EDITORIAL This is not an end
So, it’s over. For already a week, we kiss each other good bye after the last days in the frenetic and fascinating capital of Poland. Back home with a feeling of a too-much filling of vivid memories, images, words, music, emotions, encounters, joys, sadness sometimes, deep understanding and misunderstansings, parties, alcohol, journeys, walks. A crossing, as would Marta say. Back to our homes, our daily duties, our friends and companions, with whom we try to share what is almost impossible to make understandable when you did’nt take part of it. Still, we try, and we will go on trying, because our goal was and is to share. It is over and it is not. Because, of course, the project goes on : five exhibitions, a movie and a publication will extend it and deliver to different audiences, in different countries, the complex and rich results of these mechanisms and this « entente ». But also because such intense emotions will work with our minds and our subconscious. And that in the future, and maybe far future, our works will keep some tracks of it. There was a « before » and « after » this summertrip. On se souvient. We remember. All of us.
VALERIE DE SAINT-DO
N’exigez pas de la politique qu’elle rétablisse les “droits” de l’individu tels que la philosophie les a définis. L’individu est le produit du pouvoir. Ce qu’il faut, c’est “désindividualiser” par la multiplication et le déplacement, l’agencement de combinaisons différentes. Le groupe ne doit pas être le lien organique qui unit des individus hiérarchisés, mais un constant générateur de “désindividualisation”.
Don’t require from politics to restore the individual “rights” as defined by philosophy. The individual is the product of the power. What is necessary is to “deindividualize” by multiplication and displacement, the arrangement of different combinations. The group doesn’t have to be the organic link that unifies hierarchized individuals, but a constant generator of “deindividualization”.
I remember my rather shy arrival in Bucharest, when most of the faces were still anonymous. I remember I wanted to leave Poland. I remember people laughing. I remember people crying. I remember many things, some of them are exciting, some of them very disappointing. Memories, not only one, or two or best and worst. I remember that the Bulevardul Lascăr Catargiu in Bucharest looked like New York under the rain. I know it seems strange to say that, but it’s true. I remember being in a polish group, thinking that I could almost penetrate the secret of their language. I remember a melody composed by few words: Cmentarzysko historii, Boję się przyszłości (...) I remember the first conversation with Seydou about Africa and Ivory Coast. While talking, I had to think of a German artist to whom I was introduced by Roman many, many years ago. He went to Ivory Coast and cleaned a swimming pool with the help of a few local teenagers as part of his artwork. I remember so many stories about this swimming pool. But I can’t remember his name and I am ashamed by this inability, so I don’t tell his stories. I remember the first beer in Bucharest.
I remember the nice enthusiasm we had going late in the night to the train station to pick up by surprise new Polish participants, and the disappointment that followed seeing the disdain on their look. I remember sharing an irrepressible desire of dancing in the enormous empty rooms of a palace built for a megalomaniac dictator. I remember we decided to keep the pineapple that Agata gave us for good luck during the trip before we left Krakow, until she would join us one month later, to give her back. We transported that pineapple from city to city and one week before she arrived it was rotten. I remember also how Lujza and Nils invented the train toilet party after the whole night party. I remember this was the slowest train I ever took. I remember a long landscape strip, whose projection varies according to the speed of the train. I remember I was sleeping in a train. Sorry, in many trains. I remember my walk, lonely at first in the cemetery, then with Guillaume in the botanical garden and stumbling, on a Sunday, on what could be the gay bar of Cluj, « Mustache », adorned with plenty of photographs of beautiful actors wearing a mustache. Being the only client, I couldn’t verify.
I remember the barking dog at 5 oâ€™clock in the morning. I remember talking about pandas. I remember us, all gathered in a Japanese pavilion, speaking about our artistic ideas and desires. Kubo yelled in Slovak and Ĺ ukasz in Polish to a Romanian kid playing loudly under the pavilion. Everybody laughed. I remember the long journey for the hidden party. I remember the white gloves performance in the train station. I had the feeling that Bea, Lujza and Basia were saying goodbye to a century ago people. I remember some of us played football with Roma kids. They wanted to take the train with us, but I donâ€™t know if we could have handled that situation. I remember the night party in the train station of Cluj, just before leaving for Budapest. I remember not very clearly how we were dancing in the restaurant wagon. I remember the Hungarian border police ordering Kubo and I to go to sleep. Kubo lied on his back on the floor of the corridor, with his ID card in his raised hands; he just wanted to join Bea in the restaurant wagon. I was seriously pissed by this exaggerated authority zeal. I remember how I stepped into shit in Budapest, and washed my shoe in the fountain.
I remember the Szalon, and the spas. I remember repetitive tones of cities, monuments and twenty people choir who followed each day the tracks of past they believed there’s no borders, and idyllic vision can last till end of voyage, till dispersion will be made then everyone will go to his bed and tell companion about stuff they saw about Romanians great smile, Slovaks wall about Hungarians national itch and Polish will of „just to be” and everything in three colours freedom, in celebration of 14th of July train leaves the station, I look at the window on reflections and times, which goes by. I remember that I lost my phone in Košice. I remember the face of the cop who proposed us a sightseeing tour in Lunik 9 with his police car. He refused to shake hands with Valérie. Was it because she is a woman? Or because she was asking him embarrassing questions about the Roma community? I remember a Slovak artist who wrote the word “prepačte” (forgive-us) on the outside side of the wall, which was built to protect the inhabitants of Lunik 8 from the inhabitants of Lunik 9. The inside of the wall looked like made of stones and the outside looked like made of concrete. Both of them were fake, as the real material was some kind of plaster. What is the intention of a concrete like decoration? I remember I wanted him to participate to the project.
I remember Alexis riding my bike at 7 in the morning. I remember my birthday on July 17th, with the issue of Deadline #1, and the bottles of vodka under the table in Tabačka. I remember that I puked in Tabačka, but I was not the only one. I think I remember seeing a monkey in Tabačka. I remember being a monkey. I remember that Seydou missed the train to Plaveč. I don’t know how, but he was there to film our arrival. I remember where to turn when you travel from Muszyna by car, and that it is very important to order food the day before, because otherwise you might not get the food you wanted and you’ll have to picnic under the tree. I remember the first person that came to us. Karol. He is missing one hand. I remember the first person I saw was Mario, walking down the street with his Slipknot sweatshirt. I remember the first night when I arrived to Plaveč I felt so relieved. I remember the fascinating lecture by Juliana, the Queen of style, in Kulturny Dom, our headquarters.
I remember a lot of my dreams from Plaveč. I dreamt of an alternative project with the same participants but with more beautiful accommodations, some other games we played, like writing down gossips and throwing them into a bowl. I remember dreaming of Andrzej Stasiuk agreeing to give me an interview for my book about masculinity and me waking up inside the dream and telling to some friends that I dreamt of Stasiuk agreeing to give me the interview. I remember waking up at 9h40. The breakfast closes at 10. I remember giving a pseudo-Thai massage to Marta and László. He is one of the least tense people I ever touched. He said that it is due to him swimming a lot. I remember that music makes cry sometimes. I remember there was a lot of music during this trip. I remember the incredible monochord voices of the singers in Plaveč, Monika and Daniela. We tried to make music together. I remember people dancing traditional folk dance for us. I remember I found myself individualist thinking that the tradition could erase individuality. I remember I felt home, and all the others were foreigners.
I remember not to be able to go out from the village, because I was living there. I remember the little kid playing with a small Yorkshire terrier and a ball behind the railway station while me and Thomas made a walk around it. I remember Meca, the kitten that we healed and that was adopted by Mario. I remember the kettle disappeared, and the fear that it could disappear again. I remember the first walk to the lake. Roman said he forgot his pants, so we needed to find a place where he could bath naked. Gosia didnâ€™t swim with us. Thomas inflated his shark. I mounted the shark but it was somehow hard to navigate. I collected stones for the hot stone massage that I never did to anybody and I left them later next to the big stone where we were hiding the key. I remember a pretty girl sleeping on her stomach, slender legs up. I remember the organizers were the organizers, and all the others were someone else. I remember Marta and Tomas had difficulties to make some people understand simple things. And I didnâ€™t understand why they didnâ€™t understand.
I remember the picnic we had with Simon under the tree just because we were not served lunch. Marta’s mother said the real name of the Slovak sausage that Simon called “chorizo” while he was speaking to the lady in the “potraviny” supermarket. I remember that the photos of the food were much funnier than the food itself. I remember Veronika who won an apple pie contest. All men voted for her pie (I wonder why), but they didn’t know that she wasn’t the Veronika they thought she was. Their Veronika never baked a pie. I remember the debates, the words “patronizing” and “under-estimate”. I remember “the Polish” were the Polish, and “the French” were the French. I remember Gitka showing me bruises on her thin legs, made by her boyfriend who is hitting and beating her on a regular basis, and me trying to be a bit more than just a passive listener, somebody from a different world, where women don’t get beaten up but are adored for who they are. I remember Valérie lost a shoe in a 2 meters deep hole in front of the Hollywood Car Wash. I remember being closed in the cinema by Guillame, and the so called “fat little boy”, the main suspect for vandalizing the car, who rescued me. He was number 1 on the list of 10 suspects.
I remember when our car got damaged, and that the inhabitants wanted us not to be disappointed with Plaveč, even those who, not guilty, were frightened by the police. I remember that Plaveč people were so pleased to share with us. I remember “Dobry” bumping into each person in the streets of Plaveč. I remember the walk together in the river under a thin rain with the red umbrellas. I remember that I walked a lot during this summer. I remember our bursts of laughter with Sylvestre and Guillaume –the flute player in water wings- during the three colors walk organized by Roman on the top of the hill. I remember the rugby ball. I remember randomly meetings of cordial people in Romania, a “Dogville“ feeling in Plaveč. I remember amazing abandoned spaces, party in unusual places, adrenaline, meetings with police, lungs full of air in pure nature, shower of meteorites. Memories full of opposites, changing of feelings: useless, desperate, amazing, mysterious, funny, cheerful, creepy, creative. I remember to have nothing special to do, but to have absolutely no time to do it.
I remember Seydou going out to the river at 5 am with a lit candle as an homage to the lately deceased Allan Sekula, me thinking it is one of the coolest things to do, but not joining him, as it was already quite cold. I remember the rock in the middle of the river. I remember the rock almost in the middle of the river. I remember that I played the Little Siren on a rock in the middle of the river in Plaveč. I remember a castle, some wine and the hands of a pianist. I remember how surprised I was to see somebody put my name on the timeline. “This is the day when I started to be interested in Miss A”. I remember checking if there was anybody else whose name would start with A. I remember to try to flirt with a girl, but she was sixteen. I remember tears in Sylvia Jonville’s eyes when she spoke about the Russian tanks invading Prague in 68. I remember the energy of people trying to share their thinking. I remember the debates on group’s polity and the quality of them. I remember to have nothing to say during the meetings, but that the words came out by themselves when it was my turn.
I remember that on this Midsummer Night Dream, I imagined the Polish team as Shakespearian characters: Łukasz as Prospero, Roman as Oberon, Joanna as Ophelia, Dominika as Titania, Marek as Puck and Jarek as Ariel. I remember the dinner when I proposed the “story night” and Cristina who immediately opposed, without really knowing what and why I propose. I remember one night, a man wearing water wings around his waist, with his trumpet, shouted someone’s name across a vast plain. I remember the Ghost with horny horns. I remember hitch-hiking to Mario and Paul’s opening, the fried vegetables we ate in front of Roman’s house, the story of Judit’s grandmother who was speaking about Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin so often, that small Judit believed he was a friend of the family. I remember that I wanted to forget one stuff that happened in this trip. The best way for me to forget something is to replace the information with something else. I remember 698.986.472 “Gronczak- Autoserwis”. This information by itself it’s something totally useless for me to remember, an advertising on a billboard in Warsaw for auto service. I remember it to forget the thing I didn’t want to remember. Now the auto service details transformed into a very functional information.
I remember the humour of human condition. I remember Slovak food. I remember not taking care of my body. I remember that arriving in Warsaw, I remembered that I had loved this city at first sight in October. I remember everything. I remember the goats. I remember shopping in Warsaw, the street grid of PlaveÄ?, a song about Satan by Pentagramcek in KoĹĄice, splendid baths of Budapest, secretly hidden techno party in the forest of Cluj, and solitary walks in Bucharest. I remember getting angry when I heard some people claiming that if the Jewish cemeteries are abandoned in Poland, it is because there is no tradition for the Jewish people to maintain graves. I remember I had occasions to do things. I remember I was sorry but I donâ€™t remember why. I remember the group effect that makes some people be more stupid than expected. I remember rows.
I remember things that never happened. I remember I wanted to do everything to change circumstances. I remember holding the hand of someone who is hanging from the shoulder of somebody else who is also taking the arms of a person who is hugging another human being... I remember I didnÂ´t feel lonely during this trip. I remember being surprised by the number of sexual exchanges in this group. I remember tenderness. I remember I met lot of friends. I remember Judit. I remember I was a part ofÂ the group.
Text composed with the collaboration of all participants.
Free Kingdom on the Border One of our most memorable moments is surely our performance-hike to a hidden, but famous corner of Slovakia and Poland. Yes. I mean both countries, as the Rysy Peak is located exactly on the border of the two countries. Once called the “Tengerszem-csúcs”, it used to lie on the internal border of the Kingdom of Hungary and the Austrian province of Galicia within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. According to the popular legend, even comrade Lenin climbed it once. Nowadays the border is easy to pass, and the area is called “the free Kingdom of Rysy” (Slobodné kráľovstvo Rysy) by the staff of the nearby cottage. Hikers and climbers from Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Germany and from all over Europe and the world come here to enjoy the beauties of nature. Our trip was in many ways symbolic – we started our walk at Štrbské Pleso, the well-known resort, where in 1930 the three countries of the Little Entente (Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia) held their most important conference. Our trip connected this spot with the border. A border. A phenomenon that has been a key issue of our project from the very beginning and throughout the whole summer workshop. Limits, borders of countries in past and nowadays, separating and in the same time connecting cultures and nations. After the performance we can say that borders are in our minds, but we can also take them into our hands, and act. Nevertheless, beside symbols, we can also admit that watching the sunrise over the cloud-covered landscape from the peak was an unforgettable moment for us. Or shall we also think about the sunrise as a symbol? Alexis, László, Seydou
Sculpture as a mirror
A sculptor, Lujza Magova studied art in Košice, Poznań, and Bordeaux, and is now in post-doctorate in the Faculty of Fine arts in Valencia. She has known Marta Jonville for long, and she brought her inexhaustible and somewhat punk energy and her sense of conviviality to the project, among other tings. You had a very precise path in your initial project, following Hannah Arendt’s essay Between past and future. Did you follow this idea or did you switch to another project during the summertrip?
Interview with Lujza Magovaof my works are even lost, I never sold them and I never leave them in galleries. I stick to the idea of art in public spaces and art for people; I do not want my art to be connected to the art market, it is not something I want to be part of. During the summer trip I was disappointed by people who were clinging to their personal projects, ones they have brought with them from home, and could have as well finished them there or anywhere else. It seemed to me that they misunderstood the project, because for me it was something like a platform on which a cooperative work should emerge.
I cannot detach myself from ideas that have entered my mind in the past. Any idea I have approved is, of course, to be questioned, but they cannot disappear totally. I see my conceptual kingdom as a kind of the tree, where new ideas stem from some previous ideas and consequently other ideas will stem from these ideas, everything is constantly updated and interconnected. All the ideas are products of lifelong thinking about stuff that I come across, perceptual, mental and material accessible to me. I did realize the projects I have planned in the first part of the summer trip, but after arrival to Plaveč I saw possibilities for work, rising from the situation that I could have not foreseen beforehand. This was more what I was expecting from this trip: working with other artists and reflecting the situations as they come. The project I have planned for Košice would have to be updated, and there was not enough time for proper research to approach it adequately in this new situation. The steel sculpture workshop of 1967 to 1973, which was unique example of abstract public art production with international participation, was the topic. Even though communist government have removed many of the works, some still stayed. Many of pieces have disappeared from the area of the steel works factory when American giant US Steel took over quite recently, but the biggest shock and disappointment was that the Košice 2013 European Capital of Culture team destroyed a work by a Japanese artist in the oldest park of Košice by painting this beautiful poetic work with slightly rusty metal surface in bright red. The same insensitive approach towards public art as former communists, if not worse.
In Plaveč, your work, mostly with Bea but also with Paul and Mario, was completely in relationship with the inhabitants With Bea Kolbašovská, we were thinking about projects that would involve the situation we found ourselves in, the people and the place, reflecting on the unexpected. Two main projects emerged, an exhibition of Paul and a local artist, Mario, and an installation based on interviews with some local people that will be shown at the “Mechanisms” exhibitions. It is cool that the exhibition was possible, and that we managed to get the space at the train station Plaveč to install it, thus connecting it to the main ideas of the workshop even more. I’m glad guys have agreed to participate, and even worked hard to create some new collaborative pieces for the show. Truly beautiful works, that made me want to draw again myself, making me realize how really basic and important part for art production drawing is. I’m really happy about the other project with Bea, called Grey matter: Name your problems and put them in the past, as well, even though it was really exhausting. We approached so many people, maybe eighty, we explained them the project, and at the end, we could only interview 15 of them. But I think that most of the answers we got from these people are really honest.
At first, when Marta and Tomas told you about this project, how did you see consider it? Was it connected with your usual work? I saw it as a very good project from the beginning. The topics are very connected to what I’m researching now, and I was looking forward to work with other artists, which I normally do not do, being closed in the studio most of the time, working alone.
The body is an important feature in your work. Did you also work with your body in performances?
I make sculptures, and I started with figural sculptures during my Erasmus program in Poznań. My professor in Košice, Juraj Bartusz, is most probably the best figural sculptor in Slovakia. But after his experience with socialist realism, he prefers more conceptual works. I like to create life size figures; I like to work with my hands. I joined Marta Jonville’s open studio of performances in public spaces on the 5th year of my studies. Until then, I was really confused; I didn’t know why I was studying art anymore and the experience of working with Marta helped me to find love for art again, as she showed me how you can bring art to people. Since then, I prefer to put my stuff in public spaces. In Valencia, I made figures in the most ephemeral material possible, paper and glue cooked from water and flour, typical street art technique used for posters, they lasted some weeks or even just a few hours. Two of the figures were stolen from the studio, so I did not even have a chance to install them on the street. I’m kind of used to this. Most
A little bit. But anyway the body is always present, because sculpture is very physical. And installing it in public spaces means that my body is always present! I had always this idea that the sculpture can have a real impact on emotions of people, because people react to faces, they mirror the emotions of the perceived faces. In my sculptures my body is always present, because it is my emotions and thoughts that I copy on my sculptures. The thesis I’m working on now in my post-doctorate studies in Valencia, is about The body as reference, source and subject of visual arts. I intent to focus it on socialist realism and the abuse of art. Will there be a « before » and « after » this project for you? It’s part of the life flow, I take it more as a process and a good experience.
The choice of a political point of view Interview with Seydou Grépinet by Valérie de Saint-Do He has assumed the charge of historiographer in the project. A documentarist, nourished by Frederick Wiseman and Peter Watkins’ movies, Seydou Grėpinet shares an old friendship with Marta Jonville and Tomas Matauko, born in Bordeaux school of Fine Arts, where he teaches. He will bear the hard task of choosing among a flow of artistic, political and human events for the movie he is directing for the project. During these two months, you have collected a lot of pictures, sounds, meetings... Which point of view are you going to adopt to make a movie? At first, the real challenge was to retranscribe the workshop, and what was going on, while preserving an axis of research, i.e the train line which used to link Bucharest to Warsaw. From then on I became so much committed –maybe too much -into the collective life that I felt the need to express this feeling. It does not suit the usual practice of a documentarist, I am quite aware of that. I will choose the point of view of expressing the political and personal tensions that I have really lived as an insider. The main goal of the project was to gather individuals in order to build up a collective. The struggles for power are part of this subject.
point of view, and some works seem more relevant than others to me. I don’t feel like choosing between one piece of work and another. Hence this desire to escape the artistic point of view. It is an artistic project, but I think that the collective work is this journey in itself. You were very conscious of the project and of its initial goals, which of course had to bear interferences and deviations. Does it still fulfill your expectations? I am balancing between several positions. My role as a documentarist, in charge of a command, and my loyalty and thankfulness to Marta and Tomas, who trusted me and proposed me the work. I wish to satisfy them; but at the same time, I have things which need to be told in the movie, and won’t answer the command. Anyway, and globally, to my mind the project is a complete success: the fact that we are gathered here, in Plaveč, where everybody is working and trying to make the best possible is a proof in itself ! Of course, there were also crises, struggles for power, political challenges, hard discussions. But this is also a proof of success!
According to me, the crises which arose and sometimes exploded in the group are the outcome of manipulations orchestrated in order to influence the building up of the project. The crucial element I wish to render in the movie is how the founders of this project, Marta and Tomas, who refuse figure authority, have had their weight in the setting up of a collective. And how some other persons tried to destroy and to grab hold of that power. A point of view does not necessarily contradict the role of the documentarist... As soon as you choose a place for your camera, there is a point of view! Mine will be political, of course, because this projects deals with politics from the start. How will you deal with the political and artistic sides of the project at the same time? I will have to choose and eliminate, that’s for sure. It is of my own choice. I was sometimes meaningfully absent with the camera, because to my mind this collective work set off as soon as Tomas Matauko and Marta Jonville initiated this project. This is where the artistic part comes in! It also lies somewhere else as the presentation days of the artistic works have showed it.... I’m also questioning the critical side. I have a part to preserve as a film maker: I have to restitute the workshop and the artistic projects. But, as a teacher in the Fine Arts School, I also keep my critical
Interview with a Vampire Better known as Jarek among us, Jarosław Wójtowicz entertained us with strange movies: some excellent kind of documentaries about the work in progress of some of us, some fake and subtle kind of mysterious (and funny) crime stories. He also explored the topic of the Vampire in several issues of Deadline. How did you come to this project at the first time? That was a proposal of Roman to collaborate in the frame of a new project he advertised me as a fascinating one, and I found it quite interesting for me as an opportunity to work with other people. Can you tell a little about your professional background? I studied theatrology, history of art and stage direction. I have mixed backgrounds of research from the fields of literature and theatre and at the same time background as an artist. What I’m doing now doesn’t have connections with my theatrical academy. It has more strong connections to visual arts and, I would say, video art as a field of my investigations. Did you come with a precise idea of what you wanted to do in this project, or did it take shape during the trip? I worked with writing, I tried to trace a journal of the journey, but I realized that this work could be unfinished and that there was a lot of improvisations about this project that I could do during this summer trip. So, I didn’t have any ready scripts for the workshop, it was more like a jam session with other people. How did you come to the idea of the vampire? I didn’t finish it yet! I started to work on researching the material about serial killers as so-called vampires, and I found very interesting material. I found that the symbol of Vampire could describe very well the very extreme form of human condition in Central and Eastern Europe, in this region of Romania, Hungary, Poland, and also Ukraine and Russia. I found a lot a connections between imaginaries in every country in which we stopped. You showed us movies which seem to have some connections with the French old « Nouvelle Vague » ; we saw two stages of your work, one with movies connected to other artists projects (Simon, Cristina, Paul, Marek) one more like a fiction . How did you work on them? When I’m trying to start a work, unfortunately, it’s a very hard process for me! I don’t have preconceived and ready solutions. I just took the camera and shot people who were interested in making a movie. And then we tried to make something together, in a certainly collaborative work. I wrote some scripts, but the movie I wrote wasn’t the one I shot! I didn’t even have any images in my head when I started this work. I tried to collect proposals from others; I didn’t feel the energy to make the proposal of how it could look like to the others. There is always some mistakes. If ever I know exactly what to do, I realize that it is artificial, when I do it. What did you get from the project? Will there be a before and after? It is always too soon to describe my condition after project. I can say that before, I had a lot of worries about it, about collaborative work in a frame of a summer workshop. Now I’m very tired after all events, in different places. Maybe I will be able to tell more after a few weeks! But yes, I started to think about something new; this project could be the pretext to. But I feel it rather like the subconscious influence of other people, meetings, and so on. What did mean the train line to you? There was one particular thing, from Muszyna to Krakow: it was quite tiring and frustrating to have a six hours long journey when we could have take a bus which would have brought us to Krakow in three hours! But that ‘s precisely the point of the project!
by Judit Kurtรกg
The Crossing Interview with Marta Jonville
As an artist, Marta Jonville is easily labelled a performer. But she accumulates the labels: a teacher, an association manager, a project director... Not easy to live with and not very easy to make it understandable to the outside. Yet, for the cofounder of « Mechanisms for an entente », all these labels belong to the same artistic and political process. The word performance applied to her is maybe to be taken by its sporty meaning! Do you call yourself a performer? This project, this journey is a performance; a reflection space imagined with Tomas, in order to invite artists to travel through a Central-East Europe, an intellectually and politically rich and interesting area, which remains rather unknown for western Europeans. On the other hand, my belief is that art should be strongly connected with society and people. In this journey, aside the poetry and the initiation by travelling, the link to reality comes from the political meaning of this train line. Artist are invited to think about its meaning. For me, the disappearance of this train line reveals how contemporary economical policy is destroying all that could make real sense. Is it possible to repeat a performance? Some artists like the Basque performer Esther Ferrer, aged 70 now, can repeat their performances during forty years and still remain relevant and excellent. Performances can’t obey a single definition. You can nearly find as many definitions of « performance » as there are performances. To me, in the frame of « Mechanism for an entente », the performance is within the railway itself; its path creates a project in space and time. <
Where does the desire of the performance « Mechanisms for a tent », showed in Plavec and Warsaw, comes from? I think that the journey form Bucharest to Warsaw is an artwork by itself. Every participant was a performer or a designer in it. After having conceived this journey with Tomas, our personal part was to make things as easy as possible for everybody, to be facilitators and a link, to help everybody to work in the best possible conditions. But some participants questioned my own artistic practice and asked me to show a « piece of work » during the trip. I was surprised by this demand and Mechanisms for a tent is a kind of ironic answer, as a formal and literal joke: « how can we build our European house together? I ask participants form each country to help on the building of this precarious shelter. And I am very happy that people from each nationality took part in it. As the cut-in-two train line is metaphorical of the disaster of neoliberal politics, the tents could be metaphorical of the fragility of this building. Also, Kubo Pišek had worked on an interactive installation inspired by our discussions, using two knives face to face, which makes the noises of swords when you touch them. It was supposed to represent our discussions, which he found unproductive (I don’t quite agree with him on this point). But to use this installation for this performance had a meaning. Beáta Kolbašovská used it as a musical tool while we were dancing with the tents. Lets add that I wanted to interact with the Slovak artists that I’ve known for seven full of productive exchanges years! It is continuity and I hope that there will be some other extensions in this project... In this project, which you’re describing as a performance, sometimes I feel that it could look like the art of the tightrope walker! The project was precisely thought of and written a long time ago by Tomas and you. To let it go through a performance and to refuse to be enclosed in the artistic director role suggests that you were ready to welcome interferences and deviations... Yes, and it put us in some difficult situations. Our goal was to initiate a collective thinking and building. We had to confront several types of challenges: our part as artists was questioned, as our position as authors of the project and our ability to be curators for the exhibitions to come. We asserted and we went on keeping our three parts as they were described from the begining. But this triple function has raised many questions, which is justifiable, and we answered as we could during the whole workshop. To question the
working space, the collective space, to draw the game field, to enlarge it, to reduce it, to draw some limits, to redefine those limits, all that is part of the process that we initiated. We had to answer to those questions while keeping the axis of the project. I often felt as shaken as a plum tree! Our position is unusual either way for the institutions, which don’t see very often artists managing projects like this, and for the artists themselves who expect from us a conventional and authoritarian form of professionalism that we don’t want to perform. Finally things set up by themselves. Our triple function corresponds to a 20 years experience within the organisations Pola, Bruit du Frigo, Zébra 3 and PointBarre for me. For Tomas, I guess his experience in cinema taught him to work in interdependence. I can’t conceive art otherwise than in exchange, circulation, encounter, linking. A space like “Mechanisms for an entente” gives the opportunity to interact with its environment. I like to think these creation spaces like immaterial forms, moving and autonomous forms. Quoting Foucault, I would say that we try to create spaces of deindividualization “by multiplication and displacement, the arrangement of different combinations. The group doesn’t have to be the organic link that unifies hierarchized individuals, but a constant generator of “deindividualization”. I am an artist and I don’t know what is to be an artist. The project is transdisciplinary, but it could have been more with people from theatre and dance… I already have organized projects gathering only visual artists, in Québec for instance. After this experience I have been invited to Electrobolochoc, where Guillaume du Boisbaudry was part of it. It mixed visual artists with dancers, actors, philosophers, poets… I said to myself: “what a richness”, face to a certain tendency to stay only among visual artists. From that moment on, we imagined this project with historians, sociologists and philosophers. But thirty people it’s a lot. The more we are, the richer it is, but there’s also more possibilities for misunderstandings and misconceptions! I think that the participants have been confronted in the same time to some kind of an order –the project is precise- and to a big freedom inside the order. Sometimes the desire of subversion is tempting… We had points of view on the project, as participants. Different points of view differ, that should be expressible, but often it has been perceived as a direction directive. Within a project that involved 45 people of 5 different nationalities it is normal to find divergences, debates, misunderstandings. Some left, others came back. We never considered ourselves on the top of the group, but as a part of the group.
photo by Julie Chovin
Maybe the other participants didn’t set from the beginning a theme as precise as that? The political, territorial and social theme has been presented to all participants before and while their residency in Krakow. The two-month workshop has created encounters between the participants and with the people that we met during the trip, particularly with the inhabitants of Plaveč. Each one of us had to find his/her place and look for a way to work. It took a while, lots of debates, “what are we doing here?”, “what do you expect from us”, questions to which we could only answer by: “look around you, take your time, get to know each other, don’t wait directives from us, we won’t give any. We conceived a field, to you now to create the games and their rules”. We fought for the length of this project, two years, because we consider that research needs time. Finally, five weeks in Plaveč is quite short to discover, walk around the territory and discuss with the people. These days, artists are usually invited to achieve projects conceived in advance in White Cubes, the same we find in Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Bordeaux, Montréal or New York. Same bookshop, same selling publishing, same exhibitions, same artists, same toilets. The working space created in the cinema of Plaveč seems to me interesting from that perspective. The place is loaded of history. The yellow walls, it could be the exhibition itself. That place, the “Kulturny Dom”, was open to everybody. The singing bands from Plaveč came to rehearsal two to three times a week. The kids from the village were in front of the place every evening waving from friendship to curiosity and teenage prepubescent provocation. We worked in there, showed our works, made parties, played music, sung, danced, debated, yelled, loved… Beyond the “Kulturny Dom” is the whole village that we invested through different actions and propositions. The train station, the river, the lake, the fields, the cafes, the forests, the rails up to Muszyna in Poland, and nearly always in connexion with the villagers. The participants were spread all over the village. The collisions were interesting. With this work we try to link art with culture, history, politics and society. We have created a platteform were different things could happen. Finally “Mechanisms for an entente” is also a social sculpture. The possibility to open to new relationships to the world wouldn’t exist in a reduced laps of time. Departing from here (here I mean the project and Poland) I won’t be the same, it’s probably true for each participant, that would already be a succes by itself. Then, we will see what happens with the train line. We still have eight months work before the end of the project, there’s five different exhibitions previewed, a catalogue and a film. It’s not over!
Hungarian joke - Miért örül a béka? - ...? - Nem is örül a béka...
THE FINAL SCULPTRUE
Several motives on letter S : Sculptures
by ﾅ「kasz Jastrubczak
Mechanisms For An Entente Deadline staff:
Valérie de Saint-Do = editor Tomas Matauko = co-editor Łukasz Jastrubczak = design & layout Alexis Emery-Dufoug = design & layout assistant Edyta Masior = corrector , László Milutinovits = corrector Mathieu Lericq = corrector Linda Van Dalén = translator Sylvia Jonville = translator Beáta Kolbašovská = translator Special thanks to Yves de Saint-Do List of participants of the project: Agata Dutkowska Alexis Emery-Dufoug Beáta Kolbašovská Cristina David Desmesure collective / Agathe & Fred Edyta Masior , Guillaume du Boisbaudry Jan Sowa Jarosław Wójtowicz Joanna Bednarczyk Judit Kurtág Julie Chovin Kubo Pišek László Milutinovits Lujza Magová Łukasz Jastrubczak Małgorzata M. Dudek Marek Mardosewicz Marta Jonville Mathieu Lericq Nils Clouzeau Palce Lizac – Dominika & Barbara Paul Maquaire Roman Dziadkiewicz Seydou Grépinet Simon Quéheillard Thomas Desmaison Tomas Matauko Valérie de Saint-Do . special guests : Gaston & Leon Desmesure, Dymitr Sowa-Bojadzijew, Bruno Dziadkiewicz, Florian Patiny and Sylvestre Leservoisier The main issue of “Mechanisms For An Entente” is the production of a multiform collective artwork, to promote a deep aesthetic, philosophical and political reasoning about the becoming of Central European countries in relation to the idea of the European Union. We want to work the nature of the European condition. edition of 150 copies / November 4th 2013 http://mecanismespourentente.eu
the font used on the cover is TIMES NEW ARIAL