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What is art for? Who needs it? How can an artist influence reality? Is it the role of the artist? Who can be an artist? Is it something innate? How does art work? What is the viewer’s experience? In what fields can art appear?


Those are questions I’ve been asking myself for a long time.


I finished my studies at the Academy of Art in Łódź in 2008. I studied in a bubble. It was important to learn how to observe; how to use my eyes and hands. A well-made form was the main goal of most of my classes. There was one exception. In the third year of my master’s studies, I choose the moving image seminar as one of my leading courses. My professor Konrad Kuzyszyn, when we talked about some early video samples I made, asked me very surprising questions, like „why?” and „what for?” It is hard to imagine now, but it was the first time when I had to say something about the reason and the purpose of my artistic practice. I was so astonished that I couldn’t say a word. His questions were uncomfortable; they were not asked in other courses and we were not prepared to give answers. There was also a kind of taboo surrounding them. It was strange, even impolite, to ask about the purpose of an artwork. I often heard that artwork should speak for itself.


During a few semesters of video classes, I learned that I’m responsible for what I’m doing as an artist, so I have to be conscious of my actions. This was maybe the most important lesson from my studies. Creating experience became more significant than producing an image. That was also something that was important for me while preparing my Ph.D. dissertation. The artistic part of it contained a cycle of video works entitled “See you”. While working on the pieces, I tried in a variety of ways to achieve a goal, which was to confront recipients with permeating oppositions and at the same time to evoke in them a sense of uncertainty. This took place through the “seeing” contained in the title, through the creation of visual structures based on the ambiguity of perception, placing a viewer in a situation in which by contact with one work they may experience juxtaposing impressions.


Working with video and photography was my path of artistic development. I learned how to use images for building meanings, choosing the right form to achieve desired results, how to communicate feelings and thoughts, and finally how to create an experience for viewers.


There was one more event during my studies that had a big influence on me. In 2007 I read Applied Social Arts by Artur Żmijewski. The situation of art and the artist became more clear for me, but it put even more puzzles and doubts in my head. Żmijewski was asking questions concerning artistic (over)production, pointing to the defects of the system in which the artists function. He asked: does contemporary art have any real impact on society? This huge gap between his words and what I was taught confused me. His diagnosis of the situation of art seemed right. I could see how the mechanisms he described start in the field of education and how they spread into the artistic decisions of students. I could see that, but I was not able to use that observation in the artistic sphere. I felt that I was not competent to do that. It was one of the reasons why I got involved in art education. That was a field where I could observe the direct impact I had. By working in cooperation with NGOs on international projects for young people I could learn how to use artistic means in another field and develop my interpersonal skills. I learned how to communicate and cooperate. It also gave me a feeling of doing the right thing.


Those events took place a long time ago, but they formed me and by referring to them I want to show the background I have. Since my studies, I have been walking two parallel paths. I’m an artist and a teacher. I’m improving my skills in creation, but also in research and sharing knowledge. I am someone who is curious, able to search and find solutions and who has a constant need for development and transformation.


As a participant, I had a great opportunity to be involved in the project “Labour in a single shot” by Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki. I could watch at a close distance his working methods and especially his social responsibility. Thanks to this experience I realized how video can engage in a discussion about today’s world. I learned from him that one must be careful not to be seduced by the screen; the images we are watching, but also the pictures that we create.