A Walk

2007, Krytyka Polityczna, REDakcja, Chmielna street - Intercontinental Hotel, Warsaw

Responding to an invitation by Krytyka Polityczna, on October 4, 2007, a group of 10 individuals, chiefly the periodical's editors, went with the artist on a walk through Warsaw. The participants wore hoods on their heads that made seeing anything or orienting oneself in space virtually impossible, and headphones on their ears transmitting somewhat modified sounds from the outside. They walked at a very slow pace, holding their hands, led by the artist. Usually they went in a long line that was broken by whatever obstacle they encountered on their way, such as underpass stairs or road barriers. The route went from Krytyka Polityczna's offices on Chmielna street, through the crosswalk under Marszałkowska street, the park near the Palace of Culture, up to Emilii Plater street, where the participants stopped for a moment by Intercontinental Hotel. Then the group entered the hotel, went to the service lift and rode to the 36th floor. The last ten floors they went up the stairs. The biggest problem was to access the roof, the way led down narrow corridors, past the servers, past all kinds of machinery, up to a small door. The door was placed so high you had to make a large step downwards to touch the roof with your feet, after which you had to negotiate a knee-height protective barrier. When all the participants were safely on the roof, they were asked to take off their hoods, and they saw the panorama of Warsaw spread before their eyes. My first intuition was the desire to see the Krytyka people in a context different than the editorial offices on Chmielna - to see their relationships provoked by conditions different than usual - without the hierarchy, without the editorial context, in an extreme situation. I myself wanted to reduce the distance that still, despite our collaboration, separates me from them. I'm thinking here of direct, powerful, outright contact, which only happens when people give up all the power they have, when they become completely powerless. (…) The action's most important aspect was precisely that state of powerlessness. The moment when people don't know how to behave and what to do, when everyone has to invent some gestures or react instinctively to a situation for which no codes exist, which isn't linked to any rituals or scripts. You need courage to decide to enter such a situation, to make yourself vulnerable. When it happens, people start building new relationships, start touching the vulnerable spots. Small indiscretions happen, some people start feeling apprehensive. But it is then, it seems to me, that they become truly human. (from interview for Gazeta Wyborcza)
Joanna Rajkowska

workshop participants:
members of Krytyka Polityczna

Leszek Molski, Rafał Żurek

Ignacy Strączek

Kuba Dąbrowski

edited by:
Grzegorz Habryn

sound editing:
Grzegorz Habryn

Marcin Dymiter aka Emiter

Galeria Arsenał, Białystok, Poland

Special thanks to the management of InterContinental Hotel Warsaw and the support guides: Agnieszka Katana, Jan Modzelewski