Unsound Kraków starts in less than two weeks on 8th October – so now’s the time to release our extensive program of day events, including 26 talks, 5 installations, two workshops and 9 films. The aim is to delve deeply into the 2017 Flower Power theme from different angles, exploring ecology, politics, counterculture, psychedelia, art and more.
We would like to thank everyone who submitted proposals to our open call for entries for the day program. One of the winners is Polish post-conceptual artist GREGOR RÓŻAŃSKI, whose exhibit—presented with Henryk Gallery—will explore the idea of the Second Coming pending in our collective imaginations, whether we’re anticipating the return of traditional values or revolutionary communities, including prophecies of counterculture, art and music in the age of accelerating capital and decay.
Also in the installation program, two commissioned works are a reaction to the controversial logging of Poland’s Puszcza Białowieska, the last primeval forest in mainland Europe. The first is There Will Be No Other Forest by PETER CUSACK and MARTYNA POZNAŃSKA, capturing Puszcza Białowieska in sound, photography and video, presented in partnership with Białystok's Up To Date Festival and SN Spaces in London. The second is Still Life by KAROLINA GRZYWNOWICZ, whose works deal with plants in a social and political context, to be installed in a public space. These artists will also engage in a public discussion on the need to protect the forest, on a panel with forest guide and ecologist SYLWIA IWANOWSKA.
RAINFOREST SPIRITUAL ENSLAVEMENT will present a synthetic field recording installation called Shield Ferns / Brown Pine Magic. Commissioned by Unsound Adelaide in Australia, the work will be installed in a greenhouse full of tropical plants at the Jagiellonian University Botanical Gardens. In November, it will travel to the Adelaide Botanical Gardens.
Rounding out the installation program is the previously announced four-channel work allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the Sonambient recordings of HARRY BERTOIA, made with metal sound sculptures from the 1960s onward. The work will be installed in Cricoteka by JOHN BRIEN of Important Records, who will also discuss Bertoia’s work in the day program.
As for the wider discourse program, the winners of the Unsound Krakow call for entries are GABRIELA KORWIN-PIOTROWSKA and EWA DRYGALSKA, who proposed two discussions, which they will lead. The first is with Austrian philosopher and accelerationist ARMEN AVANESSIAN, discussing hype’s seductive forces. The talk will also include the aforementioned Gregor Różański and is tied to a screening of the film Hyperstition. The second talk focuses on xenofeminist politics via a conversation with PATRICIA REED of Laboria Cuboniks, co-author of the Xenofeminism Manifesto, as well as LOU DRAGO from the XenoEntities Network.
Other writers and theorists coming to Unsound to give presentations include JESSE JARNOW, discussing his book Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America, in which music, history and psychopharmacology blend. Jarnow will also moderate a connected discussion on the history of drugs in Central Eastern Europe, with RITA KOČÁROVÁ from the Czech Psychedelic Society and MACIEJ LORENC from Poland’s Transwizje magazine.
ANDY BATTAGLIA, an editor at ARTnews magazine in New York and an co-organiser of Unsound since 2010, will discuss this year’s “Flower Power” theme and explore it by way of floral fixations throughout hundreds of years of art history. MAT DRYHURST will talk about how decentralised technology could learn from utopian musical crews of different eras. Quietus editor LUKE TURNER will discuss how we might engage with our woodlands via gender as well as sexual and political identities. Visual artist LILLEVAN will present the technological achievements of the Prometheus Institute in Kazan, Russia, where art meets science. PAUL REKRET will explore childhood, innocence and the capitalist crisis as expressed through popular music.
A discussion titled A(social) Behaviour will explore the thorny subject of public shaming on social media—and when it goes too far—with moderator LISA BLANNING speaking with JLIN, VARG, RRRKRTA and Electronic Beats editor-in-chief ELISSA STOLMAN. On another panel, Luke Turner will invite a variety of voices to look into the complex relationship between brands and counterculture, with panelists to be announced this week.
The Wire’s DEREK WALMSLEY will talk with LISA BLANNING, AGATA PYZIK and LEE GAMBLE about the legacy of writer, theorist and cultural commentator MARK FISHER. Tying into a collection of essays published by Repeater Books titled Under Your Thumb, publisher TAMAR SHLAIM will engage artist PAN DAIJING and writers AGATA PYZIK and MAYA KALEV in a discussion of how to deal with misogyny in music, as fans, critics and women who listen to music. A discussion on technoactivism led by FRANKIE HUTCHINSON of DISCWOMAN will include fellow Discwoman co-founder UMFANG along with NONCOMPLIANT, JLIN, AVRIL STORMY UNGER and artists from Poland’s Oramics collective FOQL and VTSS.
New electronic, club and experimental music scenes rising in countries that once made up The Soviet Union will be explored by the director of Poland’s Up To Date Festival JĘDRZEJ DONDZIŁO aka Dtekk. He will chat with HANNA VASYK from Cxema in Kyiv in Ukraine, NAZIRA KASSENOVA from Zvuk in Almaty, Kazakhstan and PAVEL NIAKHAYEU and YULIYA KAVIAZINA from Mental Force in Minsk, Belarus.
Talks with artists performing at the festival include one-on-one discussions with NONCOMPLIANT as part of the Resident Advisor Exchange series; filmmaker and traveller VINCENT MOON on his transcinema project Híbridos; Lithuanian composer ARTURAS BUMŠTEINAS on his noise machines composition Bad Weather; RICHARD SKELTON on remote landscapes, nature and music; JON GIBSON on his work Visitations, earth art and Walter De Maria; JAMES HOFF on Google maps, dead zones and the ways mobile technology has shaped our concept and value of nature; PUCE MARY on the breaking of borders between performers and the audience; and MIKE COOPER on exotica and Hawaiian shirts.
Last but not least, at the heart of the discourse program is the already-announced BILL DRUMMOND of The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (aka the KLF), who will give a talk and screen his film Waking Up Tomorrow and All The Music Has Disappeared. Note that this is the only talk which requires a paid ticket, which can be purchased here.
Other film screenings focus on documentaries. Fuck For Forest is about a Norwegian NGO raising money for environmental causes by selling homemade erotic films on the internet. Polish director MICHAŁ MARCZAK will afterward engage in a Q&A. The New Radical, directed by ADAM BHALA LOUGH, focuses on two crypto-anarchists and features a score by Clint Mansell. The previously announced PICÓ: Un parlante de Africa en America tells the story of Picó sound systems. Directors from Italian collective INVERNOMUTO and JIM C. NEDD will discuss the film afterward.
Fans of cinematic obscurities will be delighted to hear that UK A/V duo JIGOKU are returning to present another all-night movie marathon, this time riffing on the theme Flower Power. Head here for the full program of screenings, which takes place at midnight on 7th October, kicking off the festival week.
Final acts added to the Unsound music program include SIKSA, the most divisive Polish artist in recent memory, whose radical and brutally honest performances are smashing the patriarchy one gig at a time. Alex from Siksa will also give a workshop in Polish on dealing with sexism called I’M NOT A FINE PIECE OF ASS!
WILL LYNCH, associate editor of Resident Advisor, will also run a journalist workshop for young music journalists and bloggers.
If you wish to attend either of these workshops, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or find further information on the Unsound website.
Added to the Hotel Forum lineup is ZAKŁAD OSTATNIEJ POSŁUGI, a Kraków DJ blending techno, ambient and experimental music. All remaining artists are included in the Unsound closing party on October 15, which will be a joyful, soul-cleansing affair. PC Music’s DANNY L HARLE mixes ecstatic melodies with club rhythms. Eclectic French DJ TEKI LATEX is likewise an expert in breaking genre boundaries. Opening is Wrocław’s NAPHTA, while London’s TASH LC will fuse sounds from Africa’s past and future. Closing the night is Unsound buddy RRRKRTA from Brutaż, guaranteeing you’ll leave the festival with a smile. Note that this year the closing party is ticketed and costs 20 zloty. Tickets available here. The event is included in the pass.
NTS Radio will also return to Krakow, bringing additional interviews and performances. Open to the public, the London-based online station will host six broadcasts from Szpitalna 1 in the heart of Kraków’s old town, featuring artists present on the festival lineup such as SIKSA, ELTRON JOHN, DJ HARAM, MOOR MOTHER, 1988, TER, LUTTO LENTO, LANARK ARTEFAX, VTSS, BATU, OCTO OCTA, GAS, DTEKK, OLIVIA, CHLOE FRIEDA and PHILIP SHERBURNE. For a detailed schedule, see the event section of unsound.pl.
Expanding even further the scope of Unsound’s expansive club nights, THE SECRET LODGE (aka 89) will open in Hotel Forum this year, a fourth room offering a safe harbor for everyone whose body and mind needs a break from the three-room dance music extravaganza happening upstairs. There, late-’80s Polish chic meets Twin Peaks vibes, where music is always in the air. What kind? You’ll need to visit to find out.
Last but not least, Unsound will host some unique walks this year. The first is a free guided tour through Kraków’s dark and mysterious Wolski Forest, with a ranger leading the way. Walks through Nowa Huta will take place around Unsound events on Friday 13th October. One of only two entirely pre-planned socialist realist cities in the world, the district reveals traces of abandoned, utopian dreams, while still remaining a vivid and autonomous community. As places are limited, tickets are 20 PLN, available here. To register for the forest walk or for more information on the Nowa Huta walks please contact email@example.com