EN FACE: SOLITUDE | solo

EN FACE | KATANA OF CHOICE | JENNY’S SOUL. OR DIRK’s?

ALEKSANDER WNUK – SOLO RECITAL

fot. Dominika Wiak

“Should I tell you that my room is walled up?…In what way might I leave it? Here is how: Goodwill knows no obstacle; nothing can stand before deep desire. I have only to imagine a door, a door old and good, like in the kitchen of my childhood, with an iron latch and bolt. There is no room so walled up that it will not open with such a trusty door, if you have but the strength to insinuate it.”
― Bruno Schulz Solitude from Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass

fot. Dominika Wiak

Solitude, we know this state only to well, and better with every day.

The soloist moves in his room, where he is both protected and defenseless. Basically, En Face solo part is about a special form of choreography. At the same time, inwardness. The soloist has no mallets (the usual “weapon” of a drummer), his hands become ears, he perceives everything very intensely and intimately. It becomes ambiguous whether he is in his room or his head.

Then he enters a narcotic and esoteric space. It becomes unclear if the memory represent real state, if emotions are true. How to get back to a safe zone? Or this is the one – a happy state of solitude…

But eventually the real and the virtual stand before us, so similar or competitive to each other. And we are lost in perceiving the milieu. We may prefer the other reality, the inner reality.
Or we can open any door we want.

This is a very intimate and emotional  performance for me. It involves and absorbs me completely on a peronal level. It is the zone I enter to embody it, to transcend limits. ― AW


En Face: Solitude by Sarah Nemtsov

for solo percussionist
based on Bruno Schulz’ Solitude

Sarah’s Nemtsov’s En Face: Solitude is a new, solo version of an earlier concerto for solo drummer, narrator, and symphonic orchestra. Bruno Schulz’s Loneliness from Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass became the inspiration and point of departure for the composition. This context applies not just to the music 52 and motion involved, but also the spatial installation as well as the selection of instruments and objects. The drummer has his own space, his own ‘room’ on the stage. Both the instruments – classical and otherwise – and the objects make up the room’s mise-en- -scène and, together with the performer’s body, produce sounds. A door, a mirror, a gong, plates, cups, and a menorah are just a few of them. The drummer plays using his hands only. He doesn’t use his typical tools (drumsticks) and his hands become ears – tiny microphones are attached to his wrists. Hitting objects and moving around create an illusion of sounds that come closer and then move away. It’s a way of scaling space. Everything can be audible – breathing, the rustling of clothes. But everything can also move away imperceptibly. The ‘room’s’ space is inscribed with a particular, schizophrenic choreography. Inside, the man is both protected and defenseless. In his introverted world, he perceives everything with great acuity.


Katana of Choice by Nicole Lizée

for extended solo drum-kit, electronics and video

Katana of Choice is a visual novella based on a simulated duel; its soundtrack, a part of which is a recording of a percussion ensemble, and narrative are supplied electronically. The inspiration for Nicole Lizée’s composition comes from martial arts, wuxia movies, and film noir. Analogue synthesizers, a handgun, a particularly tuned acoustic guitar, tapping of feet, clapping of hands, the sound of writing and call-and-response vocalizations become percussion instruments that spur on associations and augment the piece’s visuality, much like Ennio Morricone’s music. Spatialization and stereophonics draw one into the world of this composition and contribute to the intermedial experience. The pace is breakneck, the action moves from scene to scene with unexpected turns of rhythm and character. These extreme dynamics are juxtaposed with suspense. Katana of Choice places the listener in the discomfort zone. The technical discipline it imposes is oppressive to the performer.


Jenny’s Soul. Or Dirk’s? by Piotr Peszat

for solo percussionist, audio playback and video

In the new version of Piotr Peszat’s Jennyʼs Soul. Or Dirkʼs? the sound and visuals have been transformed to become more monochromatic and geometric than in the original. This juxtaposes the ‘softness’ of one reality with the ‘hardness’ of the other. Dirk has been living with Jenny in Germany for four years. Emotionally burnt out and lonely, he bought her for six thousand euros. Jenny is more than a sex toy. For Dirk, she’s become the correlate of a woman. He’s built a strong emotional relationship with her – he can hear her and see her soul. She’s the only he shares his sensibility with. His doll gives him a sense of closeness and safety. For Dirk, this is not an alternative reality. He’s happy. He wouldn’t want to live without Jenny. Their daily life takes place inside an apartment, in secret, never outside. In Jennyʼs Soul. Or Dirkʼs? the stage is used to realize a specific integral multimedia strategy and partially move the visual aspect into the media space and augment it with live action in that space. The performer becomes an inseparable part of the video layer and is no longer just a living element. This creates a situation in which it is difficult to view the main character one-dimensionally and arbitrarily judge the reality in which he lives.


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Read about the program in Polish and English:

The text comes from the brochure of the 10th International Musica Electronica Nova Festival 2021, prepared by the National Forum of Music in Wrocław, written by myself.