Turner nominees, cellists, opera and more: Sonica opens in Glasgow

By Ben Miller | 12 November 2012
A photo of the silhouetted back of a man looking at an installation of green light
The Robin Fox Laser Show heads to The Glue Factory as part of the inaugural Sonica festival in Glasgow© Lasse Marhaug
Festival Preview: Sonica 2012, various venues, Glasgow, until November 18 2012

With a city full of cutting edge venues and a list of native artists headed by the brilliant Turner Prize nominee Luke Fowler, Glasgow is a place well positioned to welcome a ten-day festival billed as a “sonic arts extravaganza”.

Among the impressive list of new commissions for the first edition of Sonica, there’s Remember Me, a multi-media opera by Claudia Molitor which is staged in a desk and based on the contents of her grandmother’s old cabinet, held in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Scotland Street School Museum.

At Tramway, Sven Werner and Robbie Thomson have collaborated for Ecstatic Arc, a machine-powered theatrical installation making use of found materials and recording devices. Werner then creates a series of miniature peepshows, turning the experience into an individual one in Tales of Magical Realism – Part 2.

And Tramway is the place to catch another operatic twist. Bluebeard, which has its UK premiere here, is a multi-media visualisation of the form, visualised by the Netherlands-based 33 1/3 collective.

In fact, there are a few premieres across the festival. Mookyoung Shin’s Our Contemporaries features hundreds of skeletal, kinetic fingers dancing around the audience, tapping on desks and building towards an explosion of cacophonous sounds in a response by the Korean artist to the repetitive elements of modern life.

Equally rhythmic is Palimpsest, in which Daniel Skoglund and Kathy Hinde set live sketches, drawings and video projections against techno and electronic pulses driven by graphite sequencers. The work was originally commissioned for the Sounds of Stockholm Festival 2010.

Elsewhere, in a programme keen to bring rarely-glimpsed performances to audio-visual light, Sandglasses  - a piece backed by the Lithuanian Culture Fund - puts four cellists into four hourglass-style transparent columns, flitting light down each column while they play.

In a repeat of the collaboration which resulted in a Turner Prize nomination, Fowler pushes analogue instruments to the extreme in a one-off performance with musician Jean-Luc Guinnetat the CCA. Fowler’s film on the life and work of composer Cornelius Cardew, the enigmatic Pilgrimage from Scattered Points, will also screen on a loop at the venue.


More pictures:

A black and white photo of a group of anachronistic performers in suits against a wall
Tales of Magical Realism is a series of miniature peepshows© Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte
A photo of a small square brick building shrouded in luminous green light against shadows
Bluebeards works around a cube to create a multi-media representation of Duke Bluebeard's metaphorical dungeon© Mark Groen
A photo of a tall thin white desk shrouded in darkness
Claudia Molitor's operatic Remember Me
A photo of a series of small reflective bits of white tape on a dimly-lit tabletop surface
Korean artist Mookyoung Shin's Our Contemporaries© Kim Sunsoo
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