First workshop

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday

Monday 4th of June 2012

Flow. Bytom as material and energetic flow.

What are the material and energetic flows?

⋅ People as matter
⋅ Fluids
⋅ Food and drinks
⋅ Energy materials
⋅ Economic flows as matter and energy
⋅ Flow of time
⋅ Communication as a flow of intensities
⋅ Waste
⋅ Emotion production: psychogeography
⋅ Information and other textual matter

1st task: What are the material and energetic flows at home, following the previous guidelines? In what contexts, devices, machines or social groups these flows are connected?
Writing, drawing, photographs, audio recordings.

We did a walk with Radek Cwielag, Adam Cwielag, Piotr Hajda and Slawomir Nosal.

These descriptions of places in Bytom, that are related to different flows: material, time, economy, psychogeography or textual were recorder and photographed. Here are some highlights of this walk. Each person presented a place in the city, and took us there, describing what kind of flows this place might have. It was raining, and we started with Piotr presenting the lion on the main square of Bytom.

Energy of a lion statue, made by Silesian sculptor Theodor Kalide (1801-1863) in the city square. Made to commemorate the French-German war. Brought to Bytom from Warszawa few years ago.

Kantor 24. One of the oldest exchange places in Bytom, acoording to Piotr. Has existed from the beginning of transition period.

Agora. A shopping mall which was established few years ago. It was built on a very central place in Bytom, which was a place to hang out; where there were few street vendors. ‘Agora’ as a name captured the symbolic of the place, which it occupied. Still, there is not too many customers in the shopping mall, but it feels empty.

Church accross the street from Agora. On sundays people from church cross the street and move to the shopping mall. Not only to shop, but since it is the fastest way, instead of go around the building. As if the open square would still be there.

Country road 94. Next crossing the road 11. Autostradas cross many Silesian towns, not only Bytom, Katowice and Gliwice, for instance. Road from Kraków to Wroclaw and another one to Poznan.

Road from train station to city centre. This main walking street takes masses of people from train station and bus station to city centre, where now lies shopping centre Agora. There are numerous banks and McDonalds, but no clubs or places to stay.

Bytom train station is in bad condition, but bus station brings lot of students from Gliwice, where there is a polytechnical university.

Radek’s card. Radek was able to find himself in a position, where no-one in the bank was able to help him to get his credit card working. The bank was helpless.

Home from Kronika. Each day Radek walks a one way to work and returns another back. There is no conscious decision. Patterns and refrains are stronger than the rational.

This process takes a notion in the everydaylife, really in lieu with the Mass Observation, slightly turning towards the ‘mess’ observation. From mass to mess.

Tuesday 5th of June, 2012

Territory. Bytom as I sense it, feel it.

Workshop with Radek Cwielag, Grazyna Daniel and Piotr Hajda

How the world seems to me? How I sense the materiality of it, how it obstructs or permits me to live, perform, experience and express?

Terytorium. Bytom jak go odczuwam.

Jak wygląda świat w moich oczach? Jak odczuwam jego materialność, jak blokuje lub jak pozwala mi żyć, działać, doświadczać i wyrażać?

I started with simple grounding warm-ups. Then asked people to lie down on a mattress and describe a place from Bytom, that they felt some emotion memory, dreamlike, delusional experience of a place.

After this participants were asked to draw this place, in some sense to the visual, sensual, auditory or other sense of this place. After the drawings I asked them to describe the drawings.

Coal waste land in which is now being turned into a “post-industrial” golf-course. This was described by Radek, as a place where he once drifted with friends. A surreal place, but now already being taken over by grass and bushes.

Suburb of Arki Bozka, which was described by Grazyna. A place of more friendly side of Bytom, greener and supposedly typically more community oriented.

Description of Plac Sikorskiego, which is a central tram stop.

My interpretation of the place which was drawn by Piotr.

Red tram 19 is waiting, wagon number 280. Doors close, tram leaves. Woman with a bag of bread, eating bread, passing by. A couple with back bags, girl is bit stubby. Skinny old man walking with an umbrella. A group of teenage boys. The sound of tram engines, when it is at halt. Long and slightly alternating pitch, in a slow tempo. Hum of passing cars. Young voice. Girl yelling at a distance. Fountain, sound of water splashing. High heels on the pavement, passing by. Softer shoes, also. The doors of a tram, higher note by alarm. The sound of running sneakers, and a plastic bag while it touches runners legs. Two women voices. Younger boys, teenagers arguing. Running sneakers. High heels. Still the sound of a tram. Ring of a door in the tram and doors close. Wheels on tracks make noise, rumbling. Jack-daw yapping.

Then we moved outside. It was raining. I asked them to look outside and try to picture themselves on the rynek, square. Then on rynek they would go to this place, and try to immerse on that place. And then tell me about this place.

Lastly we went to Agora to repeat the same structure, which was recorded also. It seemed that this was too abstract or simply not interesting, since the time spent on the place was very short, and descriptions not very interesting.

Also, it might be that these places, rynek and Agora are dull and boring. Also, the workshop was late in the evening, which will effect as well.

Tomorrow my idea is to go to visit these places, which were drawn, and see how they look. Also, Piotr asked us to go out from the city centre, which is a good idea.

Grazyna is not able to join all the time, she will be in Spain, so I will send her the directions, and ask her to do them, as imaginary Bytom.

Wednesday 6th of June, 2012

Refrains. Repetition and habitual patterns of Bytom.

Familiar between material and subjective.

What are the industrial refrains, that may serve as safety? Safety net for dealing with sudden changes. What repeats? But what does a refrain catalyze? A socio-historical refrain, of the industrial Silesia?

Workshop with Radek Ćwieląg and Piotr Hajda

Today there was Piotr and Radek. We worked with the idea of refain, although it was not that clear for the output. We stopped in the big pawn shops, that supposedly sells a helicopter as well. It was full of stuff.

Photo: Piotr Hajda
Our main spot was Bobrek. Very poor area, which used to be a well-doing working class area, since it has a mine, coke burning and steel factory. They still function, aside from the steel factory. There were some interesting stories told about this area, how the factory works, and what kind of social environment it build, which is now gone. Now this area is very poor.

Some beautiful architecture, early 20th century type brick buildings for the workers’ families, but now in poor condition, and close to the wasteland of mining waste. Partly toxic materials dumped there, to be reused for highways, for instance.

Then we visited a powerplant, ZEC Bytom SA, which was build 1920. It was bought by Fortum some years ago, but now they have stopped to use it. Earlier this place was used in culture purposes as well, since it was not all year in use. But when fortum bought it, they closed the culture events, and now they are selling it. Huge, beautiful building, waiting to be used in some purpose, most propably as a museum. This is the logic of neoliberalism. On the other side of town, another site is happily now to be renovated for a dance school, and theatre space.