Thursday, 20 December 2012

Portrait of a Woman as a Young Emigrant

Recently I had nothing but work on my mind, and despite the looming Xmas, this is unfortunately not the end for me...Here I'm just listing the recent publications:

- I wrote twice for Guardian's Comment is free, once on the silencing of the left, later, last week, on the reasons for the lack of cultural impact from the enormous Polish emigration, as the latest census revealed. Both have much longer versions, which I will share in here soon. Im still somewhat overwhelmed by this, as writing it in English made me ponder many unanswered questions about what do I do in here, that I preferred perhaps to remain in the dark: who am I, who am I as a journalist living abroad, what can I really say, and finally, am I "happy"?? (sic)

I have mixed feelings after publishing both: both provided me quite a lot of criticism, but also encouragement. I was, among other things, accused of undermining the cultural influence we have by some of the "creative" part of our minority; on the other hand, I had a feeling, that I couldn't really write about perhaps the much more important aspect of our stay in here: how does the Polish presence on the Isles express itself politically, if at all. This 800,000 people seem to have little interest not only in dropping their dayjobs for the sake of "creativity"; moreover, they are, similarly as in Poland, quite passive in gaining a political voice.

Last summer I happened to translate the leaflet for the Ken Livingstone's Mayor of London campaign, from English to Polish, designed especially for the Polish community in London, to encourage them to vote. Leaflet got published a bit late, but this is not to be blamed on the little turnout (and the loss by Ken). It is rather their disilussionment in whether they can make any difference or perhaps, disbelief they will stay here long enough to try to make an impact. Also, if anything, the latest few articles about Poland in the Guardian revealed lack of language: still fresh, we don't (including me) know how to express the meaning of this situation. It revealed an interesting position of a community in flux, whose language is also, by neccessity, shaky, but which, hopefully, will find itself able to express many issues that, no doubt, pervade this group: anxiety, anger, alienation, fear in confrontation with a stronger culture (no doubt, if all of us gained a similar upbringing: God, Honour & Homeland and so on, simmered in a deeply Catholic sauce; patriotism, that can turn into xenophobia) but also we will learn a lesson in tolerance - since the war, Poland, a multicultural country, where Poles, Jews and many other ethnic groups lived, albeit, as time showed, not peacefully, was turned by the USSR into a monolithic, nationalistic country, with no experience of multiculturalism. Stay in Britain can change that, especially, when we'll come back home. It's good some initial effort to discuss our status was done, maybe some wisdom will emerge from those bubbling tensions. Let's not be politically naive, let's be aware of what is going on.

- In this BBC 3 appearance at the Nightwaves programme I'm trying, cursed by the lack of time and suggestions like "aren't you jolly good in integrating??", to address some of those issues.

- I also wrote on one of the most visually rewarding "luxury books" of the year, Neville Brody's & Jon Wozencroft's brainchild, brilliant FUSE 1-20 anthology. It made me ponder many important things: the 90s, when my adolescence took place; beauty as it expresses itself in time; a weird story of punk and postpunk's romance with the avant-garde; contemporary "curatorial approach", that seem to consume many of the even most interesting artistic efforts; effortless beauty of this era, where the style was god and how much I miss it. When one had the style, and not necessarily the money. It's for Blueprint, which seems not to have actualized its website for some time, but is now at least edited by the wonderful Shumi Bose. It's a good 'un, if I may say so immodestly, so go an geddit ( though I may post it some day!).

- also, as every month, you can read me in the Wire. In November issue I wrote on the wonderful Venice Biennial installation by Kasia Krakowiak in the Polish Pavillon; in December issue I recommend equally passionate, delicate yet strong, new, poetic book by Daniela Cascella, En Abime, on how listening helped her to save her existence, briefly (ha!); Daniela also has a blog; I also share a lot of her anxieties/ views/ feelings about being a foreigner in the UK, so reading it was as moving as it was soothing; in the next, January issue I share my end-of-year thoughts and favorite records in the 2012 roundup. Next issue will hopefully have my 3 articles as well. My full list of this year's favorites will be up in here shortly before the end of the year.

- I also wrote for Icon, issue #113, another yet different approach to the legacy of Yugoslavian Modernism, this time on the basis of a good book by Maroje Mrduljas & Vladimir Kuić, with great photos by Wolfgang Thaler, Modernism In-Between; I also answer some quite hilarious questions about, warning, the weather! Longer version on here soon.

- there's as well an essay on the aesthetisation of Chernobyl, the legacy of Tarkovsky and how the current urb-exes have their role in abusing the living population in there, for the Architectural Review Asia and Pacific, issue #128, out Dec 31st, finally.

- moreover, a still unpublished, long review of Jodi Dean's Communist Horizon for The Guardian's Review, which, I'm told, will be finally published in the issue on January, 19th. Here we're in the future, so shall say no more, but reader, there's a lot to wait for.

- there'll be also an essay on Kaliningrad's emerging art scene and the neocolonialism within the former USSR. Are you ready for this gem? It'll be published at the forthcoming Calvert Journal, launched soon by the lovely Calvert 22 gallery, focusing on the art from the Eastern Europe. Can't wait for that.

Barney Bubbles ceratively "stealing"from Polish abstractionist-constructivist Henryk Berlewi, initiating the (unfortunately, ongoing) romance between the punk and early avant-garde esthetics, some good photos in here

- and a short recapitulation of the recent "Sowjetmodernism" trend in the forthcoming issue of Architecture Today.

- if this is not enough, Im also writing 3 other long articles right now (among others, a long essay on Polish "Judeo-communism" for a Polish journal, and and essay on avant-garde...), two book contributions, several translations and also trying to write MY bloody book (sic!!). I am truly reaching the levels of the Stakhanovite comrade Hatherley. I was never looking so much forward to Christmas (= rest) as this year, despite hating it since adolescence. Sorry I've been such a shoddy blogger this year, haven't even properly learnt English or posting pictures, and haven't realised so many of my blogging intentions, so many.... Have a good one, but don't forget: cynicism is a feature of intelligent people. This is all for now, Merry Xmas!!!!

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