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2015 » Poland » Section of Countries and Regions

Curator:Agnieszka Jelewska
Institution:Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute


In 1968, when Jerzy Grotowski was working on his last performance, Apocalypsis cum figuris, one of the most important theatrical events of the 20th century, he thought about space as a value that extends and stretches among people. The space he imagined was an empty, anthropocentric space, open for establishing relations between people and seeking out the individual’s spiritual depth. Our effort to recall that event today, at the beginning of the 21st century, takes on extraordinary meaning – in particular, since one of the provocateurs of this act is Jerzy Gurawski, the stage designer who cooperated with the director in the first stage of his artistic activity. For Grotowski, in a sense apocalypse stood for the decomposition and defragmentation of the tradition of romanticism – crucial for Polish history – but also for the parallel disintegration occurring within traditional dramatic texts, dialogue, and stage communication. At the same time, apocalypse was a herald of the changes arriving in Western culture, including that of transcending the classical theatrical situation of reproducing and re-playing existing events and texts, and freeing up a deeper performative potential.

The Post-Apocalypsis installation projects a contemporary vision of a post-anthropocentric world: a networked and global place. Viewers enter directly into a condensed space of a weather data stream from different places of energy-related threats and disasters on Earth (including Chernobyl, Los Alamos, and Fukushima). The constantly updated data is processed artistically through sonification – in this way, the installation is filled with a changing audiosphere, active towards the human presences. Energetic communicational switches can also be experienced within the framework of a surprising, designed interaction with technologically transformed elements of nature. Any previous romantic visions of nature, presented as a landscape and background for human events, once so crucial for the development of theatre stage design, are radically revised. A new understanding of technology reveals itself through this interaction. Commonly defined as existing in opposition to nature, technology becomes part of nature in the installation, and creates together with nature a hybrid communication ecosystem.

In Post-Apocalypsis, we face a new definition of the human being. Humans are primarily treated as an active part of the earthly weather system. In the installation this system is designed as an experience of a dynamic state of the atmosphere: a combination of not only natural phenomena, but also simultaneously of social, political and economic unrest. Nowadays, the performance of life itself takes place in technologically mediated global systems, combining human and the non-human in apocalyptic situations: permanent premonitions of contemporary life.

Curator: Agnieska Jelewska; Experience designer: Michał Krawczak; Sound designer: Rafał Zapała; Interaction designer: Paweł Janicki; Interactive system engineer: Michał Cichy; Space design: Jerzy Gurawski and ARPA - Jerzy Gurawski’s Architecture Studio; Executive producer: Anna Galas-Kosil; Coordinator: Edyta Zielnik

Exhibiting artists / ateliers

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  • Agnieszka Jelewska-Michaś (Agnieszka Jelewska)
  • Jerzy Gurawski
  • Paweł Janicki
  • Michał Krawczak
  • Rafał Zapała
  • Michał Cichy
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