Video Art Forum | SURVIVAL 19

This year’s Video Art Forum will open the tour of the main exhibition in Kotłownia during the 19th SURVIVAL Art Review.

artists: Zuza Banasińska i Agnieszka Mastalerz, Seecum Cheung, Borys Jaźnicki i Marcin Kamiński, Jeroen Jongeleen, Daniel Kotowski, Jan Kowal, Piotr Macha, Ola Zielińska, Wera Bet
curated by Małgorzata Miśniakiewicz

A man stubbornly running around in circles beats a circular shape on the ground; another man struggles to keep his balance on a tilted pole marking the farm edge. Although the logic behind their actions seems to be very different – one is using his body to leave a trace in urban space and appropriate it for his own purposes, the second one is trying to stand for as long as possible on an old pole that has always delimited the border of the field – both works concern fundamental relations between the body and the space it occupies. In the works featured as part of the Video Art Forum, the motto “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” sometimes seems to provoke questions about how a place affects the body that inhabits it; also, to what extent space remains in the body, even after it has moved to another space.

Most of the presented works are recent, made during one of the pandemic lockdowns, sometimes directly in response to the motto of the Review. The sense of being stuck and the experience of isolation led to ideas and images in which what we run away from may be very closely related to what we long for. Looking back at the history of one’s hometown and its inhabitants may be a way of finding out about the current situation. Relationships with a space, such as the abandonment of one’s place of birth, are connected not only with social issues and identity, but also with time. When is one no longer from somewhere, or when does “somewhere” finally leave a person? While answers to such questions can be found in the context of class, ethnicity, or financial, national and political background, this attitude to change is based on a historical difference between what once was and what is now. The invited artists approach these questions a bit differently, asking about what may have been. What new communities are possible and where might they be? What relationships can be established? Can one understand a place, and one’s position in it, without dividing it into the outside and the inside?

Exclusion – from community, law, decision, property or conversation – is based on pushing someone beyond the space where something occurs. In this sense, the motto “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” means not only the impossibility of arriving in a given place, but also the absence of a future, which is not the same as perseverance. The combination of the past, present and future by the artists has a perversely spatial character, in which “here and now” becomes primarily a place of experiment and an attempt to reconfigure familiar mechanisms. However, “here” may turn out to be the starting point for relationships created by our bodies.