Persistently original, always temperamental, and presenting slightly earlier than usual, the latest edition of Unsound has been scheduled to take place between 1 – 8 October in Kraków, Poland. The festival has a history of working with some of the most captivating names in the industry and forseeably attracts big crowds of festivalgoers each year. Its latest edition is no exception — tickets are already selling out, as Unsound promises a dynamic program, jam-packed with your favourite artists, provocative performances and workshops aplenty.
UNSOUND returns to the stage with a brand new twist to its routine tactic — a revolutionary practice bound to send waves of disruption across the cultural zeitgeist. Run under the banner of DADA (playfully opposed to the shadow theme of the festival — DATA), the lineup of this year’s event has been carefully curated with the help of AI. With Dadaism at the core of creative direction, the decision to collaborate with artificial intelligence initially seems inapt, however strangely fitting. Where Dada rejects the status quo with its bizarre methods and nonsense slogans, UNSOUND makes a politically committed statement on the upsurging role of AI, without cynically disregarding the practicality of artificial intelligence as a tool. The organisers have called this decision an “absurdist provocation, rather than a techno-utopian statement.” A choice that is certainly in line with the ethos of Dada — a clever call on the organiser’s part.
And AIAD (short for Artificially Intelligent Artistic Director) has evidently fulfilled its purpose, as the lineup for this year’s festival is impressive to say the least, with flavours of Dada sprinkled throughout. Among the latest additions are the names of Ben Frost in collaboration with progressive metal guitarist Greg Kubacki, Lanark Artefax and South Korean cellist Okkyung Lee with a debut performance on Polish territory. Julek Płoski will premier a special gig crafted exclusively for the stage of UNSOUND, while another Polish artist – Damian Kowalski will debut his solo project titled SKI — a reinterpretation of footwork and global club rhythms. Further performances include an unexpected, but nonetheless exciting feature by celebrated American guitarist Bill Orcutt, another by legendary founder of Japanese band Boredoms – EYE, accompanied by the discordant AI-generated rhythms of Dadabots and emotionally-charged compositions of Mun Sing. Brazilian funk in combination with Latinx club music, hardstyle, Afrobeats and ballroom are amongst the arsenal of genres that outline the eccentric complexion of the most recent additions to the late-night club program, led by Nigerian rapper extraordinaire Aunty Rayzor alongside fellow Nigerian DJ Tobzy. Spanish sensation JASSS together with emma dj, Philadelphia’s edit queen estoc and Egyptian-Palestinian DJ Oldyungmayn are the most recent names to star in a series of b2b performances. Further down the list of clubbers this year are Polish artists Jśa, KEM’s androgienia and Krzysztof, along with UNSOUND residents Olivia and Hermeneia.
Not less inviting is the catalog of notable names and prominent industry insiders featured in this year’s daytime discourse program, returning with a cool new batch of panel discussions and workshops. Such is the co-founder and editor of Ukraine’s iconic Borshch magazine, Mariana Berezovska. She is launching a series of workshops for aspiring writers, who’ll not only be encouraged to refine their craft and develop their pitches, but a lucky few will also have the opportunity to get published. Susanna Davies-Crook and Sarah Shin of Ignota Books join together in a seminar-slash-meditative-event titled ”GAIA SEASON: A BODY IN THE FORM OF A PLANET” — an inquiry into evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis’ Gaia theory and more. Visitors will also have the chance to meet Poland-native Przemysław Witkowski for a discussion centred around the origins of contemporary fascism in light of his new book titled Faszyzm, który nadchodzi (Facism Yet To Come). Another Polish artist — Kat Zavada joins forces with Dazed’s internet culture connoisseur Günseli Yalcinkaya in a series of AI-driven workshops and stimulating conversations. UNSOUND’s daytime discourse program is free of charge, but spaces are limited.
For the full lineup and schedule, check out the official website of the festival: https://www.unsound.pl/en/dada/