• Józef Robakowski, 22x , 1971


The film “22x” is one of the first assembly/collective films produced in Poland, as well as an example of new participatory teaching methods developed by the Polish neo-avant-garde of the 1970s. As part of an educational experiment, Robakowski (lecturer at the Łódź Film School) gave a piece of several metres long of unexposed motion picture film stock to each of his 22 students and requested them to perform various kinds of operations on it, which were to be their own short statements. The invited students scratched out their “films” on the film stock, mainly with knives, razor blades and chisels. These operations also involved the film optical sound track, thanks to which the film received a very interesting “physical” soundtrack during screening. The resulting film pieces, based on an open, participatory creative process, were assembled by Robakowski into a single film. Robakowski’s assembly films gave the invited artists an opportunity to make their own short film. This film-making method, which restricted the interpretation and influence of the maker on presented phenomena, was supposed to guarantee a common, collective character of the film and objectivity. This striving for objectivity was combined with the scientism practiced in the Workshop of Film Form, which was a manifestation of criticism of the dominant methods of presenting reality at the Film School. Robakowski contented himself with the role of the initiator and coordinator, the person who merely supervised the production of individual parts, which he subsequently assembled (hence the name “assembly films”). The film “22x” can be considered typical of the Workshop as a cameraless film, such as “Test I” and “Test II” by Robakowski himself. In the 1970s, the artist used a similar method to make a number of assembly films: “Record” from 1972 (portraits of the participants of the Cleaning of Art event), “Doors-Window-Armchair” from 1974 (portraits of candidates for the Acting Department of the Łódź Film School) or “The Living Gallery” of 1975 (films made by Polish artists in the mid 1970s). These were part of a broader trend in assembly film output, represented mainly by adherents of Oskar Hansen’s Open Form, and films such as: “Acting on the actress’s face” by KwieKulik or “Cinemalaboratory” by Paweł Kwiek.


Year: 1971
Medium: 35mm tape
Format: 5'24'' cm

Acquisition: purchase
Ownership form: collection
Source: Józef Robakowski
Index: MSN: 4300-09/2016
Acquisition date:
Financing source: Cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the 'National collections of contemporary art 2016' priority

Other Works From That Artist