This year’s edition will open on Wednesday 17 July with a conversation between Robert del Naja, the public face and ideologist of Massive Attack and Andrew Melchior, chief technical officer of the Bristol band and collaborator with artists such as Björk or David Bowie. The two will share their ideas about how to connect music and technology, in one of the very few occasions in which the producer, rapper, visual artist and street artist will speak in public.
Other noteworthy creators of experiences in this edition are the interdisciplinary studio teamLab, who are reinventing the experience of the exhibition with their multi-sensorial projected environments; the immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast, or Jessica Brillhart, founder of Vrai Pictures, who will present – for the first time in Europe – “Traverse”, an unprecedented platform of “spatialized audio” (sound distributed in space) that allows the creation of musical compositions through which the user will be able to walk. Timoni West, director of Experience Research at Unity, the three-dimensional graphics engine for video games, AR and VR, which is already changing industries such as cinema and architecture, will give a masterclass on spatial computing.
The national creative scene will be represented by producers including Nomada Studio, authors of the video game GRIS (which can also be experienced in concert format at the festival), winner of an Annie Award, the Oscar for animation films, and CANADA, the Barcelona production company that has become one of the most important production houses in the world for music videos. At Sónar+D, CANADA will oversee a collectively created animated film in which all those attending Sónar will be able to participate.
Artificial intelligence as a tool for artistic creation will be another of the main themes explored at the congress. This will be tackled by artists and technologists such as Holly Herndon and her collaborators Mat Dryhurst and Jules LaPlace, who will share the gestation process of ‘Spawn’, the AI assistant with whom they have composed their brand new and acclaimed album “Proto”, or Daito Manabe, who will present his groundbreaking collaboration with the neuroscientist Yukiyasu Kamitani from Kyoto University – employing Machine Learning to visualize the content of brain states, visualising our neural activity.
NEW FORMATS AND PARTNERSHIPS
For its 7th edition Sónar+D re-invents itself, with the creation of new formats. The exhibition space will be reformatted as SonarHub, with the aim of presenting all the phases of conception, creation and commercialisation of a project. Also new for 2019 is the addition of the Sónar+D by SEAT Auditorium, a space in the form of an agora with an extensive masterclass programme in which to share specialist knowledge and tools that inspire attendees in their professional future. In addition, the congress has partnered with 4YFN to organize the Startup Hub and with the UPC through the credits program aimed at the educational community.
SÓNAR+D EXPANDS WITHIN SÓNAR, BARCELONA AND EUROPE
Sónar+D expands through the Sónar’s music program with 10 tech-shows by artists such as Daito Manabe or Holly Herndon; Sonar360º by MEDIAPRO, the dome dedicated to fulldome audiovisual works, and the immersive installations “SonarSpoiler” by Absolut and “Onionlab presented by Desigual in Beta”.
Sónar+D is also present throughout the city. SonarMies, the annual sonic intervention at the Mies Van der Rohe Pavilion, will present a work by Lucrecia Dalt; a concert by 10 pianists of Christian Marclay’s latest work will be taking place in La Capella at MACBA and the 6th edition of Maker Faire Barcelona, the flagship event for maker culture.
Sónar+D expands throughout Europe thanks to We are Europe, a cooperation project sponsored by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme, bringing together 8 festivals and their respective professional forums, which renews their collaboration for the next 3 years.
The full program of events, workshops and participants is now online at www.sonarplusd.com
SÓNAR+D PROGRAMME 2019
|1) SÓNAR+D PROGRAMME 2019
This year’s edition opens with a conversation between Andrew Melchior, current chief technical officer of Massive Attack and Robert del Naja, the visible face and ideologist of the Bristol band. Melchior has developed apps that remix the songs of Massive Attack using the sensors of our mobile phones while we walk, as well as artistic-scientific projects such as the coding of their classic album “Mezzanine” into DNA chains inside spraypaint. For his part, Robert del Najaleads one of the most innovative bands of the past three decades when it comes to using technology to heighten the experience of music, both recorded and live. In conversation at Sónar+D they will share their ideas about how to connect music and technology.
A key name at this edition is the interdisciplinary teamLab Studio, who are reinventing the experience of exhibitions through their multisensory projected environments. “Borderless”, their digital art museum in Tokyo, is one of the most influential cultural experiences of the moment in the new creative scenes. Other creators of noteworthy experiences included in the program are the immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast, and Jessica Brillhart, founder of Vrai Pictures, who will present, for the first time in Europe, “Traverse”, an unprecedented platform of “spatial audio” (sound distributed in space) that allows the creation of musical compositions through which the user will be able to walk.
Sónar+D will also focus on the tools that are shaping new creative languages through experience design. Perhaps the most important is Unity, the three-dimensional graphics engine for video games, AR and VR, which has jumped from video games into industries such as film or architecture. Timoni West, the director of Experience Research for Unity Labs, will be in Barcelona, as will the Swedish company teenage engineering, who are reinventing the aesthetics of synthesizers as well as the way they are played.
The national creative scene is represented by names such as Nomada Studio, authors of the multi-award winning video game GRIS (which can also be experienced in concert format at the festival) and CANADA, the Barcelona-based production company that has become one of the most important teams of music video makers in the world, and that at Sónar+D will make a collectively created animated film in which all those attending Sónar will be able to participate.
Artificial Intelligence is the new great creative frontier which today’s artists and musicians approach with the intention of opening new horizons. Holly Herndon -one of the key figures in digital music in 2019- and her collaborators Mat Dryhurst and Jules LaPlace will share the design and creation process of SPAWN, the ‘AI assistant’ with whom Herdon has composed her acclaimed album “Proto”. Daito Manabe, a Sónar+D regular, returns, presenting his groundbreaking collaboration with the scientist Yukiyasu Kamitanifrom Kyoto University, using “Machine Learning” to recreate the images produced by our brain, visualizing our neuronal activity.
Beyond Artificial Intelligence, Sónar+D looks to the future, with sessions on the new creative horizons that will emerge from emerging technologies such as Quantum Computing, with Holly Cummins, IBM‘s IBM Q initiative, the Barcelona Supercomputing Centerand artist and physicist Libby Heaney. Sónar+D will also explore the Next Internet with experts such as solarpunk theorist Jay Springett or journalist and writer Marta Peirano talking on open culture, internet rights, security and privacy.
|2) A FOCUS ON LEARNING: CONFERENCES, MASTERCLASSES AND WORKSHOPS
Sónar+D reinforces its formative dimension and doubles its offer of conferences, masterclasses and workshops by world-class creators, technologists and scientists.
Thanks to the more than 1,200 places available, attendees will be able to learn, build and share knowledge first hand from recognized experts and world leading companies in the following topics: the creation of immersive experiences, artificial intelligence as a tool for artistic creation, quantum computing and its impact on science and technology, the Internet over the next 30 years and the most recent technological innovations in the music and sound industries.
The contents of Sónar+D this year will reflect more than ever the didactic approach that unites science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics: STEAM, with the aim of promoting attendee’s practical and theoretical approach to these disciplines through experiential, collaborative and immersive learning of the creative process.
Masterclasses in the new Sónar+D Auditorium by SEAT
A new addition to the congress this year comes in the form of Sónar+D MasterClasses by SEAT. An innovative learning format in which the best international talent will share specialized knowledgeand tools that will inspire attendees in their professional future. These masterclasses will take place at the purpose built Sónar+D Auditorium by SEAT, a space in the form of an agora with a capacity for 80 people where users will have the opportunity to interact directly with the best specialists in their sector. Among the first names to be announced are Timoni West, with a masterclass of spatial computing on technology that explores how users interact with space in VR and AR environments; and Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne, who will give an introduction to Machine Learning.
The educational and professional communities at Sónar+D
UPC Arts joins the program of credits aimed at the educational and professional community of the creative industries that has already supported more than 100 education centers. With the aim of bringing the contents and professionals attending the congress closer to new generations, Sónar+D offers a discount program on the different types of accreditations available. This culturally pro-active initiative enables students and young professionals to establish direct contact with emerging creators and actively participate in different activities, emphasizing the interaction between culture and technology within the unique framework of Sónar+D.
The UPC Arts project is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) initiative that revindicates art and culture as allies of science, bringing the different cultural proposals of the cities where the UPC has a presence closer to students and the entire UPC community.
With the aim of reinforcing the learning aspects of Sónar+D, this year’s workshop programme has been expanded to 20 workshops with more than 1,200 places available. The workshops offer a unique combination of activities taking in both music and the visual arts, as well as practical sessions aimed at creators who want to become professional and make their work known.
Sound design plays a fundamental role in the programme with a series of proposals ranging from modular synthesis (with workshops by teenage engineering and Peter Kirn), and the creation of sound through hardware hacking, with Nicolas Collins a key figure in this field.
Practical workshops focused on artist professionalization are those offered by The Rattle(Jon Eades and Chris Howard) and that by Soundcloud, featuring Cora Novoa.
Hamill Industries will direct a workshop in creative laser programming, while audiovisual experimental activists Los Voluble will give a workshop on political remixing and live cinema.
|3) SONARHUB, THE MEETING POINT FOR THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY
SonarHub is the meeting point for the creative community, an exhibition space open throughout the day, where all the phases of conception, creation and commercialization of a project are present: ideas and talent are represented at the University Hub; content creation at the Immersive Hub, indispensable tools for creators at the Creative Tech Hub and the Audio Tech Hub, and business development and creation at the Startup Hub. Meanwhile, through the Sónar+D Innovation Challenge, the talent of creators meets the innovation needs of companies, closing the circle.
A stand out participant at University Hub, is the Royal College of Art with an interactive experiment in which the function of an everyday object is reinterpreted through sound. At the Inmersive Hub – where the contents and technologies of VR and AR come together – the virtual reality piece Ayahuasca (recently premiered at the Tribeca festival) and Traverse – the immersive sound experience by Jessica Brillhart‘s Vrai Pictures studio will be on display. At the Creative Hub, Kickstarter – with a selection of its most famous projects – and Barcelona Supercomputing Center, with its data analysis and visualization project#cuéntalo, will be two of the protagonists. At the Audio Tech Hub, the Barcelona-based company BMAT will present a selection of its latest digital identification and monitoring technologies.
Startup Hub in collaboration with 4YFN
Co-organized with 4YFN, Sónar+D‘s Startup Hub is an exclusive program for startups, investors, mentors and companies in the creative industriessector that focuses on business development and connecting with strategic players in the business world.
The Startup Hub is a space dedicated to the business ecosystem of creative technologies where only 21 startups are selected to benefit from a programme of activities designed to boost their promotion, networking and funding opportunities. These activities include Meet the Investor, Mentoring for Startups and Expertise Sessions.
A standard-disrupting program for startups, consisting of a full day exhibiting at SonarHub with a potential audience of 61,000 visitors, allows startup participants to introduce themselves directly to their potential consumers, along with two days of training sessionswith professionals from the entrepreneurship ecosystem from specialized investors, with recognized mentors and qualified experts in fields such as communication and marketing or public finance programs.
Participating investors include funds such as Notion.vc, with more than 100 million to invest in Spanish startups, or Plus Eight Equity Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in music technology companies. Mentoring sessions will be conducted by executives from Warner Music or Native Instruments, among others.
Local talent will be represented through a selection of startups sponsored by the Instituto de Comercio Exterior de España (ICEX) and Red.es, Barcelona Tech City, the Ajuntament de Barcelona through Barcelona Activa and the Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals (ICEC).
At Sónar+D Innovation Challenge, the open collaboration platform in association with the Music Technology Group of Pompeu Fabra University, technology companies introduce challenges that will be developed by multidisciplinary teams (programmers, artists, hackers, makers), and will show the results of their prototype at Sónar+D 2019.The companies participating in this innovation process are: Telefónica Alpha with a challenge to rethink the future of education by creating a game that detects affective states and delivers content in real time; Universal Music Group with a challenge that designs the future of digital music services; everis, challenging participants to devise and implement a prototype that, given a set of data for a group of people (such as an organization, city, country or company), produces a soundscape or a musical identity that represents its diversity, and the hotel group ME by Meliá which will challenge participants to make physical spaces more welcoming through their personalization using social data, transcending the barrier between the digital and physical worlds to create the ‘suite of the future’: a space that adapts to the needs and desires of each occupant according to the data they decide to share with the world.