Luiza and Adam, Adam or Luiza
In 2013, I was invited to cooperate on a project entitled, Tolerated Stay. A tolerated stay is an artistic “happening” taking place in the spaces of private apartments, making it possible to encounter the situation of families of Chechen refugees staying in Poland. The Tolerated Stay campaign was created on the initiative of the Independent Culture Center, Szwalnia Theatre in Łódź and the Kana Theatre Centre in Szczecin in 2013. Karolina Izdebska in the book, Art outside Institutions? describes: „A tolerated stay goes beyond the institution which is the theatre and makes private, almost intimate spaces the area of its activities. [...] Their actions are ephemeral, temporary, process-oriented.”
My participation in the project fits in the aspect of ephemerality described above by Karolina Izdebska. My work included creating a visual image of a family: Luisa and Adam, and their children Kheda, Abdul, Madina, Aisza and Elina. These included: meetings with the family, producing video materials that were later used in the scenography in the form of projections, taking portraits of the children from which playing cards were made - one of the elements of the action, and the portraits of Adam and Luisa, either of which was each time evoked in performance to close the theatre action. The evoked but unpreserved portrait remained in the space of action for a while so that the participants could watch the slow process of image over-illumination and degradation. Together with the director of the theatre piece, we decided to finally, as a kind of proof of the meeting and recording of the process, after the end of the action, preserve the portrait of Adam or Luisa. The word „or” results from the very structure of the event because each time it was up to the participants to choose the hero and whose story they will hear, whose food will be given to them and who will be their host.
This is also the title of Luiza and Adam, Adam or Luiza I gave to the exhibition, which took place in Szczecin (2015), and was accompanied by educational activities entitled, „Strangeness and racism of culture” with the participation of Prof. Wojciech Burszta. In the introduction to this event, I wrote: „The term „ tolerated stay” surprised me with the perversity of its meaning. Tolerance means respecting what is different but also accepting one’s presence despite the lack of approval for it. How to be a host, how to be a guest, how to accept another? Luiza and Adam, Adam or Luiza. The first meeting - strangers, foreigners. We’re watching each other. I do not want to look through the lens. There is something fragile and delicate in this relationship, and yet what allows me to consolidate this experience is somewhere between gentleness and strength. Children are running around, building an imaginary world. I think - maybe only in this world you can be „at home”? The second meeting - in the darkroom, for a few seconds the light is lit, I can see in it the face of Adam, Adam or Luisa. A white sheet, in which in the particles of silver I caught the moment of our contact, in suspension - his caution, her warmth. The faces invisible, yet I put them into the envelope and send them out into the world. In the meetings to come they will be the hosts - Luiza or Adam, we will be guests. Third meeting - eyes look at me from a scrap of paper. Still the same and different each time. Do I see them differently? Do they look different? Adam and Luisa are not here and I meet them every time. A new place is created, a new space. Who is the guest here and who is the host? „
So far, this project has been shown over 90 times including at the following festivals: Touch Theatre in Lodz (2013), Counterpoint (Kontrapunkt) in Szczecin (2014), Teatromania in Bytom (2014), BytOFFsky in Bytów (2015) Days of Contemporary Art in Białystok (2016).