An audiovisual arts festival in Glasgow has announced its line-up for 2024, with 50% of the events free to attend and a performance from a touring member of Nine Inch Nails.

Sonica will bring some of the world’s top music and audiovisual artists to the city, alongside showcasing some of Scotland’s top homegrown talents over an 11 day run.

The festival will open on September 19 with the Scottish premiere of Nati Infiniti at Tramway, the new live audiovisual work created and performed by Nine Inch Nails touring member, sound artist and the first ever Italian inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Alessandro Cortini.

Born in Bologna, the 47-year-old has also worked with the likes of Ladytron, Muse and Jovanotti, who has had three number one singles on the Italian chart.

The Herald: Alessandro Cortini of Nine Inch NailsAlessandro Cortini of Nine Inch Nails (Image: Sonica)

More than half of the events will be free, including the UK premiere of the winner of the Immersive Grand Prize at Venice Film Festival 2023,  Celine Daemen’s virtual reality opera Songs for a Passerby, which invites audiences to don a headset and follow a 3-D scanned version of themselves through a shadowy cityscape where wild dogs roam, a hushed choir sings and a horse faces a dire fate.

Glasgow's own Becky Šik will what it's like to be a bat, drawing together their investigations into bat echolocations, satellite tracking and the practice of magnet fishing – all utilising fields and forces invisible to the human eye.

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Further free events include Ukrainian artist Kseniia Shcherbakova exploring how interpersonal bonds are strengthened through the trauma of war; Quebeçois artist Bill Vorn creating an ICU for sickly robots; emigre Glasgow-based artist Andrey Chugunov attempting to erase the data of corruption and two new public artworks for Glasgow City Chambers, Ahmed El Shaer’s virtual reality tour inspired by the city’s cryptic crest and composer Amble Skuse’s new soundscape for the Lamp of Remembrance.

The bi-annual festival will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cryptic, which organises Sonica.

Cryptic’s founding Artistic Director Cathie Boyd said:  “Sonica 2024 will be the culmination of our celebration of an incredible 30 years of Cryptic, which began life in Glasgow in 1994.

"It showcases everything that Cryptic has gone on to become known for: bringing cutting-edge, internationally-renowned artists to Scottish audiences and giving an ambitious platform for Scottish artists to stand alongside them.

"I am particularly pleased to be premiering new work from both international and Scottish artists developed during a Cryptic residency at Cove Park in Argyll in Spring 2024. We bought together Laura Mannelli from Luxembourg, Alba G. Corral from Spain, Kseniia Shcherbakova from Ukraine, No Plexus from the Netherlands and Heft from Myanmar to live, work and converse alongside Scotland-based artists Sonia Killmann, SHHE, Harry Gorski-Brown, Konx om Pax and Alex Smoke and we’re thrilled that Sonica will give the first outing to new work developed during these unique collaborations.  

"A clear and urgent theme emerging from Sonica 2024’s programme is one of our developing relationship with water in the age of climate catastrophe and how seemingly minute changes in our natural world can impact across the globe. This is an understandable concern for many of our festival artists, from Egypt to Dundee, and AV art, which expands from a single note or pixel to create vast immersive worlds, is a perfect medium to explore how the tiny can both disrupt and possibly heal on a giant scale.  

"With all festival installations completely free to experience and some live events pay-what-you-can, I urge everyone to come and experience Sonica 2024 - and celebrate 30 years of Glasgow’s very own Cryptic for themselves. Whether it’s a virtual reality tour that will make you see Glasgow’s history in a whole new light, a sideways grand piano that plays itself using passing traffic or a mind-expanding visual trip on Scotland’s biggest screen, this is a unique chance to see some of the world’s most inventive artists right on your doorstep.” 

Glasgow Life Senior Projects and Programmes Manager - Arts, Music and Cultural Venues, Katie Duffy, said:  “The Sonica 2024 programme features an exciting, eclectic showcase of works by an incredible line-up of outstanding homegrown talent and some of the world’s most innovative music and audio-visual producers. Offering a wealth of unique multimedia experiences, stand-out performances, premieres, and international collaborations, the festival is set to be an unmissable highlight of Glasgow’s cultural calendar this year.”