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Polonia Bytom
Eastern European Network
English, Polish
128 pages
13 EUR

The leitmotif of this carefully composed narrative of photographs and collages by Anna Okrasko, Justyna Chmielewska, and Joanna Bębenek is states of movement and stagnation, and the relationships between them. The basic themes of this visual tale are fluctuation and precariousness (précarité), both overarching principles of contemporary life, and a memento of the notion of urbanity. Bytom/Poland was an apt and conscious choice for the matrix of this theme. Since its inception, the town has undergone constant transformations, making endless attempts to turn the corner. Located in the heart of industrial Upper Silesia, it has been, like the entire region, the site of many transits and migrations, resulting from the tides of history and the ruthlessness of the capitalist economy. The town has belonged to Poland, Czechia, Germany and Austria. As in every other town Bytom’s inhabitants are convinced that it is an exceptional place on earth, and just might be ready to defend their opinion. But we see no people in the photographs. What we see are places of transition and their symptoms: roads, windows, airports, railroad tracks, passageways, but also fences and barriers.

 In cooperation with the Centre for Contemporary Art, Kronika, Bytom/Poland.

Anna Okrasko has been a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude from April to September 2015.