The notion of a shared space and how it is being negotiated and structured are central within my multidisciplinary practice. I am especially interested in the political potential of negotiating the urban sphere by the city’s citizens. I believe in the argument that antagonism is a base for democracy. Therefore, for the last couple of years I have been exploring strategies for citizens to reclaim and negotiate urban areas, celebrating and shaping them freely. I am also interested in issues connected with the contemporary transmigration worker phenomena in European cities (resulting in transnational ethnic communities whose culture and commitments are neither wholly oriented toward the new country nor the old). Together with the subject of cultural diversity, I consider these to be the most urgent and fascinating challenges of sharing the contemporary urban sphere.
Through video narratives, sculptures and collages, my practice revolves around the question of addressing the problematics of the social. My works combine the realms of film and contemporary urban spaces. I have been researching how can I discuss issues associated with migration, social housing, gentrification, and surveillance by referencing and learning from different film genres and filmmakers.
I have been making fictional documentaries and investigating the potentialities of this genre within the process of addressing and negotiating the public debate about the Polish worker immigration phenomena. The setting for my film Sobota / Zaterdag / Saturday (2011) was the city of Rotterdam – its public monuments, historical sites and housing areas. The subjects and participants of this project were Polish people working in the Netherlands. Sobota / Zaterdag / Saturday stems from my interest in deconstructing, re-applying and re-inventing the language of propaganda films from the 1950’s in order to address the contemporary disappearance of the social ideologies that determined the construction and re-construction of post-war European cities. I follow the living conditions of Polish immigrants with an emphasis on the individual, to avoid stereotypes and the anthropological gaze.
By setting a fictional narrative in real space my films are political as they question the reality of the actual location. However they try not to intrude upon the lives of the inhabitants of the area, who are dealing with problems – such as gentrification of their district or negative stereotypes about immigrants – which are negotiated within the work. My projects aim to address the community inhabiting the space by using the basic elements of cinema language, rather then being directly operative within the community itself. I take a critical position toward surveillance as a component of the city fabric, culture and as an instrument of control over the citizens (please refer to my video:Questionnaire, 2011). I also want to avoid patronizing my films’ subjects. In order to shift from these problematic forms I invite the participants of my projects (including myself) to play a certain fictional character (i.e. a Hooligan, as depicted in films from the 1950’s) or a stereotypical figure from contemporary public debate (a Polish Immigrant Worker in a project: Sobota / Zaterdag / Saturday). Staged situations, appropriated soundtrack (i.e. in the 1950’s documentaries) or black and white images in my videos intentionality expose the construction of these works. Still the settings, the remnants of reality, the type of protagonists, loose narrative and sculptural elements present in the videos claim a position in the social discourse.