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13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival <i>Interakcje</i> (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

13th International Performance Art Festival Interakcje (Piotrkow Trybunalski + Warsaw / Bielsko-Biala / Krakow)

Malgorzata Kazmierczak, 2011-06-22

One needs to admit that all in all, Interakcje was a very successful festival not only because of the high artistic level, and the opportunity to see a lot of the artists in Poland for the first time, but also because of the occasions that artists and spectators had to socialize. Each festival is not only an opportunity to meet with the audience but also with ones' friends and this aspect is never neglected in Piotrkow Trybunalski. It is also worth mentioning that also the audience in Piotrkow, part of which may not be necessarily considered particularly cultured, respected the artists work. Two days after the festival when Boris Nieslony (Germany) performed at the opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow (MOCAK) the artist had to struggle for attention among chatting and laughing crowds.

The absence of women in the main program of Interakcje (only two women participants and 19 men) was fortunately made up for by the OFF program and PAS workshops run by BBB Johannes Deimling's (Germany) that took place during the festival, but that fact was purely accidental. Nevertheless, women's presence in the festival's main program, was a very powerful contribution.

Michelle Rhéaume's (Canada) performances in Piotrkow Trybunalski and Krakow (pol. Krakow) were closely related. The artist picked a man from the audience (in Piotrkow it was Marcel Sparmann from Germany, in Krakow an anonymous member of the public), tied herself to him using skate shoes placed on their own heads and "danced" with him (moved round holding him closely with both hands). Then the red shoelaces were cut using skate blades fixed on one of the pillars. During the first performance, the action was transmitted to a screen with a video camera giving a sense of multiplication and recording – the footage was then used in Krakow with added Polish folk music. For both performances she used an interesting object – a block of frozen milk. She ate some of it and smashed the rest against a skate blade. Both performances, as she said in her statement, dealt with human relationships and were very powerful from both aesthetic and symbolic points of view.

A second woman artist from the main program: Herma Auguste Wittstock (Germany) is known for using her body as a frame for her performances. In her first performance in Piotrkow Trybunalski she hung herself on ropes that were cutting into her body. Above her head she had a bottle with dishwashing liquid that was dripping directly to her mouth. The artist gave us pleasure to watch this beautiful image combined with her physical pain. In the second performance in the same town, but in a shopping mall, where she performed with Beate Linne (Germany), both artists dressed in identical swimming suits and diving goggles placed themselves in a frozen position on a fountain as if they were going to dive, creating an image that was quite humorous, based on the contrast of both artists' figures. However, maintaining that position, pleasurable to watch, obviously required physical strength. In Krakow Herma first washed her body under a shower, then spread purple glitter on herself making a very visually attractive image, she then covered it with ash and the contents of a few ashtrays that fell on her from a bag above her head. In the end she pulled a little bunch of flowers out of her vagina, sitting in the pile of mess. A similar concept of a physical pain giving pleasure to a spectator was used by Przemyslaw Branas (Poland) when he wrapped strings around his arm and tied them to the walls using hooks. He stood with the arm stretched out and the more his arm fainted from exertion the more the strings hurt his body. Then he pulled the arm suddenly and broke all the strings to free himself from that position. In his performances he refers to another Polish gay performance artist – the late Krzysztof Jung. Even though Przemyslaw Branas is not a newcomer in performance art, he participated in Interakcje as part of the so called OFF program for art students, which would have been a great idea if not for the fact that the students were appointed by professors teaching at art schools, not all of them being performance artists themselves. While it is important to include young artists and students in prestigious festivals, the criteria for being part of it should be the quality of work according the curator's individual choice and perhaps it would be better to just be in or out rather than OFF.

As part of BBB Johannes Deimling's workshops a few artists did individual performances, most of them in the public space in Piotrkow Trybunalski. The aforementioned Beate Linne performed in the main market square. She walked around the square barefoot, carrying sticks with lemons fixed onto them, with coal in her mouth that stained her chin slowly, making an intriguing image in conjunction with her dead glance. Simultaneously Allison Fall (USA) performed in the square. Dressed in a striped dress and red stilettos, carrying a characteristic laced umbrella, she brought piles of plates to the square and then tried to sit on them and maintain her balance. In the end she obviously fell on the ground with the stack of plates. Her elegant and a bit outdated look contrasted with her absurd action. She seemed to express the trial to step out of line of a traditional, narrow-minded society. The third performance that we could witness at the same time was a minimalist action of Martyna Wolna (Poland). She just stood in front of the pharmacy and looked through the storefront. A totally different performance she presented in the gallery. First she opened a few cans of coke – a symbol of consumerism and capitalism, and poured the liquid into an ugly bucket, then washed the gallery's floor with it and made an "installation" out of the empty cans bringing to mind millions of similar objects that we see in galleries every day. Then she started her intense action, exercising and rolling on the floor. Her specific, theatrical glance held our attention throughout the whole action. She performed once again in the collective performance of the workshop participants. Then she dressed up in an elegant pink dress and stilettos that were too large, and moving with a little difficulty around the gallery, she swept the floor with a small broom. During the same group performance Allison Fall, dressed exactly like in her previous action, poured milk into her red stilettos and cocoa powder onto herself, which especially in conjunction with the other performances looked a bit dada. At the same time, Agnieszka Milogrodzka (Poland) sat on a chair with her entire body covered with a gel mask and a wire structure on her head. She slowly peeled the mask from her body and covered her face with the flakes, which brought to mind women being blinded by their attempt to preserve youth. The action corresponded with Michalina Rolnik's (Poland) who smeared a thick layer of white, theatrical make-up on her face and then illuminated it with a closely held light bulb. The most intriguing action though was Luis Probala's (Poland) performance in which he wrapped wire around his arms and held a piece of metal under in which he had a microphone. First he rubbed his arms against the floor for a long time, then when he finally released himself from the wire, his hands were shaking, his fingers making very subtle noises knocking against the steel plate. He took out dandelions he previously collected (by the way the act of collecting the flowers from a nearby lawn looked like a performance itself) and rubbed his arms trying to soothe them. The whole performance was a very powerful action, yet based on delicate and original effects, and performed with very good timing. In general, BBB's workshops teach young performers to deal with space and time, and to interact with each other. While the group performance idea can be controversial by itself, one could see that the participants did their homework. In the same group performance we could see Jacek Dabrowski (Poland) who put red and white pigment on the floor (a Polish flag?), then ate and spat onions in an uncomfortable position leaning on his hands and feet. Last but not least we could see Krzysztof Kaczmar (Poland) who prepared a gift out of a piece of brick – he sprayed it with perfumes, covered with oils, wrapped it in paper and gave it to a member of the audience.

During Interakcje we had a chance to see the legendary artist Stelarc (Australia), who in Piotrkow Trybunalski presented a performance in which he used an avatar presented on a screen. He made the avatar move in a certain way using a scanner that was registering the artist's body movements and gestures. The short manifesto after the performance, in which he explained the idea of his work developed into a full, 90 min. lecture in Krakow in which Stelarc presented the documentation of his work since his early suspension performances, through the third hand and ear projects and out of which one could get to know about the artist's sources of inspiration – be it newest technologies but also philosophers like Nietzsche and his idea that "there is no 'being' behind the doing, acting, becoming" and Wittgenstein's locality of thinking ("we have a right to say that this locality is the piece of paper on which we write or the mouth which speaks.").

Many of the artists we could see for the first time in Poland – among them Mannet Villariba (The Philippines) who performed in Warsaw, Piotrkow Trybunalski and Krakow with three different performances. The artist is fascinated by science-fiction, art and technology. Through his movements on stage, using sensors and / or remote control, he creates images and sounds and makes very visually interesting and soothing performances. Another Philipianian artist – Ronaldo Ruiz does performances that could be read as those that investigate our relationship with the environment (plastic bottles in Piotrkow, soil in Krakow). His work was engaged with ecological issues but also included interesting visual elements like cutting and taking out a thin rectangular shape of plaster from the wall or balancing on a long spirit level. Søren Dahlgaard (Denmark) in his first of two performances in Piotrkow Trybunalski looked like Arti Grabowski's brother dressed in 70 baguettes and then using white and black paint known from another Grabowski's performance. The meaning, however, was completely different, purely aesthetical, since the artist is interested in the painting process and the visual side of performance. Søren poured a large bucket of white and black paint on two models – Kasia Kaminska (Poland) and Malgorzata Michalowska (Poland) and their sacrifice is worth mentioning. Next day the artist made an action in the Focus Mall – he asked people to place dough on their heads and made photos of them. Another performance whose visual side was the strongest was Moe Satt's (Burma) action. His hands are the main tool for expression. The artist used a live video linked projection and whistling sound, dressed up in traditional clothes and took up meditation positions. Next he involved the audience telling them to repeat his humorous – meditation-like positions. A master of meditation techniques is also Jason Lim (Singapore), whom Polish audience may remember from totally different performances, in which their clothes and cameras were endangered by baby powder, flour and beer. This time he presented performances in which he produced sounds, wrapping tape around the space and attaching buzzers to it. He then cracked glasses rubbing them against each other, carried glasses filled with water, lifted sheets of paper vertically with his hands and "levitated" on a chair placed on three glasses among other activities in which he showed how one can cross boundaries using the strength of one's mind. In Krakow a similar image to the one with the chair was produced by Malgorzata Butterwick (Poland) when she put a chair on piles of books and tried to keep her balance.

On a totally opposite side of the scale there were performances by Istvan Kantor (Canada). The first one, in Piotrkow, was a music piece Machine Czardas during which Kantor declared that he does not do boring art. The main idea of the performance is the "robotariat revolution". According to the artist's words "the term is a simple composition of robot and proletariat, and thus it is closely tied to history and to the related philosophical movements starting from the early stages of industrial societies." Kantor's action in Krakow was much more consistent – it included a video clip with him singing, that was a collage of images taken from various movies like "Clockwork orange" or James Bond's films. Both performances ended up with the "execution" of revolutionaries by executioners (both groups consisted of the members of the audience). Another artist who caused chaos and disruption was Ramón Churruca (Spain), for whom performance is a declared madness. Very quickly after coming to Poland he made very intelligent observations that he used during the performances to criticize Poland's "pope culture", the omnipresence of the catholic Church, nationalists, violence and even offensive slogans with the star of David being painted on almost every wall in Piotrkow Trybunalski. He also uses an interesting video projection with his face looking a bit like the one of Günter Brus. And while in Piotrkow the performance was more energetic and funny (Ramón dressed up in a woman's long dress at some point), in Krakow it was more astutely touching the local problems. Ramón also performed in the public space in Krakow, dressed in a hooded coat, but unfortunately he moved so quickly along Krakow's Planty park that no one managed to take a photo.

NON GRATA (Estonia) that performed twice in Piotrkow Trybunalski also base their work on chaos and destruction although it has no deeper sense for them. Their first performance took place in the gallery and they started with separating any photographers from the main space which referred to the artists' and audience's grudge against photographers who were seriously disturbing the perception of art during the festival. As usual in the case of NON GRATA, it was an explosion of anarchy and included feathers, fighting with raw chickens, fire, smearing on walls, a lot of shouting and yelling. Next day they destroyed a car with the help of the audience that proved to be much wilder than in other places where the same performance was presented. It happened to be a good ending for a stressful festival day, whose evening program started with an intense performance with a strong political message Self burning by Ko Z (Burma). The artist (whose real name is Z Hkawng Gyung) tied live pigeons by their legs and carried them on his back, sat down on a bench for a while and then entered into a burning line made of paper. The artist was wearing paper "boots" and had the intention to release the birds in the next part of the performance. Obviously the boots went on fire, unfortunately out of control, and one of the birds fell between the burning papers, and others were seriously petrified as it turns out that pigeons don't fly when they are in stress. Luckily, a young man – Lukasz Roth (Poland), who is by the way also an art student from Krakow, saved the pigeon from the flames and Ko Z's legs were only superficially burned. The dangerous accident, however, raises several questions about the artist's and the curator's responsibility for the performances and their outcome that each of them should think over in their own conscience. Ko Z performed in Piotrkow once again at the shopping mall where he tied a stone to his neck and was handing it to the members of the audience. Then he pulled the rope so that the noose was tightening up and tried to scream freedom". Then he closely approached a few members of the audience and covered them with a black cloth, again shouting "freedom". Ko Z also performed in Krakow where he walked with difficulty on stones placed on the floor. Then he undressed himself and hung his clothes on a tree that he brought to the gallery. In the end he told people to blow at cotton pads that were supposed to fall onto the tree.

An artist who perhaps did the greatest number of performances during the festival was Gim Gwang Cheol (South Korea) who first performed in Bielsko-Biala, then in Piotrkow he did three performances in the gallery one after another. He also performed in the Focus Mall in Piotrkow and then in Bunkier Sztuki in Krakow. He used a dictionary from which he tore pages and put them on his eyes and into his mouth evoking associations with education issues. He cut newspapers and used a tape measure apparently referring to the distance between himself and the audience and between people. He then divided the space into four parts with a red rope and put objects on his mouth, which seems to be a characteristic gesture. According to the artist's words he treats the mouth as the source of the controlling tool of language.

During the festival we had a chance to see the classics of performance art. Among them Roi Vaara (Finland) who presented his Leg carrying instructions. First he instructed the audience how to correctly carry one's legs and then took out a third leg from a female mannequin that allowed him to present various positions. Then he referred to his native Finland – because there are a lot of swamps there, one needs to be able to walk properly. After changing his elegant shoes for rubber boots and turning on the sound of walking in the mud, he walked out of the gallery and came back. The artist using the absurd strategy points at the conventionality of norms that we universally accept as basic. By analyzing a simple activity of walking he turned the rules upside down. Another great classic of performance art and poesia sonora was Giovanni Fontana (Italy) who showed a performance titled "Sento dunque suono" which refers to Cartesius's "Cogito ergo sum" and would translate into English into more or less "I hear therefore sound". In Cartesius's famous phrase one's physical being depended on one's mind, in the travestied title of Fontana's performance the action of listening connects with an abstract notion of sound. The whole piece consisted of seven suites and the artist by using his voice, live and previously recorded, told us a story about mermaids, who in mythology were a symbol of cognition and knowledge, but also anticipated death. The sounds expressed fear, pain and physical effort.

While one cannot compare anything to Giovanni's work, another sound performance was Hubert Winczyk's (Poland) "Brown Mass". The young artist from Poznan used chocolate that produced a cracking sound in people's mouth and mixed that element with the sound produced live by an "acoustic generator". A ritual atmosphere was created by the artist's specific priest-like behavior, the distribution of chocolate like holy communion and the smell of incense in the room. A very aesthetic, poetic and ritual presentation was a performance by Antoni Karwowski (Poland). He organized the space and time by making two circles on the floor – using a rock hung from the ceiling that he in turn moved into a circular movement (the stone was also a kind of pendulum controlling the time), and painted it on the floor with liquid dripping from his mouth. He wrapped his feet in a bandage and wrote letters forming the word "innocence" on it. Then he placed the bandage in a circle and in the end he set fire to it and started to run although never crossing the circle boundary. BBB Johannes Deimling's (Germany) performance – first from a new cycle entitled "leaking memories" was also a poetic and aesthetic one. The artist used his own experiences and memories and tried to combine them with historical facts. He chose Poland for the first performance from this series because of his family roots. A video projection showed children playing at the shore but the movie was played backwards. The structure of the performance was very clear – with its beginning clearly marked by the word "prolog" written on the floor and a scene in which the artist could not catch his breath. There were through various requisites and actions that could be clearly associated with childhood and adolescence (candle, birthday cake, fish "tie", burning a shirt and the most original element – milk leaking from under the chair on which the artist was sitting). The end was marked by the word "epilog" written on the other side of the "scene" and a deep breath. Probably Malgorzata Michalowska (Poland) also referred to her childhood memories when she presented a video from a performance that she did for camera on which she played the piano and filed her nails until they started bleeding. Then she performed live – she covered her eyes with a previously prepared red pigment mixed with her saliva and tried to make her way to the bathroom through the audience, using them as orientation points.

Interakcje 2011 was also a place for Artur Piegza's (France) debut. He performed twice – once with his father Ryszard Piegza (France) and others (e.g. Pawel Kardas – Poland, playing saxophone) at Focus Mall where he played drums while his father recorded sounds with iPhone produced by rotating wheels painted in a checked pattern that has been Ryszard's characteristic for years. To that action, that was inspired by a game similar to air hokey, they also invited other artists like Arti Grabowski or Peter Grzybowski (USA / Poland). The second action that Artur Piegza performed in the gallery was far more complex. He produced sounds, used various images – amongst others he distributed leaflets with a robotic face and used two oblong sculpture heads – one was made of wire that he put on his head. Ryszard Piegza's gallery action in turn, included video projections – one on the screen, showing a vodka bottle buried in stones on the main street of Piotrkow Trybunalski and the other – an image of grass that was projected on the floor from a small, portable projector by the artist himself. The action also included producing sounds and playing with black and white circles. Among the artists who are interested in technology and also used an iPhone for his performance was Artur Tajber (Poland) who did not allow Arti Grabowski to announce his performance in Krakow, starting it gently and without a clear beginning. He used an interesting trick transmitting an image of his iPhone placed in a glass playing a video with him moving the chairs around (Table'able performance) onto the screen. Then he cut a chair with a Japanese hand saw and placed a small TV on his shoulder with a slide show consisting of photos taken all around the world, mainly showing street signs and graffiti.

The idea of organizing and filling in the space with activities that did not altogether have to make sense seemed to be the theme of Natalia Sekula (Poland) who first cut her trousers and lowered their legs so that she stayed in shorts and large "boots", then she did a series of acts to divide the space, drew on the wall, bounced a ball etc. Monika Szydlowska (Poland) in turn, in her Fight Club used recorded audio with security instructions that flight attendants perform and repeated them herself a few times, first being dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, then with no t-shirt and with her hair untied. She also tried to disrupt the sequence by picking up a phone, smoking a cigarette and drinking water, but the action did not have any obvious conclusion.

Mehdi Farajpour (Iran / France) performed twice in Piotrkow Trybunalski. The first performance was a kind of a choreography performed to the sound of the typewriter. The artist appeared covered with a black cloth that immediately brought to mind a woman in burka and his movements were a kind of a dance. Then he took out a text that was read by a female's recorded voice and tore it apart. In the end he revealed himself from behind the cloth, dressed in women's underwear, all painted white, acting as if he was blinded by strong light. Mehdi's performance clearly referred to a person's attempt to identify him/herself in a world dominated by heterosexual men and subject to strict rules and laws. In the second performance Mehdi was dressed in a thong, his body painted white, and he posed with three golden bird cages placed on his head, hand and foot on a bench in the gallery's yard.

Restauracja Europa (Poland) did two performances in Piotrkow Trybunalski in two different sets. The first was done by Olga Nowakowska and Piotr Gajda and it was based upon male-female contrasts and told about male-female energy, competition and friendship. They started with drinking juice on time and then while Piotr was drawing a route on the floor, Olga started to insert pins with pearl-like pinheads into canvas, making a sentence: I would like to be called as genuine as a Cuban cigar rolled on women's thighs. Then, they started a "bottle caps race" and when they reached the finish line, they covered each other's eyes with their hands. The other performance by Restauracja Europa, mentioned above, was purely men: Gordian Piec, Piotr Gajda, Mariusz Marchewa-Marchlewicz, Piotr Laszek and Maciej Neneman and it was based on a joke. After a few simultaneously performed gestures they held a banner – PER-FOR-MAN-©E. In the end they showed up in t-shirts PER-FOR-MAN. A mockery on the macho world in turn was Jeff Huckleberry's (USA) performance. The artist openly admits that in his work "he tries to express the fact that he is a son and a grandson of far more practical people." His performance revolved around problems of "ordinary, simple men" among whom the size of one's private parts is crucial (the artist measured it at the beginning and at the end of an action with hope that it will grow). There was also alcohol and coffee that he spread on himself before trying to force his body through the two nailed down two-by-fours, which was not an easy task given Polish precisely measured materials. The artist changed during the performance into a huge, wild man and successfully ridiculed "normal" men's lives. A sense of humor was also a domain of Jacques van Poppel (The Netherlands). His performance started with a comical speech about himself, his imaginary girlfriend (the photo of whose eyes he always has handy so that she can keep an eye on him all the time) and his hobbies one of which was "speaking English with a funny French accent". He confessed, that he had no time to prepare for his performance due to excessive beer consumption (the artist was performing as the very last in Piotrkow) so he presented "Pornografia" by Jan Jakub Kolski on video for the audience to watch while he was preparing his "altar" consisting of toys and religious symbols, as well as flowers that were supposed to be handed to Jan Swidzinski. Then he dressed in a black Chinese style shirt and painted his head and face yellow. He sat still in front of the drums accompanied by touching classical music. A performance artist known for his wit is also Pancho Lopez (Mexico) who both in Piotrkow Trybunalski and Krakow built his performances around the word: LOVE. In Piotrkow, he filled a large bowl with gallons of beer, wrote the four letters on four plastic containers and smashed the bowl with a baseball bat. In Krakow, he used four small bowls and put four sheets of paper with L-O-V-E written into them. He then put them on the floor and smashed them with a golf club. In both performances, done with a great sense of humor, he created very attractive images because as he says himself, he focuses "on a moment, a specific situation, an image that stays in people's minds".

During the festival, there was also the opening of an exhibition by Przemyslaw Kwiek (Poland), who showed oil paintings of flowers and abstract figures next to the photos of his face manipulated in Photoshop. There was also a short video documenting his "Appearance" during which he cut his forehead. The artist also made three "Appearances" during "Interakcje"– one took place next to his sculpture that consists of a crate and two wire heads – of Fryderyk Chopin and Maria Sklodowska-Curie – here he put pieces of wood and hay to make their heads burn. In his Appearance 178 (c) "Swarm" in turn, Kwiek collected young people and after short preparations, he told them to behave however they pleased in a space defined by him by "rollers" made of paper placed on the floor. Young people ate and drank, sang and fought, all for 20 minutes, very creatively approaching the topic. This way Kwiek, bringing to mind Tadeusz Kantor, but inspired, as he confessed, by Dariusz Fodczuk's (Poland) games with the audience, created a totally unique approach to performance art. Unlike Kantor, he did not interfere in the action, just filmed it from a distance.

'Interakcje' is currently the only continuous performance art festival of this size in Poland. It has been organized since 1998 by Piotr Gajda, Gordian Piec, Ryszard Piegza, Przemyslaw Kwiek and above all – Jan Swidzinski, a veteran of Polish performance art, who unfortunately was not able to attend this year. For a few years now it has been a custom, that each edition is curated by a different person. This year it was Arti Grabowski – a performance artist from Krakow (Poland). It also became a tradition that artists from Interakcje move to different places – Warsaw (Galeria Dzialan), Bielsko-Biala (Galeria Bielska BWA) and Krakow (Akcja/Accion for the first time at Bunkier Sztuki).


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