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Unsound Kraków 2022 – The 20th Edition: Highlights

Text by CLOT Magazine

Unsound Kraków 2022 takes place across eight days from the 9th to the 16th of October. Since the first edition in 2003, Unsound has filled the city of Kraków with the festival’s energy. Unsound 2022 BUBBLES theme, The Ectoplasm, is a celebration of Unsound over the years but also a reminder of how the city has changed across two decades. It evokes how music is always amorphous, shifting, never still.

The word ‘bubbles’ evokes the idea of celebration – as the festival is celebrating its 20th edition this year. BUBBLES might evoke a glass of champagne or a cluster of colourful balloons floating up into the sky. But it also refers to how different communities are isolated and connected through social media, geography or politics.

Highlights include Caroline Polachek performing on 14th October on a bill with Catalonian singer-songwriter  Marina Herlop; the premiere of the band Osmium (Hildur Guðnadóttir, Sam Slater), and James Ginzburg of Emptyset performing on specially built instruments alongside vocalist Rully Shabara of Senyawa. Polish artist FOQL, Lucrecia Dalt will present the live premiere of music from her new album on RVNG Intl. ¡Ay!; Sofie Birch and Poland’s Antonina Nowacka presenting Languoria; Kode9 will present the premiere of an A/V work connected to his new album Escapology; Slikback will present VOID, with visuals from Weirdcore. A performance of Kali Malone’s Does Spring Hide Its Joy features cellist Lucy Railton and Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley with visuals by Nika Milano and 700 Bliss (Moor Mother and DJ Haram)

From the experimental zone, highlights come from Space Afrika with a new A/V show featuring recent and upcoming music; composer Martyna Basta; Ukrainian musician Heinali; drummer and electronic musician Pimpon presenting a live show and a special bubble-themed deep listening session; and two premieres b2b sets VTSS b2b with Crystallmess and aya b2b with CCL.

Unsound has a long history of adapting disused buildings to create temporary venues, and for many years they have used spaces that have subsequently been repurposed or knocked down. Since 2012, Unsound occupied Hotel Forum, a disused communist-era hotel. The Ectoplasm took up residence in the hotel, evolving as it roamed freely throughout the empty rooms. But over the years, things changed:  Hotel Forum has now been overtaken by cafes, bars and commerce, and like the festival itself, The Ectoplasm no longer has space. So, this edition’s Unsound Club Pass venue will be Kamienna 12 – formerly known as Hype Park.

The Unsound club program includes New York City Juke Bounce Werk affiliate DJ Swisha; DJ Narciso from Lisbon’s Príncipe label; Warsaw DJ, activist and Regime associate Madikoptah; Ukraine’s Poly Chain; Egyptian artist ABADIR with a premiere show featuring live percussion. 

Last but not least, participants for the daytime discourse program include musicologist Michael Spitzer with his acclaimed book The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth; artist-researcher Mark Wright will delve into his book Listening After Nature – Field Recording, Ecology, Critical Practise; author Joanna Walsh will explore the unwritten contract of the Internet and what it means to women, and experimental musician Paul Purgas will present a talk and listening session delving into the electronic music studio at The National Institute of Design in Western India in the 1960s. 

From the Unsound open call, artists selected include Pimpon; duo dmstfcn with an interactive lecture-performance set in a 3D simulation of a supermarket; Kat Zavada and Martix Navrot with the performance Metaverse Consulting. In addition, Abbey Pusz and Jak Ritger will run a virtual artist residency inside Unsound Discord; it starts on September 9th and picks up on their previous work with Do Not Research and New Models to further the themes of devirtualisation and community building in evolving media ecosystems. 

Stay tuned; more info about the discourse program and final announcements are coming soon. 

(Visual imagery by Ernest Borowski. Courtesy of the festival)
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