Tractors, gamepad beats and microchips in the City of Music

Every year at Katowice’s multimedia festival Ars Independent many streams of thought happen to cross. This time, one of the more pronounced motifs will be the fertile relationship of sound, image and movement: from the Ursus tractor factory, through ‘90s gaming, to contemporary ambient and visuals.

Ars Independent 2019 will take place from September 24 to 29. This year’s edition will take place over 6 festival days and will feature about 40 events, gathered together under the tagline Unsubscribe. In May, we learned of the first programme reveals – now’s the time for more!

It’s worth mentioning that late pre-orders for festival passes has begun – priced at 80 PLN and available only until August 25 at Ticketportal.

In Katowice – UNESCO City of Music – sound inevitably comes into the foreground. The musical programme, Ars-style (so in with our transmedia pizzaz) is always heavily featured at the festival.

Soundscape: Mirror is a journey through ”the other side of the looking glass” to “a world created by human minds and microchips” (quoting Matylda Badera, festival programmer). The 7-years-in-the-making AV set by the Ostrowski / Roszczybiuk duet will close this year’s festival in the beautiful spaces of Katowice’s Youth Palace.

Sound & Vision consists of three films about the search on the borders of audio and video:

Jaśmina Wójcik’s “Symphony of the Ursus Factory” is a cinematic performance about laborers and the nostalgia for times past, with music by Dominik Strycharski and choreography by Rafał Urbacki, who sadly passed away this year.

The Italian “Beautiful Things” by Giorgio Ferrero consists of four stories in four locations starring four protagonists: artisans who create items of everyday use in focus and with the requisite praise.

Scott Barley’s “Sleep Has Her House” is an experimental marriage of a nature documentary and a musical film. In this meditation on the elements – earth, air, water and fire – we experience things both beautiful and horrific, which happen just outside of humanity’s vision.

Coming from the beautiful sentiment of “what if we just dropped everything and rode North?” and the programme musical key, the set What if we… will reintroduce a choice of animated music videos. Music videos which will try, for at least a moment, to evoke that feeling of longing in the audience, associated with this bittersweet desire to just get up and get out.

These aren’t the only animated propositions at Ars Independent. Milorad Krstić’s “Ruben Brandt, Collector” is a stylish feature animation about a psychotherapist who, together with four of his patients, plans a heist to steal 13 famed works of art.

Coming back to music – this time mixed with games – Super Retro Video Games Party will invite us to tap our feet and the space bar at the festival club Drzwi Zwane Koniem.

We’ve also learned of the first studios to visit Katowice during the Video Game Night Market, an expo and showcase for Polish indie games at Ars Independent:

“METRO VR” is a shooter styled after ‘90s-FPS games, but in virtual reality; “Zniw Adventure”, on the other hand, a point’n’click adventure game with hand-drawn 2D graphics. In “Shattered Plane”, a mobile turn-based strategy, we play as one of the competing gods of the Slavic pantheon, and in “Fantastic Fetus” (obviously inspired by Tamagotchi and the Black Protests) we take care of a pregnant woman, trying to create a superpowered fetus. Like every year, the Museum of Computer and Information Technology will open its doors for us.

Let’s add that July 23 is the submissions deadline for exhibitors at the Night Market!

Also, like last year, the competition exhibition of the Black Horse of Video Games featuring 7 games competing for the title and statue of the Black Horse will have its curatorial tour.

The nominees – in this and other competitions – will be revealed alongside the full programme and festival schedule on August 26 (which is also the starting date for the final pool of festival passes, priced at 100 PLN).

“A massive hole and void you hold inside you. Unsubscribe,” comments Emilia Makówka, the festival’s proofreader and translator.

More about the festival events can be found at Programme subpage.

The event is organized by the cultural institution Katowice City of Gardens and the City of Katowice.