Accepted Paper:

Between duty and rebellion: unearthing the 'culture of shaming' in Polish villages as art (auto) manifest  

Author:

Tomasz Rakowski (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

I will discuss the unearthing of 'culture of shaming' in post-socialist Poland, undertaken by the artist Daniel Rycharski. I will argue, his open-air laboratory in his home-village may be conceived as a struggle to reopen his own deposits of shame and at the same time to pursue his (auto)manifest.

Paper long abstract:

In my paper, I will discuss a case of artistic unearthing of the 'culture of shaming' i.e. quite painful, affective strand of identity in post-socialist Polish society, that appears when modernizing discourses are confronted with the experience of having village roots. I will focus on artworks and actions performed in Kurówko and two other villages in central Poland, which have become known as a kind of open-air laboratory set by the multi-media artist Daniel Rycharski, who grew up there, and whose works I have recently followed, researched and ethnographically consulted.

What Rycharski is aiming in his projects may be initially understood as a struggle to reveal the self-organization and cultural potentials of rural communities, especially in the face of the current market-driven harsh competition among farmers. Yet, later on, it turns out that his ideas are both ethnographically and artistically dangerous, and capable of opening unfixed affects of the villagers, built on their ongoing sense of socioeconomic marginalization. Rycharski, in his well-recognized projects, such as "Monument to the Peasant" seems to focus on 'peasant grieving', a quasi-rebellious act of the villagers as well as a form of 'affective subjectivity' linking them tightly to the state (Aretxatga 2003). However, what is really important here, is his strategic setting, interactions with his closest family, their households and possessions. By arranging such scenery, I will argue, that he is striving to reopen his own deposits of shame, in a way to make his open-air laboratory a form of particular art (auto)manifest.

Panel P027
Materialising the Imagination: How People Make Ideas Manifest