Innovation, AV Experiences, and A Transmission Into Space at Sonar+D

By: Saxe Coulson

Sonar +D is a creativity, technology, and business conference that takes place every year as an addition to the iconic Sonar Festival in Barcelona. Sonar +D plays host to researchers, innovators, and business leaders to speak about the future of technology in music, film, art, and other creative spectrums.

Since its first rendition in 2013, Sonar +D has welcomed creative technologists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, thinkers, scientists, entrepreneurs, makers, and hackers to network with each other and discuss ideas. Thousands of participants have travelled from over 100 countries to discover new ideas, find new opportunities, learn new skills, network, and present their initiatives.

Sonar +D will take place over 4 days in Barcelona on June 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th for some very extenuating and in-depth discussions. The event will also feature demos and workshops, tech shows and exhibitions, immersive experiences, and one-on-one mentoring amongst a community of professionals.

In the past 5 years, Sonar +D has had participants such as Bjork, Brian Eno, Skrillex, Matthew Herbert, and James Murphy as well as representatives from Google, Spotify, Microsoft, and United Visual Artists. It also hosted universities such as MTG, Royal College of Art, Queen Mary University of London, La Salle, and many more.

Last year Sonar +D saw 5,500 accredited professionals and over 3,200 participating companies schedule over 1,240 meetings and participate in over 250 activities across 64 different countries. There were 46  keynotes and lectures, as well as 30 booths at the MarketLab featuring 65 projects and 30 selected startups.

For 2018, Sonar +D will feature talks, workshops, and demos as well as exhibitions that include The MarketLab, The Sonar +D Innovation Challenge, and The Startup Garden. AV Experiences will include Realities +D, SonarMies , Sonar 360 by MEDIAPRO, and The Zero Gravity Band. Networking events will include Meet The Expert, Artists Wanted, Meet The Investor, and Meet and Drink hosted by Estrella Damn. Tech Shows will also take place and be hosted by none other than Gorillaz, Richie Hawtin, Daedelus, Lanark Artefax, Oscar Mulero, Thom Yorke, and more!

Speakers will include representatives from Bandcamp, Pandora, Mozilla, and Wired UK as well as brand strategist and cultural advisors, researchers and professors, visual artists, creative programmers, music marketers, talent managers, and many many more. There will also be researchers from NASA and representatives from The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia, Ideas for Change, The AIR programme at The Seti Institute, The MIT Media Lab, and the founder and director of the Space Exploration.

For Sonar Festival’s 25th anniversary, they will be sending the second transmission to Luytens Star b in space on May 14th, 15th, and 16th of 2018 called Sonar Calling GJ273B. The exoplanet that can potentially support life is 12.4 light years from earth and over 120 billion kilometres. The transmission will include music from artists that have previously played Sonar in the past and include Agoria, Ah! Kosmos, Alva Noto, Choi Sai Ho, Cora Novoa, Daedulus, Daito Manabe, Desert, Juana Molina, Kate Tempest, LCC, Lorenzo Senni, Nino de Elche, Ryoji Ikeda, Squarepusher, Yuzo Koshiro, and Zora Jones.

The transmission will also contain music by the 3 winners of the public call for submissions which received around 400 submissions. The 3 winners received VIP tickets for themselves and their friends in addition to getting their music sent into the depths of space. The three winning creators are Nisa Pujol MasiàPavel Apisov, and Darko Keteleš

The first transmission was sent out in 2017 on October 16th, 17th, and 18th and included such artists as Autechre, Modeselektor, Laurent Garnier, Nina Kraviz, Kerri Chandler, The Black Madonna, and others.

Sonar Barcelona will also present the Sonar Calling GJ273b Control Room by Absolut artistic installation at Sonar by Day for attendees to learn more about the details of the project. The installation is said to be one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the festival and will envelop you in the atmosphere of the large-scale projection of the landscapes of Tromso. Videos will explain how the transmissions were made with interviews from the artists and the scientists who will also be present at Sonar +D.

Astrophysicist, Yvan Dutil is the creator of a coding system for messages intended for communication with extra-terrestrials and a member of SETI which stands for, Search of Extraterrestial Intelligence. He collaborated with the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia aka IEEC for this 2nd transmission.

The first transmission was made in collaboration with METI International aka Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence which is responsible for researching contact with extraterrestrials. This will be the first-ever series of radio transmissions to be sent to a nearby planet that may support life. An answer is said to be received within 25 years just in time for the 50th anniversary of Sonar Festival in Barcelona.

Luyten’s Star b is the closest star known to be potentially habitable that is visible from the Northern Hemisphere. The transmissions will be submitted from EISCAT aka The European Invasive Dispersion Scientific Association’s antenna located in Tromso, Norway.


To hear the music and messages from the artists, along with all the information available, please visit here.

For a full listing of exhibitions, AV Experiences, Networking Events, and Conferences as well as speakers, companies and organizations, and participants and for delegate passes please visit here.

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