Grzegorz Klaman, production photo from setting-up the Camp.Courtesy the artist and Wyspa Institute of Art, 2011.
Wyspa Institute of Art
08.26 - 08.31.2011
Kiev - 09.07 - 09.11.2011
Brussels - 09.23 - 10.01.2011
Madrid - 10.11 - 10.20.2011
The creation of the Solidarity trade union and the events it had set in motion are slowly becoming a distant memory. Poland's upcoming presidency of the European Council provides an excellent opportunity to re-examine the significance of the ideas cherished by Solidarity in present-day Europe. How did the concept of solidarity and the movement it gave rise to affect European sensibilities? Are its values still valid or have they been obscured by consumerism, free-market mechanisms, materialism, greed, the desire to gain security through isolationism, etc.?
The project is also a chance to reflect critically upon the future of Solidarity, and discover new meanings and phenomena with which it could be associated. Is it possible to revive these ideals or are they destined to become slogans of an ageing continent, where solidarity serves only to safeguard the costly privileges of the older generation? Can Europe afford to show solidarity with illegal immigrants, or will it merely continue to shore up its borders against them? Is solidarity still a living component of European civilisation, or is it just a catchword covering up cynical interests?
is a project developed by Nowy Teatr in Warsaw and Instytut Sztuki Wyspa/Fundacja Wyspa Progress in Gdansk. As an art space, the Camp is an installation that will be modified in each of the sites it visits. Nowy Teatr and Wyspa will arrange for found items from the Gdansk Shipyard to go on a tour of major European cities by extracting these objects, with their peculiar blend of the banal and the legendary, from the historical surroundings in which the myth of the shipyard was born.
Gdansk Shipyard sheds
The installation prepared by Grzegorz Klaman
consists of steel "sheds" once put up at the Gdansk Shipyard by workers wanting a private space away from the construction yard. Their harsh, noisy, cold, and polluted working environment led the workers to organise themselves and carve out an intimate, individualised space where they could meet at breaks, have coffee, eat lunch, rest, and – on occasion – plot the downfall of the system. These modest zones of comfort and privacy were always respected by the plant's management even though their status was never officially regulated. No longer serving their function, and consigned to be melted down at a steel-mill, these tiny havens now languish on the shipyard grounds.
will be a village made up of such sheds, which will be modified by the workers collaborating with the artist on site in Gdansk to comply with EU transport regulations. The result will be hybrid structures illustrating the clash of the vernacular and the normative. Normative practices become a point of reference for the project and associate it with the shipyard's struggle for survival under new conditions in United Europe.
will be set up for 5 to 8 days in each city. It will consist of five shipyard sheds arranged in a semi-circle with the space at the centre providing a natural venue for meetings, lectures, and concerts.
The sheds and their surroundings will become spaces for the use of artists, performers, actors, and intellectuals. At each of its stops, this travelling camp will engage local residents wanting to contribute to the project. Hosting visual installations, projections, meetings and debates, and encouraging all manner of political intervention, the camp will also welcome secrets, games of hide-and-seek, conspiracies, and anybody wanting to share time or a meal with others.
Each shed will have a distinct function: one will contain a multimedia piece by Grzegorz Klaman
addressing the political, social, and historical context in which the sheds were originally built, and the adaptations needed to transport them across the European Union. Visitors will be able to use a smartphone app as an interactive multimedia guide of the Camp.
The second shed will house an installation by Marek Sobczyk
– plastic signs painted in national emblems and a film about the betrayal of revolutionary ideals.
The third will showcase works by Polish artists residing in the cities that will host the project: Zorka Wollny in Gdansk, Robert Kusmirowski in Kiev, Roman Dziadkiewicz in Brussels, Elzbieta Jablonska in Madrid and Lukasz Surowiec in Warsaw.
The fourth shed will be a media library and will serve as a space for changing audio and video displays.
The fifth will be a reading room with books on topics connected with the project and the people and organisations involved in it.
The keynote lectures opening each installment of Solidarnosc Camp
will be delivered by leading intellectuals, whose work examines the present condition of the ideas inspiring Solidarity.
Part of the Camp's programme will involve staged readings of new Polish drama, which provides an accurate picture of the changes Poland has undergone on its way from the founding of Solidarity to joining the European Union. Three texts have been chosen:
“About Mother and Homeland” (reading in Brussels)
"Diamonds Are Coal That Got Down to Work" (reading in Kiev)
"Foreign Bodies" (reading in Madrid)
Taken as a whole, these plays give a comprehensive depiction of social and political transition as seen by a generation too young to have been directly involved in the process, a generation thrown into a brave new world and trying, with hindsight, to describe how and why it came to pass. Each of the three playwrights has a distinct perspective and focuses on different types of alienation: economic, physical, and mental.
The staged readings will be performed by actors from countries visited by Solidarnosc Camp
Concerts and Dj sets prepared by Polish artists such as Gypsy Pill from Gdansk will accompany the project in each location.
Executive producers: Nowy Teatr, Instytut Sztuki Wyspa/Fundacja Wyspa Progress
Solidarnosc Camp : A project celebrating the Polish Presidency of the EU
Installations by: Grzegorz Klaman and Gdansk Shipyard workers
Concept and collaboration: Karolina Ochab, Aneta Szylak, Piotr Gruszczynski, Konrad Pustola, Igor Stokfiszewski
Production: Joanna Nuckowska
Production assistants: Natalia Osadowska, Dominik Skrzypkowski
Produced in cooperation with: The European Center of Solidarity in Gdansk, Gdansk Shipyard, Kininklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg in Brussels, Centro de Creación Contemporánea Matadero in Madrid, The Polish Institute in Kiev, The Polish Institute in Brussels, FLACC Workplace For Visual Artists in Genk, The Polish Institute in Madrid and Alternativa International Visual Arts Festival.
Financed by the Ministry for Culture and National Heritage