Instalakcje. Music festival

Second edition of the music festival curated by Wojtek Blecharz i Paweł Mykietyn

Second edition of the music festival curated by Wojtek Blecharz i Paweł Mykietyn

Old Mokotów, a district of villas, embassies, a church and a hospital. In the dense urban matter there is a void: an empty parking lot and a low production hall. This former City Sanitation Department (MPO) building now houses the newly opened Nowy Teatr headquarters - awaiting adaptation and modernisation. Surrounding it are tower blocks, balconies, and their residents out for an evening beer and barbecue. Several stories below them – a modern music festival and installation festival.

An installation festival: what a paradox. A form, which in its very essence is meant to intervene in everyday urban space or even conventional exhibition space, is supposed to challenge habitual seeing and hearing, provoke and disturb, becomes an object of contemplation itself, a kind of museum artefact. A festival, a review, an installation gallery. We sharpen our vision differently and prick up our ears in a new direction. We walk with a museum pace. Even the barbecue tastes differently.

In the end, this is not a museum but the old MPO depot, a dark industrial space. The main hall with its vaulted ceiling, cantilevers and skylights. Tall lampshades, the worker’s metal lockers, wooden archive drawers. The most unusual of all is the floor – what seems to be a hard earthen floor, black and spongy, is in fact a thick layer of grease that had gathered here over the years from thousands of Sanitation vehicles and was trampled by hundreds of boots of it’s employees. It is a layer of living, odoriferous history. These interiors – a far cry away from last year’s polished Królikarnia palace and airy gardens – will be home to the music installations festival’s second edition.

June 8-9, permanent installation
Title in preoparation (2013) 

Zimoun is one of the world’s most prominent young installation artists. The Swiss native delightfully places out hundreds, if not thousands of boxes with various attatchments – balls, pinwheels – controlled by miniature electric engines. A wall of sound is created – not a loud hum though, rather a mosaic of murmurs, a hum of waste. Another contrast is the one between the monochromatic, static surfaces of his installation and the inner movements that drive it. What is Zimoun preparing for the Nowy Teatr hall?

June 8-9, permanent installation
Jagoda Szmytka
Handplay in Wunderkammer. Laboratory, organ under construction (2012)

Many of the festival’s installations have an underlying theme of the instrument and its deconstruction. Handplay in Wunderkammer by Jagoda Szmytka, a Pole living in Germany, is a kind of autopsy. Pre-recorded and analised sounds of instruments are played by speakers placed in chordophones strung from the ceiling: violins, violas, cellos, guitars, even a piano. Some resonate, some are silent. A cabinet of curiosities, a gallery of lifeless bodies animated by acoustic waves.

June 8-9, permanent installations
Johannes Kreidler
Music charts (2009)
Product placement (2008)
Kinetic studies (2011)

If there is anyone who truly continues the Cagean mission of thinking about music and thinking through music, it is the young German artist Johannes Kreidler, a recent favourite of the Darmstadt courses and other festivals. His performances prove that music may be composed out of anything and everything, using the most simple tools – from stock charts (Charts Music), through ironing (Kinect Studies) to 70200 samples (Product placements). The latter – a 30 second noise piece – has become a German pop culture hit, mocking the rigoristic copyright law.

June 8, 5:30 PM
Sivan Cohen Elias
Alukot. A choreography for hands and percussive sounds on a wooden surface (2011)

What about hands? Hands will also be of importance during Installactions. Alukot technically isn’t an installation but a balet – a true choreography of the hands, arms and elbows dancing on a wooden table. Delicate and tender, sometimes sudden. Some extras are used, but mainly just the hands. As the title states, they are parasites. Man as a parasite of wood?

June 8, 6 PM
Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri
Untitled II (2010)

The Greek artist Marianthi Papelexandri-Alexandri, who also specialises in deconstruction of the instrument, has decomposed flutes, trumpets and guitars in numerous installations. In the MPO production hall she will present a piece from the tradition of sound art – tens of ”membraphones”, laced with nylon wires with varying engine-controlled tension. The result is a natural, southern acoustic landscape filled with cicadas, but which looks quite different. Another paradox: the eye and ear experience disparate sensations.

June 8, 7 PM
John Cage

Music coordinator: Wojtek Blecharz

We invite you to perform the piece with us. The performance will be preceded by a short workshop. Sign up online:

Man as a parasite of wood? If so, then what about cacti? It is on these as well as other amplified plants that John Cage urges us to play in his piece Branches. This is one of the American philosopher/composer’s most wacky works. Twenty people using wooden branches to stroke the spines on a cactus, in aleatoric order, determined – as is always the case with Cage – by the ancient Chinese I Ching (Book of Changes.

June 9, 9 PM
Stefan Prins & Nadar Ensemble
Fremdkörper #1 (2008)
Piano Hero #1,#2 (2011-2013)
Generation Kill - offspring 1 (2012) 

In the works of this very trendy Belgian artist with courses in composing, engineering and philosophy of culture under his belt, musicians struggle with their own reflections in a multi-layered net of twists and distortion. Generation Kill… is an intelligent critique of current press releases. What do Facebook and Twitter-inspired Arabic revolutions, the British society under constant CCTV surveillance and American soldiers raised on Playstation, who kill Iraqi civillians have in common? The ubiquity of media and the virtual world becomes the basis for an artistic transformation in a piece performed by instrumentalists behind semi-transparent screens. The images and sounds they produced are controlled by four operators behind consoles. Totally schizophrenic.

After all that, how can you simply go to church or out on the balcony for a beer and barbecue? Installactions rouse from mundanity, stir time and space. They challenge the common perception of music, instruments, video and electronics. They even challenge your view on cacti. Just as well. Music should be prickly.

  • Curated by: Wojtek Blecharz
  • Content cooperation: Paweł Mykietyn 
  • Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage 
  • Media patrons: Gazeta Wyborcza, Polskie Radio Dwójka, Traffic Club, Aktivist, Exklusiv, Przekrój, Glissando

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