The exhibition Through the Soundproof Curtain. The Polish Radio Experimental Studio is a collection of archival recordings and videos from the Polish Radio Experimental Studio (PRES) which dedicated itself to discovering new sounds and instruments. The exhibition will be open until January 6th, 2019 at the ZKM – Center for Art and Media, in Karlsruhe, Germany.
The PRES was founded in Warsaw in 1957. Its establishment had also symbolic value, as it became a major platform for freedom of expression within the Eastern Bloc.
The studio became an exclusive space for creative autonomy. Along with the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music, PRES was the only platform that enabled artistic exchange on such a large scale, inviting guests from the United States, Western Europe and Scandinavian countries.
Thanks to state-of-the-art technology and two qualified, experienced engineers, the Studio could meet the needs of composers representing various backgrounds, encouraging research into tape music in particular. Nevertheless, the Studio was not devoted exclusively to producing independent electroacoustic pieces, but was also used to create musical illustrations for movies, radio and television. In fact, creating incidental music, as well as what today we would call sound designing for various media, was officially one of the Studio’s main tasks. That meant the electroacoustic experiments in Polish Radio’s headquarters in Warsaw deeply influenced not only the development of art music around Europe, but also changes in the popular culture and imagination throughout the Eastern Bloc.
The exhibition presents PRES as an institution oriented towards audio-visual experimentation, constantly looking forward. Being influenced by visual arts and happenings, artists and composers, the PRES managed to establish a new language that is open to the listener’s interpretation.