From the 27th of February to the 3rd of March Elevate Festival will focus on the term "truth". Find out more about the first confirmend acts and the topics to be discussed an the 15th festival edition in Graz.
In 2016 "post-truth" was chosen by Oxford Dictionaries as their International Word of the Year. In such a world, appeals to emotion and personal belief are becoming more influential in shaping public opinion than objective facts. Borne in on the rising tide of populist politics, "fake news" unsettles the public discourse by denying otherwise respectable media any shred of credibility. Also our own ways of absorbing and sharing knowledge and information suffered. False reports are more often shared in social networks than fact-based ones, while digital echo chambers facilitate self-immunisation against arguments of different-minded views.
What happens to a society that no longer accepts facts? Has what we call "truth" been lost between "alternative" and "real" facts? Or do we simply have to accept deviant conceptions of reality as part of an open society based on pluralism and difference?
In a time of felt facts and new myths, Elevate Festival 2019 is dedicated to exploring the most important concept in any knowledge society: the truth – and its many (un)secret siblings
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Music Program 2019: First confirmed acts
This year's Elevate music program makes a truly sonic assault on the festival theme, from perceptual studies of acoustic delusions and cut ups that pack media-mediated realities into songs, all the way to truth-busting DJ sets that will dismantle your listening habits.
In addition to such experimental sounds and club music, live concerts take the limelight. Held in the sublime Graz Orpheum, the now-famous Elevate closing concert will be performed in 2019 by legendary synth pop group DAF. Founded 40 years ago and ranked alongside Kraftwerk and Can as among the most influential of German electronic musicians, the band plays styles old and new, in the manner of untamed Mussolini-dancing Rude Boys who forever waste their own endless youth.
Legendary London label Hyperdub are well known for the political dimension of their club and their joy of bass. Born 15 years ago in the brutalist estates of South London, the pioneers of dubstep will celebrate their birthday in the cathedral-like auditorium of Dom im Berg. In fact, it will be a joint birthday: Elevate is also 15 years old in 2019. Under the direction of label boss Steve Goodman, aka Kode9, protagonists of the style-defining Hyperdub family come with freshly waxed records and a newly discovered affinity with multi-media art installations.
To celebrate the occasion, the new Dom im Berg sound system will be open to public ears for the first time. A total of 46 ambisonic speakers distributed throughout the room allow for a fully immersive, quasi-three-dimensional sound experience. Instead of stereo or 5.0 surround sound, frequencies will entirely envelop the audience. For the inauguration of this state-of-the-art system, Hyperdub will present a very special multimedia commission designed for the unique acoustics of the Dom im Berg.
Elsewhere on the program, Vladimir Ivkovic guarantees danceable sounds far from common listening habits. The DJ artist, who emigrated to Germany from pre-war Yugoslavia in 1992, comes directly from the heart of the Belgrade counterculture. As a long-term resident of the Düsseldorf Salon des Amateurs and head of the label Offen Music, Ivkovic likes to break the expectations of the audience. In his sets, eclectic sound collages fly from the remotest lagoons of the acoustic, a temporary paradise that will make you forget all knowledge of the world.
Elevate is excited to present Deena Abdelwahed, one of the pioneers of Arabic techno culture. On her much talked about debut EP "Klabb" (InFiné, 2017) you can hear muffled voices speak out against oppressive instrumentation, as if a doomed group of protesters were fighting for their right to freedom of expression before being overwhelmed by a wave of tyranny. Her first studio album is called "Khonnar", the Bengali word for mint, the herb of clarity. Deena Abdelwahed rubs mint metaphorically under the listener's nose, unravelling the dark, awkward sides of life instead of hiding them as unpleasant truths.
From the United States comes Traxman, a living legend of the turntables since the pioneering days of 1990s Chicago. On labels such as Dance Mania and Ghettoophiles, Traxman produced countless mixtapes that sloshed energetic self-deprecating waves of footwork and ghetto house hits across the city's warehouses and backyard halls. After three decades in the business, and with several new albums recently, the legendary producer is still making headway.
Funk, Soul and House in an outrageous old-school renaissance are the explosive ingredients in Jayda G's euphoric sets. The originator of the Freakout Cult series is not only an energetic shooting star on the dancefloor but also a prospective lecturer in environmental toxicology. The marine mammals' life obtains her academic attention, while now touring the world after publishing her acclaimed debut EP Jaydaisms, spiced with hypnotic dancehall-credentials, and her memorable Boiler Room gig at Dekmantel Amsterdam.
Acoustic illusions, shifts in perception and voice manipulation are the means and method of Norwegian sound artist and vocal performer Stine Janvin, who performs her live show Fake Synthetic Music. In the show, she approaches the hypnotic effects of techno and trance music with repetitive melodic sequences and a lavish light show.
Kassel Jaeger is the electro-acoustic heavyweight we have long been awaiting. The young French-Swiss musicologist and composer is only 35 years old and already the head of the renowned INA-GRM-Institut. In his mostly acousmatic sound pieces he balances ambient noise with musique concrète and multi-channel improvisations.
Fresh from Austria come free-jazz band mopcut who caused a sensation at the Danube Festival earlier this year. With Lukas König on synthesizers and drums, Julien Desprez on electric guitars and Audrey Chen as an ecstatically extemporizing vocalist with analog synthesizers, these three artists have teamed up to create non-prosaic songs that use sound architecture and performance ritual as fleeting shapes beyond language and gravity.
Five days of lectures, discussions, workshops and documentary films focus on different strands of the socio-political discourse around truth.
The tension between truth, politics and journalism is one such strand. Journalists are under heavy pressure worldwide – and not just since the rise of right-wing buzzwords as fake news. For decades, energy companies and the conservative media have used sustained campaigns of disinformation in order to sow doubts about climate change.
The psychology of echo chambers is another strand as social media and search engine algorithms use data about our habits and political preferences to show us only the arguments and opinions that will please us. It is possible to seal inside these digital information and opinion cocoons without ever hearing arguments of different views.
Exacerbated by the echo chamber, "trigger words", "safe spaces" and "politically correct" sensitivities are often painted as the beginning of the end of a lively culture of debate. How can free speech be maintained while also defending cosmopolitan tolerance? This session explores the role of language in the construction of social and political reality.
Truth is up for formation, reformation and even deformation, particularly in the malleable reality of the online world. How much influence do algorithms and virtual reality have on the way we form our opinions? Who decides how upload filters automate decisions on compliant and non-compliant content? How can we defend ourselves against excessive voter influence, and ideological interference in our elections? At Elevate, that most slippery of concepts: the truth will be up for discussion.
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