Phantomaticon for chamber orchestra, piano and computer (2021)

fl, ob, cl, bsn | tpt, hr, tbn | 2 perc | pno | comp | pro solo | vln 1, vln 2, vl, vc, cb


Duration: 17’30” – 21'00"





In the virtual world you can get lost more than you can find – this is the warning Stanisław Lem included among many theses he put forward in one of his most famous essays "Summa technologiae". In the composition "Phantomaticon" I presented the very issue of losing oneself in the artificial world. The title of the piece refers to the phantom machine described in the aforementioned essay – the process of creating artificial worlds. This process is – according to Lem – "art with feedback", which consists in creating two-way connections between the artificial reality and its recipient. It is also worth noting that the second part of the work's title (-aticon) forms an anagram of the word "action". This emphasizes the active role of the creator in creating a new (musical) reality. This activity concerns the performance of the final phase of the piece, in which the performers make decisions live about choosing the right part (action) and its variation (color). This situation is supported by an application I have developed. It is a kind of 'live performance simulator' for the conductor, thanks to which he can test any variant of the composition's ending and choose the best one. So it comes to "feedback" between the creator and the performer.

As Stanisław Lem emphasized, in artificial reality, we are not only lost in something but also we lose ourselves – as a species. We abandon humanism for transhumanism, taking advantage of the highly developed technology that supports our lives. The modern, increasingly automated world is thus inevitably approaching the question: what do I need a human being for? In the piece Phantomaticon the role of the ensemble and electronics is to build a symbolic image of a dystopian world. The soloist, on the other hand, plays the role of the last humanist in a posthuman world.

Project co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland within the programme „Collections” – the priority „Composition Commissions” implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance.Commissioned by Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej.

Commissioned by the Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej.


Text (PL)


List of performances:


27 May

Wrocław (PL), National Forum of Music, The Red Hall, Musica Polonica Nova

Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej, Szymon Bywalec – conductor, Dorota Adamczak – piano, Paweł Hendrich – electronics



19 December

Katowice (PL), NOSPR Concert Hall

Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej, Maciej Koczur – conductor,  Ignacy Lisiecki – piano, Paweł Hendrich – electronics



28 kwietnia 2022