Archive for the ‘SONAR’ Category


To quote another artist exhibiting at Sonar, ‘I hate crowds, but I’ve never hated a crowd this big.’ SonarMatica (the multimedia exhibition inside Sonar Complex) turned out to be a nice place to escape from the relentless chaos and irreparable ear damage. Be warned, there is nothing in this blog about music and only very partial coverage of one multimedia exhibition. I managed to miss SonarCinema, Sonarama and Arte Digital A La Carta, having spent all my time in the dark vault where Sonarmatica took place nursing my piece.


The theme at Sonarmatica this year is future-past cinema. Beautiful pieces of pre-cinematic technology are resurrected and displayed side by side with some very slick new media art. This really brings an interesting historical perspective to the exhibition. I think it’s a good idea to be humbled by the old timers now and then. For example, Alvaro Cassinelli’s ‘Boxed Ego’ which exploits stereoscopic lenses faces a large 18th century stereoscope. Two centuries can be traversed by a few steps. ‘Boxed Ego’ invites the audience to peer into a box to see a tiny three dimensional video of him/her self in the act of peeping. The video is deliberately delayed which creates an interesting awareness of time. The theme of self-voyeurism is unsurprisingly very popular with the festival goers.


Marnix de Nijs’s “The Beijing Accelerator” is quite an experience. A joy stick is used to synchronize the movement of the chair with the movement of the city scape on screen. Giddy, disorienting and fun, it’s tempting to ignore what the artist intends and just spin as fast as possible while trying not to fall off.


Stage Fright” uses the simple mechanism of a swing to make a simple narrative unfold. The participant must swing as high as possible in order to see what happens next. The project is developed at the Medialab-Prado during the Interativos workshop with a team of awesome collaborators. I especially want to thank Valeria Marraco, Sytse Wierenga and Emanuel Andel for creating the video.

One of my favorite pieces at SonarMatica is Julien Maire’s performance “DemiPas”. It features a converted projector that uses slides which are intricate little machines in themselves. The complicated mechanical movement of the ‘slides’ animate different scenes and push the story forward. It was whimsical and moving, I strongly recommend seeing it. It worked nicely with Takashi Kawashima’s shadow puppetry performance “Takashi’s Seasons” which mixes the traditional and the new.

Other cool pieces…

FLIPBOOK! – Juan Carlos Ospina Gonzalez / Fabrica

Andy Cameron, Oriol Ferrer Mesià, David McDougall, Joel Gethin Lewis, Hansi Raber – FABRICA – We Are The Time. We Are The Famous

Julian Oliver – levelHead
Paola Guimerans, Horacio González e Igor González – Biophionitos

A zoetrope!

sonar the art experience, delicate boundaries

chris sugrue (us)
delicate boundaries

delicate boundaries 1delicate boundaries 2

actually i really enjoyed this installation, maybe it was the still little child in me that likes to roam around in backyards, pick up worms and try to get them moving on my arms.
in this installation you can have this feeling in a clean digital way, if you touch the screen the litle creatures are starting to cross the border of the screen and crawl along your hands…so cute!

sonar the art experience: le zidane

official still

douglas gordon and philippe parrenos portrait of zinedine zidane left me with a profound impression.
the film has a length of 90 minutes and shows the football player, keeps close focus on him during the match of real madrid contra villa-real on april 23rd 2005. only very short wide shots of the stadium, the field and halls, and parts of the television emission interrupt the camera close-ups on zidanes feet and face.
this shift from the usual football match perception of the whole team as a unit and the ball as center point of attention towards the close-up observation of a single person acting and reacting to the happenings on the field has tremendous impact.
what at first seems like a steady close-up, including surprisingly clear sound from the field and clearly audible zidane, later develops into more and more layers of perception.
we see zidane not only playing the ball, after a while we notice that he remains highly concentrated, but then you can almost see his thoughts shifting as the attention level drops because theres nothing going on close by, or him getting very agressive due to a failed pass. and suddenly he also seems nervous, although he remains quite serious throughout the match.
through slowly noticed changes in the soundscape (main contributor to the soundtrack are british soundscaperock artists mogwai) or the minimally set subtitles gordon and parreno add even more layers to the portrait. suddenly the inner eye sees zidane as a boy playing backyard football, or we hear his reflections on the character of being a pro football player on the huge field with this humongous crowd.
for me this film can not merely be called a simple portrait, it is a carefully assembled composition of impressions, sounds and feelings, more reluctant that a conventional desription of a famous person but poetic in its narrative and developing unusual perspectives on zidane and football. maybe for this the addition: a portrait of the 21st century. a very poetic one.

watch a small portion of the film:

sonar the art experience

by ka and axolotl

even though sonar is mostly known for the electronic music part we are arty eneugh to almost skip the music part and go straight on to the multimedia section. clearly for our coverage we will focus on that “mostly” secret part of the festival!
the multimedia section was split into: sonarmatica, sonarama, sonarcinema, sonarextra and sonar a la carte.( wow what fantastic creativity of name creations) sonarmatica the multimedia exhibition features the topic magic. sonarama takes place in the casm (centro de arte santa monica) and shows high level multimedia live performances. sonarcinema: the name stands for itselfs and finally sonarextra presents external exhibitions.

now with the experience of all the different components of the festival, its quite clear that the day part is the much more sophisticated one. of course the nightly sessions have amazing names to offer, but the huge number of people and the humongous size of the stages (four) provokes nightmare-like impressions. you feel quite anonymous, lost and like a walking wallet. furthermore, to top the size of the halls they put an autodrom into the fetival area! no joke!

sonar autodrom

but suprisingly the day program is challenging, acts like khan of finland, planningtorock, fm3 featuring blixa bargeld (video) and even the buddha machine startled us. their unusual performances were presenting more than performing only music but going into various levels of performance art.
in the following articels we will present some single artworks to give you an overview of what the festival had to present.


first step :-|
by axolotl and ka

the poster
it was quite easy to be reminded to organize everything in time because of huge smiley posters all over town.
the smiley symbol seems to be the main merchandising source this year. we have a number of different theories about the use of this icon. for one it is a trademark and we were wondering if there is a connection involving loads of money. also it was widely used as a symbol for the 80ies acid house movement. an this brings us directly to the last reason: (as you might remember) there were a huge amount of xtc pills that had exactly this symbol engraved 8-)
also we had to discover that now this festival is as far from underground as vienna is from the sea.
not that it is only the fault of sonar, as we had a big phantasy of this cool festival that it can surely not fit. and partly because, well, only one phrase: SELL OUT! :(
almost immediately after the “your payment was recieved” mail the follow-up message told us about the wonderful world of SONAR merchandising this year. the flagship item is the somewhat boboesque adidas-SONAR-vinyl bag “free” for acreditation holders (of which finally we are proud owners) yupiiieeee.
tha bag baywatch sonar
and in good old bobo attitude the guy next to us (of course he was viennese) stated that the vinyl bag really is quite small (we estimate a maximum of 8 discs fit into the bag – good for minimal techno or style but bad for turntabelists)
we found out that the sum of 3500€ buys you a place in the bag for your own commercial insert. the bag exists in a limited edition of 4000 pieces. that’s nearly 1 euro per bag, man *:D
as you can see from the picture, they could’ve spent more thoughts or money on the design.
bag content
for the notes, check out the flickr site

after our first contact with the festival (so far we only picked up our bags) we as members officially tag the smiley logo as “not be used again in the next ten years”. we are quite pessimistic concerning the future of our sms conversations.

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

as an endless number of smileys pass by, the capitalist character of the festival becomes more and more evident.
with the price of almost 50€ per night for entering (if you buy single tickets), we were wondering how expensive drinks will be on the inside. so we are already making plans how to smuggle in huge amounts of beer, but no worry, we have our super special SONAR bags and are allowed using the super special “accreditations only” entrance. :)
%*[] (as you might not know this particular one stands for “super toasted”)

these are our first impressions. more when we report from the inside tomorrow when the festival actually begins.

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