37. RMNSC: The City of the Muses, the City of the Masses REMIX (audio walk)

Special written for the blog during 37. RMNSC Festival visiting / October 2012


As was already said, one of the main ideas of the festival is avant-garde concept. And using the concept in the original meaning (as the idea of something progressive what is in front the present), the festival team and personally a curator of the Artistic City Trip project Agata Dutkowska also proposed to return to the history of Krakow avant-garde group of the 1920s and 1930s. Just Tadeusz Peiper, a poet and a leader of the group, at that time advanced a slogan The City-The Masses-The Machine, which is in the little changed form used in this year’s festival concept. This return is not only the tribute to cultural heroes of Krakow. On the one hand, the idea is to show that culture and art concepts don’t change even after hundred years, and every time appearing, the avant-garde moving proclaims the same ideas (only forms are changed). On the another hand, the curator connects the history of the cultural moving with the history of Krakow in which at that time a lot of different strikes and protest actions were happening. Thus, the manifests of poets mixes with political manifest, and that means, art and society always were closer that we could think.

The Artistic City Trip consists of two routes – a past and a future. The trip of the future –The City of the Future: Krakow 2032is the walk on city’s places with an attempt to image how utopian Krakow will look. It’s only a game in the future reality. But what did happen here in the past? Who were that people creating the city’s identity which we could see today?

Agata Dutkowska roposes to make a personal walk – The City of the Muses, the City of the Masses REMIX. Online with downloaded mp3 audio guide you could come back to the beginning of XX century and see the key places for the history of Krakow avant-garde group as well as of Krakow as a city during 1910s-30s.  The start point is a square near The Art Centre. A women voice proposes to stop and concentrate because a story which you will know is a secret for most of all people who are at the moment crossing by. They know only this city which now is. But what did happen hundred years ago? But… should I know it?

I begin the trip, go to the next point – The Szchepanska Square – and listen a story about the place in 1919. I try to image describing time when the problems with eat was, the speculation prospered and the news appeared that in the hospital on Jagiellonska street Antichrist was born. After that people’s crowd made a demonstration with demand to get them a child. Some time later people went home.

The cross of agiellonska and Szewska streets today

‘Follow to the cross of Jagiellonska and Szewska streets’, says the voice, and a story about Tadeusz Peiper  who in 1921 returned from Spain to Krakow is begun. You could see the newspaper’s office where Peiper worked; walk on his daily route listening his poems. It’s really fantastic because in the reality you are seeing people in modern clothes, cars, signboards of bars and shops. At the same moment you are present now not here but hundred years ago.

Thus, you look at Rossmann shop on Dunajewskiego street and get to know that then here The Central Café was where in different times different famous people were (even Józef Piłsudski).  And on 5th August 1919 the crowd of hungry people was stormed in the café to take food…

Here on Dunajewskiego street at the beginning of XX centure The Central Cafe was

A modern man hasn’t the time to visit museums and theatres that’s why art must come to people itself. Artists must make art on streets, performances and concerts must happen on trains and in buses. Because a modern man hasn’t the time to visit museums and theatres… These words was proclaimed by polish futurism poet Bruno Jasieński about hundred years ago. But you listen it and understand that these words are actual today too. Does it mean nothing was changed? But there are no the Central Café as well as the Café on-site today’s shopping center Elefant  (on Podvale street) which was meeting point of Krakow’s avant-garde artists and where in 1933 leader of futurism Tommaso Marinetti told about his new ideas.

The mix of these parallel realities – artistic and social – creates interesting effects. On the one hand, the poets spoke about art for and about society, imagining a future man. But on the other hand, it’s obviously their ideas were far from real problems of the society. Today such discussions happen in the artistic space too, and to find a point where these two parallels could cross is real difficult.

Futuristic artists and poets looked for forms for future arts, proclaimed about arts into the masses. But we know the masses didn’t understand their art as well as find themselves in futuristic arts. The masses created their ‘art’ which really happened on streets and had real ‘results’ (strikers won as well as were prisoned or killed).

Does it mean that to find this point of intersection is impossible? May be, and we can see that futurism saying about art into the masses rather created a kind of autonomy for this kind of art. But we could try, may be – tomorrow? Or maybe tomorrow will be as today or even yesterday? Who knows? But we could try, even everybody would like to go by his personal way and our attempt will turn into memory in the form of the stone monument. But thus the history is created, and a short story of one person joins to strong stream of the time.

Dunajewskiego street today. In 1923 here Powstanie krakowskie was happened. There were crouds of people on the street. 

In 1992 the real facts about the death of Bruno Jasieński who was repressed in 1930s in USSR were found. In 2011 the lyceum in his native town was named by his name and in 2012 his provocative novel I burn down Paris was translated in English and got success. The name of Tadeusz Peiper, who died alone in Warsaw in 1969, was given to the one of Krakow’s street. Jalu Kurek was active writer to the beginning of the 1970s. The park on the Szlak street was named in honor of him.

Who knows which kind of machine who creates the city’s identity will be pushed up by the masses tomorrow? We could only dream.

The artistic city trip’s guide is available for downloading HERE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s