MEMORY OF WATER

ARTISTS’ RESIDENCY I / GDANSK

REPORT

On 3-9.06.2019 the research residency in the framework of the project „Memory of Water” took place in Gdańsk. Next artists took part in it: Mary Conroy (Ireland), Tara s. Beall (Great Britain), Siegfried Vynck (Belgium), Jonas Myrstrand (Sweden). They were accompanied by the curator Mary Conlon (Ireland).

3.06.2019

The 1st day of the research residency started with a meeting at the Baltic Sea Culture Center during which we we presented to the artists the assumptions of the project in Gdańsk and technical issues related to its organization. In the evening we went for a walk to 100cznia to meet the organizers of this project – Alicja Jabłonowska and Kuba Łukaszewski. 100cznia is a small container town built on the outskirts of the former Gdańsk Shipyard. It consists of gastronomic points, art studios and alternative art gallery. Every week there are concerts, exhibitions and meetings with interesting people. The idea of a social garden and the zero-waste principle are tested there.

4.06.2019

In the morning the participants made a trip by a tourist ship imitating a pirate ship. Its purpose was to view the Shipyard’s grounds from the water’s side. The route led along the Motława River and the Martwa Wisła Canal to its mouth to the Gulf of Gdansk. On the way we passed Westerplatte – the place of the outbreak of World War II.

In the afternoon the participants visited an exhibition at the Milk Peter – an alternative arts center situated in the Shipyard. Next, the participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the Social Zone arranged near the European Solidarity Center on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the first free elections in Poland. As part of the Zone, 13 thematic tents were organized, in which non-governmental organizations, institutions and organizations prepared interesting events, meetings, debates, children’s zones, and film screenings. The program of the day ended at the Academy of Fine Arts with the lecture by the activist Anna Miler “Cultural Life in the Gdańsk Shipyard”.

5.06.2019

This day was devoted to a workshop „Gdansk Shipyard – mental maps workshop” conducted by Dr. Klaudia Nowicka from the Department of Socio-Economic Geography of the University of Gdańsk. During the first part, the participants (MOW artists and students of the Faculty of History at the University of Gdańsk) visited Stocznia, taking notes. In the second part, they worked in the historical BHP Hall, creating mental maps of this area. Mental maps are graphic representations of individual understanding of spaces, surroundings and places. They are subjective constructs influenced by one’s everyday activities, experiences, prejudices, emotions and cultural values associated with a particular place or area. The mechanism of individual interpretation of space plays a vital role when creating mental maps. When interpreting people usually simplify geographical or physical spaces that surround them. Thus, mental maps are usually abstract and no cartographic rules apply to them. The results of the workshop will be used to develop a scientific article in English.

In late afternoon the participants took part in a renovation of a social garden in Gdansk Wrzeszcz.

6.06.2019

This day was spent by participants at the European Solidarity Center. At first, there was a meeting with Magda Fryze-Seroka who presented us activities of the Civil Design Department, focused on implementing values of solidarity into the social life. Then the participants met Ms. Ula Ściubeł – a retired worker of the Gdansk Shipyard. She told about hardships of everyday life of workers in the communist time. After this meeting, the time came to visit the exhibition of the European Solidarity Center.

In the evening the group went to Sopot to visit the Museum of Sopot situated next to the beach and the Baltic Sea.

07.06.2019

Participants visited the Media Library at the European Solidarity Centre. It was also a day of the individual reaerch in the shipyard – seeking inspiration for projects. The went to the Gdańsk University of Technology to become familiar with the research of the participants of the international project “SOS Waterfront Climate Change”. At the same time, at the Baltic Sea Culture Center CityLab #3 Stocznia Od/Nowa took place. In the morning representatives of local authorities took part as well as of institutions associated with the shipyard. In the afternoon themed tables were organized around which artists, architects and local activists were discussing the future of the shipyard area from a point of view of MEMORY, ART, WATER AND PUBLIC SPACES, PRODUCTION, GREEN AND ECOLOGY, DIALOGUE. MOW participants had the opportunity to become familiar with the results of these discussions.

8.06.

After few days of walking in the shipyard, participants had a unique opportunity to look at it from above – from the observation tower organized on one of the cranes. Then they visited an exhibition of Gdansk photographer Michał Szlaga „I Photographed the King of Poland”, organized at Laznia Center for Contemporary Art. Szlaga made headlines in 2013, when he published his album Szlag’s Shipyard. It is a specific publication whose aim is not art but an almost journalistic intervention in the process of disappearance of an industrial heritage site. The book was ready after thirteen years of his obsessive work as a documentalist, gatherer and investigator observing the Gdańsk Shipyard.

It was also a day of the individual research. In the afternoon the artists and curators met to discuss the first ideas of our projects to be realized in October and determine a way of preparatory work. In the evening participants watched two documentary films about the past of the Gdańsk Shipyard.

9.06.2019

It was a day of return trips. Nevertheless, the participants managed to visit the ship Sołdek, which is part of the exhibition of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk. It was the first ship built in Poland after the Second World War.

Recommendations:

  • Focus on designing rather ephemeral, transitory actions.
  • Relate your project to the context of the Shipyard, and especially to its future.
  • Treat your project not as a finished work intended for a single presentation to the audience, but rather as a project open to the future.
  • Include in the project categories developed in the dialogical process of the project “STOCZNIA OD/NOWA”: MEMORY, ART, WATER AND PUBLIC SPACES, PRODUCTION, GREEN AND ECOLOGY, DIALOGUE (http://stoczniaodnowa.pl/).
  • Consider the question: How can we take risk and explore areas outside of the conventional structures and social conventions and the dominant paradigm of „development for development’s sake”?
  • Try to incorporate various social groups and professionals (politicians, urban planners, city officials) into your project.
  • Projects can be made individually or with another artist / artists participating in MOW.
  • A conceptual work process on the project is very important and should be registered in the form of notes, blog, statements recorded on video, etc. This documentation should be delivered to the Baltic Sea Cultural Center until 14/10/2019.

Technical outlines:

  • Meetings with curators at ZOOM every 2 weeks.
  • A deadline for submitting a project description and data for the budget to the Baltic Sea Cultural Center: 31/08/2019.