The film was shot by Józef Robakowski in collaboration with Witold Krymarys, two neo-avant-garde multimedia artists from Łódź, specialised in photography, film, and video art. The film shows the happening organised by Łódź Kaliska, i.e. Marek Janiak, Adam Rzepecki, Andrzej “Makary” Wielogórski, and Andrzej Kwietniewski, with whom Robakowski did not share the views on the meaning of the Pitch-In Culture (the founder of the Exchange Gallery used this term to cover the entire independent art movement of the 1980s) or on the aesthetics, in which he often referred to the legacy of the great avant-garde, rejected in turn by the members of Łódź Kaliska. This provoked a conflict regarding the authorship of the film: was it the camera operators (Robakowski and Krymarys) or the Łódź Kaliska members, who performed in front of the cameras. In 1988 Robakowski re-edited the original recording, slowed it down, changed the colours, added Witold Lutosławski’s music, and titled the picture Party mit Lutosławski. It is also worth noting that the film featured many other persons, apart from those already mentioned, i.a. Jacek Jóźwiak, Paweł Kwiek, Zofia Łuczko, Dariusz Kędziora, Jarosław Bogusiak, Andrzej Janaszewski, Zygmunt Rytka, Zbigniew Bińczyk, and Andrzej Wielogórski, the cousin of “Makary”.
Paradoxically, the conflict illustrates the creative contribution of the filmmakers who participated in the events not only by recording them but also actively created them. “The expressive, if not dramatic, scenes clearly surpassed the original intentions of the filmmakers, whose initial idea was to edit a video clip in natural surroundings (i.e. on a city boulevard and inside The Attic, an extremely important spot for the artistic milieu) for a song, which was popular in Łódź at that time” wrote a critic, Jolanta Ciesielska. The artists initiated actions in the City of Łódź, in the streets and in the “Balaton” bar, and proceeded with a party at The Attic. By means of pitch-in they gathered funds for vodka and potatoes, as a snack, which well reflected a slightly poor and slightly decadent atmosphere of The Attic. In the finale of the film, the relative of “Makary” is heard saying his famous remark that “art requires sacrifice”. In that he refers to having his late father’s accordion, damaged by the artists. In the context of a farewell party for The Attic, the phrase seems to capture well the spirit of artistic underground with its “economic world turned upside down” (as Pierre Bourdieu put it in the Rules of Art)
The film is 17 minutes long, and it was first presented in 1987 during a video film festival in students’ gallery Dziekanka in Warsaw.
Marek Janiak (ed.), "Kultura Zrzuty", Warszawa 1989.
Łódź Kaliska (ed. & elab.), "Bóg zazdrości nam pomyłek", Łódź 1999.
Jolanta Ciesielska, "Videoperformance", in: Piotr Krajewski i Violetta Kutlubasis-Krajewska, "Ukryta dekada. Polska sztuka wideo 1985-1995", Wrocław 2010.
At first, most theatres declined to stage it, and it was only in 1988 that the theatre in Dresden showed interest to stage the play. Censors at the local level did not always share the same opinions of the central authorities, and the censors in Dresden disagreed with those in Berlin whether the play should be staged or not. However, despite the fact that the authorities in Berlin allowed the play to be staged, parts of the script were censored and performances were documented by the Stasi.
The play lost significance in the new political environment post-1989, and it was seldomly staged. The material preserved in the 'Theatre in‘der Wende’ collection held currently by the Archive of Performing Arts at the Academy of Arts in Berlin includes flyers, posters, and theatre programmes from various theatres where the play was eventually performed.
Gábor Demszy’s collection contains not only samizdat books and journals but also objects. The ramka (bolting-cloth stretched on a wooden frame) was a tool used in the samizdat printing process and today constitutes an important relic object of this technique.
- Budapest, Hungary
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The controversy around the performance was linked to the play’s subtle critique of the GDR shown as detached from reality, dominated by a rigid bureaucracy, with citizens alienated by socialism, and the overemphasising of ‘development’ and ‘modernisation’. The play was greeted with praise by audiences, although the East and West German media reacted differently. West German press generally responded that the themes touched on in the play should have discussed years earlier, whereas the GDR press thought that the delay from real events was appropriate, such as discussion around the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The subtle staging of the political event, such as the construction of the Berlin Wall, created space for debate within the play’s audience. The play was staged twenty-nine times within a year of the opening night, and further performances were organised throughout the GDR. However, the fall of the GDR also meant the end for the play, which was staged only another two times, and only alongside other plays of Heiner Müller.
Currently, documents related to the play are preserved as part of the Theatre Performance Documentation collection of the Archives of Performing Arts of the Academy of Arts in Berlin.
- Brașov, Romania
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