Jagoda Szmytka

Feminale of Music

You can see a woman sitting on the side of a piano with a stone lion sculpture positioned in front of her.

Jagoda Szmytka herself is present at the »stage of life« as an »art figure«. Her creation process and performance practice is inseparable from her life – she makes a constant play between »living on the stage« and »staging her life« integrating daily life situations into her performances or appearing as different avatars »on and off the stage«.

Jagoda Szmytka is a Polish/German artist, composer and curator based in Offenbach/Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She works interdisciplinary in the fields of fine art, music and theater, creating installations, performances (»box of presence«, »box of happiness«), writing and directing operas, musicals, theater plays (»for hands and voices«, »LIMBO LANDER«, »LOST«, »DIY or DIE«, »JUSTICE«), composing electronic and instrumental music (portrait album »BLOODY CHERRIES«).

The main subject of Szmytka’s creative output, according to the motto »art should be for the people, with the people, about the people« is »human being« and »human life in its present condition«.

To »bring art to the people« and to »tie art with life« Szmytka extends her artworks, plays and music compositions out of galleries, theaters and concert halls into public spaces. To permeate people’s daily lives, she not only uses the City as the stage, but as well applies transmedia and multimedia techniques; she communicates art content via multiple channels involving audience in the performance. This way »art stays playful«, »artwork becomes a playground« and »audience, as player, wins presence«.

Szmytka’s projects often are sustained for a longer period of time. This extended in time duration, on one side, allows to build up stronger relationship with the audience in form of community projects, and bridges art to architecture through »habitation of the art space«.

Is this »living art«, or is this »art of living«? Perhaps simply »human art« meeting human »ups« and »downs«, »tailor-made«, »user-friendly« – art for everybody – reaching out, accessible and inclusive.

To achieve inclusion and to communicate through art with brighter audiences Szmytka not only uses various channels and media, but as well applies into her work wide spectrum of aesthetic, styles and genres, so that everyone may find something »suitable« or »applicable«.

Additionally, she develops and applies »uncanny valley« technique – she uses well-known and well-liked by the audience forms and genres, like selfie booths, TV shows, TV series, games, or just daily life situations. At the end – art belongs to life and fulfills the norms of contemporary humanism.

Szmytka is a founder and an artistic director of cultural platform »PLAY« and a singer-songwriter of art-pop ensemble »ENTER«, both formed in 2015. She studied composition in the class of Prof. Wolfgang Rihm at the University of Music Karlsruhe. In 2018 she has been elected as chairman of the »VERY« association. As artist and as composer she was frequently supported by the German Academy of Arts (Akademie der Künste) and German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat). She was artist-in-residency at Villa Serpentara (ADK) in 2017 and over many years artist-in-residency at ZKM (Center for Art and Media). In close cooperation with the ZKM, »LOST« was created in 2015, a transmedia composition developed across various platforms and formats. In 2016 she was awarded the German Music Authors’ Prize (GEMA).

Music Pieces

A Play for Lions N’ Roses, in cooperation with Lisa Bensel and Dominique Theise, produced for the Feminale of Music by ZKM Karlsruhe, 2020 

sky-me, type-me, published by the University of Music, Institute for New Music and Media. Performance 2012 at the ZKM Cube Karlsruhe.

empty music, performed by the Ensemble Garage as part of the GLOBALE at ZKM | Karlsruhe 2015

DIY or DIE Intro, published by and Gesamtkunstwerk of Jagoda Szmytka (direction, text, composition, set, stage), Eclat Festival 2017 Stuttgart. »Vaudeville in 5 parts with 5 real satellites«. Every »classical act« performed within the theater on the »normal stage« has an »act to«, which is transferred as a »satellite« into public space: Roof, paintball room, foyer, etc.

Jagoda Szmytka: »Intro, interesting in the time of today, what is our freedom NOW? Here is the dreamy atmosphere between reality and a dream and digital world – I was filming my real bed that I was sleeping in the theatre apartment, the sheets were green and I used them as a green screen. Funny thing – the video glitch that I use here to project on the bed, comes from the ‘empty music‘.« 

LOST is a transmedial composition developed across different platforms and formats. The contextual essence of LOST is to blur the boundaries between illusion and reality, life and art, what happens on and behind the stage, private and public. The ZKM production was created in cooperation with the Warsaw Autumn. The transmedial composition is reflected in various formats (LOST – PLAY and LOST – REVE RAVE)

Jagoda Szmytka: »The piece was 'living' for more then 2 years. It had many parts and realisations.« 




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Mon, 06.04.2020 – Fri, 01.05.2020

The ZKM honors female composers with a four-week digital festival