The film is one of the group productions of the team Pracownia Dziekanka. The group comprised three individualities (Janusz Bałdyga, Jerzy Onuch, Łukasz Szajna), who retained considerable autonomy, though. Still, they had to meet the constraints stemming from the adopted scheme of making artistic decisions depending on the activity of the other two partners.
The mode of cooperation vested the group’s productions with the form of complex simultaneous slide and film projections on three screens (often accompanied by live action, reading out texts, performances, etc.). The projections (like the members of the group) remained in the state of permanent interaction, in the process of dynamic dialogue.
The artists wrote: “it is a fact that the spatial and temporal concurrence of three messages communicated in three languages invalidates, or at least modifies those languages, giving rise on a higher level to the language of group statement – the only one valid for analysis as the language of the group.” Elaborate medial performances of the group, referred to as Commentaries, provided a very interesting variation of Polish expanded cinema.
In a simultaneous screening on three screens, each screen belonged to a different artist. One of the elements to characterise the films included in specific screening narratives was their image structure, which comprised elements intentionally corresponding with the films on the other screens.
Another important feature of films included in the group’s presentations came with the self-referential focus on the context of the screening. Or rather, on the presence of Bałdyga, Onuch and Szajna in direct relation to the screening.
The group’s medial productions were not aimed at attracting attention to themselves but rather at permanently directing the audience’s attention to the artists forming the group and their physical presence in the gallery (in the context of the screening).
The overriding principle of the complex medial works of the group was to “establish a common situation”, a situation of joint presence and creative activity. Such strategy was put into practice especially in Bałdyga’s films, which featured, for instance, the artist projecting slides or a projector showing a film.
Some of the films by Pracownia Dziekanka were based on the analysis of popular culture, or rather the images of reality created by the mass media. The artists asked about the extent to which the mass media (construct) influence a specific fact of reality, and whether it is possible at all to offer an objective media coverage of a given fact.
Such considerations resonate in Bałdyga’s film presented as part of Commentary from 1977 (Maximal Art Gallery, Poznań). Bałdyga screened his film footage (recorded with a 16mm camera) of cinder-track tournament, while reading out at the same time a commentary imitating the typical (at the time) discourse of sports journalists.
The artist commented on the film: “coming up with a seemingly reliable report, which is actually impossible, introduces a plethora of distortions and most often leads to a mystification of the value and meaning of the facts. This may, obviously, be the very aim of the person who prepares the coverage.”
In his work, Bałdyga enters into an interesting dialogue with the analyses of the mass media language (or rather the area of popular culture created by the mass media), pursued at the time by Zdzisław Sosnowski and artists affiliated with Galeria Współczesna, which he ran at the time.
Language: no sound
Source: 16 mm
© Janusz Bałdyga
Ownership form: deposit