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Institute of Reportage: The Familiar City - questionnaire


Agata Zysiak, founder of the “Topographies” Association, protagonist of “The Familiar City”, an article written by Agata Listoś, answers questions prepared by students of the Polish School of Reportage.

I am… an interaction, a creation, a vector of force.

I make… I only acknowledge that I do make something. I hate standstill.

I was… too fast. I’m slowing down now.

I will be… going further but at a more leisurely pace, which is better. I’m still eager to do it and I’m full of energy.

Culture is… the lens through which we perceive the world.

Poland is… my birthplace, my burden and my chance.

Europe is… useful concept, a overarching construct that brings all culture together, guarding the heritage of our common identity.

My environment starts... with my home and extends to all places I’m familiar with.

My environment ends… where I no longer feel like home.

What I do is important because…  I feel that my work is important and has some impact, even though absolutely minimal at times, on my everyday reality and environment.

A movie that has recently impacted me very profoundly was... Peter Hutton’s “Lodz Symphony.” It’s a silent movie we got from America especially for the 2010 Miastograf Festival. It’s shot on 16mm film, you can hear the frames clacking away in the darkness of the cinema. Hutton is an American that filmed Łódź in the 1990s. Thanks to him we can see our city’s past through the eyes of someone else.

A book that has recently impacted me profoundly was... “The Communist Manifesto”, an important book describing the key issues of modernity and the transformations is brings. Most new works on modernity reference it, whether their authors like it or not, even though some of them would go as far as denying it.

My biggest influence were... the people I’ve met: they taught me how to discover the world and they showed me how they perceive it. The people we surround ourselves with make us, so to speak.

This year I’d like to... continue the projects I started. I’d like for our Culture Point Prexer-UŁ to start working at full speed, I want our association to become a full-blown cultural institution. And I’d like my personal life to stay the way it is.

In five years I’d like to… the world to still be there.

Translated by Jan Szelągiewicz

The questionnaire is a supplement to “The Familiar City,” an article written by Agata Listoś 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, Łódź, Topographies Association, Agata Zysiak