The thirteenth Sonic Acts Festival in Amsterdam is entirely dedicated to the exploration of space in performative and audiovisual art, film, music and architecture. Sonic Acts XIII - The Poetics of Space examines the importance of physical space in times of far-reaching technological developments, and the physical and psychological impact of spatial designs.
Researching spatiality in the arts forms the core of the festival. How is space defined by a work of art? What does a viewer or listener experience? How do technological artworks deal with the visual, auditory and psychological aspects of spatiality? How has the relationship between technology, space and architecture developed over the past few centuries? How have technological developments influenced our perception and representation of space, and how do we relate to the space that surrounds us?
The programme comprises an overview of recent works and experiments - spatial audio compositions and audiovisual installations - and includes relevant historical examples and utopian ideals and dreams of the 20th century.
NIMk houses the main Sonic Acts exhibition comprising spatial audiovisual and interactive installations, classic video art, light sculptures and sound works that explore different ways of experiencing space.
Hans Christian Gilje
HC Gilje’s Blink investigates how audiovisual techniques and light can transform, enlarge, enhance and interpret physical spaces. HC Gilje (NO) creates installations, live performances and videos. He was also a member of the videoimprov trio 242.pilots.
Labyrinthitis relies on a principle that when two frequencies of a certain ratio are played into the ear, additional vibrations generated in the inner ear, so-called ‘distortion product otoacoustic emission’ or ‘Tartini tone’, will produce a third frequency. Jacob Kirkegaard’s (DK) work focuses on the scientific and aesthetic aspects of resonance, time, sound and hearing. His installations, compositions and performances deal with acoustic spaces and phenomena that usually remain imperceptible. Kirkegaard uses unorthodox recording devices to capture and contextualize hitherto unheard sounds from within a variety of environments: a geyser, a sand dune, a nuclear power plant, an empty room, and even sounds from the human inner ear itself.
Rechnender Raum (2009)
Rechnender Raum is a light-emitting geometrical sculpture made of sticks, wires and small pieces of lead that is simultaneously a fully functioning neural network. The functioning of the machine is completely transparent, but it carries out its computations only for itself, concealing the results. Ralf Baecker (DE) builds kinetic installations and sculptures that deconstruct the fundamentals of symbolic processes.
Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag
GAMMAvert #2 an X-seascape (1998–2006)
A photograph of a seascape, developed using uranium nitrate, a substance that emits gamma waves. The room is flooded with standing waves and a monochrome green glow, formed by a single light frequency, an allusion to the famous ‘green ray’ described by Jules Verne: a flash of green light that, on rare occasions, appears on the ocean horizon at sunset. Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag (DE) has an academic background in instrumental music, fine art, art history (new media), music theory, composition, philosophy and cognitive science. He has mostly focused on site-specific installations based on sound and biomass but also specifically on monochrome gas discharge light.
The Light that Generates Space (2010)
A sculptural light installation made of optic fibres that takes over the space and passes through walls, combining the external and internal environments in a single mental drawing, creating a place where light generates space. Carlo Bernardini is an Italian artist who makes abstract light installations using, among others, optical fibres and electro-luminescent materials.
Light Work #6: In Soil (2009)
Light Work #6: In Soil is an installation inspired by the life of cicadas. Cicadas are known for their transparent wings and high pitched buzzing, they live underground as nymphs for most of their lives, feeding on root juice and using their strong front legs for digging. One summer day, the nymphs emerge from the soil and climb up a branch to metamorphosize. Yoko Seyama (JP) is a scenographer and media artist. She concentrates on scenography for time-based art and combines digital materials (video/photo) with real materials (fabrics/paper/elastics), processing these into spatial installations.
Impressions (1978, 10’24’’)
A long, narrow streak of light falls across the screen, a hand plays through it. Now the volume of the hand breaks the light, then again the light remains intact. The spot of light becomes an object that can be lengthened by means of the index finger. It is almost as if the finger is drawing a ray of light. Nan Hoover (US 1931–2008) started experimenting with video as an extension of her painting practice and as a documentary medium in 1973. Her videos often explore a visual ambiguity between the body and the landscape, or between abstract and ‘natural’ forms.
Somersault (1982, 5’30’’)
Somersault is an exercise in the phenomenology of vision and the redefinition of space. Steina Vasulka uses mechanized devices to generate an artificial vision that alters the viewers’ perceptions and spatial perspectives. Steina Vasulka’s (IS/US) video works are considered landmarks in video art. The pieces often treat the video signal as a plastic medium, and rework the space of the video image in ways that alter the viewer’s optical perception of the image, confounding the ability to distinguish between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space.