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Sonica: pushing the boundaries of art and sound

Sonica is a year-round programme of events dedicated to world-class visual sonic arts, punctuated by a biennial autumn festival in Glasgow. Since its conception in 2012, Sonica has presented more than 400 events, including performances, installations, exhibitions and screenings by over 180 artists from six continents, reaching over 50,000 people.

We talked to the festival's Artistic Director, Cathie Boyd, to find out more about this year's programme. Sonica is produced by Cryptic, which is one of Creative Scotland's Regularly Funded Organisations 2015-18.

For newcomers to the festival, how would you describe Sonica?

Sonica is a biannual festival that celebrates sound and visuals coming together - so think music which is strongly visual and visual art which is sound-based. The important aspect is that it must look and sound fantastic!

The programme for Sonica this year is very broad - we have family-friendly free events in Kelvingrove Park, a meteorite making music at the Glasgow Science Centre and the world premiere of Michael Begg's new piece Titan: A Crane Is A Bridge which takes audience 150 foot up to the wheelhouse of Glasgow's iconic structure.

There are some daring and bold events this year, such as underwater performance. How do you go about programming something like that?

Cryptic (Sonica's producers) have always had a passion for art that pushes the boundaries whilst exploring cutting-edge technology.  Denmark’s Between Music have designed underwater instruments such as a carbon violin for Aquasonic and spent nine years making this outstanding work which included deep sea diving training. Health and safety are all taken care of by Nick Millar, Sonica’s wonderful production manager and the Cryptic team.

What are you excited about in the programme this year?

The triple bill AV evening at Tramway (with works from France, Quebec and the Netherlands) is our closing performance on 4th November and is superb - once seen never forgotten!

Archifon IV, which we have commissioned from the Czech Republic  for the University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel is sonic mapping like you have never seen before, turning the venue into one big interactive video game with audiences armed with laser pointers. Collisions is an amazing Australian VR work at CCA which takes us across the desert with music by Nick Cave and Max Richter.

What are you hoping the audience will take away from this year’s festival?

Inspiring, memorable works which also showcase unusual venues across the city from;shop windows in the St Enoch Centre to the Hamilton Mausoleum in South Lanarkshire. Sonica is for everyone, and we should be proud of our highly talented Scottish artists who showcase new work across the festival.

Sonica takes place in Glasgow until 5 November. Find out more information at sonic-a.co.uk/.

This article was published on 01 Nov 2017