Temporary Exhibition: Katarzyna Szeszycka "Impulse response: The Empty Landscape, volcano area"
The National Museum in Szczecin - The Museum of Regional Traditions | Pałac Sejmu Stanów Pomorskich, Staromłyńska 27, 70-561 Szczecin, Polska

The experience of space is polisensory. It is a complicated process dependent on the sensorium. The sense of sight analyses the depth of space despite only a pair of eyes. This analysis depends on the limits of visibility. Real-time view of the space includes only a fragment of it. It is complemented by impressions recorded through the gravitational sense and the sense of hearing. Sensitivity to stimuli is finite within perceptual boundaries, diversified individually. What will happen when we start pseudo-abstract sensual impressions? How close can we analyse perceptual limiting? Impulse response is the building of circumstances in which we can try to approach them. It is a reflection how we perceive the end of the open space (The Empty Landscape, volcano area) and when do we start to perceive it (The Model of Swarm)? Artistic activity is a form of reasoning, in which perception and thinking interfere with each other (1). In her artistic practice, Szeszycka analyzes the polisensoricity of space perception as a researcher - an experimenter, by asking questions:

When do we start / stop seeing?
When do we start / stop hearing?
When do we recognize?
When do we identify?

These are the problems of the border of appearance and the limit of hearing and the problem of identification.

The Impulse Response project is a summary of research on the issue of limits of visibility and audibility focused around the perception of space.


(1) Rudolf Arnheim, Myślenie wzrokowe, Polish edition: Gdańsk 2011


Impulse response are two complementary exhibitions:

Impulse response: The Empty Landscape, volcano area

Location: The National Museum in Szczecin – The Museum of Regional Traditions, 27 Staromłyńska St.
Opening: April 25th 2019, 5:00 P.M.

Organizer: The National Museum in Szczecin

Partners: TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art in Szczecin, The Faculty of Painting and New Media of Academy of Art in Szczecin, Freedom Gallery, OFF MARINA Przystań Kultury


Impulse response: The Model of Swarm

Location: Freedom gallery / OFF Marina Przystań Kultury, 18 Chmielewskiego St.
Presentation: (one day event): April 25th 2019, 7:00 P.M.

Organizer: TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art in Szczecin

Partners: The National Museum in Szczecin, The Faculty of Painting and New Media of Academy of Art in Szczecin, Faculty of Electrical Engineering of West Pomeranian University of Technology, The Institute of Signal Processing and Multimedia Engineering, Freedom Gallery, OFF MARINA Przystań Kultury



Impulse response: The Empty Landscape, volcano area

The Empty Landscapes presents open spaces in moments that are extremal for visibility. These are large areas of delicate gradients from which the colour shaping the structure of the earth or the surface of the water emerges. Gradients reflect the physicality of scattering light in the fog. The colour scheme is narrowed, in subsequent works of the series it approaches the monochrome, smooth surface. The whole is aimed at silence in visual perception and abstract image. Volcano area is visually richer, more expressive. Similar in terms of colour. It follows the shape of black, soft smoke, dust or clouds, which in some of the pictures are contrasted with the textures of the ground. The last ones, in both series, are not made of photographic material, they are an interpretation behind which the experience of these structures, space, border visibility and the medium itself stand.

(...) emphasizing the creative role, instead of the intentional game with tradition, Szeszycka prefers to locate her creative energy closer to the raw pole of retreat from the smokescreen of advance that surrounds works of high art; in this way, she finds a niche in artistic culture, where  workshop proficiency, sometimes depreciated, suddenly becomes a tool that can foster the desublimation approach towards excessive fetishisation of art and its reception. In this way, she reveals some kind of bankruptcy inevitably inscribed in Western culture, or rather the need for simplicity; the utterance that hits the heart, skilfully synthesizing the basic tensions in the dialogue of "nature" with "culture" (2).

(2) Ewelina Jarosz, W wiecznym cieniu zagłady. O nowych pracach Katarzyny Szeszyckiej, in: Volcano area, exhibition catalogue, Polish edition: Galeria ms 44, Świnoujście 2016.





Impulse response: The Model of Swarm

Swarm. The phenomenon of nature, an organic formation. It is characterized by simplicity, lack of central control, autonomy of the individual and possession of the nucleus of consolidation – cohesion. It illustrates the feature of nature, which is the pursuit of the simplest solutions. The swarm is mathematically descriptive, but it is not deterministic, it is interactive. The essence of the swarm is not fully understood.

The Model of Swarm has been conceived as a sensual exercise, which is to allow drawing a spatial object in the mind along with a suggestion of its movement, enabling the perception of spatial formation movement.

Being in direct relationship with the individual represented in the spatial frame of reference by the intensity and pitch of the sound, we begin to identify them. The situation changes when the conceptualizing person recognizes that there are more individuals, and they behave in a systematic manner, appropriate, for example, for the behaviour of a swarm of insects. There is an automatic intuition that the swarm will behave interactively and reactively towards the present participant in the experiment. What conditions must be met for a participant using this model to be able to perceptively cover not only the variability of the mobile structure, but to make the whole interactive? The human mechanism of spatial perception of sound, despite only a pair of ears, allows to determine the direction of sound sources through the movement of the head, change of the frequency and phase characteristics and the Doppler effect.

The model has been inscribed in the icosphere. It is a combination of two geodesic domes, that is, a sphere built on the basis of two triangles - equilateral one and isosceles one, whose cross-section is a regular decagon. Audio points have been installed on each of the vertices of the solid. The model uses spherical sound emission from 41 speakers placed in the sphere and one subwoofer. It has been designed for an individual recipient, isolated from the environment in terms of both acoustic and visual stimuli. Thanks to this, the change in the orientation of the recipient's head allows for a fuller experience of sound sources (there is no limitation of emission to the horizontal plane). The use of the sphere with loudspeakers and the digital synthesis of sound sources enables one to consider the human mechanisms of spatial perception of sound.

The sound used for modeling does not imitate anything, it is considered as a signal, each of the range of audibility, it can be used if in the model. The sound, the signal, should be the n ordered according to <x, y, z, w, t> coordinates (location in the spatial coordinate system, frequency and volume of sound).

The whole is an experiment regarding the perception of space through the sense of hearing and spatial location, pseudo-abstracted from other impressions.

The recipient will be the interactor, co-creator. However, they will not co-create visibility, or will not be confronted with it as in the painting part of The Empty Landscapes,  volcano area - in The Model of Swarm, this formation can be created in their mind and in physical space.

The interdisciplinary team that has been working on the prototype: Dr. Katarzyna Szeszycka, Prof. Dr. Eng. Przemysław Mazurek, WPUT, Dr. Tomasz Budzan, Marcin Papis M.A., KRAZ