Where does any Miracle start? is a protean project by Polish artist Katarzyna Krakowiak Balka comprised of a sound installation, an online work, concerts and a vinyl album.
Katarzyna Krakowiak Balka’s interest in the acoustics of architecture is at the origin of this new project for the Jeu de Paume. The artist was inspired by the analogy between the movement of a ball, bouncing off the walls of a palm court, and the movement of sound reflecting off any surface.
“This project is dedicated to small migrants: insects – says the artist – the way they invisibly occupy architecture. Because they are also activists, they negotiate space, are flexible, have the strength to survive and regenerate quickly, and they never give up. I want to make their presence visible, to give them a voice. In this way, the Jeu de Paume speaks with the voice of marginalised and invisible beings”.
Katarzyna Krakowiak Balka records the sounds and vibrations with which animals and insects communicate, often at frequencies inaudible to the human ear. Using seismic sensors and in collaboration with scientists, the artist studies the inhabitants of the park in their environment, to make perceptible what is invisible. In this way, the building listens to its environment: by diffusing the sounds inside, they are combined and distorted by the architecture, which expresses them again.
The links between the historic building, the centre d’art actuel, and the closest living environment, the Tuileries Garden, are explored through a work presented on the online creation space. Working from architectural plans and archive documents, the artist creates acoustic animations. These sound simulations allow us to hear how the building has sounded at different times in the past. Indeed, three different models corresponding to three different historical periods are proposed to the viewer.
Katarzyna Krakowiak Balka creates sculptures, performances, objects, compositions and sound installations that explore the languages used to describe architecture. Her aim is to generate acoustic environments that allow the viewer-listener to become part of the work and to encounter the architecture on a sonic level.
Exploring the boundaries of architecture, the artist builds large-scale installations from existing structures. She is now also concerned with formulating the concept of architecture in linguistic categories.
Katarzyna Krakowiak Balka has received many awards from, among other institutions, St. John’s College, Oxford University, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Poland, and the American Trust for Mutual Education. In 2012, she received a special award for her exhibition Making the Walls Quake as if They Were Dilated with the Secret Knowledge of Great Power (curated by Michal Libera) for the Polish Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Since 2019, she has been directing the Sound Space Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 2020, she is creating the work It Begins with One Word. Choose your own for the Barcelona pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe.
Katarzyna Krakowiak Balka lives and works in Otwock (Poland) and Oliva (Spain).
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is a national cultural institution, based in Warsaw, which aims to create a lasting interest in Polish culture worldwide. The Institute cooperates with foreign partners and initiates international cultural exchanges in dialogue with its audiences. It has carried out hundreds of projects in over 70 countries around the rich Polish culture with strong European roots.
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