A SCOTTISH arts organisation is celebrating its 30th anniversary by announcing the full line-up of its boundary-pushing biannual audio-visual festival.

Cryptic, a pioneering audio and visual arts organisation based in Glasgow, has announced the full line-up of its Sonica Festival which celebrates and showcases experimental art from around the world.

The internationally renowned event will kick off on September 19 with a one-off live performance from the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails member Alessandro Cortini and will run for 11 days.

The festival will offer visitors a mixture of live performances from some of the best homegrown talent Scotland has to offer and collaborations from artists across the globe, including acts from Egypt, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Canada.

READ MORE: Refugee charity launches 10-day nationwide festival celebration

Along with live performances, there will be art installations which are all free, immersive tours, workshops, and film screenings which will take place in various venues across Glasgow including Govanhill Baths and the Glasgow City Chambers.

An underlining theme evident from the work created by Sonica’s line-up this year is the climate emergency as many of the artists explore the relationship of humanity and the earth through pixels and notes.

Cryptic’s founding artistic director, Cathie Boyd, says the festival is a unique chance to see some of the world’s most innovative artists right on the doorstep of Scottish people and that Sonica offers a platform for those who need it most.

She said: “I really am passionate about giving a platform to countries that we know less about, thus bringing in people from Myanmar, Vietnam and Egypt.

The National: A pop concert from the future by Danish music ensemble NEKO3 and German multimedia composer Alexander Schubert

“They have amazing talent, music, and visuals.

“I'm just very keen to showcase those artists.

“I think we have eight works by six artists from Egypt, and it's really important to bring to people's attention what they're making because it's hard there.

“Tthe military are now running the country in the same way as Myanmar and these countries need help and artists need help.”

Egyptian artist Ahmed El Shaer is one international collaborator who has created a virtual reality tour beneath the Glasgow City Chambers.

El Shaer invites people to walk the regular guided route around the chambers but reveals the secret symbology of the building which the public doesn’t normally get to hear about.

Russian artist, and now Scottish resident, Andrey Chugunov has also created a light installation which is inspired by the data leaks, including the Panama and Paradise papers, and is also a critique of the Russian regime which he fled from at the start of the Ukrainian war.

The National: Andrey Chugunov with his light installation Byte By Byte

The exhibition, called Byte By Byte, has an LED array which flickers and chirrups with sounds as devices read copies of the data leaks as it draws attention to systems like tax havens and illicit investments that normally operate hidden away.

The algorithm cycles through these leaks and removes parts of the information every time it completes a cycle and will continue until it redacts almost everything from the leaks. 

Chugunov states this helps symbolise not just the corruption but also the censoring of what is happening behind closed doors.

He said: “There are two main metaphors behind the whole piece.

“The first one is about how the repressive regime is working because it's trying to silence executive journalists in our country which is working with this data and trying to reveal all these shady patterns.

“Another thing is it is a little bit ironic.

“If we can represent this censorship in real time, like can we show something using entertaining like form but bring up some kind of meaningful and very powerful ideas kind of connected to political thought or something like that.”

READ MORE: Free two-day festival celebrating Robert the Bruce's 750th birthday announced

The festival, which is celebrating its eighth anniversary, also aims to celebrate some of the best pioneering Scottish talents in the art and music industry.

The line-up of Scottish artists ranges from Scottish Ensemble, who are playing in various spaces at the Burrell Collection, to Scottish Album of the Year nominee SHHE’s immersive multi-vocal album The Moving Tides which will be debuting at Sonica.

Piper Harry Gorski-Brown and French electronica artist, Annabelle Playe are also collaborating for the festival as they aim to push the traditional Scottish instrument’s familiar sound to its limits.

Gorski-Brown (below) said he was inspired to experiment with the bagpipes, which he used to play more traditionally when he was younger when he attended Sonica in 2017 and was blown away by all the unique sounds.

The National:

He also touched on how the international community around the festival plays an important role as he said: “Annabelle and I met via a connection by her friend who'd seen me play.

“And over months we just sort of discussed what interests us musically and I actually do a lot more like visual, experimental stuff, but we came together for this.

“I've gotten used to playing pipes again and as I got back into playing them, we just planned a load of acoustics, and we were doing weird stuff with electronics like augmenting the pipes and the electronics from Annabelle alongside that.

“Then adding the lights and smoke will make it even bigger.”

To date, Cryptic has programmed more than 2000 performances by artists which has been viewed by over 1.2 million people from 32 countries.

Tickets for the live performances will go on sale from late June and all installations are free and are not ticketed.

You can learn more about Sonica and the line-up here and you can watch the festivals trail here to help give you a taste of what to expect.