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, progressive club nights and experimental concerts, including a number of world premieres, while the conference features cutting-edge emerging and well-known artistic voices.
It will include several Re-Imagine Europe related works to be soon announced!
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:
T. J. Demos
Hugo Esquinca + Yuk Hui
Daniel Mann + Eitan Efrat
MÆKUR: Anton Kats + Maia Urstad + Eva Rowson
Roly Porter + MFO
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 The 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.
More announcements coming in December, stay tuned!
Pieter Kers and George Knegtel