Hailing from Montréal, Myriam Boucher is a video and sound artist working with both classical modes of composition and scientific research. In Phases she considers one of our most commonplace marvels: the ability of water to change state from gaseous to fluid to solid. Treated images of ice floes, cloudforms and glaciers are set to a haunting, unsettling soundtrack that mixes traditional instrumentation with field recordings of water and crumbling ice. The results are beautiful, but also salutary, bringing to mind the most conspicuous example of this changing of state: the melting of polar ice, and the potential consequences for sea levels as solid turns to liquid.

“evocative … brings its audience close to something akin to feeling many emotions all at once” The Link

Part of a Live Triple Bill with Kathy Hinde & Sabina Covarrubias

Supported by: The QC-UK Connections Programme (British Council & Québec Government) & Québec Government Office, London & Canada Council for the Arts

SpaceTime Helix

Scientific research suggests that strings, vibrating at the quantum level, form the fundamental structure of our universe. Italy’s Michela Pelusio has turned the idea into a kind of metaphor, scaling up a single string to giant size and setting it to revolve in a helical pattern to form a vibrating spiral glimmering with light. Part illusionist, part lab technician, Pelusio lurks behind the twisting string, using an instrument to ‘pluck’ at it and interrupt its trajectory, causing patterns and colours to flare through its whirl. Quantum physics is where science gets weird; Pelusio’s project scales up the weirdness and makes visible what might be occurring constantly, unrecognised, all around us.

“interactive creations that bend space, light, matter, and sound into malleable immersive environments” MUTEK

Artist, concept & design: Michela Pelusio
Hardware: Marnix Dekker

Supported by: The Italian Cultural Institute, Edinburgh

Image: Vartan Kelechian, MutekAE Dubai

Fantastic for Families



For over a decade, Buenos Aires-based artist, teacher and electronics developer Jorge Luis Crowe has run Toy Lab (Laboratorio de Juguete), teaching the use of electronics as creative tools – a project which informs Ludotecnia, a work he brings to the UK for the first time. On a cross between a sound engineer’s mixing desk and a toymaker’s workbench, Crowe activates an army of plastic robots and gadgets adapted to both produce and respond to sound, building up a chiming electronic soundscape, while psychedelically colourful projections generated from filming the devices at work flow over the walls of the performance space. Charming but uncompromising, this is electronic music and performance at its most playful.

For fans of: Moritz Simon Geist

Part of a Live Double Bill with Alex Augier & Alba G. Corral

Supported by: National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) and The Embassy of the Argentine Republic, United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland

100 Keyboards

Japanese musician and sound artist ASUNA learned in his earliest experiments in music that all cheap keyboards sound slightly different, even when playing what should be the same note. For this live performance, he has assembled an orchestra of 100 different electronic keyboards, from colourful novelty designs for young children to slightly more advanced (but still inexpensive) models, arranged in concentric rings. One by one, ASUNA sets them to emit a single note, building up a digital-choral drone in which a hundred subtle differences of tone and frequency combine and resonate, generating interference patterns and sonic illusions as the audience moves around the circle.

“Within this minimalist premise exists a sound world of surprising depth and complexity.” The Music

Supported by: The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

Image: Benedict Phillips

Fantastic for Families

A Fall

Karl van Welden presents a glimpse of some almost unthinkable future, condensed into a single object. A single record, Carl Reinecke’s plaintive Elegie, plays on a turntable encased in glass, while a fine trickle of ash – like the detritus of disaster, or the harbinger of a great collapse – falls steadily down on the vinyl. Over the course of playback, the buildup of dust first gently then more insistently interferes with the music, until the quantity is so great it overwhelms the record-player’s needle and the turntable falls silent. Ostensibly simple, A Fall asks deep questions about decay, fate and our sense of purpose.

For fans of: William Basinski

Produced by: wpZimmer
Co-produced by: Kaaitheater, Vooruit & Workspace Brussels

Supported by: Hotel Pro Forma


Joan Brossa didn’t make me

The Barcelona-based sound artists cabosanroque play tribute to the great Catalan writer Joan Brossa in this kinetic response to his poetry and prose works. Drawing on Brossa’s notion of a ‘performative machine’, cabosanroque have assembled something part model landscape, part vast jerry-rigged steampunk invention. Analogue machinery – a heap of typewriters, a thicket of steel tape-measures – and household objects are turned into instruments producing a thunderous percussive soundtrack, as if the miniaturised landscape is undergoing an industrial revolution. White light blazes up through the jiggling, rattling instruments; a paper structure like a cloud inflates and glows with inner light. This machine’s purpose may remain ambiguous, but its effect is powerful and unforgettable.

“One of the most important Catalan music creators.” Kulturprojekt Berlin

Commissioned by: Temporada Alta Festival & TNC (National Theatre of Catalonia)

Co-produced by: cabosanroque, TNC (National Theatre of Catalonia), Temporada Alta Festival, La Institució de les Lletres Catalanes & Lluís Coromina Foundation

Supported by: Institut Ramon Llull, Joan Brossa Foundation, ICEC & Eufònic Festival


Investigating sonic technologies and the transmutation of voice into matter, Navid Navab & Michael Montanaro’s Aquaphoneia is an odd alchemical assemblage capable of liquifying sounds. Thermodynamically processing people’s voice offerings, Aquaphoneia is something like a record player reverse-engineered by a people who can speak underwater. Visitors can speak into a large horn and hear their aqueous voice alchemically transformed by a series of obscure glass instruments into a burbling, underwater tongue. These sounds are fed through strange kinetic instruments activated by the drip of liquids, aquasonic devices that seem on the verge of replying in a human language construed entirely from water. In another part of the work, voices can be made out in the crackling of an unfading globe of fire, like some promethean folly, extracting ‘phonetic vapour’, ‘spectral mist’ and alchemico-sonic gold. Linguistics meets alchemy in this fantastical liquification of the ways we communicate.

Art direction, sound/installation concept and design, audiovisual composition, programming & behaviour design: Navid Navab
Art direction, visual concept and design & fabrication : Michael Montanaro
Electronics, sound design & programming: Peter Van Haaften
Embedded lighting design: Nima Navab
Research collaboration: Topological Media Lab

Presented in partnership with: The Lighthouse

Supported by: The Ministry of Culture in Québec, Québec Government Office, London, FRQSC, Canada Council for the Arts, Concordia University & The Lighthouse

Furniture Music

The London-based Japanese sound artist and composer Yuri Suzuki draws on the musique concrète of such composers as Brian Eno and Erik Satie, seeking to turn noises that we consider disruptive or distracting into more pleasurable sound. A series of charming lo-fi devices suggest ways to improve the sound of domestic life: an acoustic chamber table, resembling three conjoined guitars, amplifies ambient noise to make conversation easier; a music box replaces the harsh buzz of a mobile phone ringtone; and some of the most disruptively noisy domestic devices, washing machines, become instruments playing an atonal yet compelling music. In the installation Sound of the Waves, meanwhile, rainsticks revolve at rates determined by tidal data, filling an otherwise empty room with the evocative sound of the sea.

Redesigning our society with calmness in mind — everything from buildings to household appliances — could help us lead healthier and happier lives. It’s an abstract idea, but one worth balancing with our insatiable desire for better, more powerful technology.” engadget

Commissioned by the Stanley Picker Gallery (Kingston University)
Presented in partnership with: Cryptic & The Lighthouse
Supported by: The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Image: Corey Bartle-Sandersonn

Primordial Waters

Two Sonica favourites come together for the first time, as visual artist Heather Lander and musician and composer Alex Smoke present Primordial Waters. Noting how advances in science and technology seem to be turning our attention ever further away from the natural world, the artists seek to remind audiences of our most fundamental history: our common origins in water. Beginning from an elevated perspective, Primordial Waters gradually draws audiences closer into its mesmerising weather-pattern swirl of mists and water, the pull of tides, the movement of water that’s sometimes calm and sometimes tempestuous. The effect is mesmerising and meditative – a reminder to slow down, remember our place in the world, and commemorate the natural laws that bind us to our planet.

“compelling, thoroughly absorbing.” The Quietus

A Cryptic Commission in association with Cove Park

Supported by: The Hugh Fraser Foundation & The John Mather Trust



Musician, producer and scientist Max Cooper, in collaboration with design collective Architecture Social Club, open Sonica with a one-off immersive audiovisual work, Aether. For one night only, Tramway will be hung with thousands of dangling threads pulsing and glimmering with moving points of light. They form a glowing, constantly shifting three-dimensional matrix that responds in real time as Cooper’s mesmerising electronic soundtrack builds to a thrilling crescendo. Viewers can move around beneath the lattice of hanging lights to view the patterns from every angle as they form one moment a surreal swirling vortex, the next a series of interlocking geometric grids or a hail of heavenly meteorites. 

“Stole the show, leaving crowds in awe.” Miami New Times

Image: Ben MacMillan