13th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia

28.08 – 25.11.2012 13th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia

Polish Pavilion at the International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

commissioner of the Polish Pavilion: Hanna Wróblewska
artist: Katarzyna Krakowiak
curator: Michał Libera
commissioner assistant: Joanna Waśko
sound design: Ralf Meinz
room acoustics: Andrzej Kłosak

13th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Common Ground

Exhibition in the Polish Pavilion
Making the walls quake as if they were dilating with the secret knowledge of great powers

All architecture is essentially a phenomenon of sound – it constitutes the environment in which sound spreads, enhancing some of its qualities at the expense of others. But it also absorbs, filters, and transmits sound. In a discrete and invisible way, architecture organizes our social existence. Seen from the perspective of sound, however, we can view this process in a different way than categories of delineating and isolating social space. Walls, floors, ventilation, heating, or sewage systems – are all structures that connect and transform, rather than isolate, interpersonal relationships. We constantly make ourselves heard to others, and are heard by them – often in spite of, or even against, our will. From the perspective of architecture theory, the promise of ensuring intimate space is therefore realized as an ambiguous participation in intimacy which can be traced in practices such as listening in, eavesdropping, or other procedures of hearing through architecture.

These practices, including architecture’s function in the process of charting the title “common ground” on the level of sound, are at the heart of the project by Katarzyna Krakowiak. The sound sculpture prepared by the artist presents architecture as a primary system of listening – one that listens to us and for us – creating, transporting, and distorting sound. Collaborating with neighbouring pavilions (Egypt, Serbia, Venice, Romania), the project will amplify the sounds that reach the Polish Pavilion from those nearby venues. Developed through detailed calculations, the installation will highlight the acoustic properties of the Polish Pavilion. Sound will be used to map the acoustic flaws of the building, as well as to enhance the psychoacoustic sensations that accompany its visitors. Last but not least, the vibrations created by the building itself will be measured and strengthened. This series of architectural micro-interventions is aimed to expose the impact of decisions made by architects on our experience of space, both in the physical and social sense.

This project by Katarzyna Krakowiak can be seen as part of a wider revival of interest in sound over recent years. Owing to its fleeting, invisible, and almost imperceptible character, which is at the same time intimate and physical, the work is an apt metaphor for our contemporaneity – filled with anxiety and a compulsive need for contact with other people. Making the walls quake as if they were dilating with the secret knowledge of great powers is an attempt at investigating the impact of architecture on “common ground” thus defined.

*title of the exhibition is taken from Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens

Katarzyna Krakowiak – born in 1980. Explores sculpture and architecture with the use of various media, notably sound. In 2006 the artist graduated from the Sculpture Transplantation Studio, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, under Mirosław Bałka, where she worked as assistant from 2004 to 2007. Significant exhibitions include Who Owns the Air?, Galeria Foksal (Warsaw, 2011), Game and Theory, South London Gallery (London, 2009). Her works were presented in group exhibitions at, among others, KUMU Museum (Tallinn, 2011) and HMKV (Dortmund, 2011). In 2007 she completed an internship at the Architecture Foundation, London. Since 2011 she has been working at the Studio Urban Interior Design (Department of Interior Design) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk (in collaboration with Jacek Dominiczak). Working with Krzysztof Gutfrański as part of the Ekspektatywa series (Fundacja Bęc Zmiana, 2010) she has prepared and published a manual for constructing your own Metaphones.

Michał Libera – born in 1979. Sociologist, producer, curator, and music critic. Co-founder of 4.99 Foundation, organiser of concerts, workshops, and rehearsals of, among others, Playback Play, plain. music, The Song Is You. Co-producer of a series of albums devoted to the Polish Radio Experimental Studio and released by Bôłt Records, as well as a series of conceptual-pop albums Populista. He has collaborated with Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Centre of Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, National Museum (Królikarnia) in Warsaw. In the years 2007–2011 he presented a number of programmes about contemporary music on Polish Radio (Programme Two). Since 2001, he has been the editor of a musical series launched by the publishing house słowo/obraz terytoria. His critical essays have appeared in, among others, “Glissando”, “Res Publica”, “Kultura Współczesna”, “Recykling Idei”, a collected volume of his texts will be published in 2012 by Krytyka Polityczna.

catalogue editors: Lidia Klein, Michał Libera
graphic design: Tymek Borowski & Kuba Maria Mazurkiewicz / Czosnek Studio
editorial coordinator: Dorota Karaszewska

Exhibition organizer of the Polish Pavilion: Zachęta National Gallery of Art

Polish participation in the 13th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice is made possible through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

The exhibition organized in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

media patronage: Architektura murator

Related events
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    22.06.2012 (Fri) 12:00
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    06.09.2012 (Thu) 12:00
    Zachęta / workshop room (entrance through the main hall)Zachęta / workshop room (entrance through the main hall)


13th International Architecture Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia
28.08 – 25.11.2012

Polish Pavilion at the International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Giardini della Biennale, Venice, Italy
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