On January 27, a concert will take place as part of Katarzyna Krakowiak-Balka’s project Where does any Miracle start?, currently on view at the Jeu de Paume. This protean work by the Polish artist comprises a sound installation and an online feature, manifesting her interest in the acoustics of architecture at its intersection with living organisms. 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 piece is dedicated to small migrants: insects”—says the artists—“the way they invisibly occupy architecture. For they are also activists, they negotiate space, are flexible, have the strength to survive and regenerate quickly, and never give up. I want to make their presence visible, to give them a voice. In this way, Jeu de Paume speaks with the voices of marginalized beings.”
Krakowiak-Balka recorded sounds with which animals and insects communicate, often at frequencies inaudible to the human ear. Using seismic sensors and in collaboration with scientists, the artist studied the inhabitants of the park in their environment. Thus, the building listens to its surrounding: by diffusing the sounds inside, they are combined and distorted by the architecture which expresses them again.
The sound installation and the online work were inaugurated by a live concert on November 8, 2022. Krakowiak-Balka composed a piece of rare intensity in which the vocal range of renowned experimental singers—Audrey Chen, Isabelle Duthoit and Ute Wassermann—was put to the test. While strolling in the garden around Jeu de Paume, the performers Isabelle Duthoit, Véronique Chevalier, Claire Bergerault and Violaine Lochu make the building sing, heard by the public gathered inside the hall. The singers’ voices try to imitate but also converse with the sound vibrations of the insects, as they did in a first concert of November 8, 2022. The artist is also preparing an album of recordings of insects attracted by light at night. The release of this new vinyl record is scheduled for 2023.
The concert resonates with a sound installation, presented in the hall of Jeu de Paume until January 29. This sound installation is looped in the main hall of Jeu de Paume, through a custom-made mobile loudspeaker emitting a high-frequency sound beam and five transducers that play the glass walls. Bouncing off the walls and imitating the trajectory of a ball, the sound travels through space like an air current. The sound content comes from recordings made in natural ecosystems, especially the Tuileries Garden, as well as the voices of the singers. The glass of the windows of the institution becomes a screen for the sound, transforming the whole building into a listening system, a giant amplifier. A new musical composition is played every half hour. Using Jeu de Paume building as an instrument, Krakowiak explores another facet of its creative potential.
The links between the historic building, the current art centre, and the closest living environment, the Jardin des Tuileries, are further explored through the work presented in the online creation space. Working from architectural plans and archival documents, the artist created acoustic animations. These sound simulations allow us to hear how the building resonated at different times in the past: in the present time, in 1940, in 1909, in 1862 and 1575.
Finally, the digital piece in the online creation space will continue and be available on the online creation space until the end of April 2023.