The 2016 edition of Ljubljana’s SONICA festival, titled SONIC.ARCHITECTURES, was dedicated to sound and architecture. Ever since its first edition, SONICA festival (as well as its predecessor Spring Festival Ljubljana) has been discovering and reviving unconventional spaces with sound interventions. This year’s SONICA festival took the intersections of sound and architectures into its main focus. Every artist premiered a new project or presented their latest projects in a different way. That’s at least 6 premieres and 2 commissions, as well as 3 new releases on the newly established ASONIC Label. Along with live performances, workshops and an exhibition, SONICA hosted a 2-day symposium on sound and architecture, where questions on sound and public space, as well as reviving and preserving architecture, were discussed. SONICA took place in different spaces around Ljubljana from 27 September to 1 October.
Festival opening: Tim Hecker and Christian Kroupa
For the festival opening at the Kino Šiška Center for Urban Culture, Christian Kroupa, a young Slovenian producer and Red Bull Music Academy protégé, introduced his brand new material to be released on ASONIC label in the following months. In his set, Kroupa returned to his beginnings with darker ambiental sounds, which were a perfect introduction to the festival opening’s main guest. Tim Hecker returned to Ljubljana after 8 years (he was guest of the Sonica festival in 2009) and performed his latest material from the Love Streams album. His extraordinary feeling for dramaturgy and subtle harmonies accented the dark space, filled with fog.
The second day of the symposium was titled Lost Futures, after the keynote speaker’s Douglas Murphy‘s latest book Last Futures. It focused mainly on architectural heritage and public space – Breda Bizjak presented the Otvoreni grad Pula project (Pula – Open City) with the aim of reviving decaying architecture by giving it artistic content, while Nataša Bodrožić talked about the Motel Trogir project that tries to preserve this architectural gem. Andrija Stojanović and Vladimir Radinović presented their project Belgrade Sound Map, which collects people’s stories on different spaces within the city. Douglas Murphy analyzed the last utopias of the city and presented their destiny and Nikola Uzunovski talked about the destiny of modernist architecture in Skopje. The second day of the symposium was followed by an audio-visual live show by Wo0&Incredible Bob with their latest project Peoplemeter and the Slovakian duo Vritti.
Sonic Pavillion Exhibition and SONICA Finale
Nonotak’s installation, however, wasn’t the only premiere at the 2016 SONICA exhibition: Staš Vrenko, a young Slovenian artist presented his installation Connective, featuring 6 DIY modular synths, which can connect between them and sample each other’s sounds. His installation was produced by Ljudmila and Zavod Projekt Atol. On the MoTA Lab roof, Stefan Doepner installed a version of his Jedinica Jedan installation, a sound and light device, which produces artificial lightning. In between the two pavillions, Nikola Uzunovski hanged his collaborative sculpture Alien, built on a workshop during the SONICA festival. On the roof, Gold Guides Me, a type-based installation by Anne Katrine Senstad was watching over the crowd. In the dark pavillion, visitors could watch Nicolas Maigret‘s documentary Resonant Architecture or enjoy the swamp-like sounds of Bojana Petković‘s light and sound installation Swamp orchestra. Fract, a new piece by Julien Bayle, a SONICA commission, took over the basement. For the opening, Sally Golding and Spatial performed with their new collaboration, Golding/Spatial, a spatial light and sonic piece. Some of Slovenian finest experimental musicians, had their go at the Connective installation, filling the space with connected noise. In between pavillions, festival visitors could get their chance to perform at the opening, too, as part of Slavo Krekovic‘s collaborative sound performance Touchscreen Orchestra.
After the exhibition opening, SONICA festival moved to the Rog Factory’s Concert Hall for a proper festival ending – a club night at Ljubljana’s former bike factory, turned event space, which now faces closing by the city’s authorities. Still standing strong, it hosted the last evening event for this year’s festival. SONICA Finale started with a set by Gašper Torkar, an up-and-coming young Slovenian musician, who is one of this year’s Radio Študent Club Marathon runners. He warmed the crowd up for Spatial, whose performance filled the hall with technoid sounds of distant raves. Vessel took over for the next hour, accompanied by VJ Pedro Maia. With black and white visuals in the background, Vessel guided the crowd dancing into the morning hours, when Felis Catus and Levanael took over with their b2b DJ set.
The festival concluded in the peaceful surroundings of the city’s Tivoli park, with a picnic and soundwalk Walking the Aphelion by Irena Pivka and Brane Zorman. This year’s SONICA was a perfect end to summer … join us next year in Ljubljana to get a chance to experience it yourself!
Photos by: Aleš Rosa/Kino Šiška (Tim Hecker), Katja Goljat