Mieszkania-X / X-Apartments

A project in 3 x 7 apartments in Warsaw based on an idea by Matthias Lilienthal

A project in 3 x 7 apartments in Warsaw based on an idea by Matthias Lilienthal

Theatre in the apartments in Stary Mokotow, Mirów and Bródno. Situations staged by the artists, architects, filmmakers, theoreticians and inhabitants in the private places.

Artistic directors: Stefanie Peter, Anne Schulz, Joanna Warsza

Idea: Matthias Lilienthal

Invited artists:
  • Ballady i Romanse
  • Martin Clausen (Two Fish)
  • Club Real / Christoph Theußl, Jan Duszyński / Wojciech Puś
  • Agnieszka Kurant
  • Roland Roos
  • Tomek Saciłowski
  • Yorgos Sapountzis
  • Showcase Beat le Mot
  • Tal Sterngast, Marysia Stoklosa / Julia Staniszewska
  • Krzysztof Warlikowski / Małgorzata Szczęśniak
  • Anna Witt
And a special X-Apartments Bródno:
  • Paweł Althamer and neighbours: Paweł Buchholz, Michał Mioduszewski, Julia Matea Petelska, Jędrzej Rogoziński, Maciej Urbański, Wiola Wrotna.

Districts of Stary Mokotów, Mirów and Bródno 17–20.06.2010

  • Mokotów: 45 zł / 30 zł
  • Mirów: 45 zł / 30 zł
  • Bródno: 30 zł / 20 zł
  • A carnet for 3 routes 100 zł / 60 zł

Tickets: Nowy Teatr, Puławska 28, bow@nowyteatr.org and in the starting points


Under the Paving Stones – The Beach!

Vivre sans temps mort – ”live without dead time” was the appeal of Situationists in the 1960’s. Let us not be bored and let us not vainly chase after unfounded desires, the fulfillment of which contributes to the accumulation of capital and legitimization of a society of spectacle. For Guy Debord and Raoul Vaneigem, author of The Revolution of Everyday Life, the best field for creation was urban existence. Situationists called for creating situations and not material objects of passive contemplation; they appealed to recover the nature of immediate experience, stimulate cultural diversity, and request the impossible. As a project drawing on the economy of experience and participating in situations placed in private spaces of single walkable city districts, X-Apartments relates to the postulates offered by Situationism and its psycho-geography – an emotional impact of space on the individual.

The artists, architects, filmmakers, theatre directors, or musicians invited to participate in the project have been asked to create a situation based on two parameters – time (each episode lasts up to 10 minutes), and place (a given private space). Working with time belongs to the quotidian experience of directors, for visual artists, however, creating an action in a set number of minutes (and not the measured space of a gallery) changes the fundamental principles of the way they work. Artists such as Pierre Huyghe or Rirkrit Tiravanija posed the question of what would happen if art was not present in space, but in time? The role of spectators has been similarly changed here: theatre is usually experienced collectively by the audience, in a ritual silence and a comfortable, passive position. In case of this project, the audience can enjoy freedom, just as when visiting an exhibition, where the perception is individual, freer, and where conversation is permissible. The project is also a dialogue with the contextualization of art in public space, which refers to a grid of data: the nature of the place, its history, the consecutiveness of events and the geographical, as well as dramaturgical links – and not just the fragmented experience of the location. In 1960’s, Daniel Buren urged to leave the studios and go out in the street – this time, the X-Apartments artists are going back to the closed spaces, with the whole network of public and conceptual experiences with them.

This will be the first edition of the project “behind the old iron curtain” – where private spaces were often of a semi-public character: as roving universities, art galleries, places of gatherings (tapped), art studios, or hideaways of fugitive oppositionists. We are interested in the relationship of a certain social order vis-à-vis the individuality and limitations of these places. During London Design Days, private flats were opened to public as examples of “true design”. In our case, it will be about “live experience”: somebody’s private collection of home videos, an abandoned apartment still bearing traces of its old inhabitants, or a hotel room – which, after all, is a surrogate home.

X-Apartments has been carried out a number of times in different cities of the world. Each time the project related to the heterogeneity of the city, the given district, history if its inhabitants, or their daily practices. In Warsaw, we have selected boroughs which seemed particularly interesting and ambiguous. Mirów is an area around Hala Mirowska – an indoor market place – which is characterized by an explicit multilayer history: beginning with the topography of the Jewish Ghetto from the times of the World War, through the city of ruins, the residential estate Za Żelazną Bramą (Behing the Iron Gate), the new building projects, minority discourses, and gentrification problems. As in other places in Warsaw, the one striking characteristic is the unresolved ownership situation of the individual buildings, flats, or land plots. The district of Mokotów has the most interesting history, as a historical suburb of Warsaw, turned into a German residential area in the times of the war – a fact which has saved the borough from destruction. This is also where Nowy Teatr is located, hence the project in this case is a question of mapping out and taming the surroundings. Finding out what is happening in the neighborhood, X-Apartments will also have its special version in the district of Bródno – this time more participative and network-based. It is the tenants of the different flats – neighbours and collaborators of artist Paweł Althamer – who are the authors of the situations happening there. The six balconies looking out to the same courtyard make up a single story consisting of numerous plots.

X-Apartments is mainly based on the research of places and their inhabitants, on mapping out problems and trails: from the question of the Ukrainian physical workers, through the mass-scale phenomenon of refurbishing homes in the style of early capitalism, buying property on mortgage, rejecting the heritage of modernism, forgetting the method of exchanging correspondence with other inhabitants by letters sent on strings stretched between windows and balconies, the historical views from windows, flats once hiding Communist oppositionists, or galleries housed in private spaces. The other aspect of the project, equally important, is the way one has to walk from one flat to another, or the so called promenadology. Promenadology is a discipline of urban planning and city sociology, a term proposed by Swiss sociologist, Lucius Burckhardt from the University in Kassel. It aims at focusing on and consciously perceiving our surroundings, in times when perception is first and foremost dependent on technological and scientific progress – often alienating the individual from his/her own environment. When applying promenadology, one switches off the GPS device in the car, or travels the trail by bike or by foot. X-Apartments returns free drift and a deliberal urban confusion. After all – “Under the Paving Stones – The Beach!

Stefanie Peter, Anne Schulz, Joanna Warsza

X-Apartments has been produced with great success in several European and non-European cities, among them Berlin, Caracas, Duisburg, Istanbul and Sao Paulo. In Warsaw three very heterogeneous parts of the city will form the stage for this interdisciplinary performative event.

Producer: Nowy Teatr / Nowy Teatr Warsaw

Project manager: Zuza Sikorska

Produced by NOWY TEATR, in collaboration with Hebbel-am-Ufer, Berlin. Supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

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