Snob attack on Gdańsk! Our first lecture at the City Culture Institute

This was our first lecture out of a planned series; this time we spoke at the City Culture Institute. As usually, everything we touch turns to gold – there were plenty of people, fans and representatives of the art world

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Attendance was surprisingly high, nearly every piece of floor was taken by those who came to listen to us speak at the CCI in Długi Targ. We reportedly beat an attendance record. Of course, being Snobs, we expected to arouse such interest, since attracting crowds of listeners is our specialty. We did as much as we could to discourage you from coming. Tomek gave an unconvincing interview to the most popular Tricity portal, in which he displayed very rough knowledge of Tricity-specific issues (Marcin passed this over in silence, since his ignorance in this matter was even bigger). We chose the topic for our first lecture rather maliciously – it was very narrow and quite specialized – we discussed the ways of exhibiting architecture, the ways of preparing architecture exhibitions. The topic was “made for” Marcin, hence Tomek’s role was reduced to running the slideshow, smiling and, sometimes, concluding Marcin’s thoughts with smart remarks. Why undertake such a narrow topic? With our first meeting, we wanted to discuss the very essence of architecture, and exhibitions seem to be the barometer for the condition of architecture, an attempt at grasping the definition of architecture. In addition, a vast and vigorous artistic environment in Gdańsk and the entire Tricity motivated and inspired us to devote our cycle of lectures to the relation between art and architecture.

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We will skip a detailed account of our lecture (those who weren’t there should regret it), but we can provide you with its essence – its message. If we extracted the gist of our one-and-a-half-hour lecture, if we cut out Marcin’s whining and Tomek’s moaning, we would arrive at one point – that 1:1 architecture exhibitions are practically impossible (with the exception of exhibitions which featured houses built especially for this purpose, such as the Werkbund inWeißenhof or WUWA in Wrocław, and recently – various EXPO and similar events). Why do we have such difficulty exhibiting architecture? It is because showcasing architecture is usually reduced to mere representation. The basic error committed by exhibition organizers is reducing architecture to its visual representation, performing a simplification of this vast issue by displaying building documentation in the form of photographs and models. Unfortunately, we think we will still be bombarded with such exhibitions for some time, particularly in Poland. In our opinion, architecture should be exhibited via a medium, thus being processed. Drawings and models – yes, they say a lot about architecture, but they also seem to belittle it, reduce it to an object. Such “standard” exhibitions loose the spirit of architecture, its ATMOSPHERE. And in fact it is the atmosphere which attracts larger groups of visitors, not only professionals, to exhibitions. ATMOSPHERE may be universal, like music – it utilizes the language of emotions, feelings, senses, which are universal to all (although working with various intensities with different people).

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To exemplify an exhibition with atmosphere, we presented inter alia the Polish exhibition at the 2012 Venice Biennale by Katarzyna Krakowiak. It so appeared that Kasia was in the audience (she didn’t have to travel far to see us, since she lives in Gdańsk) – we used this fact to ask her to tell a few details about her exhibition. Kasia told some great things about her projects, about space and about architecture (you should invite her to your lectures!). As usually, our meeting was closed by a heated discussion. Tomek did not have to engage in a fight with anyone, because everyone agreed with what we had to say. As an award for listening to us, we handed out a few souvenirs – a book/monograph from the SFMOMA exhibition and archi-beers – architectural beers! We were supposed to give out more of them, but a batch was lost on our way to Gdańsk. We went out to party after our lecture. It was cultured and sophisticated first – with the local VIPs. Later on, we went wild with a group of our fans. Fortunately, our hotel was nearby and we didn’t scrape our knees. We had to wake up very early the day after. Our schedule for that day was Toruń and a great exhibition by Dobrila Denegri at the Center of Contemporary Art, but it’s a different story.

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Summing up, we conquered Gdańsk – yet another mark on the map of Poland. We encountered a review of our lecture, which was positive of course, because we paid for it. What about the future? We will be speaking at the CCI on May 9 – precisely on the 42ndbirthday of the “Spodek” hall in Katowice (or, as you prefer, the 47th anniversary of the screening of the pilot for “Four tank men and a dog”). See you there!