Agnieszka Polska
The Thousand-Year Plan

Agnieszka Polska
Kup bilet

Agnieszka Polska’s latest work, "The Thousand-Year Plan", will fill the eleven-metre-high exhibition hall of the Museum on the Vistula. Shown on two screens, the film talks about the electrification of Polish countryside in the years following WWII. On the one hand, it is a history of modernization and emancipation, and on the other – a poetic expression of anxieties resulting from the protagonists’ entanglement in a moment of technological breakthrough, in which “electrical current measures the new time.”

The impressive video installation features respected theatre and film actors, including Jaśmina Polak, Bartosz Gelner, Piotr Polak and Julian Świeżewski, and the voice of Antonina Nowacka, voice and sound artist.

The exhibition consists of a video installation, on show at the Museum on the Vistula until 19 September 2021, and a number of accompanying events taking place both at the Museum and online. Visitors will be able to take part in the Electric Summer School Symposium featuring the sociologist Benjamin Bratton, philosophers Mckenzie Wark, Bogna Konior and Katarzyna Czeczot, and watch “Iskra TV” [Spark TV] — a series of short films created by experts, such as the post-war energy engineer Jacek Szyke or the researcher of electrifciation Rafał Zasuń, introducing the history of electrification and its socio-political contexts.

Set in the 1950s, Polska’s film introduces four characters from the peasantry on two opposite screens: a couple of engineers working on the electrification of rural areas and two partisans hiding in the surrounding forests. The dialogue reveals a kaleidoscope of emotions: hope for a better tomorrow, faith in progress, but also fear and a sense of loneliness. Although they all imagine the new world differently, they are united by an awareness of living through a turning point in history. Nature, time, and technology –emphasized via digital animations in the symbolic layer of the piece — are the film’s other, equally important heroes.

Agnieszka Polska’s film is an innovative look at the first post-war years. From its inception, electricity aroused both fear and delight. “Illuminating darkness” was seen as a supernatural driving force, or – as socialist electricians would have it – “the secret stolen from lightning.” In the interwar period, just 1 village out of 100 was electrified. It wasn’t until 1950 that universal electrification became an official objective of the central government. By embedding her protagonists in post-war history, Polska poses the most relevant questions: how is access to infrastructure empowering, and in what ways does its lack exclude from modernization? Which social groups and institutions control technology and impose the agenda for collective life?

Referring to the poetics of the exhibition, the curator Natalia Sielewicz proposes the term “magical socialist realism,” because Polska treats technology and modernization as fully fledged heroines of her narratives. She does not separate them from nature, but even strengthens this non-obvious association. The artist employs evocative imagery, powerful soundtrack and poetic narrative to convey the most universal emotions: longing, fear, hope, and the feeling of loss. In this way, she portrays technology as a sensory and spiritual experience adjacent to dream worlds, imaginations, supernatural phenomena and mystical rituals, thanks to which “night turns into day.” Following the philosopher Yuk Hui, the artist suggests looking at technology, the natural environment and human thought as a global, entwined system of interrelated elements and moving away from the linear understanding of progress and divisions between what is modern and traditional, natural and artificial.


Written and Directed by
Agnieszka Polska

Natalia Sielewicz

Produced by
Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw 

Enabled by
Art Collection Telekom

Production manager
Dagmara Konsek-Pfüller

Set Manager
Janusz Dąbkiewicz

Chmura – Bartosz Gelner
Wiktoria – Jaśmina Polak
Jasiek – Piotr Polak
Inżynier – Julian Świeżewski
Voice of the Sparkle – Antonina Nowacka
Harpist – Katarzyna Kolbowska

Director of Photography
Radek Ładczuk

Focus Puller
Maciej Piórek

Camera Assistant
Piotr Twardowski

Steadicam Operator
Maciej Tomków

Set assistant 
Robert Senderowski

Script / Continuity
Irma Blumstock

Lighting Gaffer
Łukasz Carek

Lighting Assistant
Daniel Ługowski

Location Sound
Igor Kłaczyński, Jan Moszumański

Costume and Set Designers
Aga Klepacka, Maciek Chorąży

Make-up Artist
Aleksandra Dutkiewicz

Hair Stylist
Kacper Raczkowski

Film Editing
Agnieszka Polska

Special Effects
Nathan Gray

Agnieszka Polska

Sound Design
Igor Kłaczyński

Original score
Agnieszka Polska

Color grading
Gregor Pfüller

Venla Helenius

Research Assistant
Shahira Issa

Historical Consulting
Rafał Wnuk

Photo equipment
MX35 Camera Rental

Elka Król, Wojciech Ostałowski

The film was produced by the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw and enabled by Art Collection Telekom.


Project management
Joanna Turek, Paweł Wójcik

Key visual
Karolina Pietrzyk, Agnieszka Polska, Gilbert Schneider

Aldona Kopkiewicz, Natalia Sielewicz, Przemysław Wielgosz, Rafał Zasuń

Arthur Barys, Joanna Figiel, Piotr Szostak

Marta Bartkowska, Józefina Bartyzel, Aleksandra Długołęcka, Aleksandra Urbańska, Iga Winczakiewicz

Public program coodrinator
Paweł Nowożycki

Educational program
Paweł Brylski, Dominika Jagiełło, Marta Przasnek, Marta Przybył, Jolanta Woch i zespół edukacji „Użyj Muzeum”

Jakub Antosz, Marek Franczak, Jacek Frysztak, Piotr Frysztak, Adam Graczyk, Szymon Ignatowicz, Aleksander Kalinowski, Robert Kania, Paweł Sobczak, Marcin Szubiak

Exhibition guide


Managing editor
Kacha Szaniawska

Photo documentation:

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Events connected with the exhibition: