INTERVIEW: Sonic Arts Week | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Sonic Arts Week Rivercruise by Rachel Deakin

Sonic Arts Week is back again in Middlesbrough. The team behind the Auxiliary Project Space and Middlesbrough Art Week bring this free festival to the city to celebrate Middlesbrough’s open spaces, waterways and the creative people who live there.

The jam-packed programme takes place from Saturday 15thSaturday 22nd July, with a range of site specific and roaming installations, gigs and performances.

Festival Director Liam Slevin explains: “We’re delighted to be bringing back Sonic Arts Week again and this year we are bringing the artist to you, with loads of weird and wonderful activities happening in Captain Cook Square and Hillstreet Shopping Centre. My personal highlight this year is Project Lono, a local Teesside collective of musicians, poets and artists.” The Project Lono event is definitely one of the standouts, as the collective of poets and musicians from Teesside collaborate on a live immersive soundscape. On Tuesday 19th they’re performing The Shrouded Republic, an epic event guiding the audience into the realms of the Faery!

Neil Catchpole was one of the artists performing at the event in 2021 and now finds himself co-creating. “I was there every day for a week in 2021. I loved meeting all the different passers-by who stopped to listen, chat and have a go at playing the massive gong. I heard so many great stories and it was brilliant how everyone got involved in their own way: this has inspired Liam and me to develop the ‘Encounters’ programme which will bring a fun and eclectic range of musicians and sound-makers to the streets of Middlesbrough for everyone to enjoy for free. SAW is an amazing project, mixing new sounds into the ‘Boro soundscape in fresh and exciting ways and I’m really looking forward to seeing what people think!”

SAW is an amazing project, mixing new sounds into the ‘Boro soundscape in fresh and exciting ways

Also of note is a project from artist Tim Shaw, as part of the Sonic Cruise in collaboration with boat operators Rivershack. This special cruise lets audiences relax and listen to Shaw’s floating and underwater speakers, and throughout the week Centre Square will be playing ambient music as a special sound installation.

There are workshops from Thursday 20th–Saturday 22nd under the Summat For The Bairns banner to encourage youngsters to get creative making their own listening devices and masks. Another real highlight for gig goers comes from Teesside-born and cred Industrial Coast, as they put on a series of shows at various venues during the week, featuring world renowned sonic artists like Torn Relics, Sam Kerridge, Nick Klein and Russell Haswell all with additional, often regional support.

There’s performance, dance and sound installations to find, watch and interact with too, with Katie Anderson, Jayne Dent (Me Lost Me), Oceanallover and Belfast’s Cameron Clarke (aka Calm C) in Central Square all week.

In fact, there’s so much happening it’s worth checking out the website and grabbing your copy of the Sound Workbook Activity, available from MIMA, Pineapple Black and Off The Ground.

Sonic Arts Week takes place at venues across Middlesbrough from Saturday 15th-Saturday 22nd July.

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