Warsaw Under Construction 10th edition
photo by Sasha Kovalenko
In Warsaw, as in many other Polish cities, it is becoming more and more likely that your neighbour next door is Ukrainian. Or, for that matter, Belorussian, Moldovan, Russian, Georgian, Uzbek etc.
The growing influx of migrants from beyond the Eastern border means that Poland, for the first time since the end of WWII, ceases to be a mono-ethnic state. The 10th edition of Warsaw in Construction reflects on this situation by introducing a transnational dimension into the very structure of the project. Curated by Kyiv-based VCRC collective, this year’s Warsaw in Construction will take place both in Warsaw and Kyiv.
Warsaw Under Construction X looks at the very idea of the neighbour – the Other constantly defined through coexistence and alienation, proximity and remoteness, love and hate. In the festival’s context the notion of ‘Neighbours’ allows to span multiple layers of current urbanism, art and public debates: from the scale of one’s individual apartment, dormitory room or workers’ barrack to the regional level of conflicted nation-states. The myth of ‘one million Ukrainian refugees in Poland’ is a good case in point. Despite the fact that these people should be largely qualified as labour migrants, they are used as a convenient tool to evade the EU migrant quotas. In the meantime, Polish economy relies to a ever larger extent on the underpaid labour of Ukrainian construction workers, nurses, cleaners, cultural workers, etc.
The festival’s program is split between the capitals of two East European countries that had taken on strikingly different paths of development in the decades following the collapse of the USSR. While Warsaw has been represented as a model city of Poland’s presumed ‘success story’ of transformation (which at the moment faces serious challenges), Kyiv is a city where privatization, deregulation and the decline of the idea of planning in public space had taken its most extreme forms. This process is best represented through the festival’s Kyiv location: on abandoned street that has fallen into oblivion in the 1990ies and became a spot of unrealized developing dreams. In 2018, engaging the community background, the festival will make the area accessible for the city dwellers. In Warsaw, the festival will use the iconic Cepelia pavilion on the city’s central intersection. Once a pride of modernist architecture and city planning, the pavilion can now serve as a showpiece of the ills of Polish transformation – covered with outsized advertising, its interiors hiding until recently a gaming parlour. A sore in the middle of the city, almost derelict, expecting real estate developers revitalisation.The exhibition of the Warsaw Under Construction tenth edition, with accompanying program will be featured in Cepelia pavilion.
location: Cepelia pavilion Marszałkowska 99/101
Visual Culture Research Center
Visual Culture Research Center (VCRC) was founded in 2008 as a platform for collaboration between academic, artistic, and activist communities. VCRC is an independent initiative, which is engaged in publishing and artistic activities, scientific research, organization of public lectures, discussions, and conferences. In 2015 Visual Culture Research Center received the European Cultural Foundation’s Princess Margriet Award. Visual Culture Research Center was an organizer of The School of Kyiv – Kyiv Biennial 2015 and The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017.