5 Highlights from the Sonica Glasgow 2019 programme

Glasgow's festival of visual sonic arts returns with new work from Alex Smoke, Robbie Thomson and Ela Orleans among others

Article by Jamie Dunn | 29 May 2019
  • Ela Orleans

Sonica Glasgow, Cryptic’s celebrated festival of visual sonic arts, returns for this Autumn for its fifth edition, with a programme of 180 events taking place at venues across the city. Artists from Argentina, Belgium, Catalonia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Québec, Slovenia and Sweden will descend on Glasgow along with plenty of local talent to present boundary-pushing work that straddles both music and contemporary art.

The festival kicks off with immersive audiovisual work Aether from Max Cooper, which will see Tramway festooned with a lattice of pulsing and glimmering threads with moving points of light. Audiences will be able to move below the installation, which will we're told will form "a glowing, constantly shifting three-dimensional matrix that responds in real time to Cooper’s signature electronic sounds which build to a thrilling crescendo."

Another highlight is sure to be Furniture Music from Japanese sound artist, designer and electronic musician Yuri Suzuki. We're told this new solo exhibition explores definitions of sound design in contemporary culture and sees Suzuki attempt to re-design the domestic soundscape and create sounds the "help enhance harmony and comfort within one’s surrounding environment." Expect everything from singing kettles to musical washing machines.

We also love the sound of Night Voyager from Ela Orleans. This new audiovisual composition, making its world premiere at Sonica, sees the Glasgow-based musician mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landings. Orleans' duel inspiration for the piece is a forgotten work by 18th-century poet Edward Young and NASA’s massive 1969 archive, to which Orleans received open and unlimited access.

Another world premiere comes in the form of Primordial Waters, a collaboration between artists Heather Lander and Alex Smoke. Using wind, water and reflection to evoke thoughts of the beginnings of life and the pull and push of the tides, we're told the piece will envelop audiences with ethereal sounds, mists and projection.

We're also looking forward to Sonica fave Robbie Thomson returning this year with Rottinghuis, his new collaborative audiovisual performance with Glasgow-based artist Sue Zuki (aka Alicia Matthews). We're told the live show takes its inspiration from research into hauntology and psycho-physical online habits, and incorporates fragments collected from online message boards. Expect disjointed conversations, casual threats of violence and dark humour injected into 3D visualisations.

These are just a few of our highlights from the packed programme, which as well as installations and live performances includes talks, tours and workshops. For the full programme, head to sonic-a.co.uk

Tickets for Aether on Sonica's opening night go on sale 10.30am on 29 May at Tramway: 0845 330 3501 / www.tramway.org

Sonica Glasgow, 31 Oct-10 Nov, various venues