This Thursday, March 17th is the opening of Jan Moszumański’s “Welcome To Last Chance” at the artist run space Elementarz Dla Mieszkańców Miast (The Handbook For City Dwellers). A graduate of Art Academies in Krakow, Malmö and Oslo with works displayed from Copenhagen, Denmark to Ulan Bataar, Mongolia, the exhibition will be Moszumański’s first solo show in his hometown of Krakow.
Through the mediums of video and sculpture, “Welcome To Last Chance” is a product of Moszumański’s exploration of the genealogy of violence, both self-inflicted and openly expressed towards others. Invoking the theme of Lycanthropy, the transformation of a human into a werewolf, the artist analyses the experience of the afflicted individual’s self-alienation, confusion and fright.
T.K. : Hi Jan, thanks for talking the time to talk with The Krakowist (T.K.) If you were to tell me in one sentence what is your coming show about, what would it be?
In short the film is an attempt to answer the question how to tame a raging elephant with a wave of your hand.
T.K. : An elephant, not a wolf?
I’m more interested in a human transforming into a creature releasing the long accumulated anger, and how it becomes unstoppable, rather than in wolves. Wolves live in a pack, werewolves are, so to say, extremely individualistic. Human rabies, which in symptoms strongly resembles common image of a werewolf, comes under a different name of hydrophobia. I follow this trope to understand the monster’s fear of water and its symbolic consequences. In repressed feelings – that’s where the disgust of water shines through. I focus on the theme of lycanthropy, werewolf-ness, as a bodily response to a prolonged practice of repression of one’s unmet expectations and unfulfilled desires. The response is “bodily”, because in such condition the behavior bypasses the rational and technological, operating only with stimuli and the direct reaction to it. Werewolf is radically disappointed, so in an act of reclamation and “arising from its knees” it simply acts the way it wants.
T.K. : And how is it thinking? Would you say it is automatic?
No, I can’t agree with “automatic”. It operates with direct reactions, but the all go through a genuinely organic, animalistic filter. Lycanthrope is blind, out of senses and out of memory, can’t see beyond the paranoia that pulls his rage, but his self-preservation instinct, preservation in a monster form, works very well. He wakes up on the next day with a weird feeling of having some real mess on the last night’s account, but there’s no pictures or text in the phone that could help to solve the puzzle. This, to certain degree nicely corresponds to what’s happening in global politics these days, but unfortunately we haven’t waken up so far, and it’s a long time before that part of our identity, which feels hurt, runs out of resentment. In a family family movie, the best way to reunion of the two conflicted halves of humankind would probably be to pull them through some deeply traumatizing serious shit together. Like a war against the machines, nuclear conflict or some other similarly cool stuff.
T.K. : I see, but it’s not something we want to go through. Do you see another way out of this difficult situation?
The Lycanthropic subject is sprayed all over the place, precarious and missing reliable points of anchoring. It’s excluded from participation in what it considers the really substantial aspects of reality, and finally – alienated, both from its own feelings – it’s afraid, and from others – it’s very very lonely. So in its blind rage it pulls off a radical mechanism of, lets just loosely call it this way, re-identification. It is rape-like, violent, and in this sense it constitutes a genuine transgressive event. The film deals with a question how to pardon the animal without killing or castrating it, as both would be a great pity. There is some of them in us and some on us in them, we are dependent on each other. So my answer to the question of course is – definitely with love. And since love is understanding, we need to find out whether it’s possible to make the monster speak a human language – or else, should we rather learn other, pre-linguistic modes of communication to settle down the beef.
Find the event details here.
Elementarz dla Mieszkańców miast (eng. Handbook for City Dwellers) is a curators/artists-run space in the Old Town of Kraków. It is managed by Arkadiusz Półtorak (curator, art critic and PhD candidate at the Department of Literary Anthropology and Cultural Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków) and Leona Jacewska (aka Charlie; musician, dj and promoter). Hidden in a quiet quarter on ul. Adama Asnyka 7, secluded from the main tourist routes, it consists of a vast exhibition space, a screening room and a club/concert space, spread all over the ‘rear rooms’ of a fin-de-siecle residential building (the attic, the cellar and the former commercial premises on the ground floor). Throughout a few months since the opening in June 2016 the space’s curators have managed to draw the attention of unexpectedly rich audiences to a number of interdisciplinary events: exhibitions, a few club nights and screenings (e.g., of Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk’s film Out on the Street, presented at the Berlin Film Festival and the Venice Biennale in 2015). The curator’s focus is on urban culture understood as a crossing of different economies and cultural or intellectual formations. One of their prime aims is to bridge the gap between artistic, musical and academic circles in Kraków; another is to stand up against gaps between multiple generations of artists (and audiences) active in our city.