Acting Together

The publication "Acting Together" was born out of a need to bring together different community-forming initiatives present in our immediate surrounding. It is therefore a selection of different undertakings where the main criterion was affective and geographical proximity. We assume that processes always take place in particular contexts, though not always in the unity of space and time. Their future implications can later be seen in conversations, texts, photos, and memories. Such condensations create the collective features of communities. Without persons who co-create and participate in Poznań’s cultural life, there would be no process-based exhibitions at the Municipal Gallery Arsenal, DOMIE would not emerge as an experiment in collective care, and there would be no project engaging people with multiple sclerosis at Zamek Cultural Centre.

The field of art is built upon a complex network of relations and is dependent on a number of contexts: climatic, economic, political, and institutional; in those frames, permanent and temporary assemblages are created—sometimes by the force of attraction, sometimes out of necessity. While institutions solidify various ongoing processes, ephemeral collectives, such as Sandra Art Gallery, or local Solstice/Equinox rituals, introduce ferment and invite change. What they have in common is acting together, which we understand as moving beyond the autonomy paradigm, where it becomes crucial to recognize interdependencies, and acknowledge their importance. Action is not always art. It might be if it takes place within an institution where it is legitimized by the performative power of the word, the figure of the artist, and a signed contract. But sometimes it’s just life, meeting others, and being together. Following several decades of collective experience, during which the practice and methodology of participatory art has developed, we now attempt to indicate our positions, talk about privilege (or lack thereof), and comment upon mechanisms related to the distribution of symbolic capital. We attempt to learn and unlearn each other, seek comfort and then move outside our comfort zone. We believe that knowledge is forged in action, in a specific, material condition, in the process of establishing relationships that breed conflicts, give rise to emotions, and resist; but also—provide a sense of agency. We wish that with the help of this publication this sense of collective agency in acting together would be maintained.

Preface: Zofia nierodzińska & Jacek Zwierzyński

Translation: Joanna Figiel

DOMIE p. 5
A Journey to the Dark Side of the Moon p. 23
An Activist in the Institution p. 31
Under Sandra’s Umbrella p. 49
Solstice/Equinox p. 61
Przychodnia Gallery p. 77

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Publication cover with colour photograph y showing people in a fountain. The two people in the foreground are leaning their backs against each other. One of them is bent in half, the other is lying on his/her back. A page from a book with a yellow background. In the background is the title of the article in Polish: Activist in an institution. Art of participation, joy, burnout, and regeneration. Photograph of a choir of four people dressed in white dresses made from curtains, tablecloths etc. One person is kneeling, the other two are holding up her veil-like headdress. Another page of the publication with a small photography in the left corner and a lot of text on a white background Another page of the publication with a photography of a sofa on the top of the page, and a lot of text on a white background a photograph documenting an exhibition in the gallery, with graphic prints hanging on the wall and a colourful umbrella-like installation on the ceilings. Another page of the publication with a small round photography on the right and a lot of text on a white background photograph depicting a person playing a flute, dressed in an extravagant variation on a folk costume. Next to it is an object made of hay.