in the time of pandemic
Eustachy Kossakowski, Everyday Life, 1957
The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw invites you to try out a contemplation, which can assist you in building a caring attitude toward yourself and planet Earth.
Marta Przasnek, art historian and audio describer, usually invites the public to take part in contemplative meetings at exhibitions in the Museum. They help experience the individual artworks in a deeper, multi sensual way. In the time of pandemic she will hand you instructions, which can be followed anywhere at any time, not necessarily in front of the computer screen. The exercises proposed are to assist you in building a caring attitude toward yourself, others and the planet. An attitude that can be necessary, to survive not only the COVID-19 state of emergency, but also the climate crisis.
The instructions will be published every second Tuesday of the month at 6:00 PM until the reopening of the Museum. The series has been inspired by the instructions and manuals of Anna and Lawrence Halprin, whose works have been included in the exhibition “The Penumbral Age. Art in the Time of Planetary Change”.
INSTRUCTION No. 1
Confronted with a crisis, it is crucial to detect the pathologies of the system we live in and to demand changes. Faults coming to light provoke anger and bitterness, expressions of strong emotions flood the public domain. Mass media attract attention with headlines feeding on our fears and frustrations. When we add to all of this, that we stay closed in the four walls of our homes and fight an invisible enemy, the tension becomes unbearable.
Anxiety, fear or terror can, however, reveal more than just failures of socio-political structures. The emotions show us that we want to live and maintain certain moral standards or world order. Following instructions are to provide an aid in cataloguing aspects of being, that we love, that make us tender, give us power, fill with calm or assure a sense of safety.
This exercise can help to regain a healthy balance, which is needed to keep striving for the necessary changes without harming oneself. It may be used to develop a solid base for actions of taking care of planet Earth.
You will need: attention to details, possibility to set aside heated emotions, courage to ask questions concerning the sense of life; optionally: a piece of paper and something to write with, a voice or video recorder (or any other favourite tool to record thoughts), printout of the instruction
ATTENTION: If at the time being you are overwhelmed with the logistics of finding yourself in the new situation, you may want to save the manual for later or divide the instruction into small tasks and realize them throughout a longer period of time.
1. Observe your daily routine. Take notice of a moment, which makes you feel good. Each and every aspect of life that brings positive emotions is worth attention: a pleasant sensory sensation, contact with another person or hearing/seeing/reading news, that makes you feel safe.
2. Concentrate on picking out details, that make the moment worthwhile. Contemplate the colours, textures, sounds, smells, bodily sensations, your emotions and thoughts. If the moment lasted only for a short time being, recall it and contemplate how you remember it. If you begin to feel joy, power or calmness, you’re on the right track!
ADVICE: You can very well recall the moment when occupied with home tasks, such as washing dishes, cleaning, cooking or brushing your teeth. Try to keep your phone, computer and radio turned off.
3. After recalling the moment for a number of times, define, what makes the one, you don’t want to lose. Enclose your thoughts in a concise form of a sentence, gesture or picture. Keep it in your mind, write down or record with any tool of preference.
4. Take a rest and then repeat steps 1-3. Make a list of 5 things that motivate you to take care of yourself, others and the planet. The task can take you from one week up to several months. Some thoughts are more difficult to capture than others.
5. The list is just for you, you don’t have to share it with anyone. Others will learn it through your actions. Come back to the list, when you feel anger or resignation and start to forget, what the game is all about.
If you have questions concerning the instructions, don’t hesitate to contact Marta Przasnek by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone/text message at 577-006-290.