Sanatorium of Sound is a festival curated by Zuzanna Fogtt and Gerard Lebik as part of the activities of the Contemporary Art Foundation Situ Foundation in Sokołowsko. The idea behind the festival is to present the broadest possible spectrum of phenomena related to the development of musical forms in the 20th and 21st centuries, maintaining a balance between the traditions of musical experimentation developed in recent decades and the new, as yet unstructured tendencies of sound art. Each year, the festival’s programme develops in multiple layers, including concerts, composer commissions, sound installations, performances, workshops, discussions, artist residencies and curatorial practices related to sound ecology, architecture, nature and medicine.
Since 2015, the festival has presented around 250 projects by artists from all over the world, many of which were commissioned during artist residencies in Sokołowsko, a spa town located in the Central Sudetes, where in the 19th century, in a building designed by the prominent architect Edwin Oppler, the German physician Dr Hermann Brehmer founded the world’s first lung disease sanatorium. The landscape of the mountains surrounding Sokołowsko, the post-German nineteenth-century architecture or the wonderful air have always been inseparable attributes of activities in the field of sound art and any reflection on sound arts.
The theme of this year’s edition of the Sanatorium of Sound is Time. Futurism. Revisions. The festival will take place from 11-13 August and will continue in March and August 2024. The programme of the 9th edition of the festival also includes projects initiated by HILO – Norwegian-Polish Platform for New Music Development – a platform created for collaborations between Polish and Norwegian artists, curators, educators and organisers working in the field of new music in the broadest sense.
The importance and possibilities of sound are well demonstrated by the fact that the impulse leading to the revolution in 20th century art was the experience of the audiosphere of the modern metropolis. As Filippo Tommaso Marinetti wrote in The Manifesto of Futurism (1909): “We shuddered suddenly at the sound of the shrill noise of the giant double-decker trams”. He was echoed by Luigi Russolo in The Art of Noise (1913): “The life of the past was silence. Only in the 19th century, with the invention of machinery, was noise born. Today, noise triumphs and reigns sovereignly over the sensibility of people”.
In the visual and literary spheres, the concept of noise functioned as a capacious metaphor, making it possible to describe, for example, the pace of metropolitan life or the split in human subjectivity, but in music it was a factor that brought about changes of truly fundamental importance, as it made it possible to significantly expand the range of means of expression and the repository of forms, while also conceptually reworking the basic concepts of musical discourse. It was an important point of reference for Edgard Verèse, John Cage and Zbigniew Karkowski alike.
Today, noise is still a phenomenon. It appears in new incarnations, easily adapting to the realities of World 3.0. So it is not just about the ecology of sound, but about the whole area of phenomena related to the transmission of information, cyberspace, media, art. During this year’s edition of the Sanatorium of Sound, we want to return to the moment of the birth of noise, which manifested itself in the fiery proclamations of the Italian Futurists. In doing so, we will try to revise the history of the avant-garde, finding in it both inspiration and pointing to postulates which, from today’s perspective, seem reactionary or even politically threatening. What is the new Futurism and where should one look for its roots, its ideological and artistic sources?
One of the answers will be provided by the opening concert at Kino Zdrowie, during which we will hear performances of new compositions written especially for The Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners, a sixteen-member ensemble led by Italian composer Luciano Chessa, playing replicas of experimental instruments designed by Luigi Russolo (the so-called intonarumori). In collaboration with Performa, the Intonarumori Orchestra (16 instruments) is brought from New York for the occasion. This concert will mark the 110th anniversary of the announcement of the Art of Noise manifesto, with composer commissions by John Hegre, Mariam Gviniashvili, Aleksandra Słyż and Gerard Lebik. The artists involved in The Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners project will also present their solo works on the ambisonic, eight-channel soundsystem of Biuro Dźwięku Katowice.
Australian composer and guitarist Oren Ambarchi, Robert Piotrowicz, who explores the world of modular music, Italian Valerio Tricolli, who uses reel-to-reel tape recorders, and Canadian sound artist Crys Cole, who works with composition, improvised performance and sound installation, will also present their noise-based musical visions.
Austrian member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin Peter Ablinger, considered on of the most influential composers of contemporary music of the 20th century, will present THE REAL AS IMAGINARY, Beehive – sound sculpture, 2021, General Strike of Art, C-A-G-E or Music Mirror, among others.
The programme will include the premiere collaboration of Lacking sound Fest and Electropixel Festival – SUBTROPICAL OSCILLATION II / ELECTROPIXEL. French artists Jenny Pickett and Julien Ottavi will join forces with representatives of the Taiwanese music scene: LAI Tsung Yun, Sheryl CHEUNG, YAN Sheng Wen and Yen Tzu CHANG. In addition, their solo audiovisual projects will be on display in the spectacular ruins of the former Dr. Brehmer’s Sanatorium.
The Czech experimental music scene will be represented this year by: Ursula Sereghy, Aestum and musical performance charlatan Petr Válek. In addition, non-standard approaches to club music will be presented by hermeneia, julek ploski, Avtomat and Sara Persico.
A special series of lectures and discussions with the participation of artists and avant-garde scholars will be devoted to issues related to Futurism, curated by Wrocław-based literary scholar Paweł Szroniak. The programme includes a lecture Futurism and Neo-Futurism, a reactionary avant-garde discussion, and a discussion around the book Walking From Scores by Elena Biserna.
The HILO project is realised by the In Situ Foundation for Contemporary Art and the International Cultural Laboratory in Sokolowsko. Partners of the project are nyMusikk – Norway’s centre for contemporary music, Sanatorium of Sound Festival, Only Connect Festival, Punkt Festival, University of Agder, Sokołowsko Jazz, Avant Art Festival, ŁAŹNIA Centre for Contemporary Art, Ładne Historie Foundation and the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.
The HILO project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under Action 2 Improving access to culture and the arts of the Culture Programme within the framework of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2014-2021.
Sanatorium of Sound is a festival focused on experimental music and the broadly understood fields of sound and sonic art. The main objective of the festival is to present the widest possible spectrum of the phenomena related to the development of musical forms in the 20th and 21st centuries, maintaining the balance between the traditions of experimental music of the past few decades and the new, still structureless, emergent tendencies. So far the festival has presented realizations from over 200 artists coming from all over the world. The festival is directed by Gerard Lebik and Zuzanna Fogtt and is held in Sokolowsko-spa village in the mountains on the Czech-Polish border.