This year's SONICA theme is Sentinels. We'll think about guarding and isolation as two faces of the same coin. Sentinel species (like canaries in a coal mine) are how Kurt Vonnegut understood the role of artists, or as the Sentinelese tribe, an isolated tribe that has no contact with civilisation and refuses it.
“I sometimes wondered what the use of any of the arts was. The best thing I could come up with was what I call the canary in the coal mine theory of the arts. This theory says that artists are useful to society because they are so sensitive. They are super-sensitive. They keel over like canaries in poison coal mines long before more robust types realize that there is any danger whatsoever.”
- Kurt Vonnegut