About the project
Nusasonic is a multi-year project that plunges into a broad spectrum of experimental sound and music cultures in Southeast Asia, enabling dialogue within the region, with Europe, and beyond. Adopting a multi-perspective approach, the project is collaboratively created by Yes No Klub (Yogyakarta), WSK Festival of the Recently Possible (Manila), Playfreely/BlackKaji (Singapore), and CTM Festival for Adventurous Music & Art (Berlin). Nusasonic is an initiative of the Goethe-Institutes in Southeast Asia.
Taking its title from “Nusantara,” an ancient Javanese term which is nowadays used to address the multiple connections between Southeast Asian countries, Nusasonic incorporates a mix of formats such as artistic labs, commissioned works, residencies, concerts, installations, festivals, lectures, publications and more to look at how contemporary sound practices enable dialogue within the Southeast Asian region and with Europe, all while paying critical attention to local contexts and ongoing global asymmetries. In addition to presenting outstanding artistic voices to the public, the initiative aims to support artists in their practice, to strengthen local networks, to encourage cross-border and inter-cultural cooperation, and to contribute to broadening the understanding of contemporary sound practices.
The project kicked off October 2018 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia with a weeklong artistic lab and multi-day showcase, and has since supported residencies, hacklabs, concerts, and festivals in Manila, Singapore, and Berlin. Further connections to other locations in Southeast Asia, as well as an online magazine presenting essays and sounds by and about various Southeast Asian practitioners, continue to broaden Nusasonic’s scope.
The Goethe-Institut is Germany’s international cultural institute and promotes cultural collaboration worldwide. It encourages the knowledge of the German language and conveys a comprehensive image of Germany by providing information about cultural, social and political life in the country. The cultural and educational programs of the institute encourage intercultural dialogue and enable cultural involvement. Focusing on shared artistic production, reception and reflection, the Goethe-Institut initiates and organizes projects which foster worldwide mobility of people working in arts and culture and strengthen cross-cultural networks from a global perspective.
CTM Festival (Berlin)
Founded in 1999, CTM – Festival for Adventurous Music and Art is one of the world’s leading international festivals dedicated to contemporary electronic, leftfield pop and experimental music.
Presented under a yearly theme, each festival edition tests the current possibilities and limits of music, and supports a wide range of artists working in the context of music and sound cultures. The festival’s 10-day programme opens up room for unusual experiences. Cutting across genres, scenes, and disciplines, it couples first-hand experience within concert and club settings with critical reflection, exchange, and learning within a vast daytime programme of talks, workshops, screenings, installations and exhibitions.
Since its inception, CTM has taken place concurrently and cooperatively with transmediale – international festival for art and digital culture, Berlin. Together the two parallel festivals comprise one of the most comprehensive and relevant occasions in the world for yearly reflection on digital culture.
CTM Festival is an independent project and organized by DISK Berlin. Next to the annual festival, DISK and the affiliated DISK Agency produce and curate events and projects during the year, both in Berlin and abroad.
Playfreely / BlackKaji (Singapur)
Playfreely is a music initiative by The Observatory focusing on cross-genre, cross-cultural, and unfettered music creation plus collective improvisation that emboldens spontaneous, inventive musical collaboration between musicians from diverse musical backgrounds. Originally inspired by the programming of New York experimental music venue The Stone, Playfreely started out as a fortnightly initiative to foster regular sessions amongst musicians to create and play without inhibition. No fixed notions of what’s appropriate or appealing, no genre fixations, and most importantly, no judgement. Over the years, Playfreely has grown to be a full-blown annual festival bringing together acts from the world over.
BlackKaji is a regular series of small scale concerts that The Observatory and Ujikaji collaborate on to present musicians working across a wide range of musical genres – from electronic, free jazz, experimental, ambient, electro acoustic, harsh noise, indie, and classical. Presented in The Observatory’s studio – The Black Axis – this very DIY / DIWO initiative has quickly garnered a very healthy following.
WSK Festival of the Recently Possible (Manila)
WSK—a modern disemvoweled form of “wasak”, which means “shattered” or “destroyed” in Filipino—is the first and only annual international art festival dedicated to contemporary electronic, digital, and experimental art.
Launched in 2008 as Fete dela WSK and rebranded as WSK in 2013, the festival explores the diverse range of cross-disciplinary artistic activities in the context of digital culture and performance, with focus in collaborative projects between the Philippines, South East Asia, and beyond. It aims to blur, deconstruct, and reimagine the preconceived notions of how art, culture, and technology diverge, merge, and work together.
The initiative is organized by SABAW Media Art Kitchen – a not-for-profit artist-run initiative whose primary interests lie in curatorial and research-based production towards the imminent intersections of art and technology. The festival primarily runs on a Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together ethic and is mostly self-funded, with partial funding support from cultural organizations.
Yes No Klub (Yogyakarta)
YYes No Klub is small-scale platform for music and sound-based experimentation with performance , curated by Wok The Rock and Tom O’Donoghue. Started in 2010 in Yogyakarta, this monthly gig works cooperatively with artspaces and artist collectives to engage visiting international artists with local artists and to broaden up community networks.
Yes No Klub is also part of Yes No Wave Music, a non-profit music label that distributes sound/musical works to a broad public as a ‘gift-economy’ act; an experiment on applying free legal music both online and offline to support open-sharing culture movement.