Sónar+D 2017, Sónar’s 5th International Congress for Digital Culture and Creative Technologies, will be held on June 14, 15, 16 and 17, with more than 180 speakers and around 5,000 accredited professionals, from 2,100 companies and 60 countries.
Sónar+D Barcelona continues to grow in size and content. This year the congress starts one day before the main festival, on Wednesday, June 14 with a Networking Day, exclusive to accredited professionals, which will focus on multiple work disciplines and further promote relationships among attendees.
Key projects that are shaping the future of design, music and creative technologies will convene in Barcelona for a period of four days. Creators, technologists, research centres, entrepreneurs and startups will share their ideas and works with attendees, through demos, technology shows, exclusive premieres, debates, workshops and networking spaces.
THE FUTURE OF CREATION IN THE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AGE
The Artificial Intelligence revolution and “Machine Learning”promises to transform the economy in the coming decades, automating more routine and less creative jobs. However, Artificial Intelligence will also affect the work of artists, musicians and creators in all fields.
Google is undoubtedly one of the principal agents investigating how Artificial Intelligence will open up new creative possibilities. Sónar+D will feature artists, scientists, researchers and technologists from the Silicon Valley giant who are creating initiatives and tools that will forge new forms of collaboration uniting human and artificial creation systems.
Participants will include Kenric McDowell,leader of the Artists + Machine Intelligence program at Google Research, the program that unites artists with advanced AI systems to explore new aesthetic horizons. McDowell will investigate how machines can be creative through systems that mimic brain functions.
Alongside him, Douglas Eck, a research scientist at Magenta (Google Brain) will present Magenta, the Artificial Intelligence applied to music research team in which Google is developing the “AI electric guitar”, tools to generate images and musical compositions, which will be available to all users.
Freya Murray, program manager director at Google Arts & Culture Lab, the North American company’s platform exploring new ways of bringing culture to its audience, will present the Artificial Intelligence projects, on which Google has previously worked together with museums and cultural institutions, in order to classify and organize immense collections of images and sounds.
Creators such as Memo Akten, one of Europe’s leading digital artists, or the bot programmer and Twitter artist Darius Kazemi round out a program that looks to a future where our ideas of intelligence and creativity will have been radically transformed.
VIRTUAL REALITY, THE NARRATIVE OF THE FUTURE
Sónar +D will also analyse, from all angles, the new challenges that Virtual Reality and immersive cultures pose to creators: narrative, technology, production and sound.
Speakers on this topic will be: Jessica Brillhart, principal filmmaker at Google; Gabo Arora, founder of UNVR (United Nations VR), Edu Pou, executive creative director of the multi-award-winning North American VR studio Here Be Dragons and McKenzie Stubbert, composer and frequen collaborator of VR projects with directors such as Chris Milk and Kathryn Bigelow.
In the Realities+D space you will simultaneously be able to enjoy a selection of more than 20 Virtual Reality pieces, presenting 2017’s most relevant productions, notably: Dear Angelica, the first piece of hand painted animation in Virtual Reality; Ground Beneath Her, a documentary about the Nepal earthquake; Home: VR Spacewalk, which puts the viewer in the body of an astronaut; and DeepDream VR, a a journey through the oneiric worlds created by the Deep Dream Software, a work by Google’s Jessica Brillhart.
SONAR360º BY MOVISTAR+
Sonar360º is the new Sónar+D space inspired by Movistar+ and dedicated to “fulldome” audiovisual pieces, an immersive enviroment where the audience is completely surrounded by 360º image and sound.
This new space will be curated in collaboration with Montréal SAT (Societé des Arts Tecnologiques), a technological arts institution founded in 1996 and pioneer in immersive technologies development.
The Sonar360º program by Movistar+ will consist of a selection of fulldome pieces produced at SAT by some of the most outstanding visual artists from the international new media scene, such as Joanie Lemercier, Will Joung, Nicolas Nöel Jodoin among others, as well as two workshops: “Introduction to immersive language” and “Spherical image production”, hosted by SAT researchers.
The workshops will take place in the same 360 dome, a unique opportunity to learn how to design immersive pieces in a spherical enviroment with surround sound. The workshops will be held on Wedesday, June 14th and Thursday 15th, with exclusive access for accredited professionals who registered in advance.
NETWORKING DAY: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14
This year Sónar+D will increase its number of activities with more workshops, conferences, round tables and immersive experiences. It also adds a ‘Networking Day’ to its calendar, on Wednesday, June 14, prior to the start of the festival and exclusively for accredited professionals.
During this day, the professionals attending will be able to access content and activities specifically designed to enhance meetings and debates, which in the late afternoon will culminate in an informal networking event around a giant paella.
OPEN MUSIC INITIATIVE: AN AMBITIOUS PROJECT TO UNIFY DIGITAL MUSICAL DISTRIBUTION
Three of the driving forces behind the Open Music Initiative (Panos Panay, Michael Hendrix and Marko Ahtisaari) and other experts from around the world will meet up at Sónar+D to hold a uniqueinternational assembly in Europe. The revolutionary project encompasses more than 170 music industry companies (such as Youtube, Netflix, Spotify and Universal) with the aim of creating a new standard format that profoundly changes digital music distribution.
Its goal is to create an open and universal system that identifies the authors of a music file, and makes it quicker and easier for them to be remunerated fairly.
This huge project unites all music industry players and is driven by 3 major research and innovation institutions: Berklee, the benchmark international music school; the legendary MIT Medialab research centre; and design consultancy IDEO.
STARTUP GARDEN FOSTERING 30 CREATIVE STARTUPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
The Startup Garden powered by MIGRATION, is the space dedicated to the entrepreneurial ecosystem related to creative technologies.
Unlike other startup contests, Startup Garden powered by MIGRATION is an innovative concept where only 30 startups are selected and will benefit from a program of activities designed to boost their promotion, networking and investment opportunities. These activities include Mentoring for Startups, Meet the Investor, “one on one” sessions to connect investors with entrepreneurs. All are open to accredited professionals.
The mentor team will include luminaries like: Joyce Lu, the business angel who participated in the MacBook Air design team; Jon Eades, in charge of incubator startups for the legendary recording studio Abbey Road; and Simon Lee, founder of the video game accelerator INCUBIO. Also forming part of this team will be entrepreneurs Damià Garcia Priu and Daniel Romi from Restb.ai, who specialize in Artificial Intelligence applied to business. Other confirmed participants include Koh Martinez, LoudBasstard Inc. founder and featured in the Forbes “Asia 30 under 30” list.
Check the full list of confirmed mentors to date here.
Investors will include: Edge Fund’s Joanna Smith, one of the UK’s top cultural and entertainment funders; John Acquaviva whose Plus8 Equity Partners fund is committed to music technology; Entrée Capital which counts Snapchat among its successes; Enrique Sarasola, entrepreneur and CEO of hotel chain Room Mate; Paul Degueuse, from the Korelya Capital fund that will invest 100 million euros in startups across Europe this year. Other funds that have already confirmed their presence are: Ambar Capital, Kibo Ventures, K-fund, Palladium (Usuhaia and Palladium hotels) and 360 Capital partners.
Check the full list of confirmed investors to date here.
30 startups will be selected through a call for entries that will remain open until April 17 (https://www.f6s.com/
MIGRATION (Business & Organization) is a consultancy focused on the transformation of companies in the digital age from a business, technology and organizational design perspective. It works on the convergence between the corporate world, startups and academic vision.
OTHER ACTIVITIES PROGRAMMED FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC
“Entropy” will be the inaugural Sónar+D 2017 event for the general public on Thursday, June 15, a transmedia show about the origin and end of the Universe that blurs the boundaries between a conference, an audiovisual concert and a live documentary. The project will feature a scientific lecture by the astronomer and cosmologist Dr. Dida Markovic with an ambitious on stage multiscreen display, original music from the legendary Dopplereffekt, and data images and visualizations from European collective Antivj.
“Entropy” is part of the We Are Europe program, under the motto “Culture in the city of tomorrow”. This year’s invited European festivals are TodaysArt (The Hague, Holland) and c/o pop (Cologne, Germany).
The We Are Europe program at Sónar+D 2017 is complemented by the following conferences: How a creative mind works (with Playmodes, Tarik Barri, Nonotak and Alba G.Corral), Blockchain for artists, labels and fans (Peter Harris, Cliff Fluet, Blanca Rego, Bas Grasmayer) and Hundreds of audio-artists and one composer-performer Turing-test machine (with established sound artist Francisco López).
Furthermore, a conference about robotics by American designer Carla Diana will join previously announced talks on creative technologies. On one hand, a conversation between Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi, the two founders of Japanese new media studio Rhizomatiks. On the other, a talk from Ayah Bdeir, the creative entrepreneur and founder of the littleBits electronic construction parts platform, used both in schools and by designers around the world.
THE EXHIBITION AREA: MARKETLAB AND SONAR INNOVATION CHALLENGE
MarketLab, the exhibition space at Sónar+D, will unite more than 30 technological companies, universities and creative laboratoriesto present their latest products, finished products, prototypes, services and completed or developing artistic works. This is the main zone for interaction between attendees and creators. The entities and projects that will form part of MarketLab 2017 will be announced soon.
For the second year running Sónar+D will hold the Sónar Innovation Challenge in collaboration with the Music Technology Group of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. For this hackathon, the following technology companies: Inflight VR/Airbus, MTG, Audio Commons, Deezer, Teosto Future Labs/NEMO Project and Red Bull Amaphiko will present 6 challenges that will be developed by multidisciplinary teams (programmers, artists, hackers, makers) for 5 weeks and prototype results will be presented at Sónar+D.
Check here for details of the challenges.
Workshops are the practical context of Sónar+D. Organized with prominent institutions and companies, they are designed to explore and develop skills and techniques. This year’s program includes the “maker” culture, sound design in the field of VR, the construction of analogue synthesizers and the immersive audiovisual.
Check the list of scheduled workshops here.
SÓNAR +D 2017 COLLABORATORS AND SPONSORS
Sónar+D is an Advanced Music initiative within the framework of the Sónar Festival. The collaboration of administrations in the consolidation, projection and development of Sónar+D is achieved through two agreements signed together with the Barcelona City Council and the Generalitat’s ICEC Department of Culture. These agreements correspond to the joint definition of objectives and a plan of activities that deliver impact and contribution to broad sectors of the
creative and business fabric of the city, and its citizens.
Sónar+D has the support of the European Union’s Creative Europe Program, We Are Europe; also backed by the Sorigué Foundation, Digital Migration Partners, Sacem, UPF Music Technology Group and illycaffè.