Carnival in August – BNNT in the Lower Town

BNNT’s sound bombing in the Lower Town turned out to be a very good idea. A very warm welcome of the group by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood was an extraordinary experience for us. The more so, if we recall that the exhibition of one of the members of the duo, Konrad Smoleński, featuring a sound installation and closed the previous day did not always provoke positive emotions among the closest neighbours…

While Łaźnia was visited by crowds of gallery-museum public willing to see, listen and almost physically experience (in many cases to experience again) S.T.R.H., inhabitants of the neighbouring building, reacting to the several-minute long “blows” and “shocks” generated systematically every hour, prepared eggs and sharpened axes…

When on 19 August at 7.30 pm in the biggest exhibition space of the Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art in Gdańsk there ended an enthusiastically applauded, splendid one-and-a-half-hour long concert closing the exhibition that had been displayed for two months and the dismantling of which worked as a stage set for the entire event, it seemed that BNNT could offer us nothing better…

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However, Konrad Smoleński playing a self-constructed baritone missile and the drummer Daniel Szwed came next day fully armed to strike the city with yet another sound attack. This time for two days they left the safe territory of the institution and moving with an old van that attracted the attention of passers-by they stopped spontaneously in selected locations to play short concerts of 2 or 3 songs and then to move on. In case of each stop, after some time of music playing, groups of attracted listeners started to form. Few of them, in this part of the city rarely visited by tourists, stopped and after a moment of hesitation, forgetting for a second their important errands, came closer. Surprised families came outside of their homes. Mothers and fathers, divorcees, grandmothers and children, elderly people and robust youngsters, all abandoned their unfinished dinners and ran to meet mysterious music coming from a strange car with Warsaw numbers. Some of them listened standing in the windows. In other places people sometimes abandoned (for a moment) their working space. Robust youngsters with cigarettes in their mouths yelled: “Rock this place!”. Mobile phone cameras flashed. From artificial smoke and mysterious streamers, “seaweed” of tapes taken out of old VHS tapes and fragments of fake plants there emerged masked figures of the musicians…

The project supported by The National Centre for Culture within the framework of its programme Culture – Interventions

Written by: Kamila Wielebska

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