator. His path has led him through issues of the connections between text and voice to still and moving images and more broadly on the importance of sharing. For several years now his research has focused on a re-examination of colonialism according to the principles of narrative speculation that compete with the dominant historical tale. Da Luz is an artist and publisher whose work circumscribes both aural and visual in the form of sound events, installations and printed matter. At Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, a large selection of video works by Tony Cokes will be presented. Cokes, who will also deliver a lecture at the conference, makes video, installation, print and sound works that reframe appropriated texts to reflect upon capitalism, subjectivity, knowledge and pleasure. His works have been shown at Centre Georges Pompidou, MoMa, Whitney Museum, ZKM, REDCAT, and screened at festivals including the Berlin Biennale, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Oberhausen. Cokes is Professor in Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. During their long standing collaboration, The Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun) have drawn from a wide range of resources and materials. Their research-based work spans moving image, audio, performance, installation and curation. The duo incorporate filmmaking and post-lens-based essayistic aesthetics that explore the temporal anomalies, anthropic inversions, and synthetic alienation of the posthuman, the inhuman, the non-human and the complexity of the environment conditions of life we all face. In 2019, together with the chief curator at the Van Abbemuseum Annie Fletcher, they are preparing a large-scale and travelling museum retrospective. One of their latest video installations, The Third Part of the Third Measure (2017), will be presented at the Stedelijk, featuring works by the queer African-American avant-garde composer, pianist, vocalist and conductor Julius Eastman, whose ecstatic militant minimalism initiated a black radical aesthetic that revolutionised the US East Coast’s new music scene of the 1970s and 80s. They will also present the exhibition curatorial concept together at the conference. Throughout the weekend’s evenings and nights, Sonic Acts will present an exhilarating programme of audiovisual performances, sound and light installations, and contemporary forward-thinking music. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam hosts, among others, sound artist, composer and performer Ryoko Akama, with a new work co-commissioned by Sonic Acts and STEIM on the occasion of 50 years of STEIM. Akama's work aims to offer quiet temporal and spatial experiences, and is connected to literature, fine art and mixed media (technology). She employs small and fragile objects such as paper balloons and glass bottles in order to create tiny aural and visual occurrences that embody ‘almost nothing’ aesthetics. At Paradiso, comics artist and filmmaker Lyra Hill presents the spectacular Breath With Cube, a performance that mixes psychedelia with fantastic tales of self-discovery, the body and the mysteries of nature. Hill’s performances usually use multiple film projectors, looping audio effects and pulsating hand-drawn images to create super-sensory environments of light, colour and sound. HC Gilje works with real-time environments, installations, live performance, set design and single channel video. He was a member of the video improvisation ensemble 242.pilots, and was also the visual motor of dance company Kreutzerkompani. In 2006, Gilje initiated the research project Conversations with Spaces, with which he explores how audiovisual technology can be used to transform, create, expand, amplify and interpret physical spaces. HC Gilje’s work revolves around different forms of improvisation – whether as live performances, experimental videos or spatial installations. At Sonic Acts, Gilje presents the laser and sound piece Radiant, a large-scale light work in constant flux. New York-based media performance artist Jonas Bers works with hand-built and hacked audiovisual systems. His video sonification works incorporate salvaged VHS-era editing machines, surveillance cameras, military surplus and laboratory devices that have been modified and repurposed into tools for real-time performance. Bers’ work is concerned with connections between the technological singularity, sensory perception and the physical universe; and the phenomenological aspects of intense audiovisual stimulus. Mārtiņš Ratniks is a media artist working in the fields of sound and digital video design, who has contributed largely in developing Riga’s VJ scene. He is a key member of the E-LAB and RIXC, and co-founder of the digital video artist group and label F5. At Sonic Acts, Ratniks presents a live audiovisual performance Entropik Archive with Latvian musicians Clausthome. Working mainly with drum noise, radio noise and ambient electromagnetic sounds, Clausthome create sound from data gathered by radio telescopes and from archives of astronomy research data servers. Polina Medvedeva is a Russian-Dutch filmmaker who researches the notion of informality, focusing on informal economies and non-conformist communal structures, their principles influencing the aesthetics of her videos. Medvedeva’s work has been exhibited and screened at several prominent Dutch and international spaces and events. At Sonic Acts, Medvedeva and Andreas Kühne present their audiovisual work The Informals/Неформалы, a joint commission by Sonic Acts and Inversia festival in Murmansk. Kühne works as an improvising musician focusing on interdisciplinary projects, as well as a drummer, actor, composer and sound artist. Drone Operatør is the musical venture of artists Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig that started its prolific career as a conceptual kleptomaniac post digital free jazz outfit about two years ago. Since then they have created more than 240 songs or 14 hours of experimental and free form quasi jazz, released continually on SoundCloud. For Sonic Acts, the duo present a performance with the Norwegian saxophonist Mette Rasmussen, who will improvise in conversation with a flying drone until its battery is empty. Rasmussen’s ability to move between the often strict confines of genres and explore the elements is on full display throughout. In solo affairs as well as in collaborations, Rasmussen has encapsulated her own personal vision of the role of the saxophone, often turning it into a complete physical experience. Her performances tie together audience and artist, and embody the energy between the two. Claude Speeed's music may seem a world apart from the sweaty punk rock basements where Scottish teenagers pick up guitars to earn their first musical merits, but that's exactly the scene where he grew up. His latest albums with Planet Mu, Infinity Ultra and Other Infinities, are impressionistic bursts of varied creativity, featuring shimmering VSTs, monolithic noise, euphoric blocks of colourful sound, trance stabs and towering drones – all rendered against cold, sinister space and nostalgic synth melodies. At Sonic Acts, Speeed performs together with filmmakers and researchers Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner, who also deliver talks at the conference. Through the use of synthesis and sampling techniques, Jung An Tagen builds aleatoric arrays, repetitive figures and polyrhythmic moires that speak equally to the body and to the mind. The grammar of this music is confounding, the language itself immediate, oscillating between modern composition and ritualistic techno, immersion and repulsion. In 2016, the Viennese artist found a local home at Editions Mego, a label with more than 20 years of expertise in this territory. In the past, Stefan Juster appeared with different monikers on labels such as Not Not Fun, Blackest Rainbow, Orange Milk and as an experimental video artist. Zeno van den Broek is a Dutch-born, Copenhagen-based composer who works in a multi-sensory way to research and express physical, social and acoustic notions. He creates site- and concept-specific works through immaterial, digital and temporal means. Van den Broek’s background in architecture enables him to comprehend and reveal the richness and complexity of spatial, visceral and physical perception. He works with a characteristic artistic language based on minimalist and fundamental elements such as sine waves, lines, noise and grids. At Sonic Acts, he will show his film Entrop. Under the guise Bergsonist (derived from Deleuze's Bergsonism), New York-based Moroccan artist Selwa Abd uses multiple mediums to investigate social resonance through divergent conceptual aesthetics. With a design sensibility, she filters the objects of intuitive exploration guided by an impulse to detach subjective meaning from found sonic fragments, driven by notions of identity, memory and social politics. As part of the festival’s club programme, Progress Bar welcomes some of today’s most captivating performers and DJs, supporting radical club cultures through communality and hopefulness. Quay Dash is one of New York rap’s most defiant voices. The Bronx rapper’s scorching debut album, Transphobic, featured blaring beats and grooving rhythms from SOPHIE, an unbreakable confidence that channeled early Nicki Minaj, and biting lyrics that spoke to her personal experience as a black transgender woman. She has also worked with producers such as Sega Bodega, kicking down the club door and declaring her supremacy. Brazilian artist Charm Mone creates hybridised performances that navigate from both stage and club environments to gallery and theatre spaces. Since relocated to Berlin, the budding composer’s work has been growing significantly. Early 2018 saw them premiere a live show entitled Body Memory in collaboration with producer nunu, and Charm is currently working on their first EP set to be released in 2019. Retiring his old Massacooramaan handle, Dave Quam’s aims are still the same: to create challenging electronic music. After recording his own experimental sounds, DJing house parties and penning his seminal blog It’s After the End of the World, the Portland, Oregon-based musician, multimedia artist and writer released several EPs of mangled Frankenstein compositions on LAX-based label Fade to Mind. Alobhe is a Berlin-based musician whose first EP State Space was released on UK label Tobago Tacks in 2017. This was followed by releases on compilations for Warsaw’s Intruder Alert, London’s Alien Jams and NYX Unchained in 2018. Alobhe has been described as the 'evilest DJ in the world' by colleague Yves Tumor. London-based Oxhy assembles sounds and worlds into funeral dirges for lifeless worlds, and war songs for new ones. When playing live, Oxhy produces a stream-of-consciousness-performance, unpacking the visceral context that fueled 2017’s respite unoffered and upcoming releases. YATTA is the stage name of Brooklyn-based, Sierra Leonean-American singer Yatta Zoker. In addition to being a musician, Zoker is a multimedia artist and poet. She Said Yes!, recently reissued by label PTP, is ‘an intimate album of hermaic spaces… unafraid to show its seams’ (Tiny Mix Tapes). Sonic Acts Festival 2019 is funded by the Creative Industries Fund NL, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Mondriaan Fonds, Fonds 21, VSBfonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, and supported by Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, Arti et Amicitiae, STEIM, Utrecht University, Goethe Institut, The Wire and Crack Magazine. Sonic Acts Festival 2019 is part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Sign up for workshops, seminars and guided tours at Sonic Acts Festival 2019

Sonic Acts is pleased to announce a special educational programme for Sonic Acts Festival 2019, including numerous workshops, seminars and guided exhibition tours. Running in tandem with the festival, these activities will provide opportunities for participants to engage with and contribute to discussions that will be provoked throughout the rest of the programme, as well as to open up new perspectives and exchange ideas with artists and fellow participants. Further details about the workshops, seminars and exhibition programme will be revealed soon. Following the success of previous Critical Writing workshops, a new edition takes place in 2019, from 21 to 24 February. Emerging writers and critics are invited to cover the festival and interview participating artists, while engaging with artistic practice as a means to explore new ideas. The workshop focuses on specific aspects of the craft of writing, including language, style and focus. In keeping with her ongoing project Electrical Walks, pioneering sound installation artist Christina Kubisch leads a three-day workshop, from 25 to 27 February, that explores an otherwise imperceptible urban soundscape, opening up a remarkable view of our everyday environment. Kubisch’s public walks use specially made headphones that receive electromagnetic signals from the environment and convert them into sound. The Critical Writing workshop this year will focus on the different critical modes that can be used to write about, describe and discuss art, theory, sound and music, while thinking about how to package ideas. Lead by theorist, editor, writer and lecturer Arie Altena and supported by media theorist and musician Katía Truijen, participants will cover the conference, performances and other events during the festival, and have a chance to interview artists and theorists. Led by Rick Dolphijn, Sonic Acts and Platform for Posthuman Ecologies and the Contemporary (post)-Humanities (Utrecht University) are organising a seminar in collaboration with the Research School for Media Studies (RMeS). The seminar comprises a close reading session, a workshop with prominent guests – among others, Rosi Braidotti and Susanne Winterling – and a Sonic Acts festival visit and intervention, and aims to map some key thoughts that relate to life and death from a posthuman perspective. In addition, visitors to Sonic Acts Festival 2019 can engage with site-specific and immersive installations commissioned or restaged specially for the festival’s multi-site exhibition programme, with guided tours offering first-hand insight from curators and researchers, as well as the artists themselves. Registration To apply for one of the workshops, please send your motivation and CV to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. Participants pay a contribution of €50 for the seminar led by Rick Dolphijn, €60 for the Critical Writing workshop and €75 for the workshop led by Christina Kubisch. The deadline for applications is 1 February. More details and official calls for applications can be found via the links below. Call for applications: Seminar on Contemporary Theory, Creativity, The Earth and Us Call for applications: The Hidden City workshop with Christina Kubisch Call for applications: Critical Writing workshop Guided exhibition tours can be arranged on request by sending an email to reservations[at]sonicacts[dot]com.

First names confirmed for 25th anniversary edition of Sonic Acts

Sonic Acts is pleased to reveal the first batch of names for Sonic Acts Festival 2019. Under the heading Hereafter, the 25-year anniversary edition of the festival reflects on the entangled issues of power relations, neo-colonialism, capitalism, technological advancement and the implications of those practices for our environment. From 21 to 24 February, the festival will move through conversations with artists and thinkers at a three-day international conference, plus a programme filled with audiovisual performances, concerts, films, installations, exhibitions and club nights at various locations in Amsterdam, including Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and Arti et Amicitiae. The first names to be confirmed are Ramon Amaro, Thomas Ankersmit, Ephraim Asili, Rosi Braidotti, Filipa César, Jodi Dean, Flavia Dzodan, Hugo Esquinca, Christina Kubisch, Okkyung Lee, Yantan Ministry, Jin Mustafa, DJ Nervoso, BJ Nilsen, Áine O’Dwyer, Lee Patterson, Nina Pixel, Elizabeth Povinelli, Irit Rogoff, Divoli S’vere, M.C. Schmidt, Gregory Sholette, Petit Singe, Slikback, Streifenjunko, SUUTOO, Verdensteatret, Vilde&Inga, Jennifer Walshe and Ji Youn Kang. Many more participants will be revealed in the coming weeks and months. A limited number of Early Bird festival passes are still available for €80 (€70 for students) until 31 December. Regular-priced passes will be available for €100 from 1 January. Buy tickets During the three-day conference, internationally renowned artists and thinkers will address some of the pressing topics of our time. Drawing on the work of Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter and Gilbert Simondon, researcher Ramon Amaro aims to open up new methodological considerations at the intersections of race, pathology and empiricism, placing specific emphasis on speculative articulations in machine learning, data, mathematics, engineering and black study. Amaro completed his PhD in Philosophy in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, and holds an advanced degree in Sociological Research and a BSE in Mechanical Engineering. Ephraim Asili is full-time artist in residence at Bard College in New York, where he is also an assistant professor of Film and Electronic Arts. As a filmmaker, DJ and radio presenter, Asili focuses on the African diaspora as a cultural force. In his films he explores his own relationship with the greater African diaspora and the constructs surrounding African-American cultural identity, while examining the interactions of cultures and histories across time and space. He was educated in film and video arts, receiving a BA from Temple University and MA from Bard College. Contemporary philosopher and feminist theoretician Rosi Braidotti is a ground-breaking scholar in both materialism, continental philosophy and gender studies, who has enriched the Information Age with her postmodern feminist considerations of cyberspace, prosthesis and the materiality of difference. Braidotti is the founding director of the Centre for the Humanities in Utrecht, and the author of numerous books, including Nomadic Subjects (2011), The Posthuman (2013), and co-editor of publications such as The Posthuman Glossary (2018; with Maria Hlavajova). Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in the porous boundaries between the moving image and its reception, the fictional dimensions of the documentary, and the economies, politics, and poetics inherent to cinema praxis. Characterised by rigorous structural and lyrical elements, her multiform meditations often focus on Portuguese colonialism and the liberation of Guinea-Bissau in the 1960s and 70s. This research developed into the collective project Luta ca caba inda (The Struggle Is Not Yet Over). She gained an MA Art in Context at the University of Arts, Berlin, and her films include Spell Reel (2017) and Sunstone (2017; with Louis Henderson).

At Sonic Acts, César is joined by Stockholm-based DJ, producer and visual artist Jin Mustafa for a live performance of Meteorisations, to be presented during the conference. The performance includes archival films – saved and digitised in Guinea-Bissau – live sound by Mustafa, and focuses on Amílcar Cabral’s liberation struggle against Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau. Jodi Dean is a prominent political theorist and author of several books, including The Communist Horizon (2012), Blog Theory (2010) and Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies (2009), and the more recently published Crowds and Parties (2016) with Verso Books. In her work, Dean theorises new forms of political organisation, the modern-day meaning of ‘communism’, as well as trenchant critiques of neoliberalism, institutional democracy, contemporary forms of labour and (new) media. Jodi Dean is a professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, and held the Erasmus Chair in the Humanities in the Faculty of Philosophy at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Flavia Dzodan is an Amsterdam-based independent writer, media analyst, and cultural critic, and editor of the blog This Political Woman. Dzodan has written about, among other things, the rise of the alt-right, Big Data, networks, and community surveillance, and has been published by Dissent Magazine, The Guardian and The Washington Post, among others. She frequently addresses politics, colonialism, race and gender issues, and is a tutor in the Critical Studies department at Sandberg Instituut. Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, Elizabeth Povinelli has focused on developing a critical theory of late liberalism that would support ‘an anthropology of the otherwise’ (Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism, 2016). Her work is informed primarily by settler colonial theory, pragmatism and critical theory. She is a founding member of the Karrabing Film Collective – a grassroots indigenous arts and film group of about 25 members from Northern Territory, Australia, who use their aesthetic practices as a means of self-organisation and social analysis. Irit Rogoff is a theorist, curator and organiser, who works at the intersections of the critical, the political, and contemporary art practices. She is a professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, in the department of Visual Cultures, which she founded in 2002. Her work across a series of new 'think tank' PhD programmes at Goldsmiths (Research Architecture, Curatorial/Knowledge) focuses on the possibility of locating, moving, and exchanging knowledges across professional practices, self-generated forums, academic institutions, and individual enthusiasms. Her publications include Museum Culture (1997), Terra Infirma – Geography’s Visual Culture (2001), A.C.A.D.E.M.Y. (2006) and Seriousness (2013; co-authored with Gavin Butt). Gregory Sholette is a founding member of Political Art Documentation/Distribution, REPOhistory, and Gulf Labori. In dozens of essays, three edited volumes, and his own Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (2011), Sholette has documented four decades of activist art that, for its ephemerality, politics, and market resistance, might otherwise remain invisible. He has contributed to such journals as e-flux, Critical Inquiry, Texte zur Kunst, October and Manifesta Journal. For the festival’s opening night, Sonic Acts delves into expanded audiovisual experiences, while continuing to explore the social repercussions of our artistic and cultural relationships with technology. The programme features new commissioned works for the legendary 80-speaker orchestra from Ina GRM in Paris, Acousmonium. Exactly 11 years since we had the honour of hosting the radical sound diffusion system in Paradiso, we welcome the Acousmonium back with performances by some of the most important contemporary sound artists. With a solid classical training as a foundation, cellist Okkyung Lee incorporates noise, jazz and traditional influences from her native Korea. As a composer and improviser, Lee ‘distorts, disturbs and even deconstructs her instrument, to the point of rendering it unrecognisable’ (The Quietus). She has crafted a personal range of extended techniques as a solo artist and as a regular contributor to the international improvised music scene. BJ Nilsen is a Swedish composer and sound artist based in Amsterdam, whose recent work has explored the urban acoustic realm and industrial geography in the Arctic region of Norway and Russia. Nilsen’s work primarily focuses on the sounds of nature and how they affect humans, while his original scores and soundtracks have featured in theatre, dance performances and film, in collaborations with Chris Watson, Gaspar Noé, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and others. Thomas Ankersmit is a Dutch musician and installation artist based in Berlin and Amsterdam. Sonic frequencies at the threshold of human hearing, sound reflections and other acoustic phenomena are vital elements in both his studio recordings and his live performances. Combining analogue and digital electronic instruments, careful sound design and improvisation, Ankersmit creates visceral yet finely detailed sonic experiences, displaying a deep interest in acoustic perception. Described as ‘the most original compositional voice to emerge from Ireland in the past 20 years’ (The Irish Times), Jennifer Walshe’s music has been commissioned, broadcast and performed all over the world. Her new opera, Time Time Time, a collaboration with philosopher Timothy Morton, explores the multiplicity of temporalities at the heart of being human, with a world premiere at Sonic Acts. Having previously 'faked' a history of the musical avant-garde in Ireland as part of Sonic Acts Academy 2018, and performed with the Arditti Quartet at Sonic Acts Festival 2017, Walshe returns in 2019 with a tantalising ensemble featuring Áine O’Dwyer, M.C. Schmidt, Lee Patterson, Streifenjunko and Vilde&Inga. Áine O’Dwyer creates live and recorded events which embrace the broader aesthetics of sound and its relationship to environment, time, audience and structure. The notion of a holding space as extension-of-instrument is a cornerstone of her artistic investigation and the crux of her live performances and recorded works to date. M.C. Schmidt is a sound artist, video artist and member of the band Matmos (with tenuously legal husband Dr. Drew Daniel) who have enjoyed making albums or sharing the stage with Zeena Parkins, Robert Wilson, Anohni, Björk, Dan Deacon, So Percussion, Marshall Allen, the Kronos Quartet, Francois Bayle, snails, oatmeal and many other people and things. He is the president of The High Zero Foundation, a collective that presents festivals of traditional, improvised and electro-acoustic music. Whether working live with amplification or recording within an environment, Lee Patterson has pioneered a range of methods to produce or uncover complex sound in unexpected places. From rock chalk to springs, from burning nuts to aquatic plants and insects, Patterson eavesdrops upon and makes a novelty of playing objects and situations otherwise considered mute. By using sound recording as a form of ear training, he has devised and performs with a selection of amplified devices and processes. Comprising members Espen Reinertsen and Eivind Lønning, Streifenjunko have been making music together since 2005 and released their third album, Like Driving, in 2018. They often perform together in other projects, most notably in the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, as well as with other highly regarded artists in the fields of experimental music and art. Young string duo Vilde&Inga explore nontraditional approaches to their instruments. Playing acoustic free improvised music, their wide horizons of colour allow the music to develop slowly and organically, yet with a keen underlying sense of compositional form. In 2019, Sonic Acts also presents a programme of immersive performances created specially for the Pentacle 15.3 Surround Sound System – designed by Fedde ten Berge and Jesse Meijer – with commissioned works by Nina Pixel, Ji Youn Kang and Hugo Esquinca, looking to uncover the complex resonatory potential of space. The works were created during residencies at STEIM and A4. Nina Pixel, the artist behind the mysteriously-titled project Black Acid, tells stories that go beyond a mere amalgam of ritual rhythms looped in endless sonic soundscapes and dirty dark techno. Her work aims to demonstrate the organic beauty of an imperfect life, often drawing on her own experience and emotions, mixed with recordings, trashed instruments she cannot play, and other instruments she cannot play correctly or in a traditional way. The work of Netherlands-based Korean composer and musician Ji Youn Kang incorporates acoustic instrumentation (traditional and new) as well as both analogue and digital systems. Her intense concerts build on the rich ritual aspect of the Korean shamanic tradition, whose excerpts she modulates by means of gradating noise structures with a sense for detail. Hugo Esquinca is a Berlin-based sonic artist hailing from Mexico, whose work investigates the diverse spatio-temporal interactions between technology, sound and the act of listening itself. Esquinca also draws upon an aesthetics of error, heavily escalated sound and on unexpected situations produced by variable acoustical conditions, the limitations of the sound card or the listeners’ perceptual tolerance. A pioneer of sound art installation and one of today’s most prominent sound artists, Christina Kubisch began her ongoing project Electrical Walks in 2003. She has developed more than 60 walks worldwide, using specially made headphones that receive electromagnetic signals from the environment and convert them into sound. Kubisch trained as a visual artist, musician, and composer in Hamburg, Graz, Zurich and Milan. She studied flute and piano before turning to electronic music and later focusing on sound sculpture and installations, which often involved ultraviolet light, solar energy, and electromagnetic induction. To be presented multiple times throughout the festival, hybrid performance group Verdensteatret’s new work, HANNAH, is an elaborate large-scale orchestral work and immersive composition inspired by the vast span and gradual unfolding of geological time. The Oslo-based artist collective have been working for the past 30 years on staged pieces that combine a wide range of practices, ranging from performance, installation, film, shadow-play, and animation, evading established notions of form or style. As part of the festival’s club programme, Progress Bar welcomes some of today’s most captivating performers and DJs, supporting radical club cultures through communality and hopefulness. Divoli S’vere is one of the leading members of the ballroom-house power label Qween Beat, shining as a producer, remixer, vocalist and DJ; while DJ Nervoso, a pivotal figure in the Lisbon scene, brings frenetic energy, hungrily incorporating new sounds, rhythms, and genres. Offering touching soundscapes of chaos, climax and utter bliss, the Progress Bar lineup also includes Petit Singe, the avatar of India-born, Italy-based DJ and producer Hazina Francia, who explores the vague reminiscence of her eastern heritage with a sensibility as close to the old school Adriatic House vibes as to the most recent developments at the darker side of dub and techno; Kenyan DJ and producer Slikback of the Nyege Nyege collective, who draws from the sounds of footwork, trap, grime and a variety of contemporary underground African club styles; the constantly evolving SUUTOO, the alias of DJ and computer artist Alex Dabo (aka alx9696); and Yantan Ministry, whose displaced dancefloor experiments are tense hard-hitting expressions interlaced with soaring cues and intermissions. Sonic Acts Festival 2019 is funded by the Creative Industries Fund NL, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Mondriaan Fonds, Fonds 21, VSBfonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, and supported by Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, Arti et Amicitiae, STEIM, Utrecht University, Goethe Institut, The Wire and Crack Magazine. Sonic Acts Festival 2019 is part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Time Time Time is supported by Arts Council Norway, Arts Council of Ireland and the Performing Arts Fund NL. Funded by the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung. Commissioned as part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The works for Pentacle 15.3 are commissioned jointly by Sonic Acts and A4 as part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Special projects and Early Birds for Sonic Acts’ 25th anniversary festival

21–24 February 2019, Amsterdam – Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, De Brakke Grond, Arti et Amicitiae

Under the heading Hereafter Sonic Acts celebrates its 25 year history in 2019 with a festive anniversary edition. Since 1994, Sonic Acts has been a platform for research in art, technology, music and culture, a gathering place for artists, theorists, scientists and philosophers, and a festival for forward-looking projects, ideas and works. With Hereafter, the festival will use its 25 year history to reflect on the rapid changes in our cultural and artistic relationship with technology, and share the enthusiasm, hope and concern that come with it. Over the years, the festival’s perspective has also changed from challenging our understanding of audiovisual experiences, to exploring the interplay of humans and machines, and from experimenting with tools and technologies to questioning their social repercussions and their impact on our daily lives. Now, by reflecting on the entangled issues of power relations, neo-colonialism, technology, the rise of fascism and the implications of those practices for our environment, Sonic Acts wishes to address some of the pressing topics of our time. The festival will move through conversations with thinkers and artists at a three-day international conference, to multiple evenings filled with audiovisual performances, concerts, films, installations, an exhibition presented across several spaces in Amsterdam and club nights showcasing artists whose own nightlife operations explore some of the very same topics. As we count down to our upcoming celebratory festival edition, we are proud to reveal a few of the special large-scale projects and performances we have been working on. One of the most original composers and vocalists, Jennifer Walshe, a student of Tony Conrad, is preparing a real spectacle for the festival. Having previously ‘faked' a history of the musical avant-garde in Ireland, Walshe now teams up with philosopher Timothy Morton and a host of collaborators to explore the multiplicity of temporalities at the heart of being human. In their new opera, Time Time Time, which premieres on 24 February at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, everyone in the room is important – the fast-paced digital time of M.C. Schmidt and Walshe; the deep geological rhythms of Lee Patterson; the liminal eternal drones of Áine O’Dwyer; the shifting tectonic plates of Streifenjunko and Vilde&Inga; and the audience, whose entropy demonstrates that time is indeed passing. The opera is commissioned with Borealis – en festival for eksperimentell musikk, MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, and London Contemporary Music Festival / Serpentine Galleries. The Oslo-based artist collective Verdensteatret have been working for the past 30 years on staged pieces that combine a wide range of genres and practices, ranging from performance, installation, film, shadow-play, and animation. They are a hybrid performance group whose peculiarly captivating works evade established notions of form or style. Their new work, HANNAH, is an elaborate large-scale orchestral work and immersive composition inspired by the vast span and gradual unfolding of geological time. It will be presented multiple times throughout the festival at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. We further continue our explorations into expanded audiovisual experiences with new commissioned works for the legendary 80-speaker orchestra from Ina GRM in Paris, Acousmonium, and the state-of-the-art Pentacle speaker system from Amsterdam, in collaboration with STEIM. Exactly 11 years since we had the honour of hosting the radical sound diffusion system in Paradiso, we welcome the Acousmonium back with performances by some of the most important contemporary sound artists. The Pentacle will be presented at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, also featuring specially commissioned works for the festival. We will reveal much more about the programme in the coming months, but in the meantime, book your Early Bird festival pass with a 20% discount – for €80 (€70 for students) – until 31 December. Time and passes are running out, so be quick! Attend on Facebook Sonic Acts Festival 2019 is funded by the Creative Industries Fund NL, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Mondriaan Fonds, Fonds 21, VSBfonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, and supported by Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, De Brakke Grond, Arti et Amicitiae, STEIM, Utrecht University, Goethe-Institut, The Wire and Crack Magazine. Sonic Acts Festival 2019 is part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Time Time Time is supported by Arts Council Norway, Arts Council of Ireland and the Performing Arts Fund NL. Funded by the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung. Commissioned as part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Apply for the Critical Writing Workshop

Call for Applications: Critical Writing Workshop by Jennifer Lucy Allan Following the success of the previous Critical Writing Workshops, a new edition will take place during Sonic Acts Academy 2018, from 23 to 25 February, facilitated by Jennifer Lucy Allan. During the workshop, we will focus on specific aspects of writing as a craft (language, style and focus) and how to shape the argument or perspective of a piece. You will take part in commissioning meetings with the other participants, and be given one-to-one feedback on all work produced during the Academy. The workshop focuses on developing writing skills, and all writers who complete text will have pieces published on the Sonic Acts blog. The Critical Writing Workshop this year will focus on the different critical modes we can use to write about, describe, and discuss art, theory, sound and music, while thinking about how to package your ideas. You will cover the conference, performances and other events during the Academy, and have a chance to interview participating artists and theorists. In line with the theme of the Academy, the workshop will engage with new conceptions of learning that focus on artistic practice as a means to explore new ideas. The workshop hosts a maximum of seven emerging international bloggers, journalists, critics and writers active or interested in the field of interdisciplinary arts (media arts, film, visual arts and performance). Fee Participants pay a €50,- contribution and receive free access to all events plus a copy of the Academy zine. Lunches will be provided during the workshop. Deadline Applicants are asked to submit a short motivation and CV to write[at]sonicacts[dot]com. The deadline for applications is 10 January 2018. For an impression of the writing the workshop produces (usually two to three articles over the weekend), check out texts produced by previous participants on the Sonic Acts blog. This workshop is a co-production of Sonic Acts & Paradiso and part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Jennifer Lucy Allan is a writer, researcher, curator and label head, currently working on a PhD at CRiSAP on the social and cultural history of the foghorn. She previously worked as online editor of The Wire, writing, commissioning and editing features and news. She also runs the vinyl reissues label Arc Light Editions, part of James Ginzburg’s Multiverse Music, which started in 2013 with the first ever vinyl pressing of Arthur Russell’s Another Thought.

'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 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.

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

Early Birds for Sonic Acts Academy now on sale

Buy tickets We are excited to tell you that a limited amount of Early Bird tickets for the upcoming Sonic Acts Academy 2018 are now available for only €50 (regular price €65). The Early Bird ticket is valid for the complete three-day programme. Sonic Acts Academy will take place from 23 to 25 February 2018 at various locations in Amsterdam. Now in its second edition, Sonic Acts Academy is a new platform that aims to grow, expand, sustain and disseminate stimulating discourse about artistic research. Following its inception in 2016, Sonic Acts Academy 2018 continues to highlight artistic engagement as vital to understanding the complexities of our contemporary world. Over the course of three days, artists will present work that challenges the sterile dichotomy of theory versus practice. Through an open and dynamic programme of workshops, masterclasses, a symposium, film programme, live performances and club nights, Sonic Acts Academy probes traditional notions of the academy by positioning art as a unique means of knowledge production, to be shared and expanded upon with future generations. The first artists for Sonic Acts Academy 2018 will be announced soon. Early Bird Passes are available for €50 until Sunday 31 December. The Early Bird Pass grants access to all events from Friday 23 February to Sunday 25 February. For some events reservation may be required due to limited capacity. Following the end of the Early Bird sale, we will be offering various different ticket options, including regular Academy Passes (€65) and tickets for individual events.

Design by The Rodina

Early Bird tickets for the Academy on sale 7 November

Early Bird tickets for Sonic Acts Academy 2018 will be on sale from 7 November. Tickets will be available at a discount price of €50 (regular price: €65) until 31 December. Sonic Acts Academy is a new platform that aims to grow, expand, sustain and disseminate stimulating discourse about artistic research. Following its inception in 2016, the second edition of Sonic Acts Academy will take place from 23 to 25 February 2018 at various locations in Amsterdam. Stay tuned, as the first artists will be announced soon! Attend on Facebook.

Ewa Justka at Sonic Acts Academy 2016, photo by Pieter Kers

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: 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

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
The Spectacular Empire Tour

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:

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.

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

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

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.

Share your feedback!

Tuesday 7 March 15:58

What did you think of Sonic Acts Festival 2017 - The Noise of Being​? Share your thoughts while they're still fresh! If you attended The Noise of Being, help us evaluate the festival by participating in our online survey. It takes approximately 5–10 minutes to complete and your feedback will help us to improve future editions. By completing the survey you can also win one of three passe-partouts for next year's (22–25 Feb) Sonic Acts Academy 2018​. Take part in our survey Your feedback matters...

Atmospheric Feedback Loops 2017 CLIP from Susan Schuppli on Vimeo.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 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. 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. 5. Oxford English Dictionary, ‘worth’, v. 6. Oxford English Dictionary, ‘weird’, adj. 1, 2.a., 3, 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, r=0. Brad Plumer, ‘We’ve Covered the World in Pesticides: Is That a Problem?’, Washington Post, 18 August 2013, 9. Suzanne Goldenberg, ‘Americans Care Deeply about “Global Warming”—But Not ‘Climate Change’, The Guardian, 27 May 2014,, 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), 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, Gerry Everding, ‘Cat Domestication Traced to Chinese Farmers 5,300 Years Ago’, Washington University St. Louis Newsroom, 16 December 2013, 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, 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. ‘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. 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.

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: 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) Free for Subbacultcha! members until midnight. Become a member: Attend on Facebook First up: Progress Bar 19 November (with Dedekind Cut, Jam City, Juha, patten en Sky H1).

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

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.

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], 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. 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

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 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) - Free entrance before 21:00 HRS Free for Subbacultcha! members until midnight. Become a member: Attend on Facebook

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

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

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 Produced by Fridaymilk Concept and idea by Sonic Acts and Hilde Methi Music by Noya View all video diaries here

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.

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 More information

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 for more information about Vertical Cinema.

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.

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.

Dark Ecology journey: apply before 18 March

Tatjana Gorbachewskaya & Katya Larina, Nikel Materiality, Dark Ecology Journey 2015. Photo by Michael Miller
After two extraordinary Dark Ecology Journeys in 2014 and 2015, we are excited to announce the third and final journey which will occur from 8–12 June 2016 in Northern Norway and Russia. While the previous journey took place as the Sun showed itself for the last time that year, this final journey will take place during the Arctic summer, during which the Sun will be up for most of the day and night. The programme includes presentations of new commissioned works by Justin Bennett, Dmitry Morozow, Signe Lidén and Espen Sommer Eide, and Cecila Jonsson, and others, as well as lectures, discussions, walks, and performances. More names will be announced soon.

Call for Participation

The Dark Ecology journey is for artists, theorists, designers, curators, scientists, writers, makers, and researchers who operate at the intersection of art, science and music, and who are interested in rethinking notions and concepts such as ‘nature’, ‘culture’, ‘ecology’ and ‘society’, and in exploring new descriptions of the current ‘state of affairs’. If you are interested in joining us, or have any questions about participation, please contact us at darkecology[at]sonicacts[dot]com. To apply, send us your bio and a short explanation about why you would like to participate as soon as possible, as there are limited places available. The deadline for applications is 18 March 2016. More information can be found here. Dark Ecology is a three-year art, research and commissioning project, initiated by the Dutch organisation Sonic Acts and Kirkenes-based curator Hilde Methi, in collaboration with Norwegian, Russian and other European partners. Dark Ecology unfolds through research, the creation of new artworks, and a public programme in the zone on both sides of the Russian–Norwegian border. The programme includes lectures, presentations of commissioned artworks, curated local walks, a discursive programme, and concerts. If Dark Ecology is entirely new to you, this is the best introduction to the project. You can also connect with us on Facebook.

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.

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!

Progress Bar: Brood Ma, Fis, ITAL TEK, Lafawndah & PYUR

If you enjoyed Sonic Acts Academy's Saturday programme at Paradiso, you’ll also enjoy the Progress Bar events we are organising in collaboration with Lighthouse and Viral Radio in the next few months. On 26 March, Progress Bar will bring you yet another evening filled with a lively mix of talks, performances and DJ sets. This edition will feature performances by Brood Ma (Tri Angle, UK), Fis (Tri Angle, NZ), ITAL TEK (Planet Mu, UK)Lafawndah(Warp, US) and PYUR (Unsigned, DE). Saturday 26 March 2016 Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin Start programme: 21.00 hrs Open: 20.30 hrs Admission: €12,50 Buy ticket(s) RSVP on Facebook Save the dates of the forthcoming editions of Progress Bar on 23 April and 4 June. Like the Progress Bar Facebook page and stay informed!

First names for Sonic Acts Academy 2016 & last chance to buy early bird tickets

Sonic Acts is pleased to announce the first names for the Academy: Morehshin Allahyari, Maryanne Amacher, Thomas Ankersmit, J. G. Biberkopf, Katrina Burch, Heather Davis, Bill Dietz, Yon Eta, Drill Folly, Louis Henderson, Ewa Justka, KABLAM, Anton Kats, Okkyung Lee, Yoneda lemma, Lotic, M.E.S.H., Anna Mikkola, Nkisi, Sally-Jane Norman, Daniel Rourke, Daïchi Saïto, Susan Schuppli, Jason Sharp, Sky H1, Soraya, Raphael Vanoli, Ana Vaz, WaSM, Why Be, Juha van 't Zelfde. The Sonic Acts Academy is a new platform that aims to grow, expand, sustain and disseminate stimulating discourse about artistic research. The academy is an initiative of Sonic Acts, which also organises the internationally renowned Sonic Acts Festival focusing on developments at the intersection of art, science and technology. The Sonic Acts Academy highlights artistic engagement as vital to understanding the complexities of our contemporary world. Over the course of three days, artists present work that challenges the sterile dichotomy of theory versus practice. Following an open and dynamic format, the Sonic Acts Academy will probe traditional notions of the academy with the aim of positioning art as a unique means of knowledge production, to be shared and expanded upon with future generations. Regular ticket sales will start on 17 January, so be fast if you want to get hold of one of the last early bird tickets.

Call for Applicants: Critical Writing Workshop

Sonic Acts Critical Writing Academy 2015. Photo by Rosa Menkman
Following the success of the previous Critical Writing Workshops, another edition of Describing the Indescribable will take place from 26 to 28 February 2016 during the Sonic Acts Academy. ‘Describing the Indescribable’ will be a unique way to attend the Academy since it provides participants with space for group reflection and discussion, geared towards producing texts about the events that unfold within the academy. During the workshop, writers will share insights into specific aspects of their craft (language, style, focus) and provide feedback on the texts written by the workshop participants during the academy. Jennifer Lucy Allan will lead the Critical Writing Workshop. Allan, previously an editor for The Wire, now works as freelance journalist. She was also involved as an expert in the Critical Writing Workshop that took place during the Sonic Acts Geologic Imagination Festival in 2015. The workshop hosts a maximum of 7 emerging bloggers, journalists, critics and writers active or interested in the field of interdisciplinary arts (media arts, film, visual arts, performance). Applicants are asked to submit a short motivation and CV to write[at]sonicacts[dot]com. The deadline for applications is 1 February 2016. For an impression, check out articles written by 2015 participants on the Sonic Acts blog. Participants pay a €40,- contribution. Lunches will be provided.

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. 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. 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.

Call for Applicants: #Additivism Workshop

3D printing promises to become a widespread material language, allowing anything that can be stored as a digital template to be realised – just as long as one has the necessary materials. In The 3D Additivist Manifesto, Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke call creators and thinkers to action around this technology filled with hope and promise: the 3D printer. By considering 3D printing as a potential force for good, bad, or otherwise, they aim to disrupt binary thinking entirely, bringing together makers and thinkers invested in the idea of real, radical, change. Through their #Additivism project, Allahyari and Rourke set out to blur the boundaries between art, engineering, science fiction, and digital aesthetics with poetic, revolutionary gusto to forcefully question the contradictions of living under technocapitalism. They explore the promises of Additivist technologies through the metaphors of crude oil, plastic and desertification, and talk about the Anthropocene and Chthulucene; about forms of embodiment, alterity, and activism still waiting to be unleashed through acts of material creativity. #Additivism calls for artists, activists, designers, scientists, and critical engineers to accelerate the 3D printer and other Additivist technologies to their absolute limits and beyond, into the realm of the speculative, the provocative and the weird. To get into the Additivism mood, watch the Additivism Manifesto. More information about Additivism can be found on Workshop The 2-day 3D Additivism workshop, which will take place immediately after the Sonic Acts Academy (29 February & 1 March), will be presented as an expanded lecture and as a workshop. During the workshop participants will be encouraged to reconsider the terms under which human-centric technologies affect the ongoing transformation of nature into ‘post-nature’, as well as the moral and philosophical implications of actively seeking to steer our technologies towards this end.  Participants will be guided through the processes of additive design with the aim of producing speculative ‘post-natural’ objects for possible inclusion in the forthcoming 3D Additivist Cookbook. Questions such as: "How do we imagine structures of knowledge and action that exist outside or beyond human beings and our technologies?" and: "Is it possible to 'write' into, to ‘design’ alternate futures, without limiting what they (and we) might become?" will form a red threat. Application The workshop is open to artists, theorists, designers, engineers, scientists, thinkers, doers and makers who are interested in alternative approaches to theory-led forms of practice. Participants are ideally filled with fears and enthusiasm for the future. To apply please send a short bio, a motivation why you would like to attend, and your expectations to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. The deadline for application is 1 February 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 Allahyari and Rourke. A detailed schedule and more information about how to prepare for the workshop will be sent to the selected participants. Contribution Participants will pay a contribution of €30. Lunches will be provided. Participants will receive reduced admission to the Sonic Acts Academy on 26–28 February 2016.

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 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.

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.

Sonic Acts Academy: Early Bird Tickets Available

Get your early bird tickets for the Sonic Acts Academy which will take place from 26 till 28 February 2016 now. The Academy will take place every two years, alternating with the bi-annual Sonic Acts festival. The Academy is 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. In the weeks preceding and following the Academy, we will hold masterclasses and workshops for artists, curators, students, theorists and cultural practitioners. The opening of Sonic Acts Academy itself takes place on Friday, 26 February, at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and is followed by a symposium; 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. A limited amount of early bird passe-partouts are for sale now for a discounted price of € 50,- There is also a discounted option for students and those 65 years and older for € 40,- Tickets are now available here. We also offer professional accreditation, please see this page to find out more.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 .

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

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

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.

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: Dark Ecology Journey from 26-30 November 2015

After a tremendous first edition last October, we are very happy to announce the next research journey to Northern Norway and Russia at the end of this year. Dark Ecology is a three-year art, research and commissioning project, initiated by the Dutch organisation Sonic Acts and Kirkenes-based curator Hilde Methi, in collaboration with Norwegian, Russian and other European partners. Dark Ecology unfolds through research, the creation of new artworks, and a public programme in the zone on both sides of the Russian–Norwegian border. The programme includes lectures, presentations of commissioned artworks, curated local walks, a discursive programme, and concerts. For all of you who couldn’t join us last year or who are inspired by the results and stories: the second edition of the Dark Ecology Journey is scheduled for 26–30 November 2015 and will take the participants to Kirkenes, Nikel, and Murmansk. More information about the programme and how to apply for the journey will follow soon.

Dark Ecology Journey 2014 (photo by Benny Nilsen)
In the meantime, we would like to refresh your memory of the first Dark Ecology journey. Last October, we visited sites on both sides of the border between Northern Norway and Russia with a group of artists, curators and theorists. Highlights included the lecture Human Thought at Earth Magnitude by Timothy Morton (the philosopher who coined the term 'Dark Ecology'), a visit to the mine beneath the iron ore plant in Kirkenes, and a mind-blowing infrasonic land art installation and presentation by Raviv Ganchrow. For photos and videos of the first research journey, see Check out the Field Notes on the Dark Ecology website for video and photo reports, interviews, reports, art installations and other media concerning the project. If the Dark Ecology project is completely new to you, this is the best introduction to the project. You can follow the project through Facebook or vk.

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