środa, 24 stycznia 2018

Neve a Napoli

La Digestion Festival
Chiesa delle Scalze
Salita Pontecorvo


Hilary Jeffery, trombone
Gianpaolo Peres, voice
Michal Libera, concept, reading

The piece is a musical setting for Ted Hughes' "Snow". It is based on a single swordfisherman's call of Vincenzo Puntillo recorded in 1954 by Alan Lomax in Scila (Calabria). I too don't fully understand the connection.


Hilary Jeffery and Gianpaolo Peres started working together on Minor Tom in January 2016 in the wake of David Bowie's departure. Their music plumbs the depths of blues and treads the lesser known path of dhrupad in a futuristic synthetic setting. Together with Michal Libera they have developed a new performance "Snow" for the occasion of  La Digestion Festival in Chiesa delle Scalze on 31 March 2018, which will be their stage debut. Further performances as well as a release on Silent Records are planned for the near future.

piątek, 10 listopada 2017



Musical reading of "Cosmos" by Witold Gombrowicz

Vence, Notre Dame de la Nativité
15/12/2017, 21.00

Tomasz Nosiński - voice
Ingar Zach, Le Quan Ninh - percussions
Jacqueline Sobiszewski - lights
Michal Libera - libretto, dramaturgy

The performance is neither a theatre piece nor a performative reading. It is musicality of „Cosmos” staged for one actor, two percussionists and light design. Gombrowicz meticulously worked out the relation between the book's topic and rhythmical / melodic aspects of the text and thus hearing „Cosmos” can be of relevance here. The main concept is nothing more nor less than putting to front the sonic features of the written text in its relation to its philosophical content.

”Cosmos” can be seen as a treatise about separation of (always too many) things and their arbitrary pointing to each other or, in other words, a masterpiece on how things become signs. Separation of things, musically speaking, is called „staccato”. Pointing towards each other – „legato”. Thus the main idea of the performance is to express and complicate relations between the two musico-philosophical elements of cosmos – being separated and at the same time pointing.

The structure of the performance mirrors the above mentioned diagnosis. It presents a few initially separated “objects” taken from the book. These are:  Sparrow, Stick, Cat, Ludwik and Priest in their staccato positions in “cosmic reality”. In between these things, there is an intermediary, legato, a connection maker which is yet another “object” of the book – an Arrow (“today, ex post, I know it was the arrow that was the most important” Gombrowicz writes and it is because Arrow stands for pointing, for bringing elements together). Over the course of the performance, this clear division of parts becomes more and more blurred.

The libretto has been prepared by the use of method Gombrowicz introduced himself in „Cosmos”, namely – departing from various unrelated elements and bringing them together in a seemingly arbitrary way. Surely, the more arbitrary the selection of elements, the more convincing is the display of the perverse nature of cosmos. There is no other way. As Leonard Neuger put it: “The paradox of »Cosmos«: any consistency I find in the novel will make me one of its characters”. The libretto thus is a perverse, cosmic (in Gombrowicz's sense) perspective on Gombrowicz's “Cosmos”. Hence title: “Cosmos-Cosmos”. 

wtorek, 17 października 2017

PRES@60 at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

4 concerts, exhibition and two talks about Polish Radio Experimental Studio   
curated by Michal Libera, Michal Mendyk and Daniel Muzyczuk

17/11: Exhibition Opening
18/11: Jacek Sienkiewicz plays Bohdan Mazurek
20/11: Małe Instrumenty plays Kartacz
21/11: Daniel Muzyczuk - curatorial guided tour
           Michal Libera, Michal Mendyk - talk
23/11: Thomas Lehn plays Boguslaw Schaeffer Symphony
24/11: Valerio Tricoli plays Bohdan Mazurek

more: programme



Możesz usłyszeć zygzaki, krajobrazy i archidźwięki
tekst: Michał Libera, Michał Mendyk
ilustracje: Aleksandra i Daniel Mizielińscy 

Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry 

Seria: S.E.R.I.A
Premiera: listopad 2017
Kompozytor z innej planety i silniki grające na instrumentach. Muzyka z wnętrza butelki i z serca tropikalnej dżungli. Koncert na zabawkowe bączki i symfonia na syreny fabryczne. Spacery dźwiękowe, mosty słuchowe i tapeta do słuchania…
Czym jest muzyka? Gdzie jej szukać? Jak ją tworzyć? Muzycy i kompozytorzy zadają sobie te pytania od wieków. Ale w ciągu ostatnich 100 lat wielu z nich znalazło odpowiedzi, o jakich wcześniej nikomu się nie śniło. W muzyce współczesnej wszystko może się zdarzyć! I właśnie o tym opowiada ta książka.

W 44 zwięzłych i przystępnych rozdziałach autorzy przedstawiają wybranych kompozytorów, muzyków i ich dzieła, ukazując na ich przykładach różnorodne sposoby myślenia o dźwięku, muzyce, komponowaniu oraz byciu muzykiem. Wśród bohaterów znajdziecie m.in. Johna Cage’a, Steve’a Reicha, Arnolda Schönberga, Karlheinza Stockhausena, Pawła Szymańskiego i Iannisa Xenakisa, a także The Beatles, Briana Eno, Einstürzende Neubauten, Kraftwerk czy Madonnę.

środa, 20 września 2017

Minor Music at Donaueschinger Musiktage


Donaueschinger Musiktage 2017


Donaueschingen, Germany
Kasino, Villingerstrasse 50

Curated by Michal Libera

Eugene Chadbourne / Johann Sebastian Bach: "German Country and Western"
Eugene Chadbourne – banjo

Barbara Kinga Majewska / Richard Wagner: "Isolde, Brangäne and Marke"
Barbara Kinga Majewska – voice, staging

Alex Waterman / Karlheinz Stockhausen: "LIGHT MUSIC"
Alex Waterman – voice, electronics

[I]t seems necessary to let the question of the right to music resound according to a somewhat different formulation: What place does a musical work assign to its listener? How does it require us to listen to it? What means does it put into play to compose a listening? But also: What scope, what space for play does a work reserve, in itself, for those who play it or hear it, for those who interpret it, with or without instruments? […] Who has a right to music? This question can also be reformulated thus: What can I make of music? What can I do with it? But also: What can I do to it, what can I do to music? What do I have the right to make of, do with or to music?
- Peter Szendy

[M]inor no longer designates specific literatures but the revolutionary conditions for every literature within the heart of what is called great (or established) literature. Even he who has the misfortune of being born in the country of a great literature must write in its language, just as a Czech Jew writes in German, or an Ouzbekian writes in Russian. Writing like a dog digging a hole, a rat digging its burrow. And to do that, finding its own point of underdevelopment, his own patois, his own third world, his own desert […] How many people today live in a language that is not their own? This is the problem of immigrants, and especially of their children, the problem of minorities, the problem of a minor literature but also a problem for all of us: how to tear a minor literature away from its own language, allowing it to challenge the language and making it follow a sober revolutionary path? How to become a nomad and an immigrant and a gypsy in relation to one's own language?
- Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

Clearly – an impossible task: to perform the entire LICHT cycle in one go and to do it solo. Or "Tristan and Isolde", a capella. A mere provocation or a megalomaniac curatorial gesture – inevitably it is, admitted. But at least it does not even bare the slightest trace of temptation for a new rendition of a classical piece. "Minor Music" is not about that. It is rather about a solitary caught at night in a majestic room of an exquisite museum, alone, staring at a breathtaking painting. Being arrested. In love. Frustrated. Intimidated. Then hating it. Then again admiring. It may all be there. Being subjugated and then subjugate, facing virtuous blackmail but then also and by the same necessity – a cheap one, as all blackmails including the greatest ones, inevitably are. Rivarly, appreciation and affluence too, who knows – they may also float there in the air of that grandeur institution.

It indeed may feel like on the desert. A survival despatch, in solitude. Take only necessities, think twice and go. Be in danger, face insoluble situations and resolve them. Meet your enemies and try to speak their language. If you can, cheat the wind, become minor, rescale your limbs. Novelty does not necessarily work here, fashion does not even exist. There is no easy way out. But you may always try and climb a giant beast, lean on its back and check the smell of its fur.

Hypothetically, we all do that when listening to the music we find great. Hypothetically, it all haunts us in the quiet retreat of our own, inner listening, when we dare to ask shameless questions, shift the tone a little darker, swap lines to understand asymmetry, tear off tapestry to see its weight. Hypothetically, we inhabit these kinds of deserts and museums in our listening, we get less cowardly in this silence, we claim rights, we may go as far as owning a piece of land for a moment or two, just as long as it all remains tacit. As long as it remains soundless, private, domestic, it happens to be our everyday listening. In "Minor Music" it may perhaps become somewhat audible, in public, in the noble setting of Donaueschinger Musiktage.

Eugene Chadbourne is the only one of the invited artists of "Minor Music" who already conceived his first version of his project. An attempt on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach being armed with banjo only and on top of that calling it "German Country and Western" may seem funny, even ridicule or provocative. But it may only feel so if you have never heard it. If you have, then you know it is no joke, neither nostalgia and in the least a gag. If you have, these seeming jokes are no pranks anymore. Perhaps Chadbourne's performances of Bach may also be a clue that conceptual music takes each and every piece of cloth in order to self-smuggle. There is a vast space for statements in the most temperate forms of music making. Then no words can flip the lines of tradition, aesthetics and judgement better than the banjo fingering does. In Donaueschingen Eugene Chadbourne will continue his inquiry into German country and western music in the landscapes of "Goldberg Variations".

"Isolde, Brangäne and Marke" by Barbara Kinga Majewska is not going to last 4 hours and although based on Richard Wagner's opera, it will be as far from the harmonic orgy of the original as possible. A solo vocalist with no tape and no electronics. Majewska is rather on the path opened up already by Friedrich Nietzsche, an advocate of stepping away from the pompous Teutonic masculinity of Wagner and replacing it with a minor femininity. The scale, the harmony, the mass of sound, the volume are all reduced to several motives revealing the turnpikes of the myth and its sonic covering. Focusing on Tristan's gaze, Majewska finds it to be a crucial dramaturgical point of Wagner's rendition of the myth. Not unlike Homo Sacer, Tristan appears to be an outcast who suspends the law – law of state, law of social strata, law of customs – by a mere, if not minor, "passive activity" of his penetrating gaze.

As part of the "Minor Music" program, Alex Waterman will present a new 29-minute song cycle for voice and electronics with his own staging and light design: "Urantia!". "Urantia!"is a comic opera about the Kellogg brothers, Dr. Sadler and the mysterious "Sleeping Man", a post-war German composer, and "the importance of a good breakfast."

poniedziałek, 4 września 2017

Grupa Budapeszt: Tadzio. The Shadow Equation

Trafostacja Sztuki, Szczecin

Igor Krenz presents solo show by Grupa Budapeszt
Tadzio. The Shadow Equation

Following the exhibition Sanyofikacja. Cud reprezentacji at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Budapest Group continue exploring the 2½ dimension. They look into the structure, rules of action and aporias of the world, which has existed for centuries in parallel with the three-dimensional world we have known and which has been theorized and practiced by dozens of scientists and artists, from Tycho Brache to Ken Jacobs. The 2½D world is a two-dimensional world that constantly produces illusory 3D objects. And vice versa: it is a world of three dimensions which camouflages 3D objects by flattening them and merging them into the background. The exhibition in Łódź focused on a two-dimensional world leaning towards a 3-dimensional one. In Szczecin, the Group takes up the opposite direction, starting with the familiar 3D world and reducing it by half a dimension to show a number of camouflage strategies. The exhibition features several new works by Grupa Budapeszt, from sculptures and paintings, through films and objects, to light and sound installations. Edwin A. Abbott writes in one of the opening sentences of his book Flatland: A Romance of Many DimensionsImagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like shadows – only hard and with luminous edges (…).
If, according to the above, flatland is a land of shadow that is not cast by a body, the land surrounding Tadzio at the exhibition in TRAFO is the world of bodies that deprive each other of shadows. It may be viewed as a territory of perfect camouflage, a place where all heterogeneous elements fit so perfectly that it is impossible to distinguish them from one another. Others may perceive this area as puzzles – an arrangement of components with one possible configuration in which none of them is redundant. Both interpretations are right since every object in the 2½D reality has a double identity – it is both itself and the camouflage it provides for other object that can conceal itself in such camouflage in a precisely defined relationship with the first object. In other words, each orange half has only one other half to match. It drifts towards the second half, to stopping in it, to stillness and fulfillment. Needless to say, the other half is not the other half of the same orange, but an empty space to which it “clings” and becomes invisible. The words quoted above could be paraphrased in the following manner: Imagine Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures unable to move about in space, since they immediately begin to create new shapes and connections with other figures, thereby losing their identity. Imagine a space in which they remain static and so perfectly adjacent that nothing else can fit into it, including a ubiquitous look.    

poniedziałek, 21 sierpnia 2017

Grupa Budapeszt: Sanyofikacja. The Miracle of Representation


Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź

Grupa Budapeszt presents solo show by Igor Krenz
Sanyofikacja. The Miracle of Representation

Sanyofikacja (Sanyofication) is a process which draws on the idea of television transmission. It is also an operation that enables transmission of images over long distances, as well as a machine capable of changing the dimensions in which an object is placed and subjected to the process. Between the existence and non-existence extends the whole range of intermediate states, among which the spectrality is only one of the most obvious ones. These intermediate states of existence and non-existence appear and disappear as the transition between dimensions proceeds from the second to the third.
Igor Krenz is an artist whose work often exemplifies his search for paradoxes of the so-called new media. This time, the exhibition at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, presents two works in which a seemingly innocent and accidentally found  object of culture becomes a basis for the exploration of complex relationships between the abstract and the figurative, material and immaterial, poetry and prose, object and background, and, even,  between art and curatorial activity.
One day Krenz came across a collection of scientific books entitled "Mathematical Morphology in Remote Sensing", which were filled both with texts and illustrations. They were offered at a reduced price so he bought a whole pile of them from which he then "produced" ten videos, one sculpture, two installations, four paintings and a mural. As a result, all the illustrations became artworks and the book became a catalogue for an exhibition. We are dealing here with translation, multiplication, but also with a multi-level game with what contemporary art is about. The artist interweaves the mathematical concepts of with post-conceptual ideas, as a result of which creates witty comments about the world of Art.
Apart from "Mathematical Morphology in Remote Sensing" Igor Krenz got into possession of the scheme of integrated television circuits produced by no longer existing brand of Sanyo company. The scheme proved to be full of existential problems, references to the dark side of reality. It revealed subjects such as depression on one hand and euphoric states on the other. This inverted "ready-made" process is the one in which the found curatorial text generated work. The artist assumed that television is a process. The TV makes us see something that ‘is not’. Krenz used the metaphor of the “perhaps existing” 2½D world. It is s a concept of something that is not fully three dimensional but surely not just flat either. It is a problem considered only on a theoretical level, all attempts to resolve it in reality would border on madness.
Many theosophists and artists of the first avant-garde or founders of abstract painting, have often been interested in the concept of “the fourth dimension”.  It is a view of some kind of world that would be related to ours just like our world would relate to two dimensional one. “The fourth dimension” was a theory that allowed to combine what is spiritual with what is scientific. Similarly, Igor Krenz imagines the creation of the final two-dimensional object on the Sanyo TV screen as a process that takes place in “the two and a half-dimensional” world. In the world where objects are shaded, though light is falling on them, their spatiality is, to a degree, doubtful.
Igor Krenz. Sanyofikacja. The Miracle of Representation exhibition is related to a wider project exploring the world, whose existence is determined by two and a half dimensions. The 2½D world is a two dimensional world that constantly produces illusory 3D objects. And vice versa –  it is a world of three dimensions which, by flattening and merging into the background, camouflages 3D objects. While at the sister show of the Grupa Budapeszt [Budapest Group] in Trafostacja gallery in Szczecin, the starting point was the well-known three-dimensional world which reduced itself by a half, showing a number of strategies for its camouflage, at the exhibition in Łódź the starting point was a two dimensional world that swung towards the 3D world.

The two-dimensional technical patterns themselves become scores that orchestrate the world they are part of. Hence, it is only a step away from asking about the generative aspect of modern technologies, about their status of specific notations, the collection of executive instructions that may bring technology beyond the level of its usefulness. What happens if every item found becomes a notation to which in order to read it we simply need to find the key? These and other questions about the fundamental issues of artistic production and the hidden meaning of reality will be answered by Igor Krenz himself supported by curatorship of Grupa Budapeszt.