Sonica Festival 2022
10 – 20 March 2022
Sonica Festival 2022 announces full programme for its tenth anniversary edition across Glasgow and beyond
One of the world’s largest celebrations of visual sonic art, Cryptic’s renowned biennial festival will showcase a groundbreaking international programme of 200 events by over 85 artists from 10 countries
Live highlights include composer and musician Alex Smoke live in Paisley Abbey, Gavin Bryars conducting the RSNO with live visuals from Alba G. Corral, Roly Porter and MFO collaborating with celebrated Gaelic singer Anne Martin, Argentina’s Jorge Crow exploring the legacy of the cassette in Kinemancia, a live played video game through doomed digital environs in InLAND, a double-bill from Ela Orleans and British-Rwandan sound artist Auclair, an interactive experiment in taste and sound in Unusual Ingredients and Maotik’s Erratic Weather turning live weather data into an onstage hurricane with cello accompaniment
Free installations include Sing the Gloaming, a series of sound sculptures in the beautiful Hidden Gardens, featuring some of Scotland’s most renowned vocalists, including Aidan Moffat, Emily Scott and Hanna Tuuliki; an invitation to explore an interactive digital garden in Maotik’s Bloom; Kathy Hinde’s re-imaging of Antoine Brumel’s ‘Earthquake’ Mass as a hymn to modern seismic shifts; Mellon Charles’s January King, a meditation of Scotland’s history and its possible destiny and Quebecois artist LP Rondeau inviting audiences to turn themselves into light and sound or an endless funhouse of collages in Lux æterna and Liminal (all installations running 10 – 20 March 2022)
Sonica Next Gen
Sonica’s Next Gen will showcase Scotland’s best young audiovisual artists under 25, including Samm Anga, Emily Brooks-Millar and Harry Gorski-Brown utilising everything from space race-inspired animation to Nigerian storytelling traditions
The full programme has been announced for Sonica 2022, as one of the world’s largest celebrations of visual sonic arts celebrates its tenth anniversary. Produced by Glasgow-based Cryptic, the festival will showcase 200 events, installations, screenings and talks by over 85 artists from 10 countries at venues across Glasgow and beyond from 10 – 20 March, with all installations free to attend. Sonica 2022 will shine a spotlight on contemporary French artists – look out for Maotik, Annabelle Playe, Collectif Coin, Guillaume Cousin and Virgile Abela whose work is presented throughout the festival – as well as welcoming artists and performers from Australia, Spain, Canada, Myanmar, Switzerland, and more, alongside showcasing the best in established and emerging Scottish talent.
Live highlights include:
Roly Porter and MFO opening the festival in awe-inspiring style with their audio-visual collaboration Kistvaen performed with the celebrated Gaelic singer from the Isle of Skye, Anne Martin. Porter’s music blurs the boundaries between field recording, folk instrumentation and digital sound processing, Marcel Weber’s scenography blends subliminal stage and lighting effects with cinematic imagery and Martin’s beautiful and percussively powerful vocals bring Gaelic ritual burial songs to life, forming a captivating performance from the trio that seeks to connect the deepest past with the near future. (10 & 11 March Tramway)
One of the most influential British composers working today, Gavin Bryars, will conduct in Scotland for the first time ever as he leads the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a spectacular and atmospheric performance featuring, in a world first, kaleidoscopic live visuals from prodigious female coder Alba G. Corral. For Sonica, Bryars conducts his own iconic Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet and the UK premiere of his Viola Concerto (A Hut in Toyama) with Morgan Goff on viola plus Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s melodic and bright If Bach had Been a Beekeeper. For this performance, seating will be absent from the Tramway main hall, allowing audiences to use the space more informally, reflecting Bryars’s freeform, improvisatory work. (12 March Tramway)
A chance to catch the rising star of Scottish hip-hop Solareye – aka SAMA-winning, Stanley Odd frontman Dave Hook – performing a new set of solo works, imagining a future Scotland recovering from a fictional disaster. With support from Becky Sikasa. (10 March The Glad Cafe)
Penelope Trappes performing all ten tracks from her otherworldly 2021 album Penelope Three in an ethereal new live show accompanied by Mother’s Blood, a surreal film on the theme of motherhood by Trappes and filmmaker Agnes Haus
A double-bill premiering musician Ela Orleans’ new audiovisual work L’Apparition, collaging hundreds of preparatory images made by Gustave Moreau for his 1874/6 painting depicting Salome and the first live performance of Giramata, the new EP from British-Rwandan sound artist Auclair, developed during her Cryptic residency at Cove Park, with additional music-reactive elements provided by Sonia Killmann. (Fri 11 March, Tramway).
Glasgow musician and composer Alex Smoke in a unique live concert at the beautiful Paisley Abbey. For Creation, Smoke draws on the Eastern musical tradition that a performance should respond to its own unique environment, circumstances and audience and has devised a new musical instrument: a third bridge zither, which generates harmonics and overtones when its strings are played. (Sat 12 March, Paisley Abbey)
A semi-improvised set from Scottish duo Failed System Test (Sonia Killmann and Aidan Lochrin) using coded visual projections which respond to and guide the musicians, in a double bill with Cucina Povera’s Maria Rossi (Finland/Luxembourg) making music from the overlooked and the under-heard, with visuals by Katie Shannon (Sat 12 March, Tramway)
A one-off performance from Brighton duo The Golden Filter (aka Penelope Trappes and Stephe Hindman), whose twisted Italo disco, new wave-influenced alt-pop and grubby mutant techno has seen them newly signed to Glasgow’s legendary Optimo Music. (Sat 12 March, The Rum Shack)
From France, Collectif Coin’s MA suspends a vast apparatus spider-like over the darkened stage, as powerful lights dance playfully and create stunningly intricate mathematical patterns. In a double bill with the UK premiere of Alex Augier (Paris) and Heather Lander (Glasgow)’s Recurrence, where propulsive live music melds with pseudo-holographic patterns (Thu 17 March, Tramway)
A cheeky reclamation of the TEDTalk format by Kaj Duncan David in his Lecture About Myself, which sees a fictive supercomputer deliver a treatise on artificial intelligence as Swiss-based electronic music duo ReConvert (Roberto Maqueda and Lorenzo Columbo) engage in a dramatic live percussive battle.
A special Sonica serving of Unusual Ingredients, food artist Caroline Hobkinson and composer Jacob Thomson-Bell’s quirky multi-sensory experiment which invites the audience to learn how varying musical frequencies can make the same food seem sweeter, spicier, even crunchier. The audience ‘tastes along’ with nine different vegan-friendly foods, including popping candy, Szechuan pepper and ginger, as they listen to nine newly composed soundscapes. (Fri 18 March, Tramway)
The European premiere of Myanmar multi-instrumentalist Pinky Htut Aung’s There’s No Prayer Like Desire, a lively, moving meditation inspired by pioneering sonic experiments, the movement of clouds and the notion that thought itself can have tangible presence with visuals by Heather Lander. (Fri 18 March, The Glad Cafe)
Littoral, the new collaboration between two powerhouse female experimental composers Kathy Hinde (UK) and Myriam Boucher (QC/CA), inspired by rising global climate and sea levels. In a double bill with Annabelle Playe’s Ad Astra II (‘to the stars’), a semi-improvised series of unnerving and electrifying musical performances inspired by vast cosmic events. (Fri 18 March, Tramway)
An international triple bill of Maotik’s Erratic Weather, processing live data from weather databases worldwide to generate a bespoke hurricane as cellist Maarten Vos improvises an accompanying live storm; Argentina’s Jorge Crowe with Kinemancia, a love letter to the tape cassette’s cultural legacy and surprising recent comeback and InLAND, a first-person game played live across a series of doomed digital environments, from haunted houses to ashen forests (Sat 19 March, Tramway)
Renowned live visual improviser and coder Alba G Corral with a world premiere as, for the first time ever, she accompanies herself – using preset algorithms and live coding to generate visuals that respond to the waves of warm sound she produces as her musical alter ego Namba. In a double bill with rising London talent Halina Rice, whose cutting-edge audiovisual project New Worlds combines ambient, new pop and beat-driven electronic dance music to create a mutant live event that is part art happening, part rave. Innovative visuals allow the audience to interact with projections via their phones, while a live-action avatar of the artist herself dives in and explores the unfolding digital world. (Sat 19 March, Tramway)
Closing Sonica 2022, Swiss-based duo ReConvert working with the simplest of elements – the striking of a bell, plain white lightbulbs- to reveal the vibrant near-limitless potential of even the most austere audiovisual apparatus. (Sun 20 March, Tramway)
For the first time ever, Sonica will be presenting Sonica Next Gen:, a unique showcase of the best young audiovisual artists in Scotland supported by PRS Foundation and PPL in association with Youth Music. In Space Race, Emily Brooks-Millar and Lew-C explore the prickly legacy of Yuri Gargarin’s triumph as the first man in space, through music and animation. Harry Gorski-Brown’s film I.Been a badboy:- cut me loose_ is inspired by Iain Banks’s The Wasp Factory and the notion of waste, real and metaphorical. And Heretik by Samm Anga draws on Nigerian storytelling traditions to suggest routes out of our increasingly dystopian present. All aged under 25, these visionary artists are the next generation of Sonica headliners. (10 – 20 March, The Lighthouse).
Alongside the festival’s live events is a citywide programme of large-scale installations running from 10 – 20 March, all free to attend. Highlights include:
Scenographer and lighting designer Guillaume Cousin’s gigantic 7m high installation Soudain Toujours, which sends light and smoke creeping through a wind tunnel uncannily free of turbulence. (10 – 20 March, CCA)
Robbie Thomson’s new multimedia installation End of Engines, a robotic sonic sculpture symbolising how our reliance on outmoded power sources and dependence on fossil fuels has led to our current environmental predicament. (10 – 20 Mar, CCA)
Maotik’s Bloom, interrogating how patterns in nature can be technologically reproduced and manipulated. Visitors are encouraged to move fingers and hands across touch-sensitive surfaces, generating abstract floral shapes and music that burst vividly across the screens creating a flowering, virtual garden. (10 – 20 Mar, CCA)
A former Harley Davidson shop by the M8 turned brand new art space will host Australian artist Hannan Jones’s New Horizons, investigating and reclaiming her personal history via a deconstructed car and a fractured rear-view mirror displaying videos of her real past and alternative histories (10 – 20 March, Civic Room at North Street/ Box Hub. )
Kathy Hinde’s new Earthquake Mass Re-imagined, a response to Antoine Brumel’s stunningly intricate work of choral music for twelve voices ‘Earthquake’ Mass (c.1497). Hinde travelled to Mexico, where she made recordings of twelve local musicians which she subsequently splintered and disintegrated for an installation that plays on both the title of the work and Mexico’s seismic instabilities. (10 – 20 March, The Pipe Factory)
Physics – and metaphysical poetry- in action with Virgile Abela’s deceptively simple Acoustic Pendulum, as a pendulum begins to swing in response to acoustic feedback, at first gently and ultimately in wide arcs or circles, forming an acoustic picture of the venue. (10 – 20 March, The Pipe Factory)
Past traditions, potential futures and a psychedelic present colliding in Mellon Charles’s January King, a meditation of Scotland’s history and its possible destiny. The members of Mellon Charles – Matt Zurowski, Elise Haller-Shannon and James Dixon – have travelled the country making field recordings and documenting local customs and present their findings in an ark-like space looking out on luridly coloured landscapes, where sheep-like beings make music that fuses the folkloric, the analogue and the futuristic. (10 – 20 March The Pipe Factory).
Frozen Music, from Montreal media artist and VJ Cadie Desbiens-Desmeules and composer/digital artist Michael Gary Dean, transforming the familiar shape of audio waveforms – music made visible – into vast three-dimensional shapes that twine and revolve, stately and vast, in this mesmerising installation. (10 – 20 March, The Lighthouse)
A world premiere for Louis-Philippe Rondeau (Quebec)’s new interactive artwork, Lux æterna. Audiences are invited to step into a tunnel of light and fog, with every movement they make creating a beautiful shadow play and altering the music itself, transforming their very bodies into light and sound. (10 – 20 Mar The Lighthouse). At Tramway, Rondeau’s playfully interactive Liminal investigates transformation, mutation and portals into the unknown as participants step back and forth through a hooped scanner to generate moving funhouse collages that stretch and distort their own image, streaming and fading out in an unending chain. (10 – 20 March, Tramway)
There Is No Point of No Return, a new work from Australian artists Madeleine Flynn & Tim Humphrey commissioned by the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Ethics. Using technologies from the 1970s to the present – from classic analogue synthesisers to the latest in artificial intelligence – the thought-provoking work investigates how our physical actions and movements generate ‘second bodies’ – virtual selves, quantities of data that can be monitored and harnessed, environmental impacts and asks what these shadow selves amount to, and what world(s) they might be building. (10 – 20 March, The Lighthouse)
Vietnamese artist Linh Ha collaborating with Scotland’s Heather Lander in Silhouette / Hình Bóng, as a mysterious circular motif surrounded by fluxing and flaring light is accompanied by a whispering and clicking, slithering and soaring soundscape. (10 – 20 March Tramway)
A collection of new work created for Sonic Bites, launched by Cryptic in the height of the pandemic in 2020. The sensory series of audiovisual appetisers were presented fortnightly online for 24 hours each, with an aim to invigorate and inspire, providing an escape from emails and online meetings. 40 artists presented work specifically for screen , including Diane Edwards, Lucian Fletcher, Sonia Killmann, MIRRY, Hammy Sgith and Marianna Wilson. (10 – 20 March, Tramway)
Sing The Gloaming, a series of sound sculptures placed around the beautiful Hidden Gardens features new pieces sung by some of Scotland’s most renowned vocalists, including Aidan Moffat, Emily Scott and Hanna Tuuliki and is inspired by research that has shown that our ‘light words’ – words like ‘glimmer’, ‘gleam’, ‘gloaming’ – all derive from a single wordform some five thousand years old. (10 – 20 March, The Hidden Gardens @ Tramway)
Oscar van Heek’s video and photography of controlled explosions of World War I ammunition – which is still being dug up and detonated safely a century later, in what is termed an ‘Iron Harvest’- recalling not just the Great War, but other wars fought since and still ongoing, the lethal legacy of former and current battlefields. (10 – 20 March, The Deep End)
France’s Collectif Coin asking us to question what Ataraxie (or ‘piece of mind’) could mean in a changed and still changing post-pandemic world. A room full of red beamed lasers builds up to complex, tesseract-like structures in an investigation of the void of the unknown and asks us whether we might fill it with the comforting and familiar, or find fresh ways to live. (10 – 20 March, The Engine Works)
Cathie Boyd, Cryptic’s Artistic Director, said:
“This year, Sonica celebrates its tenth anniversary, having presented 330 artists at 980 events to audiences of more than 180,000. Now more than ever, audiences are looking to have all their senses ravished and Cryptic couldn’t be more excited to be one of the first big festivals happening in Scotland in 2022, welcoming people back through the doors of 11 venues across Glasgow and beyond.”
For this edition, they shine a spotlight on contemporary French artists, – look out for Maotik, Annabelle Playe, Collectif Coin, Guillaume Cousin and Virgile Abela whose work is presented throughout the festival.
“In true Sonica style, they continue to support homegrown talent alongside international artists from 10 countries. In partnership with The Anglo Mexican Foundation & Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) commissioned by Cryptic – proud to present the premiere of Earthquake Mass Reimagined by Kathy Hinde. Inspired by Brumel’s 16th century mass, Hinde creates a choral sonic installation at one of our their venue partners this year, The Pipe Factory in Glasgow’s East End – not to be missed.
Other Cryptic commissions include performances by musicians Ela Orleans at Tramway and Alex Smoke at Paisley Abbey, plus a kinetic installation by visual artist, Robbie Thomson at CCA.
Sonica is thrilled to be back at Tramway with large-scale live performances as well as installations throughout the building and outside in the Hidden Gardens. The Lighthouse will open for the duration of the festival where you can see the beautiful immersive work, Frozen Music.
Sonica would not be possible without the generous support of much-needed funding partners, venues, embassies, trusts and foundations. A massive thank you to Creative Scotland, PRS Foundation, Glasgow Life, Institut Français d’Écosse, Anglo Arts, Tramway, The Lighthouse, CCA, and the many organisations and individuals who have helped make this event possible.
You will find Sonica Glasgow 2022 both inspiring and memorable and please share your experiences of the festival using #SonicaGlasgow on your social media channels.”
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