Jose Luis De Vicente:

Jose Luis De Vicente: "You have to like performing. This is the beginning of everything“

You could call it the anti-Coachella. Because at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona, it’s less about hanging out with a hip bunch of influencers or presenting yourself as favorably as possible on Instagram, when at the same time the actual actors on stage become a minor matter and backdrop. At the Sonar, which will take place in Barcelona from 17 to 20 July, guests will travel to experience innovative virtual reality projects in addition to the multi-day music program on the “Sonar +D” site or to attend panel discussions with creative people from the digital industry such as agency owners, game developers and video artists.

The kick-off this year will be the talk with “Massive Attack” founder Robert Del Naja, who is also rumored to be behind the street art legend Banksy. In addition, you can experience an interactive version of the famous pavilion by Mies van der Rohe, as well as a lecture by the art collective Teamlab, who have opened one of the most discussed digital museums in Tokyo.

Read also

Before the festival takes place in Barcelona with its 27 talks, 14 workshops and other interactive program items and presentations of performance art, the Spanish curator Jose Luis De Vicente travels through various European cities such as Milan, Berlin or Madrid for selected pre-events in the weeks before. At his station in London, together with Mélia, he invited hotels to a futuristic design attraction in keeping with the future-oriented discussion round. The “Me” hotel, designed by star architect Norman Forster, whose architecture consists entirely of triangles and clean lines.

In an interview with ICONIST, De Vicente talks about the future of festivals, why virtual reality is important for climate protection and why society’s interest in podcasts and talk shows is constantly increasing.

ICONIST: One of the questions being talked about at Sonar +D is what follows the internet. Do you really think there will be a post-internet world?

Jose Luis De Vicente: We can’t undo things that have happened. Or who have established themselves in our society in the same way as the Internet. But it starts on a small scale, take, for example, the debate on data storage. It is not the first time that something has happened in history that displeases people and that requires a reaction from the population. Just as car manufacturers would not have built electric vehicles without the pressure to demand quieter cars or cars with fewer emissions. So even today, we have to defend ourselves against the negative sides of digitization. One result of this is, for example, Facebook, which today advertises its privacy, whereas ten years earlier it was still said that the privacy of the individual would no longer have any value.

ICONIST: But Sonar is also about virtual reality, artificial intelligence and building a bridge to the real world. You used to campaign for personal rights with your “Copyfight” initiative. What are you fighting for today, and how does digitalization help?

Jose Luis De Vicente: We need to rethink a lot. It starts with how much control we give over our lives, and ends with the economic model of social media, which is in crisis and no longer works that way. But the issue that is really at the forefront and that shapes our generation is environmental protection. We must understand that we cannot continue to live as we have done so far. Species extinction, global warming, the destruction of nature. Virtual reality is ideal to be able to imagine and experience new life forms. This allows people to realize what is happening to the world and why they need to rethink.

ICONIST: Why does it make sense to combine these topics and the discussions with a music festival?

Jose Luis De Vicente: Curating a festival of this kind is a bit like having a garden. You invite friends and you have to wait and see what comes of it. The output can only be controlled to a certain extent. The good thing about the Sonar festival is the variety. Because after two hours, people’s attention usually wanes, they will only look at their phone. That’s why we have a mixture of workshops, lectures and multimedia art, which you can visit alternately. And in the evening you can then completely immerse yourself in the music program of Sonar.

An artist who combines visual art and music: Jean-Michel Jarre on sonar

ICONIST: Should other European festivals follow suit and change their programme accordingly?

Jose Luis De Vicente: Not necessarily, it has to fit the festival. But Berlin has the potential that its clubs could become more than just places to dance. We always say that with the Sonar festival we attract music fans and ravers with a doctor in philosophy. It’s about more than the hedonistic experience you usually have at a typical party or club.

Read also

ICONIST: Talks are an important part of the festival. In general, why do you think that podcasts and talk shows are becoming more and more popular at the moment?

Jose Luis De Vicente: A good conversation between two people is something that people basically enjoy. In addition, today we are again looking for depth and more meaning. After a period of getting used to the fact that information is transmitted in a tweet that can only hold 140 characters. A podcast or a panel discussion are natural conversations. These are two or more people who go a normal way of communication. Something that has not been previously processed, cut or pressed into a predetermined shape. That appeals to people these days.

ICONIST: In their lectures, they also advise that artists today should also become entrepreneurs. Why is this important?

Jose Luis De Vicente: Not only the parameters of a festival are becoming increasingly blurred, but also the boundaries between the professions. A researcher can become an artist, an artist can become an entrepreneur. But I don’t want to tell heroic stories here, so that every artist creates a start-up. But one of the factors for this development was the financial crisis, which brought with it a big problem – especially for the US promotion of artists. At that time, many artists rethought and are now looking for new models with which they can earn money in addition to their art. These can be consultant jobs for large companies or cooperations with filmmakers, brands or musicians.

ICONIST: Do you have to be an artist or a creative on Instagram?

Jose Luis De Vicente: Not mandatory. But if you decide to do so, you have to make sure that everything you post has a consistent quality. After all, behind every art there is a real person, which many people forget. From every interview you give to the posts you publish. Everything is seen and evaluated, so you should not make naive or frivolous decisions when presenting yourself to the outside world.

An alternative to the music program: multimedia installation at the Sonar festival in Barcelona last year

ICONIST: Speaking of presenting yourself. Do you have a tip for people who want to present themselves better on stage or how it is easier for you when you have to speak in front of a lot of people?

Jose Luis De Vicente: You have to like the performance. This is the beginning of everything. You can’t present yourself without turning it into a performance. If you accept this fact, it will be easier for you. And find your way so that you feel comfortable on stage, and talk about what really interests you. I myself am an introverted person and shy away from the stage. But if you keep in mind that the people in the room, even if it’s 2000, are there because of you and want to hear what you say of their own free will, then you should not be afraid.

If you want to attend the next event of the Sonar +D talk series on May 29, 2019 in Berlin, you can find more information here.

Facebook Instagram and Twitter Follow us under the name ICONISTbyicon on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Go to our cases Get a free quote