niedziela, 23 czerwca 2013


Katarzyna Krakowiak
The Rise and Fall of Air

02/07 - 18/08
Zachęta - National Gallery of Art

Katarzyna Krakowiak - sculptor
Ralf Meinz - sound designer
Michał Libera - curator
Andrzej Kłosak - room acoustician

Katarzyna Krakowiak is the first artist ever whose work is presented in all of the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art’s thirteen rooms at once. None of those, however, will be accessible for visitors, and most are ‘no entry’ spaces for the gallery’s staff as well. Though not located far from the familiar rooms and staircases, they are too narrow and too cramped, often missing doors and sometimes floors, to be entered. Some of those spaces have been classified in the building’s architectural plans as ‘voids and technical rooms’; these include elevator shafts, ventilation shafts, skylights, unused corridors and rooms. Spaces between seemingly monolithic walls or skylight grilles do not even appear in those plans; all together, they add up to a staggering space of nearly 15,000 cubic metres.

In the hidden system formed by these spaces, and especially in the building’s three, nearly parallel, huge wall voids, Krakowiak finds the shape of her new architectural sculpture. The voids cut vertically across the entire building, supporting the massive skylight floor, often associated with the institution’s logotype. Together, they constitute what is in fact a new Zachęta, empty and inaccessible, based on a new construction, but also possessing new ornamentation and a new form. Unlike in previous expansion plans, whether realised or not, this new Zachęta is not created by adding new elements; rather, it is crammed into the inter-wall voids. Rather than creating new architectural plans or models, Krakowiak builds the monumental and overwhelming space with sound. In the case of working with inaccessible space, this is a natural choice: nothing but sound reaches the spaces where her sculpture has been crammed in.

Acousticians call such voids ‘rooms within rooms’. As from their point of view nothing isolates better than a few centimetres of empty, tight and inaccessible space, the function of such voids is clear: it is to muffle sound; to not let it through; to withhold it; to weaken and mute it. This means that the ‘building within building’, the Zachęta within Zachęta, is an architectural equivalent of the air pump, a machine for pushing air. It absorbs sounds and makes sure that nothing of what transpires inside the gallery is let outside; it retains all sounds until they fade away or transmits them upwards, to the huge collecting and storing container: the skylights. This process, the isolating-muting work of void in architecture, is of crucial significance here: the fact that architecture can be the ‘last to hear’, can get rid of our audible traces, can muffle us. And finally the fact that the process can be amplified so that the inaccessible voids fill the entire building.

środa, 12 czerwca 2013


A series dedicated to experimental music before 20th century
curated by Frau W., Maciej Śledziecki (ZAM e.V.) and Michał Libera (Foundation 4.99)

Avant Avant Garde # 2
Corpus Christi Basilica, Kraków, Poland

19.00 Introduction and listening session - Leif Elggren's „Sudarium of Santa Veronica”

20.00 Sound walk in Basilica with Andrzej Kłosak

20.30 Concerts

- Tomek Chołoniewski with percussion ensemble, "Change Ringing" performance for handbells
- Burkhard Beins & Michael Vorfeld, "Ernst Chladni Experiments"
- Gamut Ensemble: Frau W & Maciej Śledziecki
- Thomas Tilly & Jean-Luc Guionnet, "Stone Air Axioms" for Corpus Christi Basilica

all pieces are commissions for Avant Avant Garde by ZAM e.V. & Foundation 4.99

Lecture by Michał Libera including listening session – Leif Elggren's „Sudarium of Santa Veronica”, a phantasy on the first turntable inscription of sound in Christ's portrait by Claude Mellan from 1649. Acoustic walk with Andrzej Kłosak in Basilica

Tomek Chołoniewski with percussion ensemble, performance for handbells. The concert will follow 17th Century Change Ringing technique. It was a series of algorithms for collective live composing – each performer hands one bell of particular pitch and takes a defined position in a sequence – all to avoid melody.

Burkhard Beins & Michael Vorfeld, recreation of 18th Century experiments by Ernst Chladni, referred to as “Father of Acoustics”. German physicist visualized sound with the use of metal plates. By bowing them, he was changing their vibrations and by the same token making the flour form astonishing shapes known as Chladni Figures.

Gamut Ensemble, composition for self-constructed instrument by Gerhard Kern informed by 17th Century Joseph Sauveur's theory of overtones. French mathematician and physicist came up with an idea which is at the heart of today's spectralism. His concern was to prove that a single sound is an endlessly complex phenomena. Sauveur argued that he himself could hear 128 overtones in one pluck of a string.

Jean-Luc Guionnet & Thomas Tilly, site-specific performance for standing waves of the sacral architecture of Basilica. In the project titled „Stones, Air, Axioms” the departure point is acoustic measurements. On their basis they deliver organ playing and sinewaves to map the space of the church.


There is no such thing as new music. And there has never been one. Otherwise, when did it start? Was it in 1766 when the futurist intonarumori were first designed by Donato Stopani for Drottningholm Theatre in Stockholm? Few decades earlier, when minimalist idea of combination tones were first theorized by Giuseppe Tartini? Or was it in 13th Century when Cage's chance operations were presupposed by Raymond Llull in his figures? Earlier?

Avant Avant Garde is an anachronistic chase for experimental practices in scores, prints and treatises way before terms such as "new", "contemporary", "experimental" or "avant garde" music were conceived. We dig in the history not in search of schools and trends of music making. We dig to find maverick who could not wait until 20th century to see themselves becoming silent patrons of most thrilling adventures in sound making. What we find is people working with what they had at hands - objects, burning flames, spilling waters and blowing wind studying the mechanics at the heart of music and heralding sound art.

The material researched for Avant Avant Garde forms a body of commissions for four nights of music in Cologne, Krakow, Warsaw, Berlin. Each will contain exclusively world premiers. Dženana Aganspahić, Burkhard Beins, Arturas Bumšteinas, Max Eastley, Lucio Capece, Francesco Cavaliere, Tomek Chołoniewski, Gamut Ensemble, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Frau W, CM von Hausswolff, Gerhard Kern, Aleks Kolkowski, Michał Libera, Magda Mayas, Ralf Meinz, Tisha Mukarji, Mikołaj Pałosz, Karolina Ossowska, Razen, Paweł Romańczuk, Spat'sonore, Maciej Sledziecki, Thomas Tilly, Jan Topolski, Michael Vorfeld and many more will be there to deliver concerts, lectures and presentations on Avant Avant Garde. Over the course of the project Gamut Ensemble will be developing a growing automated orchestra of specifically designed music-machines referring to its Renaissance predecessors but expanded with computer controls.

środa, 5 czerwca 2013


Sounding the Body Electric
Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1964-1984
Bôłt (BR ES10)

One more adventure with PRES in its surroundings and an honorable collaboration with Daniel Muzuczyk and David Crowley - curators of the exhibition at Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź

coming up very, very soon; official release date: TBA

CD 1
1. Vladan Radovanović, Voice from the Loudspeaker (1975)
2. Szabolcs Esztényi and Krzysztof Wodiczko, Just Transistor Radios (1970/2012)
3. Wojciech Bruszewski, Junction (1973/2013)
4. Collective Actions, Music Within and Outside (1984)
5.-8. Eugeniusz Rudnik, Scalars – technological study (1966)
9. Hugh Davies, Shozyg (1964)

CD 2
1. Rudolf Komorous, Tomb of Malevitch (1965)
2. Arne Nordheim, Ode to Light (Sculpture) (1968) – studio mix 1
3.-6. Milan Grygar, Acoustic Drawings (1974)
7. Arne Nordheim, Ode to Light (Sculpture) (1968) – studio mix 2

The album is a natural alliance of the producers working with the Polish Radio Experimental Studio’s archives and the curators of the exhibition dedicated to intersections of technology and body in art of the 1960s and 1970s. The thematic “common” field was operationally called “early Eastern European sound art”, although none of us really meant it literally. Undoubtedly, we were all interested in such works of art where the sound was approached from the perspective of other art disciplines. Leaving film, theatre, dance and radio art to other occasions, we mainly focused on visual arts, performance and architecture – mostly due to their conceptual connotations. We followed the two fundamental issues discussed in the 1960s: object and space.

In this context, the exhibition Sounding the Body Electric was a breakthrough. For the first time, the history of sound of the above mentioned period was told from a different point of view than the musicological one. On the following pages David Crowley and Daniel Muzyczuk write about the Experimental Studio’s place in the wide spectrum of Eastern European art. To us, it is more important to see what the latter one tells us about PRES.

Experiments undertaken in Warsaw’s Studio found their reflection on the magnetic tape – a fixed object presenting the final vision of the composer. In consequence, space was usually understood as a parameter of musical form defined by stereophonic system. The most vivid examples of this compositional legacy is an unfortunate and never fully exploited Oskar Hansen’s project of adjustable acoustics of the Studio as well as Tomasz Sikorski’s attempts at composing reverberations of instrumental sounds – brilliantly faked on console by Bohdan Mazurek.

For this album we were trying to find the pieces in PRES’ archives that would deviate from this dominant tendency.

Michał Libera and Michał Mendyk