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Institute of Reportage: The Art Laborers - questionnaire

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The characters from Katarzyna Lis’s reportage “The art laborers” answer questions prepared by students of the Polish School of Reportage.

Name, age:
Sylwester Gałuszka, 33.
Mikołaj Robert Jurkowski, 45.

Place of birth:
SG: Przemyśl.
MrJ: Lublin.

My place today:
SG: We’re building a new space, a brand new place.
MJ: I don’t think I have one.

I am...
SG: An art laborer.
MJ: An art laborer.

I make...
SG: Hmm...
MJ: What I can’t see. If something is not there, I try to create it. It’s always been like this with me. I still experience situations that push and inspire me to create.

I was...
SG: An art laborer, always giving 100 percent to the cause.
MJ: I was, I am and I will be punk.

I will be...
SG: A human being.
MJ: An art laborer.

Culture is...
SG: Culture.
MJ: Situations. Actions, not people.

Poland is...
SG: Home.
MJ: A beautiful country and still one big “if.” I think we’re losing our chance to reconstruct it. I expected something different from the freedom we fought so hard for. Right now I have no other choice but to engage in political discourse.

Europe is...
SG: A window on the world. We’re a reflection of things happening out there, which in turn influence in so many ways.
MJ: A dream for a world gone by. Radio Free Europe was once the only source of true news. Today, Europe means mostly possibilities, especially for the youngsters. But it also has a darker side, the lost chances, the decline of education systems, inhuman rules and regulations, the situation of ethnic minorities. I guess there’s still a gaping abyss between us and Western Europe.

My environment starts...
SG: Where my skin ends.
MJ: With me. Everything begins with me. Today I live in an apartment block, in a working class neighborhood. That’s my environment.

My environment ends...
SG: It has no end. Maybe in space.
MJ: It has no end. I’m always interested in what lies beyond the threshold.

What I do is important, because...
SG: Because I know it’s not selfish, people let me know that my work is important to them. Doing something solely for yourself is the worst.
MJ: I think the important work is still ahead of me.

A movie that has recently impacted me very profoundly was...
SG: “Enter the Void.” After watching it, I haven’t said a single thing for four days. Haven’t switched on the TV for a month. I felt that the cinema is over, has reached its peak, and that there is no sense in making and watching movies.
MJ: Yesterday I tried to watch Tarkovsky’s “The Sacrifice,” to relive the experience of seeing this flick. As I said, I tried. Lucky for me, technical difficulties prevented me from doing so.

A book that has recently impacted me profoundly was...
SG: In January I started Pessoa’s “The Book of Disquiet.” A really powerful book.
MJ: Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine.” There is also another book, an coffee table book, really – “Modern Design.” I leafed trough it and it completely blew me away. Our aesthetics have undergone immense changes in recent years and frankly, I’m unnerved and irritated by that fact. I started collecting new magazines on interior design and comparing them to those issued in the 1990s. The changes are unbelievable.

My biggest influence was...
SG: Popart and then op-art. And the fact that all of it can still be modified.
MJ: Punk-rock. The 80s were really a big dose of undiluted life.

This year I’d like to...
SG: Do projects that will put me in touch with new, interesting people.
MJ: Trump last year’s achievements, and that will be hard. Last year we organized over 300 workshops with over 10,000 participants.

In five years, I’d like to...
SG: Meet the people we’d organized our workshops for and see where they’re at.
MJ: I’m thinking about South America. The things I do here, I could just as well do there. That’s one of my alternatives.

Translated by Jan Szelągiewicz

This questionnaire is a supplement to “The art laborers”, an article written by Katarzyna Lis as part of a series of reportages on grassroots cultural/social initiatives in various Polish cities. They were created especially for ECC by students of the Polish School of Reportage established at the Institute of Reportage in Warsaw.

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TAGS: Institute of Reportage, Polish School of Reportage, Gdańsk, Shipyard, Sylwester Gałuszka, Mikołaj Jurkowski