"Degrading Learning is a work commissioned to me by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. It was intended to be played during the performance Great Learning by Cornelius Cardew during the last day of the museum's life on the 14th May 2016. Afterwards EMILIA, the beautiful modernist building, would close definitely, destined to be demolished.
I decided it was the moment to pay tribute to the city I had worked in for so many years, to the roads I had walked through, to the people I had encountered, to the buildings in which I stayed in, to the parks I fell a sleep in and all the adventures I lived. To a city as an organism which changed me profoundly. So I assembled all the fieldrecordings I made between 2011 and 2015 and listened to them while walking through the streets of Warsaw. I chose 15 of them and sew them together through a dramaturgy of which only I know the reason behind it.
There is the gypsy band playing at the edge of Ulica Mała, the street in the workers' district called "Praga" where Polanski shot the open air scenes of The Pianist in the Warsaw ghetto, and which I saw from my room window.
There is the organist who rehearses his piece before the Mass in the church of the old city destroyed by the Nazis during the end of the Second World War and then rebuilt on the basis of the paintings of the Views of Bernardo Bellotto. There is the tram that took me in the early Winter mornings to the University in the district of Ochota and there is the homeless man escaping the cold. There is the sound of that magical place that was the Eufemia bar, in the basement of the Academy of the Fine Arts, where I created the musical project Brutaz together with Piotr Kurek, and where I discussed Calvino and his Invisible Cities with Michal Libera playing countless crazy noises until dawn. There is Ewa, who interprets her own Polish translation of Howl from Ginsberg. There are Ola's dogs barking, while the piano echoes Wagner in the parents' neighbours close to the airport dedicated to Chopin.
These are all sounds of love, played for the last time inside the layers between the steel stairs and beams of the EMILIA.
And there is my ear that gives all this to you."
Alessandro Facchini aka _KELO
Alessandro Facchini (Locarno - 1978) is a Swiss sound artist and an academic researcher in Logic and AI. He has performed at the Volkspalais in Den Haag, at the Centre of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, and at the Centre of Contemporary Art in Torun. His collaboration Invisible Cities with sound artist and producer Michal Libera was selected to represent Poland at the Prix Palma Ars Acustica.
released December 2, 2018
Recordings, editing and sound
manipulation by _Kelo.
Mastering by The Norman Conquest.
Texts by Michał Libera.
Reading voices by
Ewa Majewska, Frédéric Schneeberger,
Artwork by Alfio Mazzei
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