Michal Rataj, Jan Trojan and Dragan Stojčevski (CZ) → Immersed by the Sound

19:00 - 24:00
  • City center
  • Sound installation

About project

Disappearing ecosystems, biodiversity, and soundscapes. Their characteristic sound contours are increasingly blurred by technological noise. The problem of disappearing soundscapes has been addressed by researchers around the world since the 1960s.

However, our attention is directed to a local situation, to the landscape around Lipnice Castle in the heart of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. We find ourselves in Loukov, a formerly extinct village in the Highlands below the Melechov hill. For seven centuries, the sounds here, around the Church of St. Margaret, have symbolized the relationship between landscape and people. Towards the outside, we hear the church bell – a symbol of time and a carrier of religious and socio-cultural values. We also hear the organ – a musical instrument used in the liturgy. Inwards, we hear the sounds of the adjacent road, the sound of the Meziklasí stream, or the work of people in the adjacent fields. The soundscape around St. Margaret Church tells a story that has touched everyone here in the past and continues to touch everyone here today. To become more aware of the inherent acoustic nature of such a soundscape, we wonder how to capture, isolate, and listen to its sonorous existence. In order to do this, we attempt to transport it into a completely different space and set it in a different acoustic reality as a sonic monolith.

The space of the church is illuminated by a scenographic realization by Dragan Stojcevski originally created for the production of King Oedipus at the National Theatre. It is the final image representing the departure of the blinded king. The concept of the production itself confronted the ancient subject with Christian rituals and symbols as we know them today. Within the Signal Festival, the object takes on new connotations, but it does not lose its essential meaning. It is placed in front of the altar, temporarily borrowing the space of the church, becoming a new alternative representation of the Saviour. In addition to the symbolic level, it offers a new encounter with church architecture in dialogue with Michal Rataj’s sound installation.

The sound installation was created on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Czech Radio.

The artwork was created in collaboration with the Department of Composition of the Academy of Performing Arts in the framework of the project Sound Immersion of Public and Private Sound Space supported by the Institutional Support for the Long-term Conceptual Development of a Research Organization, granted by the Ministry of Education in 2022.

The sound installation is extended by four evening improvisational musical interventions, which take place between 20:00 and 22:00 →:

12 and 13 October OFFSCREEN Trio
Ivan Boreš – electric guitar
Michal Rataj – sound objects, surround sound, live electronics
Jan Trojan – soundboard, live electronics
Jiri Hodina j. h. – vocal

14 and 15 October Letters From Sounds
Michal Rataj – live electronics, piano
Oskar Török – trumpet, live electronics, piano

Concept and realization: Michal Rataj and Jan Trojan
Production: Hana Št’astná
Graphic score realisation: Tobiáš Horváth
Technical support: Jan Křeček, Pietro Nacca
Performers: Martin Debřička (saxophone), Štěpán Drtina (cello), Jan Dudešek (wind harp), Haštal Hapka (trombone), Michal Hrubý (bass clarinet), Jan Jirucha (tuba), Anežka Matoušková (vocal), Vít Nermut (violin), Mélusine de Pas (viola da gamba), Anna Romanovská Fliegerová (koto), Jan Rösner (bell), Petr Tichý (double bass), Jan Trojan (sounding brass, bell), Zdeněk Závodný (saxophones)
Photo: Petr Neubert

About artist

Michal Rataj is known to a wider audience primarily as the author of film music (Promlčeno, Jan Palach, Rodina je základ státu, České století, Bohéma and others). His other compositions involve mostly electronic and instrumental music and since 2008 he has been performing as a sound performer in Europe and the USA. His compositions are regularly performed at domestic and international festivals, and he collaborates with domestic and international orchestras and soloists. He moves across musical genres and performs on stage with soloists from classical, experimental and jazz music. He teaches composition, electronic and film music at the Composition Department of HAMU and NYU Prague. His research interests include sound and space. He is the author of projects working with a large number of loudspeakers in studio and public spaces (Zoo Prague, Zlín Mirrors, Imperial Spa Karlovy Vary).

Jan Trojan is engaged in sound performances and composing music for various ensembles on the domestic scene and abroad. For a long time he has been working with his own hand-built sound instrument called Plech (Sheet Metal). As a composer and sound designer, he has written dozens of radio art programmes and radio plays. He teaches composition and electronic music at HAMU's Composition Department. He enjoys sounds, silence and the space between them.

Ivan Boreš is a tireless musician and improviser across genres.

Jiří Hodina is a leading Czech expert on Gregorian chant and an active musician with a wide range of interests from early music to folk song arrangements.

Oskar Török is probably the most prominent representative of the contemporary approach to the trumpet in our country, as it has been shaped on the world scene over the last three decades by personalities such as Nils-Petter Molvaer, Arve Henriksen and Erik Truffaz.

Dragan Stojcevski graduated in scenography from the DAMU in Prague and is currently pursuing his PhD studies there. In addition to theatre scenography, he has also realized a number of installations and artistic interventions in public space. He is intensively involved in the creation of site-specific projects, often in collaboration with the Mamapapa group. During the Signal Festival he will present a light object from the performance King Oedipus.

Supported by

  • Patron of the installation

    The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague Music and Dance Faculty

  • Partner of the installation

    Český rozhlas

  • Supported by

    Farní sbor ČCE U Salvátora