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Technogicians at Sonar

By Rhizome

Sonarmatica is one of the visual art sections of Sonar, Barcelona's increasingly massive festival of music and multimedia art that runs from June 14-16. This year, Sonarmatica's theme is technological magic and its inspiration is a quote by Arthur C. Clarke, the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which states, 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' In a moment when the more insidious potential of ubiquitous and imperceptible technologies is often the subject of conversations around issues such as surveillance or privacy, Sonarmatica's theme takes a celebratory approach with the intent to immerse the viewer in a show of 'illusionism and pre-digitization' dense with references to the spectacular experience of magic shows and cinema experiments of the late nineteenth century. Curated by Jose Luis de Vicente, Oscar Abril Ascaso, and Advanced Music in collaboration with Interactivos from MediaLab Madrid, and titled Et Voila!, the Sonarmatica exhibition will present works by an international group of artists, including Luis Nieto, Zach Lieberman, Julien Maire, Phillip Worthington, and Mago Julien, amongst others. Several of the works realize familiar magic tricks, as in Jeff Lieberman's Lightbulb, which suspends a light bulb in the air through the use of a 'magnetic hall effect sensor, an electromagnet, and a [modified] PD feedback system.' Et Voila embraces the opaque, macabre, and amazing facets of technology to present a contemporary magic show. Check out Sonarmatica to decide if you believe or not. - Lauren Cornell

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