The intention of my research is exploration of the performative and political potential of ceremonial uproar reimagined as a spiritual practice for the modern day, its relation to non-hierarchical forms of expression, protesting and community building. My aim is to create a multi-sensory, trans-cultural queer experiential collective space, involving sound, objects, text, singing and choreography, where the audience-artists binary is blurred and where experimentation can be shared in order to find tools for transformation.
The point of departure of my investigation is the music practice I have been developing with burczybas - a traditional Polish Kashubian friction drum. It is considered an anti-instrument used for creating the eponymous “ceremonial uproar” known from the Polish folk traditions. The activity aims at introducing a ritual reality that was in opposition to the everyday order, making it “suspended”, “upside down”. It can take the form of vocal or quasi-instrumental practice, with self-made instruments or even random objects.
The customary way of playing it is a collective choreographic act involving three people: one person has to hold it tightly, second one is pulling the horse hair and the third one has to pour water on it every couple of minutes, usually while dancing oberek (Polish folk dance). Germany has its own version of the instrument called Brummtopf. Another anti-instrument that often accompanies burczybas is diabelskie skrzypce (“devil’s violin”). Despite what the name indicates, it is also a percussive object, built with various noise making elements and decorated with a devilish head.
Nowadays the suspension of the everyday order and chasing away the “evil forces” can be interpreted as imagining the world beyond capitalism, which, reflecting on M. Fischer’s famous quote (“It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”), seems almost impossible (one can say “miraculous” or even “magical”). I believe that through rituals and communal activities, we are able to build tools and mechanisms against oppression that help us heal and unlearn the harmful conditioning. My idea of collectivity in performance assumes breaking the audience-performer(s) binary and I aim to find a way to include the viewers by inviting them to play and co-create the piece (for example by playing with provided anti-instruments).
aemlx is a ritualistic alter-ego of Emilia Kurylowicz, channeling the ceremonial uproar ritual practices via music compositions and performances with the use of voice, electronic sounds and text.