Press release - Hradby Samoty 2023

5 Jul 2023

Hradby Samoty XII.
Under the mask of reality

Hradby Samoty, the multi-genre festival, cordially invites you to its symbolic 12th year – a year of completion and finalization of one loop of the cycle, of one journey around the sun and journey through forms, situations and overlaps. Compared with last year, whose main focus was creating specific mythological and dream-like reality within the real world, this year, despite the festival’s theme being masks (as objects of relationship articulation and hidden content), we move deeper into the discoveries of this world, unveiling its nooks and crannies, thus enabling visitors to become discoverers and guides during three days of experience, music, performances, art installations and workshops. Jablonica castle, situated very close to the Czech border, will transform into a place of transition into a sphere of borderline audiovisual experiences for one prolonged weekend from the 13th till the 15th of July 2023. This year, these experiences will focus even more on erasing borders between the roles of the audience and the performer as co-creators of the festival program.

Since its beginning in 2010, the Hradby Samoty festival has made quite the journey, from being an unusual gathering of fans of industrial/ambient and avant-garde metal music. Now it has become difficult to define, yet it has its own idiosyncrasies – an almost alchemist amalgamate of sound, art, video and spatial objects, all of it intensified by understanding and care for a particular, generally overlooked but state-protected architectural landmark. The roots of the festival and its original "inhabitants" are annually intensified by musical bodies from central and wider Europe, and this year is not an exception, manifested by such as the believers of apocalyptic neo-folk Spiritual Front, the elusive Italian experimentator Mare di Dirac, or local masters BBYB, PTAO who re-formed after 27 years, or the only occasionally performing Polish electronic superteam T'ien Lai, or RSS B0YS. Those who visit Hradby Samoty regularly already know that during recent years, the music program has become an important part, yet still just a part of a much bigger and more complex experience. And this year, it won’t be any different.

Curated by Omar Mirza, an international exhibition of current visual art titled Masks will also be part of the Hradby Samoty XII. festival. Thematically, it will be connected to one of the dramaturgical subjects of choice for the music program – musicians performing in various masks or costumes. The exhibition will present work by 23 artists of various ages from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine (for example Martin Gerboc, Wojciech Kucharczyk, Jarmila Mitríková & Dávid Demjanovič, Emília Rigová, Boris Sirka, Klaudia Kosziba, and many more). The exhibition will display the phenomenon of masks from many points of view and – as the mask itself – can veil, entertain, disconcert, fascinate, disgust or protect its audience. At the end of the day, it may unmask some current and pathological phenomena in our society, through art.

As mentioned above, the central festival theme is masks, and the entire groundbreaking experience unwinding during Hradby Samoty will revolve around masks. Be it the special performance by Fero Király and Eva Vozárová "I am Sitting in a Room", as an hommage to Alvin Lucier, or the one by Korean performer Jena Jang and Ivana M. Hollá, or Kristýna Hrevušová, who will invite her festival audience to join her theme of deconstructing human identity, or Lorenzo Abbatoir, who will create a unique A/V spatial installation. The festival will not only feature artists with an academic background, students and graduates from prestigious studios. It will also introduce installations of visual arts, costumes, video-installations, photographs, poetry slam, and various forms of live reading. You will be able to take in the creative environment during several workshops, which will focus on creating masks, activism through embroidery and many more related forms.

You can also look forward to witnessing projects which have not yet had the opportunity to perform at our festival, such as the Lithuanian rhythmical industrial Karkasas, almost disco-like occult noise Mala Herba, but also evergreens of our local scene, such as Arabian Family Payback with Blind Ruler Cursed Land, Czech melancholic synth magicians LOFN, Jan Krumla and Wilhelm Grasslich as Medical Cabinet, or new talents, such as Xces, Kodiky, Boh Vajec and Sklobeton and many more. You will also experience larger groups, such as Koleso Nešťastia with its 8 members, or, for Wardruna fans, the 11-member group Jeden Kmen.

Claude Levi Strauss once interpreted masks as fulfillments, or realizations of relationships and revivals of mythological stories – he understood them as codes of language and gestures, which enabled us a deeper understanding of the particular realities hidden under mythological traditions. In this way, this year’s masks will help us understand our own place and our life moment among the fictitious worlds of Hradby Samoty. Last year, we invited you to take a peek into the marvelous landscape created in the spaces of Jelšava castle. This year, the invitation isn’t only a peek, but a three-day journey and an experience, where every one of you will be able to become a part of this ever-changing world of musical and visual imagination.

The Apponyi castle, Jablonica 238