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Singing Warmia by Zosia Hołubowska
March 21, 2023Free
“How to tell a story about being from a place you don’t come from? The lives of both my grandmothers were marked by moving to the other end of their world. And this is how I was born in Warmia. A place that has repeatedly uprooted its history. From the Prussians to Warmians, Germans, and Jews, to the forced resettlement of Ruthenians and Ukrainians in the Vistula operation and repatriation of the Kresowiaks…” – Zosia Hołubowska
“Singing Warmia” is an attempt to deal with the lack of family archives and the inability to establish a relationship with the place of birth.
Instead of family stories, the album’s material is photos of the artist’s favorite places around Olsztyn (capital city of Warmia region), which were sonified using processes designed by the artists. Zosia Hołubowska follows Saidiya Hartman’s critical fabulation, that is, the transformation of history that counters the violence of historical representations and archives. Singing Warmia expresses both the pain of exile and the gloomy beauty of the abandoned landscape: the slow current of the river grazed by tree branches.
This process concerns the landscape, or rather the soundscape inviting the voices of the spirits that inhabit it. The bends of the Łyna become the signals controlling the synthesizers. The arrangement of tree branches is translated into a melody, and the splashes of light on the waves of the river constitute a harmonic spectrum of sounds resembling the whispers and wailing of phantoms. This piece is another example of creative work with archives, following the “undoing” approach, which means deconstructing, collage reassembling, and animating the elements to reinterpret the performative and magical potential of the material.