More artists, speakers and commissioned works announced for Sonic Acts Academy 2020

Published on Dec 11, 2019

Sonic Acts is excited to now reveal the second wave of artists, thinkers and commissioned works for Sonic Acts Academy 2020. Taking place in Amsterdam from 21 to 23 February 2020, the Academy transforms the spaces of partnering institutions – Paradiso, De Brakke Grond, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and OT301 – into a thought-provoking live showcase of various engaged art forms. Academy 2020 lifts the curtain to reveal current artistic reflections on the impact of planetary transformations caused by humans, with three days of experimental concerts, club nights and live cinema, alongside a two-day conference. 

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.

Last chance: Early Bird festival passes are still available for €60 (regular festival pass €70) until 31 December 2019 via the Tickets page.

The latest artists and thinkers to be announced are:

    • Holly Herndon
    • AYA
    • bod [包家巷] + Schwestern Sisters (SwS)
    • Bookworms
    • Marjolijn Dijkman
    • Anja Kanngieser
    • Lag OS
    • Lukáš Likavčan
    • Meuko! Meuko!
    • RUI HO
    • S280F / 011668 / vvxxii
    • Tadleeh
    • Via App

Look out for more names to be announced in the new year.

Second Sonic Acts Academy 2020 artists and thinkers: In review

An evening of expanded audiovisual performances at Paradiso includes, among others, Holly Herndon, an artist who has redrawn the map of laptop music. Herndon brings her immersive live show PROTO to Sonic Acts Academy 2020, featuring fellow musicians and programmers as well as a choral ensemble regurgitated by an AI baby’ whose input strangely adds humanity to Herndon’s most human arrangement yet. The same evening stages a live audiovisual performance by musician AYA (fka LOFT), whose early education in drum and bass, dub and 00s pop divas infects their layered tweaks on recent EP and departt from mono games (2019).

At the Academy’s two-day conference at De Brakke Grond, Sonic Acts welcomes architects Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, who co-founded DESIGN EARTH to engage with geography in addressing humanity’s relationship to the Earth through architecture. And theorist Lukáš Likavčan, who explores imaginations of Earth from the impersonal, totalising view to one in which humans are environmental accidents at home anywhere. He finds resonance in a line from Holly Herndon’s Extreme Love (2019): We are completely outside ourselves, and the world is completely inside us.’

Interdisciplinary artist Marjolijn Dijkmans interpolation of scientific content has gripped many visitors of her numerous exhibitions. At Sonic Acts, her lecture features clips from her 2018 film Reclaiming Vision, addressing humanity’s cold objectivity. Filmed through a light microscope, the cast of microorganisms respond to the familiar change in seasons and the more existential change in climate. For political geographer and sound artist Anja Kanngieser, sound is the sense mechanism that drives their work. As an academic, their work creatively amplifies social justice claims around politics and climate change.

Earning the description FREAK TECHNO’, Via App performs at the Academy’s Friday night programme at OT301, carving a cassette-sized hole in the world with their minimalist, industrial, FX processor-heavy, semi-modular synthesizing stories. The same night features a performance by Bookworms who, after his trippy LP Xenophobe (2016, L.I.E.S), took a more literal trip with Appropriation Loops (2017), tracking, for instance, Motown through Kraftwerk’s mechanics back into Detroit techno.

The Academy’s Saturday night programme at Paradiso takes shelter under the umbrella of Progress Bar, with a programme of defiant live performances and DJ sets by, among others, RUI HO, Tadleeh, and Vancouver-based producer and vocalist DEBBY FRIDAY, who empowers with the sound of violence. True of both her first EP BITCHPUNK (2018) and the tip-to-tail artist-made DEATH DRIVE (2019, Deathbomb Arc), FRIDAY probes Freud with drill, punk and techstep. In music self-described as thunder’ the artist adds nuance to the false stigma of female queer black aggression. 

The night also features a number of audiovisual performances by the likes of Meuko! Meuko!, who inherits her irregular energy from Taipei’s muggy streets, and Los Angeles-based duo S280F and 011668 (fka Echavox), who will be joined at Sonic Acts by the equally amorphous vvxxii. Together with Schwestern Sisters (SwS), motivational speaker and electronic sculptor bod [包家巷] (Nicholas Zhu) presents game demonstration and audio-visual performance What If We Made A Video Game And It Was Like Dark Souls And All The Characters Were Artists (WIWMAVGAIWLDSAATCWA), a co-commissioned by Sonic Acts and KONTEJNER

Finally, Rubén Patiño (Lag OS) delivers the première of soundwalk Drassland Stretch, flouting the limits of concert, public event and installation. A member of the Fluxus techno/​military space music’ unit N.M.O., the Amsterdam-based artist makes time-based work with sound, light, video and more. 

Discover the previously announced artists and thinkers here.

Holly Herndon. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Design Earth by Tom Gearty
DESIGN EARTH. Photo by Tom Gearty.
Bod [包家巷] featuring Schwestern Sister Sw S group photo by Sanjin Kastelan
bod [包家巷] and Schwestern Sisters (SwS). Photo by Sanjin Kastelan.
bod [包家巷] by Sanjin Kastelan.
bod [包家巷]. Photo by Sanjin Kastelan.
DEBBY FRIDAY by Alistair Henning
DEBBY FRIDAY. Photo by Alistair Henning.
Via App by Richard R Ross
Via App. Photo by Richard R Ross.
011668 / S280F. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Meuko by nowhereashes 2
Meuko! Meuko! Photo by nowhereashes.
Meuko! Meuko! Photo by chunliiwang.