Unsound Festival

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Unsound Festival
Genre Electronic music, visual arts
Location(s) Kraków
New York City
Years active 2003-present
Unsound Festival

Unsound Festival is an annual music festival that takes place in Kraków, Poland, dealing with evolving and mutating forms of music, as well as related visual arts. Apart from the main festival, Unsound takes place in cities around the world such as New York,[1] London,[2] Adelaide,[3] Toronto,[4] Tbilisi,[5] Minsk, Kiev, Bratislava, Prague[6] and elsewhere.


The first Unsound festival took place in 2003, starting out as a local, underground event in small cellar bars in Krakow, Poland.[7] It currently occurs towards the end of October and lasts around one week. Starting out as an event focused on Polish audiences, in recent years it has rapidly developed to become one of the most prominent events of its kind in Europe.[8] In 2010, the festival developed its program around the theme "Horror, the pleasure of fear and unease,"[9] followed up in 2011 with the theme "Future Shock," inspired by the 1970 book by futurist Alvin Toffler.[10] Subsequent themes have included "The End" (2012),[11] "Interference" (2013)[12] and "The Dream" (2014).[13]

In February 2010, Unsound cooperated with local partners in New York such as the Wordless Music series, Bunker and Electronic Music Foundation to create a 10-day satellite event involving music, film, workshops and panel discussions.[14] Unsound has now produced four New York editions in total.

Unsound has also worked on projects in other countries, with four events in Adelaide within the framework of the Adelaide Arts Festival, an event in London partnering with The Barbican and BFI among others, and an upcoming event in Toronto as part of Luminato. Unsound has also worked in the region of Eastern Europe, in particular Minsk, Belarus, to create mini-festivals and collaborative projects.

Unsound has produced many collaborative and commissioned projects. These include the Warhol Series, where live electronic and experimental music is played as a "soundtrack" to classic silent Warhol films. Artists involved in this project include: Carl Craig, nsi., Groupshow, Stefan Németh and the video artist Lillevan. According to the Unsound website, the "series refers to Warhol’s own extensive use of pre-existing material to create something new, as well as the 60s multimedia event The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, which used Warhol’s film work as moving wallpaper projected onto a wall and musicians from The Velvet Underground."

Another commissioned work is "Solaris," by Ben Frost and Daniel Bjarnasson in cooperation with Kraków's Sinfonietta Cracovia. Accompanied with visuals by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson, this piece premiered at Unsound Kraków in 2010, and was performed at Unsound Festival New York 2011 at Alice Tully Hall in the Lincoln Center. In 2014, Unsound partnered with Adelaide Festival to bring to life "Double Vision", created by Atom™ and Robin Fox. Like "Solaris", this project has gone on to tour the world.

Unsound is also known for opening up architectural spaces, adapting them for music events. In Krakow, this includes Hotel Forum, a communist-era hotel building that had not been used for many years as an event space until Unsound 2012, but subsequently became an important cultural hub in the city.[15]

Unsound is a founding and active member of ICAS (International Cities of Advanced Sound).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://archive.unsound.pl/pl/festival/program/schedule/unsound-festival-new-york-2012.html
  2. ^ http://www.unsound.pl/london-2013
  3. ^ http://www.thewire.co.uk/news/22474/unsound-festival-expands-to-london-and-adelaide
  4. ^ https://luminatofestival.com/festival/2015/unsound-festival-20th
  5. ^ http://archive.unsound.pl/en/general/news/show/announcing-unsound-tbilisi-on-14th-and-15th-december.html
  6. ^ http://archive.unsound.pl/archives/2007uotaben/index.html
  7. ^ http://www.krakow-poland.com/Events/Unsound-Festival,bbf
  8. ^ http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?2267
  9. ^ http://archive.unsound.pl/en/general/news/show/unsound-krakow-announces-theme-for-2010-horror-first-acts-confirmed.html
  10. ^ http://archive.unsound.pl/en/general/news/show/unsound-krakow-announces-its-theme-for-1970-future-shock.html
  11. ^ http://archive.unsound.pl/en/general/news/show/the-beginning-of-the-end-unsound-krakow-10th-edition-to-feature-world-premieres-collaborations-and-very-special-events-first-names-announced.html
  12. ^ http://www.unsound.pl/interference
  13. ^ http://www.unsound.pl/the-dream
  14. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/arts/music/31unsound.html
  15. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/24/eatern-europe-dance-revolution-conquers-west-electronic-music

External links[edit]