Sanatorium of Sound is a festival focused on experimental music and the broadly understood fields of sound and sonic art. The festival’s main objective is to present the widest possible spectrum of 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.
The program of the festival develops in multiple layers, including concerts, commissions, sound installations, performances, conceptual works, workshops, discussions, presentations, art residencies, and sonic curatorial practice related to sound ecology, architecture, nature and medicine.
Sanatorium of Sound is operated by In Situ Contemporary Art Foundation in Sokolowsko. The main goal of the foundation is to create and maintain a space for art, education, and interdisciplinary creative processes. The foundation achieves this by promoting activities in the field of international heritage dedicated to contemporary art and culture, focusing on music, sound and visual art, performance, and film. Since 2007, In Situ organizes a range of cultural events: Sokolowsko Film Festival Hommage à Kieslowski; Contexts-International Festival of Ephemeral Arts; Sanatorium of Sound; and, since 2017, has been keeping the Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Archives.
Sanatorium of Sound Festival was supported by: MKiDN, Pro Helvetia, Goethe Institut, Austrian Cultural Forum, Kulturstiftung Des Bundes.
“A sanatorium in the Central European border village of Sokolowsko plays host to a festival celebrating and interrogating healing vibrations and sounds of the body” – The Wire – Global Ear by Biba Kopf (Issue 429)
“Organized by Gerard Lebik, Zuzanna Fogtt and Michał Libera, it’s a warm and intimate yet firmly international festival devoted to an array of sound artists with often contrasting perspectives” – The Wire – On Location by Richard Johnson (Issue 404)
“Sanatorium of Sound has given hundreds of experimental sound art devotees reason to ascend to a small, mysterious Polish village, nestled only a short distance from the Czech border. The annual event is housed in and around a mystical 19th-century sanatorium, where the first international treatment centre for tuberculosis was founded by Dr Hermann Brehmer in 1855”. – Hyperallergic – Dorian Batycka
“Just a fabulous few days overall–great people, some wonderful music, a super-beautiful place.” – Just Out Side – Brian Olewnik
“The program of 2017 rests on a few masts, and the clutter of ladders, sails and ropes spread between them presents the experienced audience with the most breakneck transitions and knots”. – Glissando – Jan Topolski
History of Sokołowsko and Dr Brehmer’s Sanatorium
Sokolowsko is a spa village in the Sudety mountains on the Czech-Polish border. The first mention of Sokołowsko (then a German town called Görbersdorf) appeared in 1357 when was founded by Benedictine monks of Broumov. In 1509 Sokołowsko was bought Hochberg’s family. In 1855 Dr Hermann Brehmer with the support of Alexander von Humboldt and the Prussian State Council established in Sokołowsko the world’s first specialized tuberculosis sanatorium, using an innovative method of climatic and dietary treatments. The building designed by Edwin Oppler was a pearl of neo-gothic architecture in the middle of a beautiful landscape, in the mountains. In 2007, The In Situ Contemporary Art Foundation acquired the ruins premises of the former Dr Brehmer’s Sanatorium, starting working to rebuild it after being damaged by a fire in 2005. Rebilded snatorium now houses the Sokołowsko Laboratorium of Culture, the Sanatorium of Sound Festival, as well as the Krzysztof Kieślowski Archive.
History of the festival
Each year Sanatorium of Sound focuses on a different theme, adapting the program of a current edition to its main idea:
The theme of the three future editions of the Sanatorium of Sound festival will be one of the most undefined concepts – time. We will look at its various aspects, trying to grasp the complexity of the problem. First, the issues of transience and timelessness will be addressed.
These are two aspects of time that intertwine and complement each other. Because of the fact that they condition each other, they can be regarded as two faces of our human finiteness, like obverse and reverse. In everyday life we find ourselves caught between Heraclitus and Parmenides: with one eye looking on passing the time and the other on eternity. It seems that we cannot explain what is changeable without relating it to what is permanent. We cannot talk about duration without imagining that it bears the stamp of some kind of immutability. We cannot even speak of time without thinking at the same time of eternity, and vice versa. During this year’s edition of the Sanatorium of Sound festival, we will try to stop time for a while and look at it carefully.
Artists among others: Catherine Lamb, Rebecca Lane, Emilio Gordoa, Burkhard Beins, Jérôme Noetinger, Bakbilvv, Xavier Lopez, Sylwia Żytyńska, Katarina Gryvul, Carsten Stabenov, Björn Erlach, Wacław Szpakowski, Bastian Pfefferli, Charlie, Bryan Eubanks, Hermeneia, Andrew Lafkas, Martyna Basta, Antonina Nowacka, Ryo Ikeshiro, Jan Moss, Paweł Romańczuk, Lena Czerniawska, Biuro Dźwięku Katowice, Todd Capp, Derek Shirley, Sacred Realism, Mario de Vega, Canti Spazializzati Collective, Paweł Szroniak.
The starting point for the 2021 edition of the festival is an attempt to prove that returning to normal life is the only solution and our main priority. The Sanatorium of Sound Festival and its healing nature are much more needed than usual. We also want to prove that we are unable to function without real, tangible contact with art in situ.
Artists among others: Aleksandra Słyż, Biliana Voutchkova, Burkhard Beins, Central European Network for Sonic Ecologies, From Scratch New Discantus Quintet, Edka Jarząb, Hugo Esquinca, Joanna Halszka Sokołowska, Justyna Banaszczyk, Katarzyna Podpora, Lubomir Grzelak, Mario de Vega, Max Kohyt, Peter Ablinger, Sebastian Cichocki, Tatiana Heuman aka QEEI, Thomas Lehn, Tim Shaw, Wojciech Kucharczyk
In 2019 in cooperation with Phonurgia (Naples, Italy) and NK Projekt (Berlin, Germany) Sanatorium was presented as a MUSICA SANAE curated by Michał Libera. MUSICA SANAE was a research-based art project dedicated to sound and medicine.
Artists among others: Peter Abliger; Felicia Atkinson; Tiziana Bertoncini; Luciano Chessa; Rudolf Eb.er; Les énérves; Hacklander / Hatam; Carl Michael von Hausswolff; Gerard Lebik; Barbara Kinga Majewska & Tony di Napoli; Maria della Morte; Anthony Pateras; Seppo Renvall & Aspec(t); Testcard.
Sanatorium of Sound 2018 was focused on radio art and sound performance addressing the issue of sound in a defined and undefined space.
Artists among others: Rasha Ragab, Christoph Nicolaus, Peter Rehberg, Takahiro Kawaguchi, Oramics, Martyna Poznańska, Ute Wassermann, Lee Patterson, Aki Onda, Keith Rowe, Izabela Smelczyńska, Valerio Tricoli, Teoniki Rozynek, Michał Libera, D’incise Cyril, Bondi, Gerard Lebik, Lucio Capece, Maciej Ozóg.
Edition 2017 was marked by innovative treatment with cold and hot sounds, sticks and stones, in the cinema and outdoors. Dry Mountain Orchestra conducted by Keith Rowe and Gerard Lebik was working with conceptual scores by Christian Wolff. Sanatory17 – an exhibition developed by Viennese artists Klaus Filip and Noid – presented contemporary trends in European sound art.
Artists among others: Alfredo Costa Monteiro, Ute Wassermann, Noid Julien Ottavi, Katherine Liberovskaya, John Tilbury, Keith Rowe, Ryoko Akama, Phil Niblock, Daniel Brożek, Boris Baltschun, DJ Morgiana, Bartosz Zaskórski, Jan Topolski, Daniel Muzyczuk, Michał Libera, Barbara Kinga Majewska.
The 2016 edition took place in cooperation with the European Capital of Culture Wroclaw 2016, as part of the Artist-in-Residence Programme A-i-R Wro.
Artists among others: Valerio Tricoli, Mario de Vega, Alessandro Bosetti, Martin Howse, Olivia Block, Michael Pisaro, Stephen Cornford, Keith Rowe, Gerard Lebik, Bryan Eubanks, Mike Majkowski, Anna Zaradny, Lucio Capece, Ensemble Phoenix plays Robert Piotrowicz, Kasper Toeplitz, Alex Beuss, Antoine Cheseex, Kurt Liedwart.
Sanatorium of Sound 2015 showed and new form of improvised music, noise, contemporary classic, electroacoustic, and sound art.
Artists among others: Magdy Mayas, Tony Buck, Keith Rowe, Axel Dörner, Burkhard Beins, Angelica Castello, Jérôme Noetinger, Robert Piotrowicz; composers as Kasper T. Toeplitz or Manfred Werder or sound artists as Tomoko Sauvage.