Thor Magnusson lecture


Sonic Writing: Technologies of Material, Symbolic and Signal Inscriptions

In this lecture I present resent research that explores how contemporary music technologies trace their ancestry to previous forms of instruments and media. I will look at how new digital music technologies trace their origins in traditional instrument design, musical notation, and sound recording. The scope will range from ancient Greek music theory, medieval notation, early modern scientific instrumentation to contemporary multimedia and artificial intelligence.

I will point to a bespoke affinity and similarity between current musical practices and those from before the advent of notation and recording, stressing the importance of instrument design in the study of new music and projecting how new computational technologies, including machine learning, will transform our musical practices.

Buy the book [35% discount code: GLR MP6]



Thor Magnusson is a Professor in Future Music at the University of Sussex. His work focusses on the impact digital technologies have on musical creativity and practice, explored equally through practice (software development, composition and performance) and theory (academic publications, lecturing, talks) . He is the co-founder of ixi audio (, and has developed audio software, systems of generative music composition, written computer music tutorials and created two musical live coding environments. He has taught workshops in creative music coding and sound installations, and given presentations, performances and visiting lectures at diverse art institutions, conservatories, and universities internationally.

In 2019, Bloomsbury Academic published Magnusson’s monograph Sonic Writing: The Technologies of Material, Symbolic and Signal Inscriptions. The book explores how contemporary music technologies trace their ancestry to previous forms of instruments and media, including symbolic musical notation. The book underpins his research in creative AI, where, as part of the MIMIC project (, Magnusson has worked on a system that enables users to design their own live coding languages for machine learning.

Further information here:

Z & Þorsteinn Eyfjörð

Z is an aspiring electronic composer. You have mainly seen her playing music at the bars in Reykjavik in the night but now is time for a new chapter.

Þorsteinn Eyfjörð Þórarinsson (b.1995) is an Icelandic artist currently living in Reykjavik, Iceland. His practice evolves around time based mediums with focus on sound in dialogue with architectural space and distortion of time.

This is the first performance where Z and Þorsteinn Eyfjörð Þórarinsson merge their sonic worlds together. Their arsenal contains modular synthesis, digital sound manipulation, field recordings and guitar.

In this performance, they will improvise music to the journey a female deep-sea octopus takes to the bottom of the sea to brood. She will stay there to guard her eggs for four and half year without eating, slowly getting weaker and weaker until she eventually dies when the eggs are hatched.

Sound design as a search for novelty:  Anyone online can breed unique sounds at [] by evolving neural networks and combining them with synthesizer patches.  Interesting sounds can be published so others can further evolve them.  Published sounds can be downloaded as (SFZ) sample packs for use in the various Digital Audio Workstations, such as Ableton Live.  Sonic Pi code snippets are also auto-generated for each sample pack, so it’s easy to bring them to the next live coding session.

“From so simple a beginning endless [wave]forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” — Charles Darwin.

“Melodic possibilities have been exhausted, chord progressions are spent. The natural evolution of music is in exploring novel timbres and experimenting in noise” — The Art Of Noise by pATCHES.


Daniil Pilchen

Daniil Pilchen is a composer currently working on a series of pieces called “Songs.” Each of these pieces investigates different complications a dialogue between musicians may face. Musicians, deprived of their usual means of communication have to come up with new ones during the performance.

“Four songs” look at the disturbances and uncertainties occurring while playing music over the internet. Network latency disturbs the rhythmical precision and makes simultaneity impossible. Each section of the piece presents a slightly different perspective on these qualities. Four songs—four dialogues, four modes of listening, and responding.

Rebekah Wilson

Rebekah Wilson (New Zealand) is a composer and technologist who has travelled and lived in many new lands and continents over the last two decades, benefiting greatly from the proliferation of the Internet. She was honoured to hold the position of Artistic Co-Director at STEIM (Studio for Electronic and Instrumental Music, Amsterdam), where her passions for music, performance and technology became fused. She is co-founder and technology director for Chicago’s Source Elements, providing post-production software and services for the film television and radio industry. She continues today the ever-perpetual dis-entanglement and re-interlacing of her many technical, musical and cinematic threads, performing and lecturing in international venues and festivals; most recently her focus is fixed on the emergent field of networked music performance, a topic she will be teaching in at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in 2020/21. Her research can be found at

Rebekah will perform a live version of Primer I. an electronic program/score with computer graphics, text, piano and electronic sound processing.

Gulli Björnsson

Gulli Bjornsson (b.1991) is guitarist and composer from Iceland. Bjornsson’s music typically blends electronics, acoustic instruments and visuals and has been described as “hypnotic” (News Gazette), “a knockout – wondrously inventive” (Soundboard Magazine) and “Virtuosic … modern, occasionally discordant, but still accessible” (Classical Guitar Magazine).

Last summer he released his debut album Bergmál feauturing his own compositions for guitar, strings and laptop. You can find it on all major online platforms. He is a candidate for the Ph.D. degree in composition at Princeton University.


The idea behind Svart-Hvít Ský á Himni (Black-White Clouds in the Sky) is the beauty and terror of clouds. I wanted to capture this change; how something that initially seems safe and beautiful can turn and become something fearful. I think clouds embody this quite well, as they are forming they seem pretty and harmless but as they grow they can turn the skies black and cause torrential rains.

About the audio processing
The piece centers around an audio effect I created in Max, a kind of step-sequencer that applies a rhythmic envelope to the guitar. All the effects are pre-programmed (pre-programing is deciding in advance how the patch (computer program) will function over the course of the composition) with the performer following a counter to help him be in sync with the audio processing.

About the visuals
The visuals manipulate a short stock-footage clip of clouds drifting in the sky; looping it and spinning it around. The color matrix of the clip is inverted and the amount of this inversion is what is audio reactive. Lastly the clip is fed through a video-reverb to create a ‘wash’ effect.

Katrín Inga Jónsdóttir Hjördísardóttir

Katrín Inga Jónsdóttir Hjördísardóttir (b. 1982) is a universal artist living and working on planet Earth. Her subjects often include the social- and political-scape with focus on the art world phenomenon, which she funnels into her practice in unusual and personal ways. Through various methods and mediums, including writing, performance, drawing and sculpture, she addresses, challenges and becomes the subject of her artwork. Jónsdóttir Hjördísardóttir has built up a remarkable resume of exhibitions and performance projects, working in several countries. While often focusing on women and gender issues, she presents a wider critical discussion that involves art history and theory. Her exhibitions and performances are at once serious and wryly humorous. Jónsdóttir Hjördísardóttir has presented solo projects and performances, most notably at Living Art Museum, Reykjavik (2013) and her work and performances have been presented in group exhibitions at platforms including High Line Art, New York, USA (2017); Kunstmuseum Licthenstein, Vadaus, Licthenstein, (2015); and XVII Biennial of Young Artists, MEDITERRANEA17, Milan, Italy (2015). She is the recipient of awards including a Fulbright Scholarship (2012); the Dungal Art Fund award (2012); the Gudmunda Andresdottir Scholarship (2013); the Icelandic Art Salary from the government of Iceland, Iceland (2015/2017); and the Svavar Guðnasson & Ástu Eirkiskdóttir foundation art price for the promotion of young Icelandic artists (2017). Jónsdóttir Hjördísardóttir graduated with a MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York (2014); a BA degree in Art History and Art Theory from the University of Iceland (2012); and a BA in Fine Art from the Iceland Academy of the Arts (2008).

“It is all my Fault” (2013) exhibited at High Line Art, New York 2017


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María Dalberg

is a contemporary artist based in Reykjavík. She studied Fine Arts at Iceland University of the Arts and History at the University of Iceland. She has produced works in various media, including text, performance, and film photography, she is most known for her video art installations.

For her subject matter, she explores different societies and relationships between humans and nature. In her practice, she uses old artifacts and archival work, collects historical accounts, writes fictional and non-fictional stories, and makes use of her autobiographical text and field recordings. She is interested in different technologies, and for each piece of work, she develops methods to manipulate different sound and video images.

María has exhibited her work in different places. She held a solo show at Reykjavík Art Museum (2018), performed at Cycle Music and Art Festival (2018). She exhibited her work at the 5th Moscow Biennale for young art (2016). In summer 2020, she participates in a group exhibition at Tallinn Art Hall.



Þorbjörg Jónsdóttir

Visual artist and experimental filmmaker from Iceland. Her films and videos navigate between ethnography and abstract formalism, exploring preternatural states where oral-mythology and landscape collide. Thorbjorg’s most recent film A tree is like a man / En la maloca de Don William (2019) was one of the winners of FOGO Island Art Film Weekend in 2019. It premiered at CPH:DOX where it competed in the NEXT:WAVE section and has since toured the festival circuit.

Gabríela Friðriksdóttir

lives and works in Reykjavík. She graduated from the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts in 1997, and in a short time she has come to be a prominent figure within the contemporary Icelandic art scene. Working in various media—sculpture, drawing, painting, sound sculpture and music—her work is strongly characterized by what has come to be called the “sweetness of horror.” Gabríela examines the chaos and excesses of society while playing on the borders of dreams and reality, drawing from a fantastic mythology of her own creation. In 2005 Gabríela was Iceland’s representative at the Venice Biennale.


Crepusculum, 2011
photo from the video
photographer Jiri Hroník

Tetralogia North – 2005  (Extract)

Tetralogia East – 2005  (Extract)

Monade Li

French architect, film maker, Monade Li lives and works in Paris, France. Her first experimental art video, an underwater shooting by day, “Diatomée” turned into a ‘corps-métrage’ (“body-measurement”) concept. Then came out “Claire Obscure”, an underwater shooting by night and “Malojá”, originally scored by Steven Severin (Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Glove), shot by the sea shore. Her debut films triptych was done.
In homage to Bergman’s film «Persona», her fourth shortfilm shot in South of Iceland, called “Candice”, scored by Steven Severin and Julia Kent on cello, was presented at  “Air d’Islande” festival in Paris, in Hong Kong and also in Orkney in 2015.
During her stay in 2016 at ArtsIceland residency in Ísafjörður, she worked on an experimental shortfilm titled “Hollie”, scored by the epic mucisian-performer Dirk Ivens; it is an homage to the Icelandic painter Georg Guðni and based on “Gotuljod / Poème de la rue” by the Icelandic author Sigurður Pálsson. Hollie was in competition at “Festival du Nouveau Cinéma” in Montreal in 2017 and also at “Bideodromo” festival in Bilbao in 2018.
The encounter with the Icelandic culture and people in 2013 led her to do some more researches on the Icelandic literature and art for her future experiments. Monade Li is currently working on her new shortfilm called “The Selkie”, which is based on a mysterious seal woman legend.


Diatomée, 6 min, color, 4/3 DV. 2005. France.

Claire Obscure,  5 min, color, 4/3 DV. 2009. France.

Malojá, 6 min, color, 4/3 DV. 2010. France.

Go And Come Back by Fleeting Joys, music video 5 min 30 sec, b/w/color, HD 1080p, 2011. France.

Dérapage, a loss of control, experiment 2 min, color, 4/3 DV. 2011. France.

Slowed by Pieter Nooten, music video 10 min, bw, HD 1080p, 2012. France and Spain.

Fragments / Journal / Drones by Fire Temple, music video 9 min, bw, HD 1080p, 2014. France.

Candice, 9 min25 sec, bw/color, HD 1080p. 2014. France and Iceland.

Almaliza, 5 min, bw /color, HD 1080p, 2015, France.

LaOT / Love and Other Tragedies by Roger O’Donnell (The Cure), «Rehearsals at St Leonard’s Church, London» documentary, 15 min, bw/color, HD 1080p. 2015. UK.

Dérapage#2, MH/MnHn, experiment 2 min 50, bw, 4/3 DV. 2016. France. Experimental workshop.

Hollie, 6 min, bw/color, HD 1080p. 2017. France and Iceland.

Percival’s Perceived Pebble, 12 min, bw/color, HD 1080p. 2018. FranceIceland and UK.

The Selkie, 8 min, bw/color, HD 1080p. 2019-2020. France and Iceland.

My favourite quote (-;

“The process of making films in communion with oneself, the way a painter works or a writer, need not now be solely experimental. Contrary to what people say, using the first-person in films tends to be a sign of humility: ‘All I have to offer is myself'”
Chris Marker, 1997.





Okuma is a duo based in Reykjavik, Iceland. They like to describe their music as post-apocalyptic, sourcing inspiration in reflections about our times.
Saxophone and electric guitar are interfaced with modular synthesizers and computers, fed through real-time processing units. A highly interactive setup providing a very open and intuitive playground. Okuma is constantly exploring ways to unify these elements into a world of sound that leaves room for improvisation – complex harmonies and organic textures, raw electronics, subtle melodies and unexpected rhythms.

Okuma (Tómas Manoury & Daníel Friðrik) er dúó starfrækt í Reykjavík. Þeir skilgreina tónlist sína sem heimsendatónlist – staða mannsins í nútímanum er þeim hugleikin og uppspretta hugmynda. Þeir nota gagnvirkan búnað til þess að tengja saxófón og rafgítar við módúlar-syntha og tölvur fyrir rauntímahljóðvinnslu. Okuma rannsakar ólíka tengimöguleika til þess að skapa hljóðheim sem er opinn og flæðandi en virkar einnig sem rammi fyrir spuna. Akústík mætir elektróník á lífrænum leikvelli þar sem allt getur gerst.


GEIGEN is a techno violin performance duo formed in San Francisco, in the fall of 2018, by artist Gígja Jónsdóttir and composer Pétur Eggertsson. They discovered that both of them had quit playing the violin in their adolescence after many years of training. The stagnated music education system had scared them off but the violin had a big impact on their lives and they shared the interest to bring the instrument back into their work.

GEIGEN rebels against the classical image of the violin, it is the need to break out of traditional systems, it embraces the violin and attempts to bring it into the future. GEIGEN is an exploration of how to stretch the sonic world of the violin, both keeping the acoustic quality of the instrument as well as using different effects and filters and mixing it with techno creating something other-worldly.

GEIGEN creates transformative concert experiences, called the Geigen Galaxies, where the audience are not only audience but participants and fellow travellers in a spaceship nightclub.

GEIGEN has performed multiple Geigen Galaxies in various venues and festivals around Iceland. Each Geigen Galaxy is a unique experience, constantly developing – both sonically and performatively.

Sigríður Birna Matthíasdóttir

Sigríður Birna Matthíasdóttir completed an MA in design exploration and translation at the Iceland University of the Arts last spring. Prior to that, she studied fashion design at Studio Berçot in Paris. Currently, her work involves avatars, virtual fashion, and face filters for Instagram. Using digital technology to examine and develop new aesthetics and standards of beauty.

Dates 2020 & Open Call

The RAFLOST festival will be taking place on the 21st-24th of May 2020 at various venues in Reykjavik.  As a platform for ideas and experiments with new media/electronics/technology/sound/art/performance/feelings/cyber/organism/etcetera the festival will bring together local and international artists.

If you are interested to perform or participate in the festival, please send a message to: (please note that RAFLOST is an ultra-low-budget festival with limited production possibilities).


Jeffrey Alan Scudder

(Photo from a performance in Malibu, California (June 2018) 📼 Watch video here)

Radical Digital Painting groups and presents several ideas and artifacts related to contemporary painting and contextualizes its connection to historical processes and digital technology. It is inspired by and is a continuation of Radical Computer Music.

Through demonstrative, interactive performance lectures, American artist and educator Jeffrey Alan Scudder presents homegrown software inventions and new theories about painting and picture making.

He has performed more than 60 times since 2016 across the US and Europe, mostly in art schools for students, and often with collaborators Goodiepal, Casey REAS, Julia Yerger, and Artur Erman.

A Google search for “digital painting” today mostly brings up Photoshop tutorials related to translating age old representational painting techniques to computational media, but the topic of digital painting has much more to offer fine arts in terms of poetry and theory.

Painting software today has largely developed out of a need for traditional artists to keep up pace of work in large scale mass media production pipelines, like those of video games and movies. Few systems have been developed to explore the spontaneity and spirituality present in modernism and contemporary art and further develop the language of painting in general.

Jeffrey has created several programs that highlight abstract expressivity, play, and improvisation over production quality and technical control.

In addition to software demos, new theoretical models of image resolution, computer literacy, and picture making are illustrated, described, and connected to the history of abstraction in drawing and painting. New ways of approaching drawing are also presented.

He presently spends all his time traveling, performing, and continuing to develop his software and media performances.

From Summer through Winter of 2018 he was traveling and lecturing with the Danish composer Goodiepal and his band GP&PLS throughout Europe. Jeffrey’s work Ten Minute Painting is now a part of the International Goodiepal Collection at the SMK Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, Denmark.

🔊Listen to a podcast from LA, published by The Art Word in January 2019 on Radical Digital Painting.

📼Watch an hour long webinar on Radical Digital Painting, given to the Digital Painting class at UniArts Helsinki.

🔊Listen to another podcast published by in September 2018 on Radical Digital Painting between both Jeffrey & the GP&PLS band members.

Jóhann Eiríksson and Hallvarður Ásgeirsson

Jóhann Eiríksson and Hallvarður Ásgeirsson meet at the crossing of industrial and electro acoustic music. They will perform a piece combining the feedback instrument Varðiphone with modular synthesizers.

Jóhann Eiriksson has been active in the Icelandic music scene for decades. He is a founding member of electronic / post industrial groups Gjöll with writer / vocalist Sigurður Harðarsson , and Reptilicus with Guðmundur Ingi Markússon. And has also released solo projects under his own name (or variants thereof). As well as being an influential musician, he has worked with a diverse group of artists as a producer.

Hallvarður Ásgeirsson is a composer and guitarist working with the metamorphosis of live instruments. He uses a custom built Varðiphone, working with feedback and using a modular pickup enabling isolated processing of each string. He has written music for the films The Disadvantages of Time Travel and the Moment by Richard Ramchurm and the dance pieces Scape of Grace, Blýkufl and Predator by Saga Sigurðardóttir. He has released several albums on his own label Andrými and on Paradigms Recordings.