City Sonic#15 – When Sound Transforms the City Initiated in 2003 by Transcultures, Centre for Digital and Sound Cultures, City Sonic defends sound creativity in all its contemporary dimensions. Here is a reminder that sound should not be confounded with music or speech which are “languages that form off-shoots to/from the world of sound”.
It is these audio arts made from unconstrained materials, which bypass musical and linguistic codifications that City Sonic represents by favoring creation in the urban context. For this fifteenth edition, which will be the first one in Charleroi, City Sonic welcomes a total of more than 70 Belgian and foreign artists from different backgrounds (visual, digital, electro and contemporary music, radio creation …).
This prospective international festival of sound arts proposes a program of installations (mainly creations or premieres by Belgian artists) to transform the center of Charleroi into a sound city, starting September 7 up to the 17th. To play with or broadcast sound is to confront times, subjects and energies, but also to have them interact with historical landmark spaces and cultural locations such as the Galerie de la Bourse, the Saint-Christophe Basilica, the Saint-Antoine Church in Padua, Maison Dorée, Quai 10, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Charleroi Danse studios. This also includes alternative commercial spaces, such as the Pop Up Store, and passageways such as the King Baudouin Bridge or Quai Rimbaud.
The City Sonic itinerary in Charleroi illustrates the tracing of a loop that links a dozen places…each with its autonomy and its contextual artistic audio installations. City Sonic also offers unusual live events in partner locations. These include the Manufacture Urbaine, hosting the opening events on Sept. 7. The cultural center, Eden hosts the Golden Hello performance with Serge Teyssot-Gay, former guitarist of French rock group Noir Désir, as well as Eric Arlix’s acerbic writing and Christian Vialard’s soundscapes. The Sonic Church features the ‘enfant terrible of New York maximalism’, Charlemagne Palestine, taking charge of the organ of St. Christopher’s Basilica. The pioneer of Belgian electronic music Leo Kupper with the electro- acoustic composer Todor Todoroff, will be spatialising their sound pieces in the Church of St. Anthony of Padua at the end of a Sonic Sunday event.
This is with a series of alter concerts that start at the Sunday Market, and later, at Maison Dorée…and Sonic Before, which is in partnership with the “Apéros des quais” and their festive-festival prelude of groovy twisted DJ sets on the docks of the river Sambre. City Sonic also invents differentiated and convivial events such as, the Sonic Kids workshops which is a concrete introduction for youngsters related to the joy of sound creation by City Sonic artists. At the Museum of Fine Arts, Partages d’écoute/Sharing Listening, mixing lectures and play lists is commented on by special guests. At PointCulture, Sonic Nomads performances are surprises in bus and metro lines. Sonic Crossborder Living Lab is a new link between applied research and concrete applications of innovative sound creations. Sonic Radio proposes creative programs on the life and guests of the festival. Gilles Malatray’s Parcours Audio Sensible/Sensitive Audio Tour, is a guided night-time listening tour to re- discover the sound life of the city center.
It is indeed active listening, in all its forms which is at the core of this adventure, committed to being against the massive destructive sound pollution that we must undergo daily. To listen to creativity, otherness, and the city… is also to listen within, in order to find oneself… far from the chaos of the world. In 2017, City Sonic, a traveling festival, will also be present in the city of La Louvière, for the closing of the ARTour (Biennial of Contemporary Art and Heritage) with a friendly Sonic Sunday on the site of Bois-du-Luc for an afternoon of sound massages, site specific installations and concerts until a Sonic Tea Time. Several Brussels partnerships also complement this rich 2017 program starting with the exhibition L’échapée belle mixing photography, poetic fragments, video and sound creation at the Alliance Française.
This is followed by two OMFI-One Moment Free Improv events, dedicated to libertarian exploratory music at Les Halles Saint-Géry. It is a several hour environmental concert proposed by the French quartet Quattrophage, at the Centre of contemporary art Wiels.
Let us not forget the interdisciplinary Belgian-Canadian performances Oracles presented by the Theatre La Balsamine, programmed at the end of the festival. These amazing sound conceptualists do not only provide meaning but they actively win over our senses… and it is exactly this ‘sensory approach’ which is open to all curious ears, that City Sonic has chosen to address. Good Vibes To All! Philippe Franck Curator
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