Sónar Festival Will Celebrate Its 25th Anniversary by Contacting Aliens

Article by: Laura Mason|@masonlazarus

Wed November 22, 2017 | 14:45 PM

To celebrate its 25 years delivering the most innovative sounds, ideas, and gadgets our planet has to offer, Sonár Festival is now looking beyond our blue and green home.

Uniting music and science to connect and communicate with extraterrestrial life, the festival partnered with METI International and Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) to launch "Sónar Calling GJ273b,” the first radio message ever to be sent to a nearby potentially habitable exoplanet. The message includes 33 music pieces of 10 seconds each, commissioned exclusively for Sónar from artists who encapsulate Sónar's exploratory approach to music over its quarter century of existence. These artists include Autechre, Richie Hawtin, Carsten Nicolai, Modeselektor, Laurent Garnier, Holly Herndon, Matmos, Jean Michel Jarre, Nina Kraviz, The Black Madonna, Kate Tempest, Kode 9, Laurel Halo and Daito Manabe. In future messages, Sónar will send select music pieces submitted by members of its audience. You can hear All of the artist's music, along with their messages and all the information relating to the project are available online at sonarcalling.com.

Sonar Festival 2017   30

Photo by: Sónar Festival

The festival's press release states: "Faced with the unique challenge of communicating with a possible alien intelligence, the participating artists have come up with very distinct and imaginative responses. These range from the poetic to the mathematical – music composed according to mathematical tenets devised to be easily decoded – to the political, both in terms of presenting how humans are as a species and in providing a critique on how we are destroying the planet."

For example, Carsten Nicolai has sent a recording of his unborn daughter’s heartbeat; a composition by Autechre was created from the first 449 prime numbers; BFlecha composed a piece using inspiration from the cycles of the earths' distinct ecosystems and the elements of life on Earth.

Sonar Festival 2017   30

Photo by: Sónar Festival

The exoplanet is called Luyten’s Star b, also known as GJ273b located 12.4 light-years from Earth (over 70 trillion miles). Any possible response could arrive in 25 years time, coinciding with Sónar's 50th anniversary.

This is just one of the many reasons Barcelona, Spain's, Sónar is one of the world's best festivals. Apart from its always fascinating selection of artists each year, the festival seeks out ways for its attendees to experience the world's most innovative technologies and groundbreaking knowledge through workshops, film showcases, demonstrations, hands on sampling, and even TEDx talks. And why limit the exchange of knowledge and ideas to just one planet? We love that Sónar is trying to find new ways to unite civilizations through art and science.

Sónar Festival takes place June 14-16, 2018.