THE SCULPTURE PARK. CHAPTER XI
Ecomuseum. Institution with society

  • THE SCULPTURE PARK. CHAPTER XI

In this year’s, 11th edition of the Bródno Sculpture Park, we return to the park as a public space where part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw is located, a place with which we share an 11-year history recorded in the form of over a dozen sculptures and many more social ties, and also to Bródno Park itself as a municipal park in the Targówek district.

We look at the sculpture park as one of the elements of a greater ecosystem. The sculptures installed in recent years, nature, the shaping of the terrain, but also the customs for use of the park by the community of residents, are all part of a complex system which we examine up-close. Viewed at that range, life also includes the non-human inhabitants of the park, plants and animals.

Through the program we allude to the vision of an ecoinstitution, an institution sensitive to the multifaceted context of the site where it functions. We understand an ecomuseum as a formation avoiding the artificial division into institution and audience, artists and spectators, art and non-art, building and exterior, sculpture and setting. We realize that this approach demands greater sensitivity to its conditions and the environment.

The ecomuseum referred to in the title of this year’s edition of the Bródno Sculpture Park is one of the responses to the more and more urgent questions about the definition of an artistic, cultural and public institution. As individuals and as members of larger structures, we experience dynamic changes occurring across all spheres of human life and activity: social, economic, political and climatic. Museums and public institutions are among the entities facing the need for renegotiation of their operating policies, to define other formats of cooperation with the society and with local governments. A strong reason is found in the democratization of society, acquisition by the public of new competencies, and thus formulation of new expectations. In constructing institutional policies and programs, the climate crisis and the threat of climate catastrophe hanging over us must also not be ignored.

This year’s chapter of the Bródno Sculpture Park has assumed the task of examining how to operate an institution that is sensitive to the conditions impacting it—both the social and the environmental context. In the social and the natural we seek personal stories of human and non-human entities, redefine the division between culture and nature, and challenge the hierarchy of species, while turning the social into a method for artistic action, not exclusively a theme for artistic works.

The program for the 11th chapter of the sculpture park comprises three elements. The first was the Summer School at the sculpture park, which involved a number of women participants, staff of local institutions (library, cultural centres, preschools), animators and activists. We held a series of events featuring anthropologist Aleksandra Janus, educators Marta Maliszewska and Marta Przasnek, theatre director and cultural animator Alicja Borkowska, naturalist Hanna Michoń, and curator Sebastian Cichocki. During the evening sessions, with these experts we examined methods of work focused on contemplation, empathy, processes reflecting diverse perspectives, work under unusual conditions, and care. The approaches presented make up an overall attempt to define an ecomuseum, as one definition of a museum alongside other possible definitions, or more generally a public institution adapted to the reality in which we live.

The second element of the program is residencies by teams formed by the participants in the Summer School. The work of the teams is supported by artists Anna Siekierska, Diana Lelonek and Michał Mioduszewski and educator Katarzyna Witt.
The residencies take the form of multidisciplinary activities on the site of the sculpture park, as a publicly visible time of gathering materials for planned projects and a time for implementation of the specific phases, as well as the final effects. The main principle serving as an ideological umbrella developed jointly during the sessions is Feminization of the Future!
The teams pursuing the residencies took up themes of falling in love with nature as a method of emancipating it in human eyes, giving voice to personal stories without an artificial division into what is connected to people, nature, art or animation, finding stories building an expanded cultural space of the park, and also finding a method to reflect stories and nature as such in local policy and in how artistic and educational programs are realized by the Museum of Modern Art on this site.

The final element of the 11th chapter of the sculpture park will be an exhibition on 28 September 2019 summing up the residencies, presenting the work of the four teams, and an open manifesto displayed through the entire process of this year’s edition of the sculpture park—a proposed definition of a sensitive institution that can be called an ecomuseum.

Information about the events related to the residences is posted on the Facebook page of the Bródno Sculpture Park (www.facebook.com/parkrzezbynabrodnie) and on the sculpture park website (www.park.artmuseum.pl).

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