Warsaw and Łódz
In the middle of the busiest semester ever, a trip to Poland was a highlight. The event had been initiated and organised by a Polish scholar, Katarzyna (Kasia) Bojarska. Here she is: top-smart and lovely:
First we (Ernst van Alphen and I) went to Warsaw, where we each gave seminars and lectures. I did a session in a series of seminars on affect, devoted to the writing of Flaubert and why it lends itself so well to our project Madame B., which we are about to launch.
The next evening, for a full house, there was a panel discussion about my book Travelling Concepts which has just appeared in Polish. It came out at the same time as the translation of Narratology, so, at some point this year it felt like “my Polish year”. See the earlier blog My Polish Year. I warn you: my Polish year is not over!
The initiator and organisor of our tour, Katarzyna (Kasia) Bojarska, had found a number of great experts, including the translator, willing to participate. It was a very lively discussion. Her friends Magda and Łukasz rapidly became our friends too, and moreover, they helped us with every practical detail imaginable. Here you see them in the Wednesday panel discussion. Both evenings I was deeply impressed by the intellectual vibrancy of the people; a true intellectual community.
The day after this we went to Łódz. Ernst gave a lecture there on his current book project, on the archive as artistic medium. For me, this was a fantastic opportunity. Michelle and I will exhibit for the first time the installations of our complete Madame B. installation project, consisting of 8 installation, together of 19 screens. Jaroslaw Suchan, director of the Sztuki Art Museum had invited us to exhibit there, and the opening is as soon as December 6th! The Sztuki (the word means “art”) is situated in an old palace that had belonged to an industrialist who had made the city great. Here is just a corner of the building.
It was a wonderful experience to go through all the details in the site itself, with the curators Katarzyna (Kasia) Sloboda and Przemysław (Przemek) Purtak, very creative, committed and friendly people. They made us feel we are all on the same side in our endeavor to present this work that is a bit challenging for the space. You can see the good cheer on this photo:
The last day Ernst gave a seminar on his archive project, which was extremely well received, we visited the museum of Polish Jews, a spectacular new building, and I was asked to give a lecture with video clips about our project, in the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. Again, a full house, a lively and intelligent discussion and a very satisfying end to the tour. One day was left for private museum visits. We enjoyed the National museum where Old Master art changed us from the contemporary art the week had been filled with. All in all, I have a strong sense of belonging with these new friends and colleagues. A wonderful week.