23 - 26 FEBRUARY 2012

Sonic Acts XIV is a four-day festival of performances, lectures, exhibitions, presentations, and film screenings. It will also present a lavishly illustrated publication with essays and interviews.

Travelling Time is the fourteenth edition of Sonic Acts, which will have place from 23rd to 26th of February 2012 in Amsterdam, and its theme is the human experience of time. Time dictates our schedule; time gives us structure. We think of ourselves as living in the present, with the past behind us, moving towards the future. But in fact, there is nothing so complex and ambiguous as time: the arrival the early twentieth century of the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics has tampered with our straightforward concept of time.

The ongoing development and application of technology is challenging, changing and destabilising our sense of time. Communication networks function at light speed and processes are handled in real time by computers operating without human intervention. These technological advances have produced a gap between “machine time” and “human time”.

Art, film and music all have the ability to make abstract concepts of time tangible and comprehensible; they can all manipulate time. In art, a relationship between time and movement creates a sense of space and can identify differences and correspondences between machine time and lived time. In Travelling Time, montage, rhythm and composition in sound and image will intensify the experience of time. Travelling Time is also about the need to act quickly in improvised music; the inevitable slowness of programming or constructing an artwork; time travels and art as a vehicle for imaginary journeys; and art as an artefact from bygone times. Sonic Acts XIV Travelling Time is a quest for space, detail and meaning in time.

LIVE PERFORMANCES (presale has started)

Beyond Time Thursday 23 February 2012 Paradiso 21:00 (hall opens 20:30)

Bass frequencies abound on the opening evening of Sonic Acts. Beyond Time presents an audiovisual spectacle with dubstep, subsonic minimal techno and avant-garde electronica. Roly Porter and Emptyset use the echo and low frequencies associated with dub music to create a sonic space that dislocates our perception of time. Live projections by Rod MacLachlan and Joanie Lemercier (from AntiVJ) reinforce the alienating potential of the sub-bass. Mark Fell’s radically asymmetric beats ignore time signatures completely in an infectious computer-generated recuperation of acid-house that is timed to the millisecond. The evening opens with the film De Tijd by the filmmaker Bart Vegter (who passed away in 2011). Films by Ian Helliwell and Ryohei Shimada will also be screened.

Deep Time Friday 24 February 2012 Paradiso 20:00 (hall opens 19:30)

On Friday, Sonic Acts pays homage to endless sound with a programme that includes music by the American composer Pauline Oliveros and her ideas about fine-tuning our perceptions by means of Deep Listening to enhance our experience of sound. A pioneer in electronic music, Oliveros’ participation in Sonic Acts in Amsterdam is part of her 80th birthday celebrations. The evocative compositions by Eleh (who has released an LP with Oliveros) have never been performed live in the Netherlands. Roland Kayn’s (1933–2011) cybernetic music and Carl Michael von Hausswolff’s drones almost make sound four-dimensional. The evening closes with a set by the godfather of Detroit techno Juan Atkins that includes a live performance by his legendary Model 500 project.

Natural Time Saturday 25 February 2012 Paradiso 20:30 (hall opens 20:00)

Natural Time is dedicated to biological rhythms, human speed, the cycles of stars and planets, the sounds that nature creates around us, and the natural time that human hands impose on musical instruments. Keith Fullerton Whitman composed Natural Rhythms for Sonic Acts and the Kontraste Festival. It sounds like free jazz in an electronic gaming arcade. The performance Knowing When by Joel Ryan and Spanish pianist Augustí Fernàndez is an exercise in split-second timing. The innovative post-breakbeat duo Icarus closes the evening with a brand new work. All of these musical excursions alternate with experimental films that explore time by Robert Breer, Norman McLaren and René Jodoin.

Special: Long Time

During the festival Ellen Fullman’s Long String Instrument will be installed in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ foyer. On Saturday 25 February, Ellen Fullman will perform a concert on the world’s longest stringed instrument with Okkyung Lee (cello). This performance starts at 19:30.

Post Time Sunday 26 February 2012 Paradiso 19:00 (hall opens 18:30)

Music without time, music that seemingly disregards rhythm and timing, in which time simply passes. The five hour evening Post Time includes compositions by Michael Pisaro, one of the most interesting American composers. Pisaro is a member of the Wandelweiser group whose compositions are usually sparing in the use of notes, extremely low in volume, leaving plenty of room for silence. Pisaro’s pieces fine-tune our perception of everyday sounds and allow the listener to experience real time, in a down to earth way, as the passing of time. They subtly explore harmony and the limits of hearing. His kindred spirit Taku Sugimoto, like Pisaro both a guitarist and composer comes over from Japan. Performers on this evening include Konzert Minimal – an ensemble from Berlin that consists of the cream of contemporary musicians. Tuba virtuoso and composer Robin Hayward performs a solo concert. The Post Time evening ends ‘heavy’ with an electronically amplified performance by The Pitch.

No Time Friday 24, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February 2012 Smart Project Space 17:00

Please note: limited capacity, reservations required for Festival pass holders: Immerse yourself in a subtle drone that opens the portal to a different space with Catherine Christer Hennix + The Choras(s)an Time-Court Mirage. This ensemble will perform no less than three times during Sonic Acts! Hennix’s post-minimal drones elaborate on the work of La Monte Young, with whom she worked during the 1960s and 70s. After a hiatus of 30 years she has returned to performing her endless music that stops time. The Choras(s)an Time-Court Mirage consists of the best musicians in contemporary music when it comes to delving into pure sound, the spatiality of sound and microtonality.

‘As deep and heavy as the 1960’s recordings of La Monte Young’s Theater of Eternal Music, but full of Hennix’ own musical and mathematical genius.’ – Marcus Boon


The exhibition in the NIMk presents installations and films that explore time, by Julien Maire, Juliana Borinski, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec, Philipp Lachenmann, Joe Gilmore, and others.


Inspiration, knowledge and discussions… The conference in de Balie includes lectures by leading theoreticians about deep time, technology and time, as well as interviews with artists and musicians that reveal how they deal with time in their works. Participants include Siegfried Zielinski, Pauline Oliveros, Peter Kubelka, Timothy Druckrey, Ellen Fullman and David Edgerton.

SPECIALS Keynote George Dyson in collaboration with Stedelijk Museum within Temporary Stedelijk 3 Thursday 23 February Paradiso 19:30 (hall opens 19:00) / €10.00 (discount €7.50)

The Beyond Time programme is preceded by the lecture No Time is There: Why the Digital Universe is Different From Ours by the scientific historian George Dyson. His discussion of time and the computer is a prelude to his forthcoming book Turing’s Cathedral. This is a presentation by Sonic Acts and Stedelijk Museum.

Time Travelled and Time Lost Escape from the clutches of time by participating in a walking tour created from a concept by Jacqueline Schoemakers. Participants are given a topographic map and have to do their utmost to follow the straight line that is drawn on it. The tour starts at the Paradiso, but where it ends is anybody’s guess. Time is endless.