About the Commission: “Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More”

Polish Pavilion at the 55TH Venice Biennale
May 24, 2013 9:50PM

This project is a continuation of the previous explorations of Konrad Smoleński  who, being active for over a decade in the domain of visual arts, focusses his interest on sound. His works combine punk rock aesthetics with the precision and elegance typical for minimalism. Smoleński, through the use of sound objects found in the culture as well as of his own construction, examines the flow and effect of energy. By exploring the possibilities of electricity, sound waves and PA systems, the artist manipulates the meanings that we usually attribute to objects connected with the culture of rock music. 

The monumental installation authored by Smoleński, in the image of a symphony, will regularly repeat a piece composed for traditional bronze bells, full range speakers and other sonorous objects placed in the space of the Polish Pavilion. All the elements will play an equal part in this composition meant as both a visual and audio construction, where the delaying and modifying of the initial sound of the bell is of critical importance. The curators engage in a discussion of the treatment, to which the artist subjects the sound of a traditional instrument through the perspective of contemporary literary texts and scientific theories, which concur in their conviction of the inaccuracy or atrophy of the concept of time. Among them we find the hypotheses that challenge the classical understanding of these problems in physics, science-fiction stories, as well as in scientific elaborations on experiments and sound illusion. By this means, the dialogue of the artist with the curators of the exhibition will result in a vision of the dissolution of language and the end of time and history as we know it, without placing a value judgement on this phenomenon. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication featuring texts by Craig Dworkin, Alexandra Hui, Andrey Smirnov, as well as Daniel Muzyczuk and Agnieszka Pindera, who, in their previous projects undertaken together or individually, have already commented on the problems pertaining to the field of the history of science and sound. Supplementing this interdisciplinary book are interviews with a physicist Julian Barbour, a philosopher Simon Critchley, a legend of electro acoustic music Eugeniusz Rudnik, and the curator Thibaut de Ruyter.

Images: Production of the exhibition Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More, 2013, photos by Bartosz Górka, CC BY-SA.

Polish Pavilion at the 55TH Venice Biennale