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, 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, 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.

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