If you’ve walked past Galeria Krakowska lately, you’ve probably noticed some curious sculptures inviting you to lend them your ears, so to speak. In fact, these giant “earspeakers” are part of an ongoing project by the Małopolska Institute of Culture (MIK) to promote tourism.
The Earspeakers were originally invented by Łucja Piekarska-Duraj of the MIK for an outdoor exhibition in Brussels showcasing the Małopolska region. Each of the three giant ears emits different sounds to display the versatility of the area. The first ear reproduces the sounds of the cities, from the famous bugle call from St. Mary’s tower to the grinding of the Nowa Huta steel mill. The second ear introduces listeners to the region’s folk traditions, from Highlander dances to Jewish and Romany bands. The final ear brings out the sounds of nature: the animals of the forests and pastures, the quiet resonance of the Błędów Desert.
Those who take to the sounds – and the Małopolska region, the MIK hopes – can take the sounds with them in the form of mp3 ring tones. Each of the sculptures is equipped with a Bluetooth device that allows listeners to transfer sounds to their mobile phones.
The sculptures showcase what Małopolska has to offer not only sonically, but visually as well. The sculptures themselves were designed by Mariusz Ratajczyk, a Cracovian sculptor and conservator, with colourful artwork by Tomasz Budzyń, Sabina Francuz and Agnieszka Pawluś from the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts adorning each of the three Earspeakers. The sound-emission technology was crafted by the Krakow-based Senga company, and Zgniatacz Dźwięków recorded the actual sounds.
The ears will be on display in front of Galeria Krakowska from the 4th to the 14th of May.