What better year to welcome Holly Herndon back to Sónar than 2019, the year of the original Blade Runner? While flying cars are still a distant dream, many of the films’ other premonitions are closer than ever to coming true, not least the rise of AI, which while not being completely indistinguishable from human intelligence, is taking over many of our daily tasks. It’s a reality that the multidisciplinary artist Holly Herndon is especially attuned to. Having previously explored the synthesis of the human voice through software, her latest project gives free reign to the machines, incorporating a specially designed AI called Spawn as a compositional partner. Her new show, which she’ll perform at Sónar, promises to push at the boundaries of AI sound and image creation, following an intense period of R+D that has featured a long list of musicians choreographers and visual artists.
Since releasing “Movement” a decade ago, Herndon has consistently pushed at the boundaries of music creation, in the process further erasing the line between programmer and musician. Concerned intimately with the internet and the networked individual, her 2015 LP Platform is considered a watershed moment in the scene. As we approach the end of the decade, Holly continues to explore the nature of our reality as humans through technology like no other being.