Apply now! Sonic Acts is looking for interns

Sonic Acts is now looking for interns in Production and Communication during the period of September/October 2020 until March 2021 for 3 to 4 days a week. Sonic Acts is a small organisation and, as an intern, you will be a complete member of the team. An internship at Sonic Acts offers the opportunity to gain lots of experience and substantive knowledge of the field while working in a dynamic environment. The deadline for applications is 29 June. More information about the internships and how to apply can be found via the links below. • Internship Production (Dutch required) • Internship Communication (English version)

progressbar.club hosts Progress Bar online on 19 June

The Season 4 finale of Progress Bar takes place on 19 June 2020 as a live-streamed online event, with talks, interviews, an all-night cinema, audiovisual performances and DJ sets, simultaneously broadcast both locally and from the remote havens of artists internationally. Even though we can’t get together and party in person, join us virtually at progressbar.club – a site where we can reconvene, catch up, strengthen connections and draw up new networks of communality. Save the date and add progressbar.club to your bookmarks! Progress Bar is a monthly club night dedicated to communal desire and collective joy. After one season in Brighton, and episodes in Vilnius, Kharkiv and Pristina, its fourth season in Amsterdam began in November last year, before its interruption as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. Despite this, the season finale will be going ahead as scheduled on 19 June, albeit in the form of an online simulcast, taking place in a 3D gaming environment and accessible via the ease of your web browser. The evening starts with a series of films and a talkshow, where guests discuss their work in art, music and social action, and the material conditions that shape it, before shifting gears into a virtual rave, with performances broadcast exclusively during the event. Capacity is limited, so be sure to set your alarm. Lineup to be announced soon. progressbar.club 19 June 2020 Progress Bar S04 Finale Free entry Attend on Facebook Progress Bar is a co-production of Sonic Acts and Paradiso and part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Sonic Acts collaborates with Ràdio Web MACBA on new podcast with Terike Haapoja

In a new podcast on Ràdio Web MACBA co-produced by Sonic Acts, Finnish artist Terike Haapoja invites us to imagine a hybrid, expansive, empathetic 'we', with room for ambiguity and difference and for interspecies political understanding, in which the morbid fantasy of human exceptionalism and the hierarchy of species is put to rest once and for all. Listen: Son[i]a #308 – Terike Haapoja

A heat-sensitive infrared camera films a horse just after its death and shows how the colourful thermographic image fades as the body cools. A political party proposes giving voice to 'the other', society’s silent non-human majority. A museum of cattle reconstructs and recounts history from the bovine ruminant viewpoint. Terike Haapoja, Finnish artist and adjunct professor at Parsons Fine Arts and NYU, has spent years deconstructing the anthropocentrism of our worldview, exploring the political and existential boundaries of our broken social model. Alone or in collaboration with writer Laura Gustafsson, Terike Haapoja appropriates and subverts the structures and idioms of established institutions – museums, political parties, courts – and uses their authority and cultural weight to question entrenched notions of animalisation and otherness, in an attempt to find ethical ways to coexist with nonhuman beings. Drawing on concepts such as Syl Ko’s black veganism, Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka’s expanded theory of animal rights, and Carol J. Adams’ sexual politics of meat, Terike Haapoja ventures to imagine a world beyond animalisation and distinctions between protected and disposable beings. Her immersive installations and large-scale projects highlight the convergence of racialisation and animalisation in nation-states, showing historical and current parallels in the conditioning imposed on subhuman and nonhuman beings. Terike Haapoja's lecture at Sonic Acts Academy 2020 is also available to watch on the Sonic Acts YouTube and Vimeo channels.
Terike Haapoja, Vulnerability, Community, Animality – The Art of Being Here with Others, at Sonic Acts Academy 2020

Free PDF download of the Academy 2020 Magazine

Motivated by changes in the ecological, political, technological and social landscape, Academy 2020 took its cue from inspiring artistic research with a special emphasis on experimentation and innovation. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, this impulse now hinges on the need to stay at home, and many of us have more time than ever to read. For that reason, we’re giving away a digital edition of the recent Sonic Acts Academy 2020 Magazine for free! Sonic Acts Academy 2020 was fuelled by the most exciting contemporary artists and thinkers from around the globe, and we’re thrilled to be able to share this beautifully designed collections of essays, interviews and visual contributions by a selection of the Academy artists and speakers. Contributors include, among others, Lukáš Likavčan, Terike Haapoja, Speaker Music (De Forrest Brown, Jr.), Sadaf, Hugo Esquinca, Design Earth, Anja Kanngieser & Nabil Ahmed, and Daniel Mann & Eitan Efrat. Download the PDF of the magazine here The magazine is also available to download via the Sonic Acts webshop, where you can find many other publications and audio objects. Although deliveries may take longer than usual, we are continuing to take orders and endeavour to have each order shipped as quickly as is safely possible.

Bookshop at Sonic Acts Academy 2020, De Brakke Grond. Photo by Pieter Kers.

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.

GIL, Know V.A., Zaïre Krieger and more confirmed for Progress Bar on 20 March

Note: Due to the developing health situation, the Dutch government has decided to cancel events of 100 or more attendees up to and including 31 March 2020. This edition of Progress Bar has therefore been cancelled. We believe this is a wise decision and that it would indeed be irresponsible to bring our audience, artists and team together during this time. If you have already bought a ticket for the event we will contact you directly to arrange a refund. We will update you with information about future editions as soon as appropriate. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves and each other. *** After Sonic Acts Academy 2020, a new edition of Progress Bar takes place at OT301 on Friday 20 March, with performances, DJ sets, films and presentations by artists and speakers including Chooc Ly, GIL, Ifeoluwa, Know V.A., pía ío luuuz, Yantan Ministry and Zaïre Krieger. Presale tickets are now online, including a limited amount of €3 early entry tickets. The evening opens at 20:30 with artist talks and screenings, including Chooc Ly Tan’s Crepuscular Dreams of (Dis-) Alienation (2018) – a film that critically reflects on present-day considerations from the position of those whose parents and grandparents directly experienced the colonial exploits of various European imperialisms – followed by a Q&A with its maker. In addition, there will be a presentation by journalist, opinion piece writer and spoken word artist Zaïre Krieger, a master and bender of words in any sphere – whether academic or creative. As a journalist, Zaïre has written for Oneworld Magazine, Ms Motley, Dipsaus and the VARAGids, and as a spoken word artist, she’s performed at Van Gogh Museum, TEDxAmsterdamWomen, and was a Spoken Word Awards 2019 winner. Human rights form the foundation of her work, in the personal as well as the legal. After the talks, the programme continues late into the night with DJ sets and live performances by a compelling lineup of multifaceted artists. Chooc Ly is a French-born Afro-Vietnamese-Cambodian artist, DJ and producer. Not limited by a specific genre – but a penchant for infectious and audacious music. She runs a club night called Décalé, a platform that puts on evenings of experimental, collapsing and flawless sounds and visuals. GIL​’s DJ sets are a tightly woven, non-linear yet soaring experience of music’s potential to create new dance forms. His own musical output underlines a rich ability to experiment with context – notably, he has released two EPs on Danse Noire, a single on Country Music and most recently an acoustic EP on Yegorka. He also composed a score for Akinola Davies’ BBC production Black to Life and has released edits and remixes on PTP, Mixpack, and Staycore. INTERVENTION founder Yewande Adeniran (aka Ifeoluwa) is a multifaceted artist, lecturer, writer, DJ, radio host, and head of record label ipaadi. As a DJ, they are known for their R&B club cuts, post-trance edits and is regularly found dipping into post-punk, UK techno, grime and gqom. Their monthly residency on NTS Manchester pioneered their favourite sounds, with everything from bubblegum internet music to post-trance and emo grime, pushing their love for internet subcultures to a worldwide audience. Amsterdam-based Know V.A. have shown themselves as an innovative and versatile DJ/​producer duo, who uniquely blend ecstatic elements from hard dance music with dark, brooding sound-design. There will be an intervention by performance artist pía ío luuuz, whose practice is learned from different somatic techniques referring to the body, and whose relation to sound and sonic performance is derived from a variety of personal sources and critical approaches. Finally, Yantan Ministry has a folkloristic understanding of underground dance music and DJ sets, as well as in their own music. The tug of war between past and future is one of the forces in the creation and re-creation of sentiments they cater to in their sets. Belonging to those who engage with it, music that values variants and change – uncontrolled, driven, ecstatic. They self-released their Attacco Mixtape in 2018, and an interpretative piece on Swedish label Country Music in 2019, and produced commissioned remixes for artists including mobilegirl and Diamond Terrifier Cypher. Coming for the talks? Buy a €3 Early Entrance ticket (arrive before 21:00) and get free entry to the club on top! Attend the Facebook event for the latest programme details. About Progress Bar Progress Bar is a monthly club night dedicated to communal desire and collective joy. 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. 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.

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.

Sonic Acts podcast with Speaker Music (DeForrest Brown Jr.) in collaboration with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee

Sonic Acts and Ja Ja Ja Née Née Née are collaborating on a series of podcasts for the upcoming Sonic Acts Academy 2020. In the third episode, Speaker Music (DeForrest Brown, Jr.) speaks to Arif from Ja Ja Ja Née Née Née about the origins of techno, (un)available historical nostalgia and a HECHA hat he is wearing that says: Make Techno Black Again. DeForrest Brown, Jr. is a New York-based rhythmanalyst and media theorist. Brown’s praxis Speaker Music is inspired by Rhythmanalysis, a book of essays by urbanist philosopher Henri Lefebvre as well as considerations of momentum and the ​‘chronopolitical’ from cultural theorist Kodwo Eshun. Mobilising free improvised electronic percussion and stereophonic audio recordings, Speaker Music yearns to caress, engineer and sculpt sentiment into a multi-textural rhythmic body, quivering the nexus event of the moment into a collapsed ​‘nonpulsed time’ towards a shared sphere of intimacy. His debut release for Planet Mu centered around gestural sonic portraitures of sonorous and cybernetic ensemble energy music. of desire, longing is a time-based release meant to fill both sides of the vinyl completely, working against the quick turnover rate of the current track-based standard of the streaming economy. Through his empathetic 'touching of frequencies', DeForrest unveils a romantic abstraction of sonic narratives that recalls previous innovations by electronic and jazz musicians such as Les McCann, Urban Tribe and James Stinson. of desire, longing encodes the listener with an encrypted heat, made 'with empathy' and 'without excess'.

Programme announced! Rosa Pistola, No Bra, Lone Taxidermist, SHYBOI and lots more confirmed for Sonic Acts Academy 2020

The Sonic Acts Academy 2020 programme is now online, with a new wave of artists and speakers announced for a packed three days of live, immersive, expanded and charged experiences, and vital critical perspectives. Festival Passes, Day Passes, and individual event tickets are now on sale via Tickets.

Newly announced artists and thinkers are: • Ale Hop • Aliyah Hussain + Anna Bunting-Branch • Arie Altena + Katía Truijen • Ben Russell • Cõvco • Dehlia Hannah • DJ Serene • djb • Duncan Speakman • Elaine Gan • Ex Continent • Felicity Mangan • Go Me + Ity • Hatechild. • Heleen Blanken + Karl Klomp • KJDENNNM • LOKA • Lone Taxidermist • Malibu • Nadim Samman • No Bra • Rosa Pistola • SHYBOI • SITOI • Underground Division: Helen Pritchard + Jara Rocha • Vincent Meessen • Zohar 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, 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, Underground Division: Helen Pritchard + Jara Rocha, Via App, Vincent Meessen, Zohar Visit the Programme page to discover more about the Academy 2020 artists and speakers. Sonic Acts Academy 2020: Programme rundown The Academy opening at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam features a wide variety of multidisciplinary interventions that are iterated throughout the evening, made up of audiovisual stagings, ritualistic performances and new installations, including a number of premieres and commissioned works. Alongside appearances from Ale Hop, Malibu, Felicity Mangan and others, Cõvco presents a performance of Consciente of the soulthe invincibility of self-awareness to self-stimulation. This journey in sync with a cosmic state – a woman’s mortality – addresses the limits of mind and body, playfully bandaging fractures that unconsciously define ​‘identity’. While Ex Continent (Arnau Sala Saez) presents Sistemes Dintre de Sistemes Dintre de Sistemes, unveiling the relations within entropic systems in forming new structures as they pertain to audiovisual stimuli. The opening night continues at OT301 as Sonic Acts turns 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. New additions to the lineup include KJDENNNM, a sound project by returning Sonic Acts favourites Mario de Vega and Hugo Esquinca; and Amsterdam-based DJ Zohar. Joining the two-day conference at De Brakke Grond are Underground Division, an action-research collective interested in technologies around subsurface rendering – a trans*feminist undercurrent exists in all of their projects intelligently engaging with the environment. Artist-theorist Elaine Gan​’s lecture Enchanted Realists: Situated, Partial, Viral extends another fascinating proposition from her thought reservoir in which feminist theory meets art. Lauded curator and professor Dehlia Hannah delivers a lecture stemming from her environment-focused publications and research projects, and curator Nadim Samman gives a performative lecture that takes to the psychology and aesthetic of the sea, drawing on his explorer’s path through art as co-founder of the Antarctic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015 and 1st Antarctic Biennale in 2017. On Saturday night at Paradiso, Progress Bar showcases a growing community of artists, academics and activists who occupy clubs to empower through sound. Moving fluidly between rave and reggaeton, breakcore and ballroom, this special edition of the monthly club night features energetic hybrid performances, game demonstrations and live audiovisual premieres by some of club music’s most defiant voices. Wildly in-demand reggaeton DJ Rosa Pistola comes to Sonic Acts from a past drenched in Mexico’s underground noise scene. And presenting a special DJ set, Susanne Oberbeck aka No Bra is known for vocals laid over tripped-up cadences sanctioned by Pete Tong and breeding collaborations with everyone from The Raincoats to Arca. Other new additions include SHYBOI, Hatechild., LOKA, SITOI, djb, DJ Serene and Go Me + Ity. Closing the Academy on Sunday evening are a number of performances from acts whose understandings of the ecological, political, technological and social landscape are absorbed in sound. Following on from topics explored during the conference, the performances are an opportunity to experience various soundings of technological development, providing audible feedback to the developing relationship between nature, technology and its interfacing with the human body. Offering gory visuals to stages like Jenny Hval’s, Lone Taxidermist​’s (Natalie Sharp) music is silk entrails unspooling across the belly of a whale in breach; atonal triads implode into melodious chants and head-bobbing rhythms. In her performance BodyVice at Sonic Acts, the human body as instrument advances the understanding of chronic pain. Throughout Sonic Acts Academy 2020, a number of soundwalks and installations can be experienced at various locations. Composer Duncan Speakman makes a return after a decade away from Sonic Acts when he spoke on locative media and how sound can accompany one on a journey. He brings this to practical fruition in Only Expansion, a poetic and cinematic audio tour that situates participants at once within the environment of the city, and amid encroaching global disasters, to hear how we really feel. Artist Vincent Meessen, who represented Belgium at the 2015 Venice Biennale, brings to Sonic Acts the film Ultramarine, featuring African-American poet and hip-hop precursor, Kain The Poet. In considering the exile of the Black Arts Movement member to Amsterdam in the 1980s, Meessen’s video portrays museological objects in relation to Kain’s own belongings.

Sound Methods for Environmental Justice workshop with Nabil Ahmed and Anja Kanngieser

The workshop Sound Methods for Environmental Justice will be an introduction to interdisciplinary spatial, sound and listening methods used by advocates, artists and researchers Nabil Ahmed and Anja Kanngieser to address environmental racism, colonisation and ecocide in frontline communities. It will provide a conceptual and practice-led framework for participants to apply to the campaigns and projects they are active within. Over the two days, a real-time live sketch will be made by Ahmed and Kanngieser of how they approach specific sites of ecocide, and how they connect sound and listening to the composition of maps, and overall evidence collection plans that can be used to support environmental justice in legal or advocacy contexts. Ahmed and Kanngieser will discuss the importance of following community-led campaigns, cultural research protocols, composing appropriate forms of listening and attunement, fundamentals of spatial analysis, the ethics of working with frontline communities and ecosystems, identifying evidence, and most crucially, respecting boundaries, difficulties and silences. This sketch will be used to collectively imagine how it can be applied to participants own local contexts. A reading pack will be provided prior to the workshop. Participants are expected to be involved in an existing social-environmental campaign or project. Enrolment To apply for the workshop, taking place 19 and 20 February in Amsterdam, please send a short motivation, CV and proposed campaign or project to discuss to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. The deadline for applications is 8 February. Fee Participants pay a contribution of €50 for the workshop led by Nabil Ahmed and Anja Kanngieser. Lunch is included.

Apply for Potential Wor(l)ds workshop with Anna Bunting-Branch and Aliyah Hussain

Potential Wor(l)ds is a collaborative project between artists Anna Bunting-Branch and Aliyah Hussain, drawing on shared interests in feminist science fiction, embodied processes of making, and different ways of worldbuilding. The workshop will begin with an introduction to Láadan, a feminist language created by linguist and science fiction writer Suzette Haden Elgin in 1984. Finding herself unable to express certain ideas and emotions in English, Elgin intended Láadan to make space for new words and ways of communicating. For Elgin, the idea of gaps in language offers a place to start creating change. She called these gaps ​‘potential words’. Her experiment tested the hypothesis that ​‘there are changes you could not introduce into a language without destroying it and languages you could not introduce into a culture without destroying it,’ and that ​‘change in language brings about social change, rather than the contrary.’

The idea of these potential wor(l)ds forms the basis of this workshop, where participants will experiment with contact mics, found objects, drawing and our own bodies to create a collective vocabulary. The workshop will move away from dominant ways of communicating to explore more experimental, collaborative modes of expression. Using gesture, mark-making and sound in order to try to feel what is being communicated as well as what cannot yet be said. Material from this workshop will be added to the Potential Wor(l)ds dictionary, an online archive documenting previous workshops in Bergen, Brighton and Liverpool. Questions, suggestions and provocations are welcome. As the philosopher Luce Irigaray (herself an inspiration for the Láadan experiment) tells us: ​‘If we keep on speaking the same language together, we’re going to reproduce the same history. Begin the same stories again. Don’t you think so?’ Enrolment To express your interest in joining the workshop, taking place on 19 February in Amsterdam, please send a short motivation to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. Applications will close on 8 February. Fee Participants pay a contribution of €20 for the workshop led by Anna Bunting-Branch and Aliyah Hussain. Lunch is included.

Sonic Acts podcast with Lukáš Likavčan in collaboration with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee

Sonic Acts and Ja Ja Ja Née Née Née are collaborating on a series of podcasts for the upcoming Sonic Acts Academy. In the second episode, Lukáš Likavčan and Leonardo Dellanoce speak about extinction, spectres and the game Death Stranding. They discuss how the future influences the present and how computer modelling fails to predict the Australian forest fires. Theorist Lukáš Likavčan collaborates on art projects, including the simulation alt’ai, questioning machine protocols in communicating with environments. Exploring imaginations of Earth from the impersonal, totalising view to one in which humans are environmental accidents at home anywhere, he finds resonance in a line from Holly Herndon’s Extreme Love (2019): ​‘We are completely outside ourselves, and the world is completely inside us.’ Concluding his PhD in environmental studies at Masaryk University, Brno, he now teaches at Center for Audiovisual Studies at FAMU in Prague and Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow. Likavčan just released a book Introduction to Comparative Planetology (2019, Strelka Press) that presents an analysis of visual cultures of imagining the Earth and the geopolitics of climate emergency.

Apply for the Creative Spatial Design workshop with Heleen Blanken and Karl Klomp

The workshop Creative Spatial Design will be an introduction to the artistic practice of conceptual stage design, led by spatial media artists Heleen Blanken and Karl Klomp. It focuses on the basic artistic and technical skills necessary for developing stage scenography for live performances. The workshop will provide participants with insight into the development process, from forming a concept to configuring media within physical space. Artists Heleen Blanken and Karl Klomp will elaborate on their own practice and the skills that are necessary to successfully create a media narrative on stage. The workshop will contain a hands-on demonstration of the different effects of lights, mirrors, smoke, projection, video, LED panels and more to manipulate the perception of illumination.

During the workshop, participants will work on creating their own concept and scenarios and will present their outcomes at the end of the workshop. The workshop will take place in Paradiso Amsterdam and all necessary equipment will be provided. Participants have the opportunity to be present during the soundchecks and live performances of Progress Bar later in the evening to gather more insight into the processes of creative spatial design. Enrolment To apply for the workshop, taking place on 22 February 2020 in Amsterdam, please send a short motivation and CV to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. The deadline for applications is 10 February. Bringing a laptop is recommended, but not necessary. Fee Participants pay a contribution of €25 for the workshop led by Heleen Blanken and Karl Klomp. Lunch is included. 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 artists, speakers and commissioned works announced for Sonic Acts Academy 2020

Sonic Acts is excited to now reveal the second wave of artists, thinkers and commissioned works for Sonic Acts Academy 2020. Taking place in Amsterdam from 21 to 23 February 2020, the Academy transforms the spaces of partnering institutions – Paradiso, De Brakke Grond, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and OT301 – into a thought-provoking live showcase of various engaged art forms. Academy 2020 lifts the curtain to reveal current artistic reflections on the impact of planetary transformations caused by humans, with three days of experimental concerts, club nights and live cinema, alongside a two-day conference. 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. Last chance: Early Bird festival passes are still available for €60 (regular festival pass €70) until 31 December 2019 via the Tickets page.

The latest artists and thinkers to be announced are: • Holly Herndon • AYA • bod [包家巷] + Schwestern Sisters (SwS) • Bookworms • DEBBY FRIDAY • DESIGN EARTH • Marjolijn Dijkman • Anja Kanngieser • Lag OS • Lukáš Likavčan • Meuko! Meuko! • RUI HO • S280F / 011668 / vvxxii • Tadleeh • Via App Look out for more names to be announced in the new year. Second Sonic Acts Academy 2020 artists and thinkers: In review An evening of expanded audiovisual performances at Paradiso includes, among others, Holly Herndon, an artist who has redrawn the map of laptop music. Herndon brings her immersive live show PROTO to Sonic Acts Academy 2020, featuring fellow musicians and programmers as well as a choral ensemble regurgitated by an AI ​‘baby’ whose input strangely adds humanity to Herndon’s most human arrangement yet. The same evening stages a live audiovisual performance by musician AYA (fka LOFT), whose early education in drum and bass, dub and ​’00s pop divas infects their layered tweaks on recent EP and departt from mono games (2019). At the Academy’s two-day conference at De Brakke Grond, Sonic Acts welcomes architects Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, who co-founded DESIGN EARTH to engage with geography in addressing humanity’s relationship to the Earth through architecture. And theorist Lukáš Likavčan, who explores imaginations of Earth from the impersonal, totalising view to one in which humans are environmental accidents at home anywhere. He finds resonance in a line from Holly Herndon’s Extreme Love (2019): ​‘We are completely outside ourselves, and the world is completely inside us.’ Interdisciplinary artist Marjolijn Dijkman​’s interpolation of scientific content has gripped many visitors of her numerous exhibitions. At Sonic Acts, her lecture features clips from her 2018 film Reclaiming Vision, addressing humanity’s cold objectivity. Filmed through a light microscope, the cast of microorganisms respond to the familiar change in seasons and the more existential change in climate. For political geographer and sound artist Anja Kanngieser, sound is the sense mechanism that drives their work. As an academic, their work creatively amplifies social justice claims around politics and climate change. Earning the description ​‘FREAK TECHNO’, Via App performs at the Academy’s Friday night programme at OT301, carving a cassette-sized hole in the world with their minimalist, industrial, FX processor-heavy, semi-modular synthesizing stories. The same night features a performance by Bookworms who, after his trippy LP Xenophobe (2016, L.I.E.S), took a more literal trip with Appropriation Loops (2017), tracking, for instance, Motown through Kraftwerk’s mechanics back into Detroit techno. The Academy’s Saturday night programme at Paradiso takes shelter under the umbrella of Progress Bar, with a programme of defiant live performances and DJ sets by, among others, RUI HO, Tadleeh, and Vancouver-based producer and vocalist DEBBY FRIDAY, who empowers with the sound of violence. True of both her first EP BITCHPUNK (2018) and the tip-to-tail artist-made DEATH DRIVE (2019, Deathbomb Arc), FRIDAY probes Freud with drill, punk and techstep. In music self-described as ​‘thunder’ the artist adds nuance to the false stigma of female queer black aggression. The night also features a number of audiovisual performances by the likes of Meuko! Meuko!, who inherits her irregular energy from Taipei’s muggy streets, and Los Angeles-based duo S280F and 011668 (fka Echavox), who will be joined at Sonic Acts by the equally amorphous vvxxii. Together with Schwestern Sisters (SwS), motivational speaker and electronic sculptor bod [包家巷] (Nicholas Zhu) presents game demonstration and audio-visual performance What If We Made A Video Game And It Was Like Dark Souls And All The Characters Were Artists (WIWMAVGAIWLDSAATCWA), a co-commissioned by Sonic Acts and KONTEJNER. Finally, Rubén Patiño (Lag OS) delivers the première of soundwalk Drassland Stretch, flouting the limits of concert, public event and installation. A member of the ​‘Fluxus techno/​military space music’ unit N.M.O., the Amsterdam-based artist makes time-based work with sound, light, video and more. Discover the previously announced artists and thinkers here.

Apply for ATTENTION! workshop with Ben Russell

ATTENTION! is a three-day workshop exploring perceptual engagement, that seeks to re-orient the audiovisual attentions of its participants towards the present. Participants will be led by artist, filmmaker and curator Ben Russell in employing a series of listening, movement, recording, and viewing exercises, to produce a continuity from now to the infinite. ATTENTION! takes its title from the exclamations of a trained Mynah bird in Aldous Huxley’s ISLAND*.

Ben Russell at Sonic Acts Festival 2017, De Brakke Grond.
Informed by Ben Russell’s own decades-long practice in image-and-sound collection under the loose frame of ​'documentary' and ​'psychedelic ethnography' and inspired by production trips to Vanuatu, the Marquesas Islands, Rapa Nui, and more, the workshop contains audiovisual tasks drawn from sources as diverse as Maryanne Amacher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, LSD test subjects, Georges Perec, hydrophone coral reef recordings, Jean Rouch’s idea of trance-cinema and more – all in the name of recognising one’s own intuitive, cognitive and perceptual processes within the construction of the Here and Now. *“Is that your bird?” Will asked. She shook her head. ​“Mynahs are like the electric light,” she said. ​“They don’t belong to anybody.” ​“Why does he say those things?” ​“Because somebody taught him,” she answered patiently. What an ass! her tone seemed to imply. ​“But why did they teach him those things? Why ​‘Attention’? Why ​‘Here and now’?” ​“Well …” She searched for the right words in which to explain the self evident to this strange imbecile. ​“That’s what you always forget, isn’t it? I mean, you forget to pay attentionto what’s happening. And that’s the same as not being here and now.” ​“And the mynahs fly about reminding you — is that it?“ She nodded. That, of course, was it. There was a silence. Enrolment To apply for the workshop, taking place from 12 to 14 February 2020 in Amsterdam, please send a short motivation and CV to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. The deadline for applications is 22 January. Fee Participants pay a €75 contribution. Lunch is included. 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.

Authentically Plastic, Nahshi, Thoom and more confirmed for Progress Bar on 17 January

Before Sonic Acts Academy 2020, a new edition of Progress Bar takes place at OT301 on Friday 17 January. The evening opens with a screening of Beatrice Gibson’s 2018 film I Hope I’m Loud When I’m Dead, which explores poetry and disobedience, with a score by world-renowned experimental musician and composer Pauline Oliveros. The programme also features a screening of poet Julianknxx’s film Roots for a Crown (2019), exploring the negative perceptions and prejudice surrounding locked hair, and a Q&A with its director; plus performances and DJ sets by Authentically Plastic, Elly Vineyard, jujulove, Nahshi and Thoom. Presale tickets are now online, including a limited amount of €3 early entry tickets. Named after a poem by CAConrad, I Hope I’m Loud When I’m Dead (2018) explores poetry and disobedience. Gibson made the first recordings on the eve of the 45th presidential inauguration in January 2017, as a portrait of two of the United States’ most important living poets, CAConrad and Eileen Myles. The film’s score, by world-renowned experimental musician and composer Pauline Oliveros, lends the film a remarkable sense of intimacy. Written and directed by Sierra Leonean via London poet Julianknxx, Roots for a Crown (2019) is an imaginative docufiction, in which various storytellers delve into the symbolism and traditions behind their locs. Its maker, Julianknxx, is a poet in search of vulnerability and vibes. Hailing from Sierra Leone via South London, the poet, filmmaker and visual artist has a profile on the rise – thanks to recent commissions by Southbank Centre, Roundhouse, and the ICA. As a DJ, producer and artist based in Kampala, Uganda, Authentically Plastic​’s sound is necessarily political. They run a riotous club night in Kampala called ANTI-MASS, which opens us space for femme, queer and experimental artists in an increasingly repressive social climate. Their sets, at once dark and playful, use gqom, vogue and techno as a base for exploring other unknown sounds. Elly Vineyard, born in 1991 and raised on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten, discovered ballroom culture in 2008, which changed his life forever. Elly is now proudly Father of the pioneering House of Vineyard alongside Mother Amber Vineyard. One of the first voguers of the Dutch ballroom scene, Elly has been performing and representing ball culture for over 11 years. jujulove aka Juliette Lizotte is a video maker, designer and DJ based in Amsterdam. Her current research focuses on witches as ecofeminist key figures. Inspired by feminist science fiction, manga, pop culture and fantasy jujulove opens a parallel world of her own at 170bpm. Milan-based Nahshi, known at first for his dancefloor-oriented blends, recently set out to investigate the crushing force of Lento Violento, an Italian club music genre originating in the early 00’s – as brilliantly shown on his releases for Ashida Park and Country Music. Born in Tarik Jdideh, raised in Chicago, IL, and based in Berlin, Thoom​’s music is expansive, eclectic and nomadic. Tracing her journey as listeners, we won’t be surprised to find shattered traces of digital Arabic percussion and rhythm mixed with aggressive arrangements that call forth the metallic repetition of midwest American industry. Coming for the talks and film? Buy a €3 Early Entrance ticket (arrive before 21:00) and get free entry to the club on top! Attend the Facebook event for the latest programme details. About Progress Bar Progress Bar is a monthly club night dedicated to communal desire and collective joy. 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. 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.

Apply for the Critical Writing workshop at Sonic Acts Academy 2020

Following the success of previous Critical Writing workshops, a new edition will take place during Sonic Acts Academy, from 21 to 23 February 2020. The workshop is hosted by Arie Altena and Katía Truijen, as well as guests from different journalistic fields.

Focusing on specific aspects of writing as a craft (language, style and focus) and how to shape the argument or perspective of a piece, participants will convene in commissioning meetings, and receive one-to-one feedback on all work produced during the festival. The workshop focuses on developing writing skills, and all writers who complete text will have their pieces published on the Sonic Acts blog. 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. Participants will cover the conference, performances and other events during the festival, and have a chance to interview artists and theorists. Enrolment The workshop is intended for a small group of emerging international bloggers, journalists, critics and writers active or interested in the field of interdisciplinary arts (media arts, film, visual arts and performance). Applicants are asked to submit a short motivation and CV to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. The deadline for applications is 20 January 2020. For an impression of previous written Critical Writing results, check out the Sonic Acts blog. Fee Participants pay a €60 contribution. Lunch will be provided. 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.

Sonic Acts and Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee podcast: Sadaf speaks to Ivan Cheng

Sonic Acts and Ja Ja Ja Née Née Née are collaborating on a series of podcasts for the upcoming Sonic Acts Academy 2020. In the first episode, Sadaf speaks to Ivan Cheng and discusses the processes of making music, her work and the inspiration behind it all. Sadaf is an Iranian-born, New York City-based composer and visual artist whose multidisciplinary interventions include sound, film, painting, performance and text. Sadaf’s layered and cinematic visuals, sonics and confrontational performative tactics oscillate between opacity and narrative. Her work upends the inward-looking affect inherent to contemporary performance, subverting the languages of auto-fiction and the artist/​muse. These original compositions comprise intuitive and clashing material inspired by contemporary global archaeologies of sound, always flirting with noise.

Living Earth Publication

Wednesday 25 May 14:37

Living Earth - Field Notes from the Dark Ecology Project 2014 - 2016 Price: 19,50 EUR Order here Living Earth is a new book filled with ideas, conversations, lectures, and documentation relating to commissioned installations, soundwalks, concerts and performances made for and during the Dark Ecology project. This three-year project, a collaboration between Sonic Acts and the Norwegian curator Hilde Methi, was held from 2014 to 2016 in different places in Norway and Russia and included three curated ‘Journeys’. Living Earth is a recreation of these research trips to the Barents Region, from Kirkenes and Svanvik in Norway to Nikel, Zapolyarny and Murmansk in Russia. The project was inspired by Timothy Morton’s concept of ‘dark ecology’ and his philosophy of ‘ecology without Nature’. Morton offers a radical criticism of the modernist way of thinking about nature as something outside of us, and instead proposes an interconnected ‘mesh’ of all living and non-living objects. He ruminates on this idea in his essay for Living Earth entitled ‘What Is Dark Ecology’, stating at the outset that ecological awareness is ‘weird weirdness’.

"Dark ecology is about how we get to exit from toxic modernity. It’s been very moving for me to watch the Sonic Acts artists working with a concept I’ve been shaping for a while. They have explored the Arctic realm with the greatest aesthetic skill, a skill that by no means excludes the political." – Timothy Morton
Living Earth is a 256-page trip with artists, thinkers, curators and other Dark Ecology participants into the dark space of rethinking nature and art, and it also contributes to the contemporary Anthropocene debate. The motivations behind the project and its impact are discussed in the interview with the curatorial team titled ‘Outside the Comfort Zone’, which opens the book. Besides Timothy Morton’s long essay the book contains contributions by Susan Schuppli (‘Dirty Pictures’), and Berit Kristofferson (‘The Workable Arctic of Ice and Oil’), which examine the consequences of the Anthropocene. There is an interview with Heather Davis (‘Queer Kinship’), and in her essay about Margrethe Pettersen’s soundwalk (Living Land – Below as Above), Britt Kramvig builds on the notion of ‘anthropo-not-seen’. Tatjana Gorbachewskaja and Katya Larina discuss their research into the interaction between the Arctic environment and the architecture of the Russian mining town Nikel (‘Nikel – The City as a Material’). Graham Harman embarks on an interesting rethinking of Jakob von Uexküll’s influential book A Foray Into the World of Animals and Humans and its notion of environment (‘Magic Uexküll’).
“What an amazing journey it was, through the Arctic regions of Norway and Russia! Now everyone can live or relive it through this feast of a collection.” – Graham Harman
Living Earth is a catalogue too, as it documents and presents in different formats the commissioned works created for Dark Ecology. There are works by HC Gilje (Barents – Mare Incognitum; The Crossing; Mikro with Justin Bennett), Joris Strijbos (‘Machine Synaesthetics’, an interview about his work IsoScope), Espen Sommer Eide (Material Vision – Silent Reading; ‘A Vertical Perspective’ – a text about his collaboration with Signe Lidén on Altitude and History). Some artists were already presented in more depth in a previous Sonic Acts book, The Geologic Imagination (2015), but are present in Living Earth as well: Raviv Ganchrow (Long Wave Synthesis), Karl Lemieux and BJ Nilsen (unearthed), Marijn de Jong (with a photo essay Grey Zone) and Femke Herregraven (Staring into the Ice). Other interesting commissions and chapters in Living Earth include: Signe Lidén (krysning/пересечение/conflux), Justin Bennett (Vilgiskoddeoayvinyarvi: Wolf Lake on the Mountains), Hilary Jeffery (Murmansk Spaceport), Cecilia Jonsson (Prospecting: a Geological Survey of Greys), Lucy Railton and Russell Haswell (Unknown) and the Secret Chambers I and II, two nights of live performances curated by Anya Kuts and Ivan Zoloto.
“Participating in the Dark Ecology journey was an extraordinary opportunity to witness the dark matters of environmental change firsthand through direct contact with the landscapes in which we travelled. This book reflects upon these encounters, entangling our proximate and local experiences with the global processes of accelerated climate change.” – Susan Schuppli
As a catalogue of texts and visual essays from the Dark Ecology project, Living Earth not only engages in a vibrant conversation with the previous Sonic Acts book The Geologic Imagination, but is also an introduction to the ongoing contemporary debates about the nature, ecology, art and ‘mesh’ that we live in. The third edition of the art, research and commissioning project Dark Ecology will take place between 8 and 12 June 2016 in the border zone between Norway and Russia, with events scheduled in the Pasvik Valley and Kirkenes (NO) as well as in the surroundings of Nikel (RU). Over the course of five days, a group of more than 50 artists, researchers, curators, writers and organisers, will travel from Northern Norway to North West Russia. While the previous Journey took place in the dark winter season, the third one will take place during the Arctic summer, with sunlight for most of the day and night. Living Earth - Field Notes from the Dark Ecology Project 2014 - 2016 Price: 19,50 EUR Order here

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* https://bit.ly/2mFrtME *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.

Call for volunteers: Sonic Acts Academy 2020

Sonic Acts invites you to become a volunteer and be part of Sonic Acts Academy 2020, which takes place from 21 to 23 February in Amsterdam. As a volunteer, you’ll get the chance to help organise one of the leading events in art, technology, music and science, meet tons of interesting people and learn valuable new skills. During the three days, Sonic Acts Academy 2020 will include lectures, exhibitions, screenings and concerts at numerous locations throughout the city. We are looking for volunteers to assist with various tasks – from communication and photography to production and hospitality – both before and during the event. All volunteers will be provided with a free passepartout, a delicious meal during their shift, unforgettable work experience with amazing people, and an afterparty to celebrate the accomplished work! Apply to become a part of the volunteer team for Sonic Acts Academy 2020 by filling in this form. Any questions? Feel free to get in touch at volunteer[at]sonicacts[dot]com. Check out a recap video of Sonic Acts Academy 2018 down below:

Podcast in collaboration with Ràdio Web MACBA: Nora Sternfeld

Sonic Acts is happy to share another podcast in collaboration with Ràdio Web MACBA, under the umbrella of Re-Imagine Europe. In this podcast, Nora Sternfeld problematises the educational turn and talks about the crisis of the museum model, radical pedagogy, emancipatory practices and alliances, para-institutions, unlearning strategies and collective knowledge projected into the future. The podcast is available to listen to on Ràdio Web MACBA's podcast programme SON[I]A. From an extremely critical point of view at the intersection of art and politics, curator and educator Nora Sternfeld constantly breaks the fourth wall of research and curating, shining a light on terms such as 'exhibition', 'gallery', 'representation', 'museum', and 'collectivity', always looking for cracks and hidden connections.

Nora Sternfeld, Negotiating with Reality: Artistic and Curatorial Research, at Sonic Acts Academy 2018, De Brakke Grond.
In this podcast, Nora Sternfeld starts by putting forward a few ideas that can help us understand the crisis of the museum as institution, 'as it happened', from construction to eventual collapse. She talks about the crisis of the museum model, but also its origins and its relationship to the neoliberal machine that it forms part of, as welll as some attempts to overturn its endemic problems. From there, Nora talks about education, power, historical narratives, para-institutions, 'unlearning' strategies, and collective knowledge projected into the future: 'How can we learn something that doesn’t exist yet? It is not possible that one person will know something that does not exist yet, it’s a contradiction in itself. But, together, each of us, has a bit of knowledge of something that doesn’t exist yet. So if we bring these imaginations together we can build on a possible imagination that can grow stronger and stronger. In this sense, I think that learning cannot be imagined without collectivity. We learn together.' This podcast is part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Vacancy: Sonic Acts is looking for a PR and Marketing Employee (24 hours)

Sonic Acts is looking for a PR and Marketing Employee for 24 hours a week during the period of 4 November 2019 until 6 March 2020. The employee will be part of the Marketing & Communications team, contributing to the promotion of Sonic Acts Academy 2020, and be responsible for the implementation of the PR and marketing plans. More information about the function and requirements, as well as details of how to apply, can be found here. The application deadline is 23 October 2019. Please note: applicants should have excellent Dutch writing skills alongside a good level of English. • Sonic Acts zoekt: PR en Marketing Medewerker Sonic Acts Academy

Sonic Acts co-commission TIME TIME TIME in Oslo and London

Jennifer Walshe and Timothy Morton’s operatic work TIME TIME TIME, which was co-commissioned by Sonic Acts, will be presented on 13 September 2019 at Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival and 14 December 2019 at London Contemporary Music Festival in collaboration with Serpentine Galleries. For this commission, Morton and Walshe join forces with a notable ensemble of musicians and sound artists to explore the multiplicity of temporalities at the heart of being human. Everyone in the room is important – from the fast-paced digital time of M. C. Schmidt and Walshe, the deep geological rhythms of Lee Patterson, the liminal eternal drones of Aine O’Dwyer, to the shifting tectonic plates of Streifenjunko and Vilde&Inga. Following its world premiere at Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ as part of Sonic Acts Festival 2019, the work has since been presented at Borealis – en festival for eksperimentell musikk (Bergen) and MaerzMusik (Berlin). More information about the performances can be found on the Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival website and London Contemporary Music Festival / Serpentine Galleries.

TIME TIME TIME is commissioned by Borealis – en festival for eksperimentell musikk, Sonic Acts, MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, and London Contemporary Music Festival/Serpentine Galleries. Supported by Arts Council Norway, Arts Council of Ireland and the Performing Arts Fund NL. Funded by the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung. Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

New podcasts in collaboration with Ràdio Web MACBA

Ràdio Web MACBA has published two new podcasts in collaboration with Sonic Acts, featuring educators and theorists Irit Rogoff and Ramon Amaro, who both gave lectures at Sonic Acts Festival 2019. The podcasts are available to listen to on Ràdio Web MACBA's podcast programme SON[I]A.

Irit Rogoff is a writer, educator, researcher and curator, and Professor of Visual Culture at Goldsmiths College, University of London, a department she founded in 2002. Rogoff has organised and participated in many projects for collective thought and action, such as SUMMIT Non-Aligned Initiatives in Education Culture (2007), and the more recent European Forum for Advanced Practices (2017). In the podcast, Irit Rogoff talks about ways of creating participatory, creative, and cognitive alliances that allow us to critically inhabit contemporaneity. She also calls for the need to devise processes of unlearning, inside and outside the academy, that will pave the way to new and unexpected kinds of knowledge. Rogoff defends the importance of the long-term research processes that are made possible by universities, in contrast to the neoliberal maelstrom of immediate impact and results. And she argues for the need to create a new, constantly evolving vocabulary that allows us to name and talk about these new research models. Ramon Amaro is a lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, London, and also in the Centre for Research Architecture. His work revolves around speculative articulations in machine learning, philosophies of being, mathematics, engineering, and black ontology.  In the podcast, Ramon Amaro introduces the basics of machine learning, its criteria for assigning value, the collision between blackness and the artificial, its flaws, and the problem of impunity that all too often accompanies them. He also calls for a techno-resistance that would require us to sacrifice our current view of the world and of ourselves.  Irit Rogoff and Ramon Amaro’s lectures at Sonic Acts Festival 2019 are available to watch on the Sonic Acts YouTube and Vimeo channels, alongside videos of the rest of the conference and past festival editions.
Irit Rogoff at Sonic Acts Festival 2019, De Brakke Grond.
Ramon Amaro at Sonic Acts Festival 2019, De Brakke Grond.

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

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

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.

HEREAFTER identity nominated for Dutch Design Awards 2019

Sonic Acts is proud to announce that the visual identity for its 2019 festival edition has been nominated for the Dutch Design Awards. The multi-layered visual identity was designed by The Rodina, who took underground infrastructures as a starting point to shape the festival’s HEREAFTER theme: an exploration of major topics such as inequality due to colonisation, immigration and the climate crisis. The identity emphasises what The Rodina regards as two basic principles of design: revealing and hiding. Nominated in the Communication category, the jury notes that the identity fits seamlessly with Sonic Acts’ appetite for experimentation: ‘The Rodina uses a multifaceted, inviting visual language that generates curiosity. Well-considered, tasteful and layered, with a passion for detail and implemented with consistency.’ (Dutch Design Awards) 'Seen in its entirety, one of the most powerful overall identities of the past year' – Dutch Design Awards The resulting visual identity has been translated into a wide variety of offline and online resources, including a 320-page publication, and performative interventions that took place at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The beautifully designed HEREAFTER publication, sweatshirts, tote bags and special edition ponchos are available to buy at the Sonic Acts webshop. Visit the 2019 festival site

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

Programme revealed for Sonic Acts Festival 2019

Sonic Acts is thrilled to reveal the programme of its 2019 festival edition, HEREAFTER! Learn more about what the 25-year anniversary edition of the festival has in store via the Programme page. The complete programme features a diverse group of artists and theorists: 9T Antiope, Áine O'Dwyer, AJA, Alexis Destoop, Alobhe, Ana Vaz, André Castro, Andreas Kühne, Annie Fletcher, Anthea Caddy, Arie Altena, Ash Sarkar, Bbymutha, Beatriz Ferreyra, Beny Wagner, Bergsonist, BJ Nilsen, Charm Mone, Christina Kubisch, Chynna, Claude Speeed, Clausthome, Cyprien Gaillard, Dave Quam, Didier Debaise, Divoli S’vere, DJ Marcelle/Another Nice Mess, DJ Nervoso, Drone Operatør, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Emily Pethick, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Ephraim Asili, EVOL, Fedde ten Berge, Fien, Filipa César, Flavia Dzodan, François Bonnet, gamut inc, GIRLISONFIRE, Gregory Sholette, HC Gilje, Het Interstedelijk Harmonium Verbond, Hugo Esquinca, Irit Rogoff, Jasmine Infiniti, Jennifer Walshe, Ji Youn Kang, Jin Mustafa, João Polido Gomes, Jodi Dean, Johan van Kreij, Jonas Bers, Joost Rekveld, Judith Hamann, Jung An Tagen, Karl Klomp, Karrabing Film Collective, Katía Truijen, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Lee Patterson, Louis Henderson, Lukas Marxt, Lyra Hill, M.C. Schmidt, Maeve Brennan, Marta Mateus, Mārtiņš Ratniks, Matale, Mette Rasmussen, Mieriën Coppens, Nina Pixel, Nuno da Luz, Okkyung Lee, Olivier Marboeuf, Oxhy, Petit Singe, Philippe Dao, Phoebe Collings-James & Last Yearz Interesting Negro, Pierce Warnecke, Polina Medvedeva, Quay Dash, Rainer Kohlberger, Ramon Amaro, Rana Hamadeh, Rick Dolphijn, rkss, Rosi Braidotti, Ryoko Akama, Sasha Litvintseva, Slikback, Snufkin, Sondra Perry, Stoffel Debuysere, Straub-Huillet, Streifenjunko, Susanne M. Winterling, SUUTOO, The Living and the Dead Ensemble, The Otolith Group, The Rodina, Thomas Ankersmit, Timothy Morton, Tony Cokes, Ulrike Ottinger, Verdensteatret, Vilde&Inga, Wilted Woman, Yantan Ministry, YATTA, Yoong, Zeno van den Broek, ZULI. Under the heading HEREAFTER, the 2019 edition of Sonic Acts aims to explore the genesis of our current crisis – and what happens hereafter – by reflecting on the issues we are forced to confront on a daily basis: the inequalities caused by colonisation and geostrategic manoeuvring, the challenges posed by the climate crisis and immigration, the ever-present exploitation and precarity of the workforce, and the way technological advancements disrupts and not emancipates – that is, the gooey mesh of global capitalism. In order to gauge this complicated and entangled crisis and re-imagine something different, it is helpful to look back, re-evaluate and untangle threads that disable thinking outside of the sticky terrain of neoliberalism. From 21 to 24 February, Sonic Acts Festival 2019 takes place at various locations in Amsterdam, including Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ and Arti et Amicitiae. Festival Passes and single tickets are now available via the Tickets page.

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. www.rickdolphijn.nl 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). www.rosibraidotti.com 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. www.susannewinterling.com

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. www.christinakubisch.de 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.

Call for applications: Critical Writing workshop

Following the success of previous Critical Writing workshops, a new edition will take place during Sonic Acts Festival 2019, from 21 to 24 February. The workshop is hosted by Arie Altena with support by Katía Truijen, as well as guests from different journalistic fields. Focusing on specific aspects of writing as a craft (language, style and focus) and how to shape the argument or perspective of a piece, participants will convene together in commissioning meetings, and receive one-to-one feedback on all work produced during the festival. The workshop focuses on developing writing skills, and all writers who complete text will have their pieces published on the Sonic Acts blog. 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. Participants will cover the conference, performances and other events during the festival, and have a chance to interview artists and theorists. Enrolment The workshop is intended for a small group of emerging international bloggers, journalists, critics and writers active or interested in the field of interdisciplinary arts (media arts, film, visual arts and performance). Applicants are asked to submit a short motivation and CV to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com. The deadline for applications is 1 February 2019. For an impression of previous written Critical Writing results, check out the Sonic Acts blog. Fee Participants pay a €60 contribution. Lunch will be provided. Arie Altena is an editor, writer and researcher who works in the field of art and technology. He is an editor at V2_ in Rotterdam, and as part of the Sonic Acts team he co-organised numerous festival editions and projects such as Kontraste and Dark Ecology. He is the author of Wat is community art? (2017) and he edited several Sonic Acts publications. He is currently a member of the advisory board of the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the jury for the Witteveen+Bos-Art+Technology Award. He studied Literary Theory and has worked as an editor for, amongst others, Metropolis M, the Dutch magazine for contemporary art, and Mediamatic Magazine. Katía Truijen is a media theorist and musician based in Rotterdam. Since 2014, she has been developing programmes in the field of digital culture within Het Nieuwe Instituut's Research Department. Katía has published on digital culture and design for many leading cultural platforms in the Netherlands. She graduated from the MA in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam, and completed the Art & Research Honours Programme at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Previously, she taught at the University of Amsterdam, Department of Media Studies, and the Netherlands Film Academy. 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.

Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone released by label Touch

"Layering high-latitude field recordings of the border between sea ice and the open sea into one found sound composition, this is an elegant work with a lot of fascinating detail. While there’s underwater seal and whale sounds (mostly faint), it’s never in danger of becoming a relaxation cliché, mainly thanks to the crisp and almost electronica-like noises of the ice itself, which are gentle but still slightly alienating, and which ebb alternatively with windier, quite barren sounds." – Chain DLK (USA) Sonic Acts commission Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone by Jana Winderen has been released by label Touch. This Sonic Acts and Dark Ecology commission was first shown as a seven channel installation at Muziekgebouw aan't IJ during Sonic Acts Festival 2017. The marginal ice zone is the dynamic border between the open sea and the sea ice, which is ecologically extremely vulnerable. The phytoplankton present in the sea produces half of the oxygen on the planet. During spring, this zone is the most important CO2 sink in our biosphere. In Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone the sounds of the living creatures become a voice in the current political debate concerning the official definition of the location of the ice edge. The listener experiences the bloom of plankton, the shifting and crackling sea ice in the Barents Sea around Spitsbergen, towards the North Pole, and the underwater sounds made by bearded seals, migrating species such as humpbacks and orcas, and the sound made by hunting saithe, crustaceans and spawning cod, all depending on the spring bloom. The three track CD, which includes an interview with Carlos Duarte – a world-wide leader in multiple branches of biological oceanography and marine ecology – is available to buy at TouchShop.
Jana Winderen at Sonic Acts Festival 2015.
Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone was supported by Art & Technology – Arts Council Norway, Fond for lyd og bilde, Tono stipendet, ARCEx research cruise on R/V Helmer Hanssen, UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

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.

Call for volunteers: Sonic Acts Festival 2019

Are you interested in technology, art, new media and electronic music? The upcoming Sonic Acts Festival 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of Sonic Acts and we’ll be celebrating with a three-day international conference, a wide range of concerts and performances, exhibitions and screenings, covering a great variety of fields, practices and disciplines. Sonic Acts Festival 2019 will be held from 21 to 24 February in Amsterdam. To help make the festival a success we are looking for volunteers to assist with various tasks, including communication, photography, production and hospitality, both before and during the festival. To all volunteers we offer a free festival passepartout, a delicious meal with each shift, invaluable work experience, a cool network of other inspiring volunteers, and of course a celebratory afterparty! Interested? Sign up here. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch at volunteer[at]sonicacts[dot]com.

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

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.

Jana Winderen's Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone in Toronto

An adaptation of Jana Winderen's Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone, which was commissioned by Sonic Acts, will be exhibited at The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea from 14 to 23 September. The 10-day festival presented by the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga, opens perspectives on climate change, environmental crisis, and resilience. The marginal ice zone is the dynamic border between the open sea and the sea ice, which is extremely ecologically vulnerable. The phytoplankton present in the sea produces half of the oxygen on the planet. During spring, this zone is the most important CO2 sink in our biosphere. In Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone, the sounds of living creatures become a voice in the current political debate concerning the official location of the ice edge (or floe edge—the space where the open sea and frozen sea meet). The listener experiences the bloom of plankton, the shifting and crackling sea ice in the Barents Sea around Spitsbergen (towards the North Pole), and the underwater sounds made by bearded seals, migrating species such as humpbacks and orcas, crustaceans and spawning cod —all actions that depend on the spring bloom. Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone premiered at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ during Sonic Acts Festival 2017 - The Noise of Being.

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.

Summer Sale: Discounts on publications at the Sonic Acts shop

Summer is upon us, and what better way to spend it than to delve into the many Sonic Acts publications. For that reason, there are various discounts on offer throughout summer at the Sonic Acts webshop. There are up to 50% discounts on books, including the latest publications Sonic Acts Academy 2018 Reader (€7,50 instead of €9,50), The Noise of Being and Living Earth (both €14,50 instead of €19,50). Take advantage of the Academy deal and get Sonic Acts Academy 2018 Reader and Sonic Acts Academy Volume 1 together for €9,50. You can also buy the whole package, and get all available Sonic Acts publications for the special price of €52,80 (a 60% discount). Or cool off in the warm weather with one of the various Sonic Acts t-shirts (€10 instead of €15).

Experimental documentary FUTURELAND emerges out of Sonic Acts Academy 2018

FUTURELAND / CRA MA Group Project 2017-18 from Susan Schuppli on Vimeo.

The experimental documentary FUTURELAND, produced by MA students in Conflicts & Negotiations, emerges out of fieldwork they conducted in the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest cargo and container port, as part of Sonic Acts Academy 2018, as well as individual research and collaborative writing that delved into the politics of our contemporary logistical condition. The fieldwork formed part of the Academy's Logistical Nightmares programme, a partnership with the Centre for Research Architecture (Goldsmiths, University of London) exploring logistics as a model for organising social life and politics at a global scale. Hosted by Lorenzo Pezzani and Susan Schuppli, the programme featured guests such as Charmaine Chua, Stephan Helmreich, Giorgio Grappi, Heather Anne Paxson and Victor Sanz, with symposium lectures and panel discussions that are also available to watch on the Sonic Acts YouTube and Vimeo channels. "Organised by an elliptical structure, the documentary cross-cuts between temporalities and geographies to explore the ways in which the port is deeply entangled with the histories of colonialism, the legacies of maritime labour, the advent of automation, the speculative fictions of global finance, the threat of sea level rise, and the ecological consequences of an infrastructural imagination that have carved a trading zone out of the liquid architecture of the sea. The documentary utilises a wide range of source material from webcam streams to archival documents in addition to footage, animations, field recordings, and voiceover narration produced by the students themselves. Its title — FUTURELAND — derives from the main public entry point into the Port of Rotterdam where visitors depart on scheduled bus and boat tours. We too began our day on water touring the docked ships and observing the cranes as they manoeuvred their containers. “Ask me anything,” our guide enjoined us... when we paused to take pictures from our vantage point on the upper deck he resumed his running commentary. It was a recital scripted entirely in superlatives: the biggest, the tallest, the deepest, the heaviest, the largest, the greenest. Throughout the FUTURELAND video echoes of his speech come to act as a refrain that the various chapters utilise to call into question the official public narratives of the port, which are ultimately countered by the students’ own insights and approach to their research materials. In addition to exploring the logistical operations of the port itself, students also bicycled around the adjacent industrial park documenting its petro-chemical storage, which constitutes some of the primary cargo that transits through the port. Other students were able to interview Filipino mariners on shore-leave as well as dockworkers in a local pub. A representative from the labour union, who was deeply concerned about the loss of jobs both at sea and on land as a consequence of automation, was interviewed later in Amsterdam." – Susan Schuppli, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths.

Vertical Cinema to be screened in Zürich

Sonic Acts' Vertical Cinema programme is set to be screened at videoEx festival in Zürich. On Friday 1 June, ten works by Joost Rekveld, Tina Frank, Manuel Knapp, Johann Lurf, Billy Roisz & Dieter Kovačič, Makino Takashi & Telcosystems, Esther Urlus, Lukas Marxt, HC Gilje and BJ Nilsen & Karl Lemieux will be presented by videoEx in collaboration with Rote Fabrik and Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur. Vertical Cinema is a series of commissioned large-scale works by internationally renowned experimental filmmakers and audiovisual artists, which are presented on 35 mm celluloid and projected vertically with a custom-built projector at special locations. Since its premiere in 2013, the Vertical Cinema project has traveled the globe: from Kontraste Festival Krems in Austria, to multiple screenings in Holland (IFFR, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, STRP), the UK (Leeds Film Festival, Glasgow Short Film Festival), Germany (GEGENkino), Latvia (Balta Nakts), Australia (Melbourne International Film Festival) and the US (SXSW in Austin Texas). In February of 2017, four new films were premiered during Sonic Acts Festival, which have since been presented in Sweden (Göteburg Film Festival) and Russia (Inversia). Many Vertical Cinema screenings took place in churches, maximising the vertical characteristics of these buildings and offering a new take on stained glass. Other venues have included a 19th century market hall and other industrial buildings with vast open spaces that allow for maximum screen size and theatres (old and new) for which the scale and ratio of Vertical Cinema causes a disruption and rethinking of conventions.

More information about the Vertical Cinema screening at videoEx can be found here.

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.

What did you think of Sonic Acts Academy 2018?

Whether you joined us in person or online, we hope you enjoyed Sonic Acts Academy 2018 as much as we did. If you attended the Academy, you can help us to evaluate the event and improve future editions by taking part in our online survey and sharing your thoughts and experiences. As well as hearing your thoughts on the development of the Academy, we would also like to know about the possible ways that you would like to get involved. By submitting the survey you can win one of two (2x) passe-partouts for next year’s Sonic Acts Festival – the 25th anniversary of Sonic Acts – which takes place from 21 to 24 February 2019. Participate in our online survey

Sonic Acts Academy 2018 at Dansmakers Amsterdam. Photo by Pieter Kers.

Thank you for being a part of Sonic Acts Academy 2018

Sonic Acts Academy 2018 has passed and we are immensely grateful to everyone involved in making it a success. In particular, we would like to thank all of you who committed time and energy, including the ever-inspiring community of artists and speakers who participated, 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: Paradiso, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Tolhuistuin, Dansmakers, EYE Filmmuseum, Rijksakademie, Creative Industries Fund NL, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Mondriaan Fund, Creative Europe programme of the European Union, Re-Imagine Europe, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, 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 Institute, Amsterdam), Research School for Media Studies (Utrecht University), Beam Systems, WG theatertechniek, Indyvideo, Engage! TV, CJP, The Wire, Het Nieuwe Instituut, and Elevate Festival. This year’s Sonic Acts Academy is one we certainly won’t forget, not least because it was documented by our excellent team of photographers and videographers, who were on hand to capture it all. You can view photo streams of each day of the Academy on our Facebook and Flickr pages. If you attended the Academy, you can help us improve future editions by taking part in our online survey and sharing your thoughts and experiences. By completing the survey you can win one of two (2x) passe-partouts for next year’s Sonic Acts Festival. We hope to welcome you again at one of our events in the near future. And don’t forget to save the date: next year’s Sonic Acts Festival – the 25th anniversary of Sonic Acts – takes place 21–24 February 2019!

Marija Bozinovska Jones at Sonic Acts Academy 2018. Photo by Pieter Kers.
Violence at Sonic Acts Academy 2018. Photo by Pieter Kers.
Sonic Acts Academy 2018. Photo by Pieter Kers.

Full programme announced for Sonic Acts Academy 2018

Wednesday 24 January 10:42

The second edition of Sonic Acts Academy takes place from 23 to 25 February 2018 at various venues in Amsterdam, including Dansmakers and Paradiso Noord – Tolhuistuin, with several pre-festival events at the EYE Filmmuseum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and Rijksakademie. Over the course of three days, Sonic Acts Academy will invite artists and thinkers to expand on their artistic research through lectures, artist presentations, films, performances and workshops. The complete programme and time schedule are now online and day passes are available now. Sonic Acts Academy 2018 will host artists and thinkers: Ane Hjort Guttu, Anni Nöps, Ase Manual, Benjamin Duboc, Birgit Bachler, Born in Flamez, Catherine Christer Hennix, Charmaine Chua, Christina Kubisch, Cocky Eek, Daniel Mann, Dinamarca, DJ Haram, DJ Lycox, Dreamcrusher, Drippin, Filipa César, Geng, Hilary Jeffery, Iris de Vries, Ivan Slipčević, Jelena Viskovic, Jennifer Lucy Allan, Jennifer Walshe, J.G. Biberkopf, Juha, Karl Klomp, Kei Kreutler, Kilbourne, Linn da Quebrada, Lorenzo Pezzani, Lyzza, Marcus Boon, Marcus Pal, Marija Bozinovska Jones, Mario de Vega, Martijn van Boven, M.E.S.H., Michele van Ool, Mijke Pasmans, Miron Galić, Moor Mother, Nicole Hewitt, Nora Sternfeld, PARADISE, patten, Rana Hamadeh, Renske Maria van Dam, Rick Dolphijn, Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, Rozemarie Heggen, Sam Rolfes, Sasha Litvintseva, Signe Lidén, Solveig Suess, Susan Schuppli, Swan Meat, Victor Mazón Gardoqui, Vida Guzmić, Violence, Wartone, and Yun Ingrid Lee. View programme Buy tickets

M.E.S.H.. Photo by Nadine Fraczkowski.
Rana Hamadeh. Photo by Pieter Kers.
Linn da Quebrada
Birgit Bachler

Sonic Acts and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam present: Catherine Christer Hennix

Sonic Acts and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam present: Catherine Christer Hennix In 2017, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Sonic Acts initiated a long-term research trajectory dedicated to the lesser-known pioneers of sound art. The first stage of this collaboration activated the archives of American composer and sound artist Maryanne Amacher (1938–2009). The latest project and collaboration is an exhibition and new sound piece and performance by the Swedish composer, philosopher, poet, mathematician, and visual artist Catherine Christer Hennix (1948). Although she is best known as a sound artist, she has also produced a body of visual art that crosses the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and anti-art – what Hennix refers to in her own personal nomenclature as Epistemic Art. As part of her retrospective exhibition Traversée du Fantasme – the first museum solo exhibition in over forty years – on 16 and 17 February 2018, CC Hennix will present the world premiere of her new composition Blue(s) in Green to the 31 Limit. This new work will premiere with two performances at Teijin Auditorium in Stedelijk Museum, performed with Benjamin Duboc, Rozemarie Heggen, Hilary Jeffery, and Marcus Pal. The work elaborates on concepts of space – specifically attempting to halt our experience of space-based phenomena – and continues the musician’s ongoing experiments in micro-tonality, just intonation and the space of sound. On 18 February, Marcus Boon will discuss CC Hennix’s work in a Symposium at the Stedelijk’s Teijin Auditorium.

  The exhibition Traversée du Fantasme is curated by Karen Archey, Curator of Contemporary Art and Time-based Media at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and Lawrence Kumpf, Artistic Director of Blank Forms, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting emerging and underrepresented artists working in time-based media. The retrospective by Catherine Christer Hennix is organised by Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in collaboration with Sonic Acts, as part of the collaborative mission to diversify the canon of sound art.  Blue(s) in Green to the 31 Limit (World Premiere) Artists: Catherine Christer Hennix, Hilary Jeffery, Marcus Pal, Benjamin Duboc, Rozemarie Heggen Location: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Teijin Auditorium Time: 16 February, 19:00–20:00 & 17 February, 14:00–15:00 More information

Vertical Cinema at Göteborg Film Festival and Inversia

Sonic Acts' internationally acclaimed Vertical Cinema project will be screened as part of the Göteborg Film Festival and Inversia. On 31 January, in collaboration with the Church of Sweden, the Göteborg Film Festival presents Vertical Cinema for the first time in the Nordic region. Nine films from some of the most exciting contemporary filmmakers will be featured on a specially built projector that leans the film at 90 degrees, challenging our deep rooted beliefs about what a cinema and movie image are and may be in the future. On 3 February, Vertical Cinema will be screened at Inversia, an international audiovisual festival over the Polar circle, in Murmansk, Russia.

‘Vertical Cinema questions the basics of how a movie can look. It's a grand visual experience where the films can be seen as a prelude to the future of cinema culture, an avant-garde altar painting or the world's largest and most beautiful instastory’ – Jonas Holmberg, Artistic Director of the Göteborg Film Festival
Vertical Cinema is a series of large-scale, site-specific works by internationally renowned experimental filmmakers and audiovisual artists, which are presented on 35 mm celluloid and projected vertically with a custom-built projector in vertical cinemascope. The 90-minute programme premiered in 2013 and has since been featured at various locations around the globe. Four new films were presented as part of Sonic Acts Festival 2017. Projection development and equipment by Filmtechniek. Visit the Göteborg Film Festival and Inversia websites for more information about their programmes.

Sonic Acts presents two films at EYE Filmmuseum

On 20 and 22 February, as part of the pre-festival events of Sonic Acts Academy 2018, Sonic Acts presents two films at EYE Filmmuseum: Spell Reel by Filipa César and Time Passes by Ane Hjort Guttu. The two extraordinary films are presented in collaboration with EYE on Art, a weekly programme where film meets the visual arts. Both films will be followed by Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. With Spell Reel, filmmaker Filipa César imagines a journey where the fragile matter from the past operates as a visionary prism of shrapnel. Digitised in Berlin and screened and presented with a live commentary, the archive convokes debates, storytelling, and forecasts. From isolated villages in Guinea-Bissau to European capitals, the silent reels are now places from which people search for antidotes to a world in crisis. In Time Passes – a fictional story shot in a documentary style – 23-year-old Damla is an art student who begs daily on the streets next to Bianca, a Roma woman with whom she gradually develops a friendship. Gradually, her situation develops into an ethical and political crisis as she struggles to justify how she can continue her project in the face of the social inequality beyond the art academy.

Spell Reel A collective film assembled by Filipa César 2017, 96 min Germany, Portugal, France, Guinea-Bissau Date: 20 February 2018, 21:15 Location: EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam More info and tickets Time Passes A film by Ane Hjort Guttu 2015, 47 min Norway Date: 22 February 2018, 16:30 Location: EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam More info and tickets

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

Winter Sale at Sonic Acts webshop

We're having a winter sale at our webshop with great deals on books, t-shirts and bags at various discounts, including Travelling Time and The Dark Universe (€5 each instead of €17,50). Take advantage of our package deal on publications: Travelling Time + The Dark Universe + Sonic Acts Academy Vol. 1 (€12,50). There are many more discounts on offer at our webshop and you'll also receive a free bag with every purchase! The sale ends 31 January 2018. A limited number of Early Bird tickets for Sonic Acts Academy 2018 are available for €50 until 31 December. Regular tickets and Group Passes will go on sale in January. Buy your tickets here.

Call for volunteers: Join the Sonic Acts Academy team

Are you interested in technology, art, new media and electronic music? The upcoming Sonic Acts Academy will take place from 23 to 25 February 2018 in Amsterdam. To help make the Academy a success, we are looking for volunteers to support us with various tasks, including promotion, communication, photography, production and the information desk. Interested? Apply by filling in the volunteer application form. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at volunteer[at]sonicacts[dot]com. We look forward to welcoming you to the team! Apply Now! 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.

Call for Applications: Speculation as Interface with Mario de Vega and Victor Mazón Gardoqui

Speculation as Interface Workshop by Mario de Vega and Victor Mazón Gardoqui From 21 to 23 February 2018, Sonic Acts hosts a three-day workshop on disruptive technologies by r-aw.cc artists Mario de Vega and Victor Mazón Gardoqui as part of Sonic Acts Academy. This workshop is aimed at individuals with an interest in sound, speculative processes, signal transmissions, ecology, language, unstable systems, high-frequency demodulation and interface design. r-aw.cc is a research platform founded in 2008 by de Vega and Mazón Gardoqui to investigate strategies in pedagogy, independent publishing, speculative interfaces, design as process, radio transmission and psychoacoustics. During the workshop participants will use custom logarithmic detectors to translate wireless architecture into sound, and tools to explore, control and disrupt devices within their vicinity. Using this tactical media the participants will instigate and discuss alternative ways of creating communities. Participants will finish with a PCB – a powerful instrument that allows the user to 'observe through the ears'. 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.   Enrolment The full-day workshop is open to a maximum of 11 participants. No experience in electronics is needed, but patience is mandatory for soldering SMD components. To apply, please send a short biography and motivation letter outlining why you would like to attend to workshop[at]sonicacts[dot]com.   Participants must attend the full 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 30 January.   Fee Participants pay a €75,- contribution for three days. Lunch will be provided.

  Mario de Vega (MX) explores the threshold of human perception and the physicality of listening. De Vega ́s work digs into the materiality of sound, the vulnerability of systems, materials and individuals, and the aesthetic potential of unstable arrangements. He has been guest artist and lecturer at Universität der Künste Berlin, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Technische Universität Berlin, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris, Centro de Diseño, Cine y Televisión, KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Kyushu University, Tama Art University, Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien and Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, amongst others. His work has been exhibited in Mexico, North America, Chile, South Africa, Nepal, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and around Europe. He lives and works in Berlin and Mexico City.   Victor Mazón Gardoqui (ES) explores amplification, electromagnetic phenomena and perception by using locative audio techniques and custom electronics. His work materialises in three main fields: actions or site-specific performances through experimental processes, exhibitions as consequences of previous actions and collective work through seminars in cultural and or academic institutions. Active since 1999 in experimental techniques of media intervention and transmission through the use of sound and light, his works have been performed or exhibited in museums, galleries, billboards, urban screens, and public TV and radio stations in Africa, Russia, Nepal, North America, Canada, Mexico and numerous locations across Europe. He lives and works in Santander and Leipzig.

Looking back at Sonic Acts Academy 2018

From 23 to 25 February, Sonic Acts took up residence in Amsterdam-Noord for the second edition of Sonic Acts Academy – a new platform geared towards unpacking the processes of artistic knowledge. Across three days, we turned to a diverse community of artists, teachers, tutors, mentors, thinkers and tinkerers, to exchange ideas and push for alternate pathways in the field of education and knowledge production. In the weekend prior to the Academy, festivities were already getting under way, with a celebration of the work of Swedish composer, philosopher, poet, mathematician, and visual artist Catherine Christer Hennix (1948). The celebration was part of a long-term research trajectory – initiated in 2017 by Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Sonic Acts – with a mission to diversify the canon of sound art. On Friday 16 February, we witnessed the world premiere of Hennix’s new sound piece Blue(s) in Green to the 31 Limit – echoed by a second performance of the piece the following day, and a symposium on Sunday 18 February with Marcus Boon. In a poison-green lit Teijin Auditorium, an electronic drone buzzed with fluttering overtones. The dizzying sound field was augmented by experienced improvisers Benjamin Duboc, Rozemarie Heggen, Hilary Jeffery, and Marcus Pal, who performed alongside the composer in an exploration of concepts of space; specifically, while continuing their ongoing experiments in micro-tonality and just intonation, the musicians attempted to halt our experience of space-based phenomena, and they succeeded.

Catherine Christer Hennix at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo by Pieter Kers.
Later that week, artists Mario de Vega and Victor Mazón Gardoqui led a hands-on workshop at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, exploring disruptive technologies. Participants learned methods of translating wireless architecture into material sound and used media intervention as a means to explore, control and interrupt local signals and radio transmissions. As the Academy edged closer, two films were screened at EYE Filmmuseum on 20 and 22 February, accompanied by Q&A sessions with their respective filmmakers. The subject of experimental feature Spell Reel – simultaneously a tribute, documentary and an excavation – was a trove of so-called revolutionary films shot to chronicle Guinea-Bissau’s war of independence from Portugal in the 1960s and 70s; from isolated villages in Guinea-Bissau to European capitals, the silent reels are now the place from where people search for antidotes for a world in crisis. The second film, Time Passes, was a documentary-like film by artist Ane Hjort Guttu. Time Passes centred on a controversial Norwegian art project, highlighting the potential and limitation of politically engaged art. Both films offered a fitting bridge to conversations that would characterise the Academy’s main programme over the days to come, contributing to debates about artist responsibility and education’s role in understanding and engaging with reality.
Spell Reel at EYE Filmmuseum. Photo by Pieter Kers.
Indeed, as society rapidly changes under the pressure of economic, technological, and political expansions, understanding and engaging with reality becomes especially important. On a local level, one noticeable change can be seen in the expansion of Amsterdam’s current markets to Amsterdam-Noord, where the Academy this year was principally located. On the ferry to the north, across the river IJ, the public was welcomed to the Academy by two screens displaying the Academy’s visual design by studio The Rodina; once there, the Academy’s venues, such as Dansmakers Amsterdam and Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin – industrial remnants repurposed as cultural destinations – set an appropriate backdrop to topics presented throughout the programme. On Friday 23 February, the Academy officially opened at Dansmakers Amsterdam, with an energetic programme of talks and performances. Educator and curator Nora Sternfeld delivered the keynote lecture on the topic of artistic and curatorial research; sound artists Jennifer Walshe and Mario de Vega came together again for a live improvisation to Walshe’s film An Gléacht; and we closed the evening with the world premiere of Maria Bozinovska Jones’ performative piece Fascia 171208180222, with an AV and laser set together with musician J.G. Biberkopf. Earlier in the day, just down the road, Academy visitors could experience an experimental environment envisioned especially for the occasion by students of the ArtScience Interfaculty (KABK). Entitled Sensing the Place, the environment was the outcome of a collaborative research project between KABK and Sonic Acts, in which students examined different ways of mapping and understanding a space based on their senses. To round off the evening, we travelled to Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin, for the first of the Academy's two night-programmes: a continuation of the ongoing series of monthly club nights Progress Bar. The line-up for Friday night’s portion promised little interest in comfort, and it certainly fulfilled. With artists Wartone, Anni Nӧps, Geng, Violence, Dreamcrusher, Swan Meat, Moor Mother, M.E.S.H, Kilbourne and Born in Flamez, Progress Bar welcomed dancers to tread into a dark confrontation with noise, alienation and resistance, while reconsidering the potential of club space as a realm not merely intended for dancing. Just as Sonic Acts Academy opts for an inclusive community, involving those who resist, Progress Bar similarly aims to represent radical equality, communality and hopefulness, engaging a growing community of artists, academics and activists who occupy clubs for a better politics. During the night, visitors ventured into the strange sci-fi worlds of two installations: 3049 by patten and Hidden Layers by Shadow Channel students. Situated in adjacent rooms to the club, both installations were saturated with radical proposals for a new future.
Violence at Progress Bar. Photo by Pieter Kers.
At its core, Sonic Acts Academy 2018 was focused on the critical examination of knowledge production in the field of art, and much of this took place at Dansmakers during the two-day symposium on Saturday and Sunday. Offering an experimental setting free of institutional pressure and privileged classrooms, the first day of the symposium set forth to address the function of art and the artist from various dynamic perspectives. Among the many lectures, panel talks, and artist presentations, Birgit Bachler discussed the challenges and opportunities of creating and evaluating artworks and design artefacts within a more-than-human context; and Sasha Litvintseva and Daniel Mann attempted to define the assemblage of forces that converge around sinkholes, with a presentation that included a screening of their film Salarium – exploring topics such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, climate change, tourism and spirituality. The results of a number of speculative ‘festival’ modules devised together with different educational institutions were also presented, including Logistical Nightmares – an initiative of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London – which explored the increasing ubiquity and prominence of logistics as a model for organising social life and politics at a global scale; Continuum – an alliance of the departments of Product Design, Graphic Design, and Interaction Design at the ArtEZ Academy of Art and Design, Arnhem – which mapped new fields of work in design education; and a panel with students and scholars from the National Research School in Media Studies, in which they explored the necessity of the present for art. On Saturday night, we returned to Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin, for the second half of a twofold Progress Bar programme, where Juha, PARADISE, Lyzza, Linn de Quebrada, Dinamarca, Ase Manual, DJ Lycox, DJ Haram and Drippin staged a diverse array of sounds, derived from locales such as the streets of Lisbon and the parties of Sao Paulo. In contrast to the previous night, Saturday night’s line-up stepped up the intensity on the dance floor, as each artist brought a frantic energy that persisted into the early hours. Both nights, however, were framed equally by awe-inspiring light and stage design, with an extensive LED architecture developed by media artist Karl Klomp. On Sunday, the second day of the symposium delved beneath the surface of the everyday to expose the possibility and necessity of alternative perspectives. Through shared journeys and personal narratives, both imagined and real, we found ways for knowledge production to be challenged, decomposed, and rethought. An early highlight was Christina Kubisch’s presentation Magnetic Attacks: Forty Years of Electromagnetic Investigations, with which the sound artist discussed her ongoing project Electrical Walks – a series of public sound walks with headphones that receive electromagnetic signals from the environment and convert them into sound. Jennifer Walshe’s presentation Imaginary Histories was another focal point, as Walshe followed on from her performance at the Academy Opening by making a case for how research can contribute to creating entirely fictional art and worlds.
Hidden Layers at Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin. Photo by Pieter Kers.

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

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

More talks confirmed for Progress Bar on 2 December

On Saturday 2 December, Progress Bar returns to Paradiso Noord (Tolhuistuin) with talks, performances and a club in a single night. As part of a programme of talks that open the evening, Iranian-British political commentator, writer, broadcaster and activist Aaron Bastani will give a presentation about 'Fully Automated Luxury Communism'. Artist and writer Rachel Rose O'Leary will talk about language as impact, information warfare, and the flattening of concept into code. We'll also sit down for a conversation with artist GAIKA to discuss his music and political visions. To reserve a seat for the talks, please send an email to rsvp@sonicacts.com 'There is a tendency in capitalism to automate labor, to turn things previously done by humans into automated functions,' says Aaron Bastani. 'In recognition of that, then the only utopian demand can be for the full automation of everything and common ownership of that which is automated.' Aaron Bastani is the co-founder of Novara Media and Silke Digital. He is an expert on digital media, protest and political communications and has published with, among others, the Guardian, Vice and the LRB. GAIKA is one of the most visionary artists of the moment, with a singular, confrontational performance style. GAIKA injects powerful drama into poetic dub sermons about city life and society ‘in a state of emergency’. Rachel Rose O'Leary is an artist and writer currently based in Amsterdam. Her research concerns philosophy, encryption technologies, and eroticism. More information about the rest of the programme 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 tickets Attend on Facebook

'Sensing the Shipyard' at Damen Shiprepair

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

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

Tonaliens double LP recorded live at Sonic Acts

Tonaliens have just released a new double LP with recordings from their live performance at Sonic Acts Festival 2015. The music of Tonaliens is focused on a specific area within the microtonal space that was discovered by mapping out the first three harmonics of three tubes of one of group's member's Werner Durand's self-invented Pan-Ney instrument. They named this area the Tonaliens chord, and both recordings on this double LP – two live performances from 2015 – are based on it. Sides A and B were recorded live in a church in Amsterdam, the Vondelkerk, during Sonic Acts Festival. Sides C and D contain a contrasting, more intimate performance made at KuLe in Berlin for the Labor Sonor concert series. Tonaliens is a Berlin-based group investigating the inner dimensions and outer limits of Just Intonation. Exploring harmonic space with voice , brass, invented instruments, sine waves and live electronics, Tonaliens navigate intricate musical relationships using Hayward Tuning Vine. You can purchase the double LP at our webshop.

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

HC Gilje's 'Barents (Mare Incognitum)' at Screen City Biennial 2017

We are happy to announce that HC Gilje's video installation Barents (Mare Incognitum), which was commissioned by Sonic Acts and Hilde Methi for Dark Ecology is part of Screen City Biennial 2017 in Stavanger, Norway.

A still from HC Gilje's video installation Barents (Mare Incognitum)
The installation shows a slowly rotating view of the Barents Sea: up becomes down, East becomes West. Border and thresholds become invisible, and the potential disaster inherent in the ocean is made visible. More info about Barents (Mare Incognitum) here. Screen City Biennial 12–31 October 2017 Stavanger, Norway

Progress Bar is an official afterparty of Museumnacht

We are happy to announce that on Saturday 4 November, Progress Bar at Paradiso Noord with Bbymutha, Eaves, Lsdxoxo & more is an official afterparty of Museumnacht Amsterdam 2017.

Progress Bar collaborates with Framer Framed in the Tolhuistuin for Museumnacht, an annual evening during which more than 50 Amsterdam-based museums open their doors from 19:00 until 02:00. The Museumnacht programme at Framer Framed revolves around the theme ‘revolution’. In exhibition It Won’t Be Long Now, Comrades!, a group of contemporary artists reflect on the role of resistance and protest, focusing specifically on so-called ‘post-communist’ regions. Take inspiration from the revolutions of the past, enjoy guided tours and create & photograph your own protest sign. End your revolutionary visit with a party at Progress Bar, ‘the only political party you can dance to’. As an official afterparty location, Museumnacht visitors can enter Progress Bar from 22:00 with their wristband and a €5 afterparty ticket. Buy your tickets here More info: http://museumnacht.amsterdam/

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

The Noise of Being BOOK from The Rodina on Vimeo.

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

Progress Bar is back on 4 November

Progress Bar is back for a third season of cutting-edge thinking and dancing at Paradiso Noord (Tolhuistuin) on Saturday 4 November. Mixing talks, performance and a club in a single night, Progress Bar has developed into a platform for leading speakers on a range of urgent topics, alongside an uncompromising line-up of DJs and live performers, whose work straddles the intersection between nightlife and socio-political activism. The first edition of the season features Bbymutha, Bonaventure, Eaves, Hanz, LSDXOXO, Lyzza, Nina Power and more. Buy your tickets here.

Progress Bar S03E01 Trailer by Sam Rolfes
TIMETABLE: TALKS 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 CLUB 22:45-23:30 Eaves (LIVE) 23:30-00:15 Hanz (LIVE) 00:15-01:00 Lyzza (DJ) 01:00-01:45 Bonaventure (LIVE) 01:45-02:30 Bbymutha (LIVE) 02:30-03:30 LSDXOXO (DJ) 03:30-04:00 Juha (DJ) BBYMUTHA (Live) is a rapper from Chattanooga, Tennessee, whose lyrics are equally dark, witty, unforgiving and smart. You might have heard her tracks with collaborators LSDXOXO and Joey LaBeija, blending emotional release with venomous lyrical daggers. BONAVENTURE (Live) is a Swiss-Congolese producer who makes music that is inherently confrontational. She recently followed up her 'Complexion' single on NON Worldwide with the EP 'FREE LUTANGU’ on PTP, born out of a violent clash of sorrow and love. EAVES (Live) is a New York based producer whose music is inspired by the special connection between space and sound. Eaves’ debut LP, ‘Verloren’, came out at the end of last year via PTP and sees the producer place a lens to our relationship with digital environments. HANZ (Live), the Georgia born, North Carolina-based producer, cuts blasted, abstract beats on post-punk textures, resulting in a sound that somehow manages to echo RZA, Rammellzee, This Heat and PIL, whilst carving out a unique identity all of his own. LSDXOXO (DJ) is a producer & DJ from New York, by way of Philadelphia. He’s been described as “deliciously confrontational” by The Fader, and with a number of new projects on the way, is proving himself to be more than just an underground club-kid. LYZZA (DJ) is a promising young DJ and producer who is currently on the rise in Amsterdam. Born and raised in Brazil, she combines her Brazilian roots, through baile funk, with a taste of bass heavy club music, underground hip-hop and grime. METAHAVEN (Talk) is a collective working across design, art and filmmaking. Recent publications include Black Transparency (2015) and Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? (2013). Their first full-length documentary, The Sprawl (Propaganda about Propaganda), premiered in 2016. NINA POWER (Talk) is a cultural critic, social theorist and philosopher. She teaches Philosophy at the University of Roehampton and Critical Writing in Art & Design at the Royal College of Art. She has written widely on philosophy, politics, feminism and culture. THE RODINA (Talk) was founded in 2011 by the Czech born, Amsterdam-based independent graphic designers Tereza and Vit Ruller. Interested in connections between culture, technology and aesthetic , The Rodina designs events, objects, and tools. Progress Bar S03E01 Date: Saturday 4 November 2017 Venue: Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin Amsterdam Times: 20:30–04:00 (doors open 20:00) Tickets: €10,00 presale / €12,50 at the door (card only) Buy your tickets here. Free entrance before 20:30 Free for Subbacultcha members until midnight. Become a member: bit.ly/subbajoin Progress Bar is an official afterparty of Museumnacht. €5 entrance after 10:00 (with Museumnacht wristband): http://museumnacht.amsterdam/ Attend on Facebook

Sonic Acts Academy 2018

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. The academy is initiated by Sonic Acts, which also organises the internationally renowned Sonic Acts Festival focusing on developments at the intersection of art, science and technology. Sonic Acts Academy highlights 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. Following an open and dynamic format, Sonic Acts Academy probes 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. Keep an eye on the Facebook event and Sonic Acts website for more information in the coming months.

Book Presentation at Stedelijk

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

Available now: The Noise of Being publication

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

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

'Electro-Pythagoras (a Portrait of Martin Bartlett)' at the 55th New York Film Festival

Luke Fowler's lovingly constructed biographical essay of Canadian composer Martin Bartlett, Electro-Pythagoras (a Portrait of Martin Bartlett), will be screened at the 55th New York Film Festival on 8 October. As part of the festival's Projections section, Fowler's film – a co-production by Sonic Acts and Stedelijk Museum – finds Bartlett at home, at work and onstage, telling an intimate personal history.

Luke Fowler, 'Electro-Pythagoras (a Portrait of Martin Bartlett)' at Sonic Acts Festival 2017. Photo by Pieter Kers.
With the film Luke Fowler pays tribute to the work and musical ideas of Martin Bartlett (1939–93) a proudly gay Canadian composer who during the 1970s and 1980s pioneered the use of the ‘microcomputer’. Bartlett is hardly recognised, never mind canonised, in cultural life. He researched intimate relationships with technology and was particularly interested in handmade electronics where, as he states in one of his performances: ‘the intimacy of handcraftedness softens the technological anonymity creating individual difference making each instrument a topography of uncertainties with which we become acquainted through practice’. More information about the programme can be found here.

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.

Looking back on Progress Bar Season 2

The second season of Progress Bar has come to a close. Over eight monthly editions taking place at Paradiso Noord (Tolhuistuin) and Paradiso in Amsterdam, we moved beyond the pressures facing club culture, and towards wider socio-political issues. Indeed, Progress Bar began as something conscious of the threats facing underground club culture and has developed into a platform for leading speakers on a range of urgent topics regarding the relations between states, societies and their citizens. We sought out voices proposing hopeful alternatives to the dominant media through grass-roots organisation, intersectional thinking and constructive radicalism, and looked for cues in the DIY approaches and activist mentalities of artists and collectives as far as Lisbon, London and Chicago. Watch a recording of the talks from the season finale...

Progress Bar S02E08 with Hélène Christelle, Jeanette Bisschops, Flavia Dzodan, Bambii and Jo Kali.
...and look through our season highlights on Flickr.
Progress Bar Season 2 Recap
This season Progress Bar enlisted Amnesia Scanner, Malibu, Ash Sarkar, Michael Oswell, Jo Kali, Toxe, ALX9696, Mechatok, Juha, Dedekind Cut, Jam City, patten, Kate Cooper, Sky H1, Aaron McLaughlin, Cõvco, God Colony, Flohio, Shalt, Shygirl, Sega Bodega, Wartone, Akwugo Emejulu, Seada Nourhussen, Bonaventure, Traxman, Embaci, J. G. Biberkopf, s a r a s a r a, Evian Christ, An Ni, Coucou Chloé, DJ Earl, DJ Marfox, Kamixlo, Killavesi, Adamn Killa, Klein, Le1f, Lyzza, My Sword, Nidia Minaj, Organ Tapes, Sam Rolfes, Uli, Yon Eta, Cakes Da Killa, DJ Firmeza, Kablam, Wail Qasim, Jaako Pallusvuo, DJ Nigga Fox, Lotic, Moro, Ziúr, Meredith Greer, Huw Lemmey, Bambii, Endgame, Flavia Dzodan, Hélène Christelle, Jeanette Bisschops and Ashkan Sepahvand.

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.

Sonic Acts Summer Sale! Sale Ends 1 July

Summer is upon us, and what better way to spend it than to delve into one of our many publications. For that reason, we're offering various discounts at the Sonic Acts webshop, including great discounts on Travelling Time and The Dark Universe (€5 each instead of €17,50). Take advantage of our package deal on publications: Travelling Time + The Dark Universe + Sonic Acts Academy Vol. 1 (€12,50). You can also cool off in the warm weather with one of our many Sonic Acts t-shirts (€7,50 instead of €15). Go to www.sonicacts.com/sashop and get a free bag with every purchase!

Talks confirmed for Progress Bar on 27 May

The only political party you can dance to. Progress Bar is a regular night for cutting-edge thinking and dancing, showcasing urgent sounds and voices while offering insight into the artistic practice of the most exciting contemporary artists, with interviews and lectures as well as a club programme. The final edition of this second series features DJ sets and live performances by Bambii, Endgame, Juha, Kamixlo and Lyzza. The programme begins at 21:00 in the Tuinzaal with a series of talks: writer and critic Flavia Dzodan, who focuses on issues of gender, immigration, race, politics and media analysis, will give a lecture about the possibilities of radical pleasure; political scientist Hélène Christelle will be interviewed by writer and curator Jeanette Bisschops; and Toronto-based DJ Bambii will be in conversation with Progress Bar about her artistic practice. Buy Tickets

Progress Bar S02E08. Design by Michael Oswell and Ashkan Sepahvand
Timetable: 20:30 Doors open 21:00-21:30 Interview Hélène Christelle Muganyende by Jeanette Bisschops 21:30-22:00 Lecture Flavia Dzodan 22:00-22:30 Interview Bambii by Jo Kali 22:30-23:30 Juha 23:30-00:30 Lyzza 00:30-01:50 Endgame 01:50-02:30 Kamixlo 02:30-04:00 Bambii BAMBII (DJ) is an emerging talent from Toronto, a DJ who has bypassed aux-cord wielding scenesters by always allowing her musical curiosity to dictate her sets. This insistence on instinct sets the Mykki Blanco tour DJ apart from her peers. ENDGAME (DJ) is a producer and DJ based in London, Hyperdubs most recent signee. His densely layered sound emerges from the cold ashes of grime. Combining corrosive melodies and artillery like percussion, with reference to dancehall, tarraxo, and drill. FLAVIA DZODAN (Talk) is a writer and cultural critic living in Amsterdam. She focuses on issues of gender, immigration, race, politics and media analysis. Dzodan is an editor at Tiger Beatdown and has written for The Guardian, Racialicious, Gender Across Borders and Global Comment. JEANETTE BISSCHOPS (Interview) is an independent curator and writer based in Amsterdam. She specialises in new media and deals with critically engaged work including themes such as intersectional feminism and migration. JUHA (DJ) is founder of Progress Bar and plays new internet dance music. 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. HÉLÈNE CHRISTELLE (Interview) landed as a refugee in the Netherlands. She has since represented the European Union during G(irls)20, is a future political scientist, president at IamSHERO.org and has a passion for writing and new media. KAMIXLO (Premiere) presents Bloodless live at Progress Bar. Kamixlo's music lies at the riveting, emergent edge of grime, reggateon and experimental bass. The London-based producer's 'Demonico' EP marked out bold new territory. LYZZA (DJ) is a promising young DJ and producer who is currently on the rise in Amsterdam. Born and raised in Brazil, she combines her Brazilian roots through baile funk with a taste of bass heavy club music, underground hip-hop and grime. Progress Bar S02E08 Date: Saturday 27 May 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 Tickets Free for Subbacultcha! members until midnight. Become a member: http://bit.ly/subbajoin Free for We Are Public members. https://www.wearepublic.nl/programma/

29 April: Progress Bar S02E07

The only political party you can dance to. Progress Bar is a regular night for cutting-edge thinking and dancing, showcasing urgent sounds and voices while offering insight into the artistic practice of the most exciting contemporary artists, with interviews and lectures as well as a club programme. Writer and femenist Meredith Greer kicks off the evening with a talk about constructive radicalism, followed by interviews and DJ sets by DJ Nigga Fox, Juha, Lotic, Moro, Yon Eta and Ziúr. Buy Tickets

Lotic. Photo by Elias Johansson.
DJ NIGGA FOX (DJ) is part of Lisbon's Principe Discos crew, and an exciting sonic culture nurtured out of the Portuguese capital's urban and suburban areas. His debut 'O Meu Estilo' and follow up 'Noite e Dia' have liberated dancefloors. JUHA (DJ) is founder of Progress Bar and plays new internet dance music. 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. LOTIC (DJ) is DJ and producer J’Kerian Morgan. Raised in Houston, Texas and now operating out of Berlin, Morgan is a resident at the city’s famed Janus parties and in recent years has evolved into one of the most original voices of Berlin's club life. MEREDITH GREER (talk) is a writer and a feminist. She has published in Vrij Nederland, hard//hoofd, de Volkskrant, het Parool, HP/De Tijd and had a column at Vileine adressing old white men. She now works as an editor at Joop.nl. MORO (DJ) is an Argentian producer whose work is concerned with highlighting the African roots of his country's most famous musical export: tango. Moro's debut EP, 'San Benito', was released last year on NON Worldwide. YON ETA (DJ) has a maximalist approach to sound while striving to limit the options in the production process of his music. This Hague-based artist runs the DEVORM imprint, a hybrid community challenging the form of AV releases. ZIÚR (DJ) is a Berlin-based DJ/producer dedicated to combining different sonic textures and brainy beats into a functional dancefloor framework. Her music is clearly intended for loud soundsystems (and preferably accompanied by a fog machine). Timetable: Tuinzaal 21:00–21:30 Lecture by Meredith Greer 21:30–22:00 Lotic in conversation with Jo Kali 22:00–22:30 Moro in conversation with Roxy Merrell Club 22:30–23:15 Juha 23:15–00:15 Moro 00:15–01:15 DJ Nigga Fox 01:15–02:15 Lotic 02:15–03:15 Ziúr 03:15–04:00 Yon Eta Progress Bar S02E07 Date: Saturday 29 April 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 Tickets Free for We Are Public members Become a member www.wearepublic.nl/signup/aanmelden Free for Subbacultcha! members until midnight. Become a member: http://bit.ly/subbajoin Attend on Facebook

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.

Progress Bar on 1 April

Thursday 2 March 15:31

The only political party you can dance to. Progress Bar is a regular night for cutting-edge thinking and dancing, showcasing urgent sounds and voices while offering insight into the artistic practice of the most exciting contemporary artists, with interviews and lectures as well as a club programme. The next edition of Progress Bar takes place on Saturday 1 April at Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin, and features An Ni, Cakes Da Killa, DJ Firmeza, Juha, Kablam and Wail Qasim. AN NI (DJ) is an Estonian DJ, currently based in Netherlands. She describes her sonic palette as genre fluid, embracing raw and hard hitting percussions. Her sets blend a mix of industrial grime and floating melodies with glimpses of noise and sound design. An Ni is affiliated to the SISTER platform. CAKES DA KILLA (live) is one of hip-hop’s most exciting voices and a ferocious rapper. His unique sound is a mix of various musical influences, cinema and underground experiences. Cakes is praised for both his lyrical content and flow, which has earned him comparisons to Lil Kim and Foxy Brown.

DJ FIRMEZA (DJ) hails proudly from the Quinta do Mocho neighbourhood, where originators Nervoso and Marfox also reside. Firmeza is a revered and unmatchable DJ; his unique trance-inducing style has made him an acclaimed regular on Lisbon label Príncipe's monthly club residency.
JUHA (DJ), founder of Progress Bar, plays new internet dance music. 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. KABLAM (DJ) started her DJ career as one of the residents of Berlin’s Janus party alongside co-residents Lotic and M.E.S.H. Blom’s style, in keeping with her Janus peers, experiments with the radical possibilities of club environments, finding imaginative points of entry and combinations between genres. WAIL QASIM (talk) is a writer, activist and campaigner. Their writing has covered philosophy and politics, specifically dealing with racism, issues of (gender)queer and black social movements, and their (social) media strategies. Qasim currently works as a freelance writer for The Guardian, The Independent, UK VICE Media and Novara. More artists and speakers to be announced soon. Progress Bar S02E06 Date: Saturday 1 April 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) Ticket sale starts 2 March 2017 http://www.ticketmaster.nl/event/184575 Attend on Facebook Free for Subbacultcha! members until midnight. Become a member: http://bit.ly/subbajoin

What Is Dark Ecology?

Monday 7 November 13:21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anthropocene’ is the first fully anti-anthropocentric concept.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(1) The Law of Noncontradiction is inviolable.

(2) Existing means being constantly present.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actually we need to give it its properly anthropocentric form:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nikel — The City as a Material

Tuesday 15 November 11:59

RESEARCH SERIES #27 Tatjana Gorbachewskaja (TG) is an architect who grew up in the Russian town Nikel, located in the far North near the Russian border with Norway. For Dark Ecology she researched the materials of her hometown together with Katya Larina (KL), resulting in Nikel Materiality, which consists of a small publication, a presentation and guided walk through Nikel. Mirna Belina (MB) interviewed them. This interview forms part of Living Earth – Field Notes from Dark Ecology Project 2014 – 2016. The publication Living Earth is available now at www.sonicacts.com/shop.

Tatjana Gorbachewskaja icw Katya Larina, Nikel Materiality. Photo by Lucas van der Velden
MB How did you start researching Nikel? KL My interests come from two sides. One is the research I did for my studies in Landscape Urbanism at the Architectural Association in London, which is about understanding the city as a complex interconnected ecology. The other is my practical experience as an advisor and expert on strategies for industrial cities, closed cities, mining cities, or cities with heavy industry in Siberia. In the research into Nikel I managed to combine both interests. TG My curiosity stems from my background: Nikel is my hometown. I also teach at the University of Art and Design in Offenbach, where we investigate various experimental design methodologies relating to the topic of ‘new materiality’. In August 2015 I returned from a research residency in Nikel with a huge collection of material samples. Then Katya and I realised that the material phenomena and artefacts from Nikel could be structured using certain motifs relating to the idea of an ecological material system. MB Nikel has a dynamic political history. Can you connect the dots for us? TG The town emerged solely because of the nickel smelter. It’s a young settlement, established around 1935. From the beginning, the town was a centre of advanced and innovative industrial production. American technologies were used for the construction of a chimney—apparently the tallest one in Europe at that time. Only Canadians had the construction technologies suitable for Arctic climatic conditions, so all the smelting plants projects were developed in Canada. The general plan was designed by Finnish architects and further developed by Soviet urban planners after the Second World War. The mining technology was the most advanced for its time. Life in Nikel was highly subsidised and therefore quite appealing to the residents. Nikel was built in an area of extreme living conditions. It materialised as an artificial organism covered by a top-down ‘protective dome’ of vital infrastructure provided by one supplier—the state. Nikel and the region have been maintained by the state for many years, but after 1991, due to more volatile economic and political circumstances, the town was left without central control. As a result the artificial ecology of the city collapsed, and had to adapt to survive. KL I’ve worked with several Soviet industrial cities. They typically have separate districts which reflect different political epochs of Soviet and post-Soviet times. You can have a very distinguished Stalin or Khrushchev town. They are characterised by completely different ideologies and aesthetics. But Nikel, with its special Arctic weather conditions, is structured more rationally. At the same time, in Nikel, one epoch is resisting another one. The architectures use more varied resources and interact with each other. It’s more about respecting what has been done, learning from others. In Nikel the epochs all exist simultaneously. TG That is really rare for a Soviet city. For example, the first eight Finnish buildings in Nikel were integrated into the Soviet Promenade Axis. That’s why they’re still in good condition. Other early buildings were destroyed because they weren’t fully integrated. Not being integrated means dying off. MB You are working within a framework of ‘new materiality’. Can you elaborate on the methodology and how you applied it to Nikel? TG New Materialism is about rethinking relationships between object and subject, people and nature; moving from a focus on the human experience of things to things themselves. New Materialism is about acknowledging nonhuman forces in events. Important theorists in this field are, for instance, Jane Bennett, Manuel DeLanda and Graham Harman. In the case of Nikel, the methods of New Materialism help us to trace non-material social processes and transformations through the material agency. Technology and material fabrication can reveal very specific aspects in this context. We have explored different logics of material assemblies of the town’s construction in different political epochs. Each epoch reveals its own sensibility to the fabrication of a material. The sources of energy used for construction also changed over the decades, depending on whether the town’s relationships were externally regulated or self-sustaining. Through this perspective every piece of the town’s construction can explain a lot on many different levels of interrelations. KL The name of the city itself already suggests this. Nikel as a real material and a symbolic notion penetrates all levels of the existence of this settlement, manifesting the evolution of the artificial ecology the town has created. ‘Nickel’ as a non‐physical entity provided an artificial immunity to the city in the form of high subsidies and pensions, twice the holiday time, earlier retirement, and good facilities for sports and education. The products of nickel have become unpredictable. We started looking into the variety of materials that make up the city on a micro level and expanded its qualities to social, economic and environmental processes on a large scale. For instance, an exciting part of the research was to trace a representation of larger processes, which were shaping the city in one material, such as the slag, a by-product of the nickel ore smelting. The pressure from the artificial and natural environment gave this material many shapes and forms: it became a building material, an agent of damage, it is also present as a component of the natural ecosystem. It has penetrated into the surfaces of the buildings and accumulated in cracks and dark corners. This dust mixed with the brightly painted surfaces in the city creates a specific texture typical of most of the buildings in Nikel. MB So we could see this city as a living system? KL 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. TG 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 town 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.
Tatjana Gorbachewskaja icw Katya Larina, Nikel Materiality. Photo by Rosa Menkman
MB You made a very elaborate and different map of the city, with several interesting structural elements. What was the framework you used for mapping? TG The original idea was to create an alternative map of the city. Instead of mapping the classical city’s highlights, we tried to map a material agency representing the power of the city. We took material artefacts as witnesses that are able to describe the history of natural, political and social processes of the settlement. The artefacts we found were extraordinary and very expressive. Through the map and catalogue of the artefacts we present Nikel as a ‘material system’, as a multi- scalar expression of new materials that appeared and evolved while embedded in the town’s fabric. We organised the artefacts into four sections. KL As said, the material entity of Nikel has been shaped by successive ideological paradigms of the Soviet and the Post-Soviet political context. In the first group (Historical Clash) we presented artefacts and materials related to the history of social and political rhythms which structured the physical territories of the town. The second group (Energy Infrastructure) is related to the organisational concept of the ecosystem which is a function representing a ‘flow of energy and materials’. Here, we perceive Nikel as an infrastructural element for the resource-development industry, a life- support mechanism of a large industrial machine. In the third group of materials (Self-Organising Boundaries) we draw the boundaries of ‘competing patterns of existing ecosystems’. This part of the research reveals the fragmented character of the city and traces boundaries and borders that evolved naturally in the town as a response to the overlay and resistance of different elements of Nikel’s artificial ecology. In the last group (The Slag), we consider a physical representation of a new material that has appeared in Nikel, copper-nickel dust. For this section we created a wind simulation map, which helped us to understand how the environmental forces spread slag and pollution through the city. It shows how the urban tissue reacts to it. 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.

Queer Kinship

Tuesday 15 November 15:53

RESEARCH SERIES #28 In this interview by Rosa Menkman the Canadian theorist Heather Davis discusses the value of artistic experimentation, the Anthropocene, the importance of queer theory and the ecology of plastics. This interview forms part of Living Earth – Field Notes from Dark Ecology Project 2014 – 2016, which is available now at www.sonicacts.com/shop.

Heather Davis, Sonic Acts Academy 2016. Photo by Pieter Kiers
RM In your writing, you often use art to unpack and contextualise the otherwise abstract conditions and processes of the Anthropocene. Do these works inspire you to write about these subjects, or do you search for these works to illustrate the subjects you would like to write about? HD My writing usually doesn’t follow a uniform process. The way I write is maybe not so dissimilar from the ways in which certain people produce art. It evolves by constantly asking new questions, and through the shifting of scales and perspectives. In one of my latest texts, Molecular Intimacy (2016), I write about Inhale/Exhale, which was part of an installation at the Nordic Pavilion of the Venice Biennale of Art in 2013, by Finnish artist Terike Haapoja. I met Haapoja at a residency in Lapland a few years ago and I was really struck by her work. Haapoja connects the different levels through which the carbon cycle operates, to illustrate the ways in which carbon both enables life and is ‘exhaled’ in the processes of decomposition. While carbon is a rather abstract element that usually can’t be perceived by the human sensorium, this work asks us to consider breathing, through the process of decomposing leaves, in a much more visceral way. We hear the carbon release from the leaves, and it sounds uncannily like breath. This work made me reconsider how breath passes through my own body, as well as my thinking about carbon dioxide. Inhale/Exhale prompted me to ask what happens to our understanding of climate change and the carbon cycle when we approach it not just as scientific data, or as a series of graphs, charts and numbers? How can we make this data more intimate and how would this influence our imaginary? This work by Haapoja suggests a shift in discourse towards affective attunement—towards an intimate engagement with the molecular and the different strata at which carbon ecologies, economies and molecules operate—one that is useful to elaborate in contemporary theory. I would have never arrived at this question if not for my conversations with Haapoja. RM Lucy R. Lippard reviewed the compendium Art in the Anthropocene (2015) which you co-edited as: ‘an art book like no other (...) Visual artists are, for once, equal participants in these imaginative, intelligent, and informative discussions of the most pressing issues of our time, and deep time.’ How does the work of artists within the realm of climate change relate to the work of scientists? HD The featured texts are all written by philosophers, curators and artists who are very knowledgeable about scientific processes and climate change. We did, however, purposefully not invite any scientists to contribute to the book. One of the main things my co-editor, Etienne Turpin, and myself wanted to highlight is the difference in methodology between the ways in which artists and scientists contribute to understanding climate change. While the sciences often aim to produce the ‘truth’ and research questions that are directed towards very specific aims and outcomes, artistic work has this amazing ability to embrace contradictions that don’t have to be resolved. I believe that this is what the best forms of art do. Art can contain contradictory thoughts without falling apart. This can be incredibly useful when thinking about the affective and political implications of climate change. Besides that, artists are able to create work in ways that scientists can’t: scientists have to follow specific rules when they conduct scientific experiments. Artists can experiment with materials and use scientific practices in non-traditional ways and, in doing so, contribute to scientific breakthroughs. Artists can open up avenues of scientific research that were previously not up for discussion in a manner that can be explicitly political or with the aim of engaging a wider audience. RM Earlier you also mentioned ‘affect’ and ‘intimate engagement’ as vital to the understanding of climate change. Could you elaborate on this? HD I believe that there is an absolutely crucial element, namely the affective register, missing from the scientific engagement with climate change. Art can play an important role in negotiating this absence. I was trained in the traditions of Deleuze and Spinoza, so I understand affect as a pre- emotional, pre-verbal intensity. Affect moves me with a certain energy that cannot be attributed to a specific emotion or any particular sensibility. Affect can describe this state of hovering on the edge of emotion, or the kinds of emotions that don’t really posses a descriptive language, that can’t be categorised. Affect describes this intensity. In relation to climate change, there is an eerie sense that things are going horribly wrong, even among those of us who are disconnected from natural cyclical processes. We see unprecedented weather in the places we grew up. We see shifting patterns among animals and plants. Because humans are such adaptable creatures, we can accommodate these changes, but the speed at which they are happening remains in this register of intensity, in the register of something going wrong that we can feel, that we are cognizant of, even as we think of other things. This kind of bodily knowing is what art can make us aware of: the feelings of rapid change, and the sense of great unease that we share in the face of dramatic destabilisation.
Terike Haapoja, Inhale–Exhale, installation, 2008/2013, Falling Trees exhibition, Nordic Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale, 2013. Photo by Ugo Carmeni.
RM In your Sonic Acts Academy presentation on 28 February 2016 in Amsterdam The Queer Futurity of Plastic, you used queer theory to create an awareness of the affective intimacy between humans and our plastic spawn. You asked: what can we learn if we embrace our non-filial plastic progeny and the plastisphere ecosystems that evolve in our man-made, plastic environments? Could you elaborate on this? HD Queer theory, especially the realm of queer kinship, creates an incredibly important space for queerness not (just) as an identity, but as a politics. Queerness doesn’t just question heteronormative practices, but asks to open up space for who our intimate partners can be beyond a binary gender system, the conventions of the couple, and the nuclear family. We need ways to express intimacy within and beyond our legal systems; ways that allow for more plurality in terms of who can be understood as our life partners or our kin. These questions are also tied to questions of inheritance and the sense of obligation and care that we have towards those who came before us and those who will come after us. The question of who we think our kin are, in part determines this sense of responsibility. This ties into ecological thinking because if we presume that our kin are not just human, then we have an obligation towards our companion species, including those we have unintentionally brought into being.

Plastics have been around for 110 years, and bacteria have evolved to deal with these new environments. There is, for instance, a type of plastic eating waxworm that has two different kinds of bacteria inside its gut that allow it to digest polyethylene. Specific communities of bacteria have developed on the tiny pieces of plastics in the ocean. This is called the plastisphere. The waxworm and the plastisphere can be understood as a kind of non-filial human progeny, as I have suggested, and we should ask ourselves what kind of responsibility we have towards them. There has to be an ethics of acknowledgement and maybe even an ethics of care towards these particular kinds of bacterial communities, because of the fact that we inadvertently created them. This is not to suggest a godlike capacity and I certainly don’t mean that we should produce more plastic to accommodate these bacteria, but we do need to rethink the scales on which humans act and create. We are responsible for the life and deaths of so many creatures, regardless of our intentions. These questions are really essential.

Queer theory is a movement that pushes for entirely different configurations of intimacy, belonging, attachment and gendered identity or sexuality, which move beyond heteronormative frameworks that serve, among many other things, to uphold anthropocentrism. Queer kinship makes us aware of the responsibility we have towards the beings we create, and those that live and die, including humans and nonhumans. It calibrates a new political space to reconsider the state and presence of our relation to time, space and plastics. Thinking in these terms can help us to re-situate the place of the human, at least in dominant Western understandings; in essence the narrative of the human becomes less a narrative of mastery and moves towards ethical engagement and responsibility.

RM How can we actually be ethical about plastics? HD Surprisingly, I find this a really hard question. I’ve been thinking about plastics for three or four years now; however, I’ve been using the materiality of plastic to explore larger questions in terms of ecology and human hubris in relationship to technology. I think the important thing about plastic is to think of it as incredibly valuable, rather than infinitely disposable. The ecological problem with plastics is that they are incredibly recalcitrant in the face of change. Plastic objects can break, but on a molecular level, unless you burn them (which is really toxic), there aren’t many ways of turning plastics into something else. Plastics are impermeable to their environments, yet those same environments are deeply affected by plastics. The fact that within the 110 years since the invention of thermoplastics we suddenly discover this plastic-eating waxworm—I find that really heartening: it shows that life has a generative capacity that is far greater than humans. It puts us in our place in a really important way. RM Can we re-value plastic from a perspective of deep time and attribute value through the ecological consequences plastics have on our ecologies? HD I find it unbelievable that we use this material, which is incredibly valuable and definitely finite, as disposable and cheap. I have no idea how this happened in terms of economic logic but somehow it did, even though we don’t have adequate waste management systems and despite knowing the havoc that plastic waste wreaks in the world. It isn’t the only chemical material product out there that I wish didn’t exist, but...

While I’m saying this, I am thinking about what would happen if plastics suddenly disappeared. Our world as we know it would collapse—there would be no Internet, computers or airplane travel. Our clothes would evaporate, our buildings would fall apart. Materials, including food, could not be cheaply or effectively shipped around the globe. Plastic is the material infrastructure of the 20th and 21st centuries. It is this contradiction of plastic that really fascinates me. On the one hand, I see how much damage it does and on the other, it is an incredibly important, life- saving material. Plastics are so much a part of our everyday lives, they literally become us.

Tom Cohen, who is co-editor of the Critical Climate Change series at Open Humanities Press, uses the term tempophagy, meaning time-eating. We are burning up so much time through our dependence on oil, which results in these incredibly destructive accelerations in terms of climate, evolution, extinction, movement, and technology. We are producing this crazy kind of time, that exists only because we keep consuming the evolutionary and decomposed matter that is many hundreds of thousands of years old. Oil is a kind of compressed time. I think an inversed theory of planned obsolescence could play a role here: what if we used oil-based materials to build technologies with a planned continuum, that were meant to last for hundreds or thousands of years? RM With Dark Ecology we travel in the Arctic Barents Region, also to heavily polluted sites, to explore an area that illustrates how intimately connected humans can be with pollution. HD In the Canadian High Arctic, things decompose at an incredibly slow rate because of the cold and the lack of microbes. You can find a Coke can from the 1940s and it will look like it was left there last week. There is something really amazing about the fact that time has a completely different pace in this part of the world. However, the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth. It’s experiencing a rate and intensity of change on a scale that is unprecedented. I wonder how time in this part of the Arctic will make itself felt and seen. I think a lot about understanding the self as porous, so if we pollute the world, we pollute our own bodies. There is something really fruitful about confronting the fact that we cannot barricade ourselves off from toxicity, especially those of us with the privilege to do so.

Heather Davis: The Queer Futurity of Plastic 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.

Progress Bar on 21 January

Wednesday 7 December 14:20

Progress Bar offers insight into the artistic practice of the most exciting contemporary artists with interviews and lectures as well as a club programme. Before Sonic Acts Festival 2017 begins, the next edition of Progress Bar will be on Saturday 21 January at Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin. LINE UP AKWUGO EMEJULU (talk) BONAVENTURE (DJ) EMBACI (live) J. G. BIBERKOPF (live) JUHA (DJ) S A R A S A R A (live) SEADA NOURHUSSEN (talk) TRAXMAN (DJ) AKWUGO EMEJULU (talk) Akwugo Emejulu is Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. As a political sociologist, she has research interests in two areas: investigating racial and gender social and economic inequalities in a comparative perspective and exploring the grassroots organising of women of colour for social welfare and social citizenship. BONAVENTURE (DJ) NTS Radio affiliate and citizen of NON, Bonaventure (Soraya Lutangu) uses music as an identity research tool along with practical and speculative initiatives to connect her African and European roots and investigate human boundaries. Tracks like ‘White Policy’, ‘Cauz Cauz Cauz’ and ‘Complexion’ get at the crux of human motivation. EMBACI Embaci is an 18-year-old singer-songwriter and producer from Brooklyn who interweaves her lilting voice’s commentary on body and feminist politics with shattered, metallic off-rhythms. Her recent “digital tape” release featured collaborations with the likes of ANGEL-HO, Chino Amobi, Mhysa, Nkisi, LAO, ZutZut, IMAABS and Elysia Crampton. J. G. BIBERKOPF (live) J. G. Biberkopf works within the paradoxical relationship between club music and art music. His recent first EP, titled ‘Ecologies’, launched the Knives label created by Kuedo and Joe Shakespeare. Biberkopf’s music is intended as a field trip into the representations of nature that emerge from the (social) mediascape. JUHA (DJ) Progress Bar founder Juha plays new internet dance music. Since 2014, Juha has been artistic director of Lighthouse in Brighton, uniting the worlds of culture and technology. 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. S A R A S A R A (live) Hailing from Lille, France, singer, musician and producer s a r a s a r a recently released her debut album ‘Amor Fati' via One Little Indian, co-produced by Matthew Herbert. Already a boundary pushing artist, s a r a s a r a’s music is as experimental as it is versatile, taking in elements of industrial electronica, trip-hop, r’n’b, breaks and more. SEADA NOURHUSSEN (talk) Seada Nourhussen is Africa-editor at Trouw. She has previously worked for, amongst others, Elsevier and De Volkskrant. Nourhussen also wrote the book 'Bloedmobieltjes'. TRAXMAN (DJ) Cornelius Ferguson a.k.a. Traxman is from the West Side of Chicago and one of the longest serving producers working in footwork with releases stretching back to the glory days of ghetto house on Dance Mania records in the nineties. His unique brand of footwork is very strongly rooted in Chicago's history of soul, funk, house and ghetto trax. Progress Bar S02E04 Date: Saturday 21 January 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) http://www.ticketmaster.nl/event/178709 Free for Subbacultcha! members until midnight and part of the We Are Public programme. Become a member Attend on Facebook

This week: Taste The Doom at OT301

Thursday 5 January 16:01

As a precursor to the Sonic Acts Festival programme (23-26 February), every Wednesday leading up to it will offer a guided tour of the The Noise of Being exhibition in the afternoon, and then present a different special event in the evening. For this Wednesday 8 February we have Taste The Doom at OT301, combining two of the most delightful things in life: excellent whisky and a splendid mix of doom metal. Taste a hand-picked selection of outstanding whiskies, introduced to you one by one, while listening to a selected mix of songs matched to accompany each. The event includes live performances by EISBEIN and Puce Mary. Buy Tickets Timetable: 19:00 Doors open 19:30 Taste The Doom 22:00 Performances (EISBEIN + Puce Mary) EISBEIN (Benny Nilsen & Gert-Jan Prins) BJ Nilsen is a Swedish 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. Gert-Jan Prins focuses on the sonic and musical qualities of electronic noise and percussion and investigates its relationship with the visual. He lives and works in Amsterdam. Puce Mary An unrelenting fear of dread and coldness penetrates the avant-garde power electronics of Copenhagen-based artist Puce Mary, the nom de plume of Frederikke Hoffmeier. The Danish noisenik first came to prominence in 2010 with the collaborative release Lucia with Lust for Youth’s Loke Rahbek, on Danish label Posh Isolation. That same year, she released the Piss Flowers cassette, which showcased her unremitting use of feedback, noise, and guttural screams to climatic effect. Taste The Doom Date: Wednesday 8 February 2017 Venue: OT301, Amsterdam Times: 19:30–00:00 (doors open 19:00) Tickets: for tasting & performances: €30 (valid from 19:00); for performances only: €5 (valid from 22:00) Buy Tickets Due to the intimate setting of this event there is very limited capacity. Attend on Facebook. Taste The Doom is hosted by Lars Lundehave Hansen and Peter Votava.

Excursion: Vertical Studies in Sint Jansklooster

Wednesday 11 January 14:29

Vertical Studies: Acoustic shadows and boundary reflections. by Signe Lidén and Espen Sommer Eide In this new collaborative work by Eide and Lidén, participants are invited on a journey to a 46 meter high former water tower in Sint Jansklooster. The tower has been re-imagined as a vertical field-lab where the artists will introduce their ongoing investigations into connections between sound, history, wind and weather. For this purpose they have constructed a range of special instruments for the recording and playback of sounds in the vertical dimension. The participants on this journey, will experience both live vertical studies outdoors and inside the towers spiral staircase, as a ascending vertical soundscape shaped by Eide and Lidén. BUY TICKETS In their collaborations, Lidén and Eide investigate how sound is shaped by and resonates in various environments. Their previous work, the critically acclaimed 2016 performance Altitude and History was staged in the hills above Nikel, Russia, as part of the Dark Ecology journey. Leading the audience on a performative field trip, they delved into the connections between wind and sound at various altitudes and its connections vertically to layers of local history. Sound movement through the atmosphere is affected by the wind profile, the open landscape and the winter temperatures, which can bend the wave front, causing sounds to be heard where they normally would not, or vice versa, creating acoustic shadows. Building upon this archive of altitudinal sounds from Nikel and other areas visited by the artists, they are now working on a new model of verticality. As an imaginative figure the artists experiment with sorting their archive of sounds by height. From the bottom of the oceans, to the planetary boundary layer with land formations and weather shaping the sounds, up through the clouds to the outer atmosphere. Signe Lidén is an artist based in Amsterdam and Bergen. Her installations and performances explore man-made landscapes and their resonance. She is interested in how places resonate; in memory and matter, through narratives and as ideological manifestations. Her installations are often a combination of sound recordings from specific places and sculptural objects, where the material of the objects becomes ‘speakers’. Her work ranges from sound installations and performance to more documentary forms such as sound essays and archives. She has made works for Dark Ecology, Center for PostNatural History, VOLT, Resonance Sound Art Network, Hordaland Art Center, Kunsthall Oslo and Ny Musikk, Touch Radio, and Interferenze New Arts Festival among others. Espen Sommer Eide is a musician and artist based in Bergen. With his music projects Phonophani and Alog, he has composed and performed a series of experimental electronic works. As an artist his works investigates subjects ranging from the linguistic, the historical and archival to the invention of new scientific and musical instruments for performative fieldwork. His works has been exhibited and performed at Bergen Kunsthall, Nikolaj Kunsthal, Manifesta Biennial, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Stedelijk Museum, GRM, De Halle Haarlem, Bergen Assembly, Sonic Acts, Mutek, Performa and more. Commissioned by Sonic Acts & Dark Ecology. Practical information & Tickets For this excursion we have arranged buses that will drive us to the water tower in Sint Jansklooster (1,5 hour drive). There are a limited amount of seats available, so be quick if you don't want to miss this exciting trip. Buses will leave from Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Tickets are €12,50 (limited amount of tickets are available). Sonic Acts Festival passe-partout holders can reserve their space free of charge by sending an mail to info[at]sonicacts[dot]com. Excursion 1 February (12:00) 11:45 meet up at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Piet Heinkade 1 12:00 bus leaves to Sint Jansklooster 14:00 performance by Signe Lidén and Espen Sommer Eide 17:00 back in Amsterdam Excursion 23 February (12:00) 11:45 meet up at Paradiso, Weteringschans 6-8 12:00 bus leaves to Sint Jansklooster 14:00 performance by Signe Lidén and Espen Sommer Eide 17:00 back in Amsterdam Excursion 23 February (14:00) 13:45 meet up at Paradiso, Weteringschans 6-8 14:00 bus leaves to Sint Jansklooster 16:00 performance by Signe Lidén and Espen Sommer Eide 19:00 back in Amsterdam Address Sint Jansklooster Bezoekerscentrum de Wieden, Beulakerpad 14, 8326 AH St. Jansklooster BUY TICKETS The installation in the water tower is open for the public during visitors hours on 4, 11, 18 and 25 February. For more information see natuurmonumenten.nl

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