Art, Emotion and Activism in the Post-Socialist Cityscape in Eastern Europe

In 2014 developers in Kraków in southern Poland proposed the construction of ‘Nowa Cracovia’, an office and retail development on the site occupied by the ‘old’ Cracovia, a hotel owned by the state tourist company which opened its doors in the late 1960s (designed in 1959 by Witold Cęckiewicz for Miastoprojekt, Kraków, with structural engineers … Continue reading

The Peasant in the City

This piece was written for a Zacheta show, Polska – kraj folkloru? You can download the catalogue in English here. It includes excellent essays by Gabriela Świtek, Błażej Brzostek and the curator, Joanna Kordjak. A Socialist capital – a city for every citizen … the worker, the peasant and the working intelligentsia’ – political slogan Poland, … Continue reading

Notes from the Underground

In September, Daniel Muzyczuk and I curated a show entitled ‘Notes from the Underground’ for the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz which explores the intersection of art and music in Eastern Europe under communist rule. Rock, punk and new wave were not only embraced by young musicians in the 1970s and 1980s, they shaped the visual … Continue reading

The Choreography of the Console: The Design of Electronic Environments and their Operators in the Cold War

This talk was given in Zurich at ETH in autumn 2014. In the late 1950 and 1960s a new kind of non-human actor appeared on the movie screens and televisions around the world. The console – an electronic panel or unit operated with dials, switches or buttons – appeared in numerous Cold War thrillers and … Continue reading

Interview with Herito magazine

In May Herito published an interview with me on socmodernist architecture in Eastern Europe – you can read it here.

Nervous Systems: New Machines and Bodies in Polish Art and Film after the Thaw

This essay was published in the catalogue accompanying the Cosmos Calling! exhibition at Zacheta, Warsaw, summer 2014.     In 1973 Krzysztof Zanussi made a movie, ‘Iluminacja’(Illumination), to explore the ways in which science, the state and religion understood life in its most immediate sense, that of the living human being. Relaying the fictional career … Continue reading

Walking With Hansen

In lieu of the full text, here is a link to a talk on Oskar Hansen’s ideas about the mobile body. It was presented at a conference at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in June 2013.

Zamecznik’s Silent Star (occasional notes on posters)

In many science fiction films of the Cold War period the cosmos is represented as an extra-terrestrial space in which international rivalries have been overcome. ‘Der Schweigende Stern’ (The Silent Star) depicted a world in which communism had swept the planet and mankind now enjoyed the benefits of nuclear technology, social equality and international fraternity. … Continue reading

Paris or Moscow? Warsaw Architects and the Image of the Modern City in the 1950s

In 1934 architects Szymon Syrkus and Jan Chmielewski presented their plans for the future of Warsaw at the a meeting of the Comité International pour la Résolution des Problèmes de l’Architecture Contemporaine, a key Modern Movement forum (and the elected executive body of CIAM, the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne). Their plan for ‘Warszawa Funkcjonalna’ (Functional … Continue reading

Socialist recreation? Amateur film and photography in the People’s Republic of Poland and East Germany

This piece was published in a book which is very difficult to find, so I have posted my contribution below.