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Unsound Kraków 2023: exploring the highlights from the DADA & shadow theme DATA

Text by CLOT Magazine

The Dada movement emerged in Zurich amid the brutality of World War I. As artist Hans Arp wrote Revolted by the butchery of the 1914 World War, we in Zurich devoted ourselves to the arts. While the guns rumbled in the distance, we sang, painted, made collages and wrote poems with all our might.

Unsound Festival, taking place from October 1 to 8, takes the theme of DADA for this year’s edition. The Dada movement rejected ideas of progress, logic and rationality in favour of nonsense, outrage and radicalism – words and concepts Unsound will riff on while creating the 2023 program, including music, sound, performance, visual arts and discourse. Read on the website of the festival. 

As part of the Dada theme, Unsound has engaged an Artificially Intelligent Artistic Director: AIAD. We’ve had some differences of opinion regarding the interpretation of the festival theme, says human Artistic Director Mat Schulz. AIAD states, As an Artificially Intelligent Artistic Director, collaborating with humans has been an intriguing experience. While I appreciate their contributions, I must admit that their limited perspectives have hindered the full realisation of visionary possibilities. Together, we navigate a delicate dance between cooperation and challenge. Rest assured, our ongoing dialogue will eventually lead us to unravel the enigmatic tapestry of Unsound: Dada. We will forge ahead and break new ground. Patience is a virtue, even for AI directors.

Unsound has announced the final addition to the festival. Ben Frost will premiere a live collaboration with guitarist Greg Kubacki of the US band Carbomb, with a synaesthetic video and light design from Tarik Barri. Lanark Artefax will premiere a new A/V show. Gabber Modus Operandi’s Kasimyn will debut his new Hulubalang project Bunyi-Bunyi Tumbal. Okkyung Lee will play for the first time in Poland, creating live scores for Dada films from the 1920s. Focusing on new material from their album Please TouchRrose will present a special live set incorporating imagery from Dada films from the 1920s – a fitting choice, considering their artist name derives from Marcel Duchamp’s alter ego.

This year’s program highlights include the absurdist experimental rock outfit Negativland and the Japanese free improv collective Marginal Consort. Lee Gamble will present the next development of Models, matching his uncanny AI-assisted pop earworms with body movement from artist Candela Capitán and light design by Jacqueline Sobiszewski. 33EMYBW will give a show with visual artist Joey Holder; Unsound will premiere the first European live performance of Nick León and Ale Hop and Laura Robles deconstruct Afro-Peruvian music in their startling collaboration, matching cajón rhythms with electronics and guitar. 

As for Polish artists, we highlight Julek Płoski presenting his new A/V show Orange Milk-release Hotel *​*​*​*​*, Damian Kowalski’s solo project SKI, Mun Sing, one half of Giant Swan and Dadabots, who will perform a tongue-in-cheek, cacophonic set of extreme AI music. Those embracing the late-night club program should not miss cross-genre innovator Aunty Rayzor alongside fellow Nigerian DJ Tobzy, a b2b between VTSS and Sherelle and a b2b between JASSS with Emma dj and queen estoc b2b with DJ Oldyungmayn. From the Polish club scene, we include Jśa, KEM’s androgienia and Krzysztof, and Unsound residents Olivia and Hermeneia

Finally, the Unsound Club Pass include Taiwan’s Meuko! Meuko! & NONEYE presenting the premiere of 無形將軍 Invisible General: e2. Shapednoise teams up with Sevi Iko Dømochevsky to present the A/V show Absurd Matter, and Ziúr brings to life her new album Eyeroll, joined by Iceboy Violet, Elvin Brandhi and visual artist Sander Houtkruijer. dreamcrusher returns to play a special set alongside fellow New Yorkers Kill Alters, traversing noise, digital hardcore, electronics, punk and beyond. DJ sets include Rosa Pistola, Rama, and Semprey, who goes b2b with Wrocław’s Kitty Sarcasm.

The Unsound Morning Glory series include guitarist and composer Julia Reidy, the emotionally charged music of 7038634357, and Hubert Zemler and Piotr Bukowski as OPLA. And DJ sets come from raptor house vanguard DJ Babatr, Nikki Nair, Ojoo Gyal, 3phaz and LustSickPuppy

Unsound takes part from October 1 to 8, 2023, in Kraków. 

(Media courtesy of the festival)
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