Review: Maciej Wirmański – Sounds of a Boiler Room and a Laundry Room (Szara Reneta, Aug 9)

Sounds of a Boiler Room and a Laundry Room (Polish: Odgłosy kotłowni oraz pralni), the newest work from sound artist and phonographer Maciej Wirmański, was entirely recorded in the “kitchen” of his home—the quotes are present because as Wirmański states, the room is not really a kitchen by the contemporary definition at all, and is closer to what would be called a boiler/laundry room or utility room. From just the artist’s description, it’s immediately clear that this place has a special presence: “In this place time accumulate[s]. It is a heart of the house clogged with lodgments of unwanted things.” But as the subtle yet evocative 36-minute piece unfolds, we hear the indescribable energy of a “heart of the house” at work, as the sounds of the makeshift hot-water stove and washing machine simulate the pumping of blood throughout an organic system. The sporadic hum and rushing water of the laundry cycle, the clinks and snaps and pops of the heating stove, the way in which the small room seems to muffle, even embrace, the sounds within—Sounds of a Boiler Room… is an intimate portrait of a home from a uniquely limited perspective (limited in the physical sense, at least).

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