Opava: po proudu zvukuOpava: in the stream of sound
Magdaléna Manderlová and Michal Kindernay
Collaborative project commissioned and curated by Bludný kámen, Czech Republic

A long term project investigating and archiving the changing sonic environments of the Opava region, the Czech Republic. Apart from the artistic work, we established an interdisciplinary working group consisting of local experts from the fields of ecology, history, sociology and poetry. 

The first exhibition Po proudu zvuku I. studied the Opavice river and took place in Galerie Cella, Opava (20.10-09.12.2021). Opavice has had a significant role in the historical, geographical, and ecological context of the region.  Kindernay & I engaged with the river by walking along with it from its spring to its confluence, over 100 km in total. The river and its ecosystem change as it flows down from Jeseníky mountains, with its final stretch being heavily regulated due to former gravel mining.

Opavice is a piece I composed for this exhibition and is based on spending time and walking along the river. Recorded, composed and mixed by myself, 2021.

In 2022, we were researching Kozmické louky—Kozmic meadows—a system of floodplain meadows situated in the river Opavice’s ecosystem. The area was formerly intended for gravel mining and experienced difficult times of amelioration, water drainage, aggressive terrain destructions, and extraction of resources which caused disruption of the natural balance, loss of biodiversity, and environmental burden. Kozmic meadows are now, thanks to the long-term commitment and dedicated work and care of the local community and the company Semix, full of life, and accommodate hundreds of species of birds and plants, amphibians, Exmoor ponies, and an ornithological observation station.

The final exhibition Po proudu zvuku II. in Galerie Cella (23.08-15.10.2022) took the shape of a multichannel sound installation for 25 prepared speaker membranes. As part of the exhibition, we published a book of the same title Po proudu zvuku—In the stream of sound, that gathers texts by Kindernay & myself, Martin Klimeš, Jiří Siostrzonek and Martin Šenkypl. We started up a platform Zvuky Opavy - an online sound archive that anyone can contribute to.  

This exhibition had an extensive public program accumulated into one day: Zvuková citlivost v terénu—Sound sensitivity in the field, 27. 08. 2022. During this field trip, the audience visited a number of locations in the region, each picked by each contributor in relation to their presentation.

It included: A talk on the significance of the forest ecosystems and the forest revitalisation after the bark beetle calamity by geographer and ecologist Vít Kašpar, and a local forester Ivo Kupka, in the forests of Pustá Polom.  A poetry reading by Martin Šenkypl in Albertovec, an old horse stud. A bird watching tour with an ornithologist Ondřej Škrabal at Kozmické ptačí louky—Kozmic meadows bird reserveA concert for birds—A tribute to Kozmic meadows and all living being by Yve Ellerová, František Hruška and Martin Režný, at Kozmické ptačí louky—Kozmic meadows bird reserve.

This project will have a satellite radio broadcast at Radio Art Zone 22-23. September 2022, as part of the European Capital of Culture Esch2022.


Photographs of both exhibitions by Jakub Kožial. Photographs of the public program by Jiří Volejník. Field photographs are courtesy of the artist.

The project was supported by Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, Magistrát města Opavy, Billedkunstneres Vederlagsfond, Trondheim kommune, Office for Contemporary Art Norway, and Radio Art Zone.