Opening Sonic Acts Festival 2015 - The Geologic Imagination
26 Feb 2015

The grand opening of the Sonic Acts Festival 2015 at the Stedelijk Museum. 

Various spaces in the museum (see program below)
7 - 10 pm
€17,50 / €10* / MJK €2,50 *Discount price is valid for students, CJP, 65+ and Amsterdam Stadspas.

Presale opening Sonic Acts Festival via www.ticketmaster.nl/event/141773. Please buy your ticket in advance to make sure you have a valid reservation. 

The Stedelijk Museum and Sonic Acts are very proud to present the festive opening night of the Sonic Acts Festival 2015. Expect to have your senses derailed with an exploration of the real and the synthetic. Highlights of the program include a monumental multi-sensory performance by Florian Hecker, a lecture by Reza Negarestani, a captivating new installation by Kurt Hentschläger, as well as dazzling and enchanting live sets by Gert-Jan Prins and Bas van Koolwijk, Espen Sommer Eide, and part wild horses mane on both sides.

General introduction to the festival theme

Inspired by geosciences, the Sonic Acts Festival 2015 zooms in on planet Earth. Fundamental to The Geologic Imagination is the thesis that we live in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Human activity has irreversibly changed the composition of the atmosphere, the oceans, and even the Earth’s crust. Humanity has become a geological force. Consequently, the perspective has shifted from the human at the center of the world to the forces acting on timescales beyond the conceivable. These ideas challenge us to rethink our attachments to the world, and our concepts of nature, culture, and ecology. The way we see the world, understand the systems and processes of nature, and our intentions and interactions with the planet are central to The Geologic Imagination. This festival examines how art and science map and document new insights, and how the changes and transformations that occur on a geological scale can become something humans can feel, touch, and experience. Sonic Acts invites artists and theorists to reflect on these transformations and make them imaginable.

More info: http://www.sonicacts.com/

performance by Florian Hecker: A Script for Machine Synthesis

Location: Teijin Auditorium
Time: 7:30 – 8:20 p.m. and 9:00 – 9:50 p.m.

Florian Hecker’s performance A Script for Machine Synthesis is a sound piece, an experimental drama, and a model of abstraction that recalls Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty as much as Beckett’s minimalist narratives and neo-imagist poetry. It is the climactic third chapter in the trilogy of text-sound pieces that Hecker created with the writer-philosopher Reza Negarestani (after Chimerization, dOCUMENTA13 and Hinge, Lumiar Cité, Lisbon; both 2012), who is also speaking during the opening of the Sonic Acts Festival 2015 at the Stedelijk. The suggestive encounter with a pink ice cube is a conceptual point of departure for a scene in which linguistic chimeras of descriptions of smell and sound are materialized through synthetic trophies, auditory objects, and theatrical props. Devoid of human actors, A Script for Machine Synthesis is an experiment in putting synthetic emptiness back into synthetic thought, featuring the voice of Charlotte Rampling; a perfume created by Frédéric Malle - Editions de Parfums and Carlos Benaïm; IFF, a synthetic voice designed by Rob Clark and the Centre for Speech Research Technology, University of Edinburgh; a CAL 64 Column Array Loudspeaker System by Meyer Sound; and a synthetic paper booklet designed by NORM, Zurich.

Florian Hecker (DE) is an electronic music composer whose compositions tend towards noise music. Major exhibitions and performances include those at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, as part of Performa 13, and at dOCUMENTA13. He has an extensive discography with over 25 releases, many of them on Editions Mego.

Additional performances of A Script for Machine Synthesis will be staged on Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at 4:00 p.m., also at the Stedelijk.

Lecture by Reza Negarestani: Geophilosophy after the Copernican Abstract Machine

Location: Entrance hall
Time: 8:30 – 9:15 p.m.

In his presentation Reza Negarestani attempts to identify and underline the tacit dimension of the Copernican Revolution and its ongoing reverberations in science and philosophy. He proposes that a sufficient abstraction of what Copernicus counts as reorganizing the Earth in the universe can indeed be realized and used as a designated protocol of abstraction whereby thought attains the ability to make a difference in the world by making irreversible differences in itself. This Copernican abstract machine paves the way for a philosophy of the Earth that is more concerned with reclaiming the reality that at once supports and overthrows its terrestrial constitution than being true to the Earth.

Reza Negarestani (IR) is a philosopher and writer associated with the philosophical movement of speculative realism and known for pioneering the genre of “theory-fiction” with his book Cyclonopedia (2008).


Performance by Bas van Koolwijk & Gert-Jan Prins: Delay Line Memory

Location: Room 1.32
Time: 7:30 – 8:00 p.m. and 8:45 – 9:15 p.m.

A brand new live set in which the visualization of the “delay line memory” of audio data interacts with improvisations on drums (Gert-Jan Prins) and digital electronics. The result is an audio-visual storm of rhythmical patterns, interference, and noise.

Gert-Jan Prins (NL) focuses on the sonic and musical qualities of electronic noise and investigates its relationship with the visual. His work includes live performances, sound installations, compositions, electronic circuits, and collaborations with composers, musicians, and visual artists.

Bas van Koolwijk’s (NL) work can be seen as an aggressive attack on the illusion of video itself. He uses self-made software and hardware applications in live performances, installations, and video compositions.

Performance by Espen Sommer Eide: A Tuned Chord is like a Scientific Instrument Probing the Universe

Location: Room 0.1
Time: 8:00 – 8:30 p.m. and 9:15 – 9:45 p.m.

For his performance at the Stedelijk, Espen Sommer Eide taps into his collection of musical tuning systems, both new and old, from the eerie Norwegian “troll tuning” for the Hardanger fiddle to relaxing Pythagorean pure mathematical intervals. He constructs his own instruments – hybrids between acoustic and electronic – for the purpose of tuning into and out of the present time and place.

Espen Sommer Eide (NO) is a musician and artist from Tromsø. He is a prominent representative of experimental electronic music from Norway, with a string of releases on the label Rune Grammofon. Sommer Eide has also produced a series of site-specific pieces and artworks.

part wild horses mane on both sides – live set

Location: Room 1.28
Time: 8:15 – 8:45 p.m. and 9:15 – 9:45 p.m.

 In this live set, part wild horses mane on both sides induce hermetic sonic states through ritualistic improvisation. Using flute, percussion, and electronics and a vast cache of sonic artefacts they conjure up a bold and evocative ancient/modern sound spectrum. Their performances veer from moments of sparse, poetic beauty to unhinged rural psychedelia, unified by an acute awareness of time, space, and silence.

part wild horses mane on both sides (UK) is Kelly Jayne Jones and Pascal Nichols, an idiosyncratic duo who defy experiential boundaries in installation and performance.

Kurt Hentschläger: Measure

Location: Cinema room
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Kurt Hentschläger’s Measure (2014) is a panoramic audiovisual installation that reflects on the concept of nature in the 21st century. As our experience of nature is filtered through digital communication channels, the boundaries between mediated and physical experience start to blur. The trance-like sequences of Measure move freely between natural and artificial forms, such as the lengthening of shadows, the passing of clouds, and ever-expanding grids. The work feels both organic and artificial. Hentschläger’s work probes the questions of whether “nature” and the concept of an “original” still exist.

Kurt Hentschläger (AT) creates audiovisual installations and performances. Between 1992 and 2003 he worked within the artist duo Granular Synthesis. Hentschläger’s work is characteristically visceral and immersive, as in ZEE and FEED, with extreme perceptual effects, composed from light, sound, and fog. Hentschläger’s most recent, emerging body of work centers on how we perceive nature in the 21st century.

Measure will be shown every day from February 26 until March 1.