Photography and Community Art Events in Poland
(Pedagogical University of Cracow)
Paper short abstract:
What happened with the photographs made for people of Pierog by artists who used to spend summer in their countryside at the beginning of the 1990s? In my paper I would like to explore how photographs as material objects owned by participants shape memories of the artistic events.
Paper long abstract:
Soon after the Polish political transformation, at the very beginning of the 1990s, a group of artists from the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw invited their British counterparts to work together on a community art/cultural animation project - the first one ever undertaken by both groups in conjunction. What was crucial for both partners was the idea of "democratization of the visual media". Among Warsaw artists and their British colleagues the conclusion was that everybody should gain an access to the visual media - especially people from remote, rural areas of central Poland, who, because of the lack of education and social exclusion, never had a chance to create visual narrations about themselves. What was more, the Polish artists strongly believed that visual media should be "liberated" - from the censorship and political control held by former communist authorities. In my paper I would like to focus on memories of the villagers' first contact with the visual media. I would like to explore how photographs as material objects owned by participants shape memories of the artistic events. Is collaborative art work on the visual material possible? What are the problems concerning aesthetics and authorship that occur in collaborative process? From my point of view, and as it was once put by Alfred Gell (Gell 1998), investigating art objects is not necessarily about dealing with the problem of 'meaning', hidden behind the visual, iconographic language, but it is also about investigating 'the doing' - visual presence is therefore a social fact itself.
Visibility of dissent: meanings and repercussions of urban activism through digital photography and video