After successful iterations in London (2011, 2015) and Istanbul (2016) JEMP (Jazz and Experimental Music from Poland) returns to London, but this time it takes Polish Constructivism as its inspiration bringing together some of Poland’s most exciting visual and sound artists and composers.
The eight-day festival of Polish contemporary electronic and experimental music will take place in the Swiss Church, Covent Garden a venue renowned for its arts programme. Under the title ‘Mechanical’ it will see artists responding through musical composition to the utopian aspirations embodied in Polish Constructivist art, exploring its emphasis on geometrical form and modern technology allied with ideal harmonies and a vision to create socially orientated abstract art.
Curated by Kasia Sobucka, Founder of Arts Territory — the not-for-profit arts organisation behind the festival — the programme explores theories of Unism, Composing Space, Calculating Space-Time Rhythms and Functionalism through performances, concerts and site specific installations. Throughout its duration visitors can expect to see specially commissioned works by the Polish artists Zorka Wollny, Wojtek Blecharz and Konrad Smoleński, as well as one by the London-based sound artist Ben McDonnell and the British choral group, Vocal Constructivists.
The Vocal Constructivists will present Three Sound-Sculptures for Choir by Wojtek Blecharz based on Katarzyna Kobro’s Spatial Composition no 4, 5 and 6 (see image above). This newly commissioned work transforms four sculptures by the Constructivist artist Kobro (1898–1951) into musical compositions. The most significant features of Kobro’s ‘Spatial Compositions,’ such as colour, proportions and ratio, were translated by the composer into musical structures and sound actions that will be performed/composed by the choir in real time. Using cutting-edge technology, 3D-scanned images of the sculptures will be shown in the performance, with sound events taking place behind, alongside, and in front of the projections.
Other highlights include Constructing Site with Sound — a performance resulting from a two-day long workshop with artist and composer Zorka Wollny. The performance which is dedicated to architecture and voice will be based on creating the relations between points in the space, making drawings creating lines and plains, measuring distances, building the walls by sound. Another work which is site contingent responding to the resonant space of the Church is Modest Proposals an immersive piece of music created by the artist Ben McDonnell. The work will consider sound as a temporal sculpture, reacting to the space it is performed in but also the formal properties of sound itself, bringing together installation elements to alter the sounds waves, performers reacting to the audible pulse resulting in a series of improvisations with the ensemble.
One of the most exciting works is 6CH a 6 channel site specific audio installation that oscillates around visual art and sound exploring the physicality of the sound wave and, consequently, its direct contact with the recipient. The work is created by Konrad Smoleński the acclaimed multimedia artist who represented Poland at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 (see video below), his work combines punk rock aesthetics with a minimalist precision. This particular piece is a 30-minute-long work which will repeat on a 30-minute loop all day during which the viewer is invited to move inside the ‘sounds sculpture’ and by this movement they will experience a different configuration of sounds before there activity is translated into the final shape of the work .
One of the most potent elements of JEMP is its support of experimentation, taking art outside of the gallery space and critically revisiting the festival form. It introduces London audiences to Polish contemporary electronic and experimental music stimulating exchange between UK based and Polish artists and this year specifically introduces the work by lesser-known Polish Constructivists. As with earlier festivals, the performances will be accompanied by an extensive programme of workshops, open rehearsals and lectures, all of which have been devised in partnership with The Courtauld Institute of Art. Says Kasia Sobucka, Curator and Founder of Arts Territory:
‘After a small hiatus, we are delighted to be staging JEMP this year. The current edition brings to London some of the most exciting Polish artists that combine sound, space and architecture in their practice. This year is particularly exciting as the programme is based solely on new commissions centring on the largely unknown theme of Polish Constructivism. Our ambition is to give artists a platform for multidisciplinary experimentation and to support them in creating new and innovative work. I’m very excited to exhibit the work created by the artists as a result of this project to London audiences!’
Venue: Swiss Church, 79 Endell St, London, WC2H 9DY Dates: 12–19 December 2019
12 December 2019
Konrad Smoleński: 6CH Location: The Swiss Church Time: 3.30–8pm
15 December 2019
Wojtek Blecharz and the Vocal Constructivists Location: The Swiss Church Time: 8.30–9.30pm
19 December 2019
Ben McDonnell and Zorka Wollny Location: The Swiss Church Time: 7.30–9.00pm
18–19 December 2019
Zorka Wollny: Constructing Site with Sound, workshop Location: The Swiss Church. Time: (18 Dec) 5.30pm — (19 Dec) 8.30am