MARTHA ROSLER: Town Hall Meetings
February 14, 15 and 16, 2014

Town Hall Meetings
in the frame of the exhibition
MARTHA ROSLER Guide for the Perplexed: How to Succeed in the New Poland


Exhibiton's Opening +

Friday, February 14, 2014 at 
18.00 - 21.00
GENDER. Invisible Labour for the Perplexed

Organized by Ewa Majewska
Participants: Anna Grodzka, Aleka Polis, Katarzyna Bratkowska, Joanna Bednarek,
Zofia Nawrocka, Kuba Szreder, Martha Rosler
Chair: Ewa Majewska

"Invisible work for the perplexed. Gender" proposes a discussion on forms of discrimination and oppression that have been experienced by us, also on forms of colonizing affection as well as resistance strategies and alternatives. The male and female panelists invited to the discussion will offer their definitions and examples on invisible work in regards to politics, education, activism, science, arts, cultural production, and other fields, only afterward will we move on to the discussion.

Invisible work is a term that has been employed by Western feminists since the 1960s to try and define the status of working women in a patriarchal society. In the following decades, the term expanded to include the work of migrants, the elderly as well as other groups who give their efforts and energy to an insufficiently paid jobs, nonetheless necessary for society, that consists of care and concern of loved ones or for people who are not able to do such work themselves.

In the context of the artist’s - Martha Rosler - exhibition, who devoted a lot of her works and texts to invisible work, we don’t only want to reflect upon what this term means to us, but also the state of equality and how to critically intervene publicly and privately.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

12.00 - 13.30
DEBT. How to make private problems a bit more public?

Organized by Mikołaj Iwański
Video work by: Łukasz Skąpski

Emerging from the issue of debt, it is easy to come to the conclusion that many of the economic aspects of life have been, in recent decades, hastily forced out from the sphere of public liability and stuffed into troubled privacy. One of the successes made in economics, based on the neoclassical school, is the arrival at a situation that is almost without inflation, which fantastically protects the financial system from the damaging of deposits, yet lays an unbearable burden on private debts. Low inflation also creates permanently higher unemployment, which refers us to the next problem - widely recognized as the effect of individual helplessness. Finding themselves in a similar situation were the artists who were the heroes of Łukasz Skąpski’s film ECODIY, documenting the workshops/open air that took place in 2012 in the centre of Szczecin. Out of good intentions and faith found in the slogans of creative economics, artists created impressive and useful objects of everyday life from existing waste. Did the situation, in which the response was positive in regards to the call for individual responsibility for professional fate, end in an economic success to the measure of expectations placed in the creative sector? .
The topic will be expanded upon through discussions that will occur at a later date with the participation of economists and sociologists regarding the specified process and its historical determination.

The fee for Łukasz Skąpski’s presentation in the collective exhibition amounts to 600 PLN gross in 2000 and therefore, for the use of his work, he shall be given a rate that will be actualized according to inflation, which since then has elevated up to 40.1%, giving the sum of 877.75 PLN gross - slightly above the threshold recommended by OFSW.

13.30 - 15.00

Organized by Mikołaj Iwański
Participant: Andrzej Szpindler

The problem of theoretical reflection on labour is one of the most sensitive and undeveloped fragments of local reality. For many years it was one of art’s repressed discourses, busily overlooked by local mainstream. In this situation, it turned out that inviting Andrzej Szpindler to cooperate was justified as he promised to give a few valuable tips for the perplexed persons present at the opening.

According to the recommendation by The National Trade Union of the Workers' Initiative the fee for Andrzej Szpindler for participation in a group artistic event will be 800 PLN gross.

First and foremost, the topic of labour creates a space of action, and as a result, another guest has been invited to participate in the project - Piotr Nowak, an activist in the All-Polish Workers' Initiative Trade Union. Piotr’s initiatives greatly exceed the classic stereotypes of the union’s work, which will be the next phantom of the local version of peripheral capitalism. Piotr will lead an open, one day training for CCA employees as well as for freelancers working with the institution regarding a strategy to defend the rights of workers and techniques for establishing trade union organizations.

16.00 - 19.00
ARTISTS. Art and Labour - On free labour in free art why we do we like our labour to be ‘free as in freedom’ and not ‘free as in unpaid’?

Organized by Kuba Szreder and Martha Rosler
Open forum

As art laborers, we want to collectively question the paradoxical status of free labour in the free arts. Artists and other cultural producers are distinguished by vocational involvement in their own artistic pursuits, seemingly freely chosen and autonomous. But their enthusiasm and willingness to gain visibility is frequently exploited by art institutions to extort free meaning unpaid services from them. The format of an open seminar will prompt the exchange between involved participants. Everyone is welcome to bring, share, and discuss their experiences, grievances, and utterances in a collective setting.

The rules of the game are simple: the session's language will be English, unless somebody feels more comfortable speaking Polish; there won't be any pre-conceived schedule of designated speakers; anyone can propose a theme; themes will be chosen on a random basis from the common pool; every presentation is expected to last 5 to 7 minutes, followed by at most 7 minutes of discussion; the session is open-ended; after the session we will all go for drinks.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

12.00 - 13.30
ENVIRONMENT & INDUSTRY. Poland: Prevailing through coal

Organized by Maciej Łepkowski
Participants: Urszula Stefanowicz, Andrzej Kassenberg, Grzegorz Wiśniewski

Urszula Stefanowicz, coordinator of the Climate Coalition (agreement between 23 NGOs involved in efforts to protect the climate), participant of many climate summits, including the last COP19.
Adam Ostolski, sociologist, publicist, politician, co-leader of the Green Party.
Grzegorz Wiśniewski, President of the Board of the Institute for Renewable Energy, former Director of the European Centre for Renewable Energy.

The first meeting from the series "Industry and Environment" will be devoted to Poland’s politics on energy and climate in the context of recent events linked to Warsaw’s Climate Change Conference COP19.
International environmental organizations (which left the climate debates as a part of the protest) accused the Polish government of a lack of freedom and hypocrisy in their efforts to protect the climate. Poland constitutes a formidable brake on a more resolute EU climate policy, thus becoming a player as a major opponent in reducing emissions along with China, United States, Canada, and India. The reason for this situation is coal; Prime Minister Donald Tusk clearly expressed it recently by saying, "Poland has been able to prevail due to coal, and through coal it stands and will continue to stand."

How can all of these events be combined as a whole, what type of future will result from them, how to relate this policy to the demands of sustainable development, and is it as bad as it looks at first glance?

15.00 - 16.30
What should we put in the new Jewish museum?
How do Polish Jews define their lives in modern Poland? How does the issue of identity in the context of the question take form: what should the big new museum be filled with?
Organized by Judyta Nekanda-Trepka
Participants: Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Piotr Paziński, Magda Szpilman, Agata Rakowiecka, Tadek Markiewicz

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett a scholar of Performance and Jewish Studies and a museum professional. Program Director of the Core Exhibition for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
Piotr Paziński, author of three books: two dedicated to James Joyce and his fiction, and a novel "Pensjonat" ("Boarding House", 2009), which won the Paszport Polityki award as well as the European Prize for Literature and nominated to the prestigious NIKE award. Chief editor of the Jewish magazine Midrash.
Agata Rakowiecka - educator and a director of a newly opened Warsaw's Jewish Community Center. Also a speech therapist and currently a student of graphic design.
Tadek Markiewicz - an analyst, a journalist. He studied in Israel. His book on the Jewish State is to be published this year.

Ethnical minority, according to its definition, is a group of people inhabiting an area in some country, distinguishing itself from the society’s majority by language, culture, ethnicity or by religion. As Tadek Markiewicz claims, Jews are not much different from other Poles. If that’s true, what’s the difference between them? What does ‘ethnicity’ mean for the Polish Jews and how is it connected to the planned exhibition at the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews? What apart from the trauma of Shoah and anti-Semitism of 1968 can be a material for creating identity? Will the Museum become a monument of that identity, or just on the contrary, by its very existence will define that identity anew and will open it for the future?

16.30 - 18.00
MIGRATION. Polish Demographic Catastrophe!? What does this mean!?

Organized by Daniel Malone
Chair: Witek Hebanowski, Foundation Inna Przestrzen
Participants: Mamadou Diouf, Lude Reno, Elsi Adayev, Tanya Rodnyenkova, Ton Van Anh, Monika Szulecka

Mamadou Diouf, one of the leaders of African Diaspora, founder of Africa The Other Way Foundation (Afryka Inaczej).
Lude Reno, Afro-Caribbean immigrant, activist, journalist, film-maker.
Elsi Adayev, young Chechen immigrant student, very active in community here.
Tanya Rodnyenkova, politically active, young immigrant from Ukraine, PhD candidate at WU.
Ton Van Anh, active spokes person from Vietnamese community, involved in Vietnamese cultural centre.
Monika Szulecka, works with Centre of Migration Research / Ośrodek Badań nad Migracjami based at Warsaw University. Expertise in Polish migration issues (i.e to UK etc.)

Is avoiding the looming problem of an ageing population the best reason we can find to encourage emigration to Poland? Do we need to replace the brightest and strongest we lost to the UK? Or if cultural diversity brings a wealth of experience and adds to the richness of life are we investing in the right places? Where are the immigrants that are already here, and what are we doing to support them and encourage more? From NGOs to students, activists and community leaders, we discuss the various issues and experiences of emigration into, and migration from, Poland today, and ask questions about the Poland of tomorrow.


Partners of the exhibition MARTHA ROSLER "Guide for the Perplexed: How to Succeed in the New Poland": Sofitel Warsaw Victoria, Epson

CCA media patronage: TOK FM, Elle Decoration, Harper's Bazaar, KMAG, Aktivist, Warsaw Insider, Hiro, Stolica, Label Magazine,, PURPOSE


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