free zone / NGO zone

Institute of Reportage: The Art Laborers - questionnaire


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.

listen to the content print version

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