Karolina Grzywnowicz is a visual artist, using interdisciplinary
approach. Her practice is research-based, making use of archival
materials, interviews, oral history, and bibliographic records. Her
works deal with plants in social and political context, often of the
violent nature. In her recent sound projects, by gathering the
grassroots songs of migrants, she proposes the real soundtrack of
exile. She is interested in empathy and care as a form of resistance.
She works in various media: sculpture, sound installation,
site-specific public installation, art intervention. She graduated
from Jagiellonian University, the Faculty of Comparative Literature.
Her works were exhibited e.g. in Akademie der Künste der Welt
(Cologne), Hellerau – Europäisches Zentrum der Künste (Dresden),
Zachęta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw), Museum of Modern Art in
Warsaw, Onomatopee Projects (Eindhoven), Unsound (Kraków). She is a
former fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart) and a resident
at Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art (Warsaw). She lives
and works in Berlin.
Karolina Grzywnowicz Every Song Knows its Home
In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.
Every Song Knows its Home is a long term project, which
aim is to create a soundtrack of exile, by collecting songs sung by
the refugees during their wandering as a kind of a grassroots saga: a
story that preserves the memory of the harm. Passing from mouth to
mouth the memory of home enchanted in songs makes them a substitute
for this lost home. Knowing the songs gives a sense of security, it
is also a sign of belonging, while breaking the chain of transmission
entails the risk of losing the foundations of the community.
Moreover, these songs not only preserve erased and suppressed
memories, but also their performance often becomes a political act
and a form of resistance.
However, one cannot talk about the experience of exile by limiting
her or himself only to its current dimension, as if the migration
arose after mass media got interested in it. Therefore, this
affective archive moves towards various time and space dimensions.
There is a real histories’ montage (of stories, memories,
traditions), and the History itself as a montage. This is why, every
overheard melody, every hummed alone song can come out as a part of
the whole, as a “fragment of the tradition of the oppressed,” the
teaching of which – as described by Walter Benjamin – is
essential to prevent inevitable catastrophes in the future.