Cryptic Sonica in Glasgow 2018 – Portal, Pivot and Visaurihelix

Cryptic Portal 2_Credit Robbie Thomson

Cryptic’s renowned Sonica returns to Glasgow this summer with three major new, free sonic art installations to delight all ages.

Part of Festival 2018,  (2 – 12 August, 2018)

Robbie Thomson’s invites audiences to take an unforgettable subterranean odyssey through the Clyde Tunnel and Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey’s turns George Square into a playground with giant, talking seesaws

Louise Harris’s Visaurihelix turns Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s tower at The Lighthouse into an ambitious sonic sculpture.


Acclaimed Glasgow-based artist Robbie Thomson presents the world premiere of Portal, a large-scale, unforgettable subterranean adventure through the Clyde Tunnel, which marks its 55anniversary in 2018 as part of Festival 2018 – the cultural programme of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

Cryptic Associate artist Thomson and composer Alex Menzies will create a unique and inspiring audiovisual journey inspired by an undersea world. Interactive, kinetic sea creatures lurking in tanks, responsive underwater plants and light installations will animate and completely transform the southbound pedestrian walkway and cycle path of the Clyde Tunnel, accompanied by commissioned music from Menzies. Portal is made possible with the core support of Festival 2018, with thanks also to the generous support of, producers of collaborative robots for both industrial and commercial environments.

Event on Facebook Portal

portal and pivot

(Credit Robbie Thomson)


George Square will play host to giant, semi-intelligent talking seesaws for the Scottish premiere of Pivot. From the amazing Australian artists who brought the interactiveMegaphones to Glasgow for Sonica 2017, Madeleine Flynn & Tim Humphrey presentPivot. Equipped with built-in voice communicators with a mind of their own, the chattering apparatus will poke, probe, question and counsel audiences as they seesaw. Playful and joyful,Pivot helps everyone unleash their inner child whilst pondering the role of peaceful, shared dialogue in our modern world.

Pivot are presented as part of Festival 2018, the cultural programme that will run as part of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships taking place in August 2018.

Festival 2018 will deliver a programme of world-class arts and cultural activity during Glasgow 2018. George Square will be the beating heart of Festival 2018, with a host of free and exciting events for the whole family to enjoy.

Event on Facebook Pivot

Cryptic Portal 3_Credit Robbie Thomson

(Credit Robbie Thomson)


Cryptic are also delighted to present Visaurihelix by Louise Harris, an interactive, audiovisual installation based on the geometric forms and proportions that form a central part of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s architecture. Installed in the Mackintosh Tower at The Lighthouse,Visaurihelixis an ambitious work of three constituent parts: an audiovisual composition on continuous loop, spread across 6 speakers throughout the tower; the visual representation of that composition on a custom built, circular construction positioned at the base of the tower, and an interactive sonic element consisting of bowed and e-bowed piano strings connected between levels of the staircase.

Visaurihelix Event on Facebook

All three Cryptic events are free to attend and suitable for audiences of all ages.

Cathie Boyd, Cryptic’s Artistic Director, said:

‘I’m thrilled that Cryptic’s Sonica is back with a summer of extraordinary free art across Glasgow. Our two collaborations with Festival 2018 are interactive treats for all ages – people will be able to re-discover their inner child on the delightful intelligent see-saws of Pivotandsee the Clyde Tunnel transformed into an otherworldly spectacle in Portal, thanks to Glasgow artist Robbie Thomson. We could not have achieved the vision of Portal without the vital support from It is companies like Bots which make high quality, innovative arts projects happen and thanks to their generous backing of the project we can create an unforgettable show. A huge thank you to Tim Warrington and the team at Bots for helping to supply the robotic arm for the show. We also can’t wait to experience the premiere of sound and audiovisual artist Louise Harris’s Visaurihelix, which will turn one of Mackintosh’s iconic Glasgow buildings into a sonic sculpture.”

Listings Info


Thu 2 – Sun 12 August, 2018 // Clyde Tunnel

Free but ticketed. Booking opens Mon 28 May at

Suitable for all ages, fully wheelchair accessible


Wed 1 – Sun 12 August, 2018 // George Square

Free, non-ticketed

Suitable for all ages


Fri 5 July – January 2019 // Lighthouse

Free, non-ticketed

Suitable for all ages

(Images credit Robbie Thomson)


Part of Festival 2018, 2 – 12 August, 2018

Further details of Festival 2018

Cafe Flicker, Glasgow Open Screen for Indie Filmmakers
Govanhill International Festival and Carnival 2018

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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