Wojciech Kosma, Mania Łukaszewska, Jess Zamora-Turner, The BWKŁS ChoirBojące Wszystkich Krajów Łączmy Się

3 March — 7 April 2023

Bojące Wszystkich Krajów Łączmy Się

Bojące Wszystkich Krajów Łączmy Się

Bojące wszystkich krajów łączmy się: The afraid of all lands unite. Concerned with embodied experiences of emotional connectivity, this collaborative exhibition developed from a vision of these words sung collectively. The show balances on an axis oriented to the present in the BWKŁS choir’s performances, to the past through Jess Zamora-Turner’s pale pink, patchwork Pisagua Blanket (2023) and to the future via the humanoid forms created by Mania Łukaszewska that speak in abstracted frequencies composed by Wojciech Kosma in the video installation Chór (2023). Feeling for synergies between transnational solidarity and practices of engaging personal, ancestral lineage, Bojące wszystkich krajów łączmy się imagines a utopic collapsing of time that gestures towards an interconnected futurity.

Wojciech Kosma wrote “Bojące wszystkich krajów łączmy się” in a poem amidst the major Women’s Strike protests in 2020-2021 and mounting violence against queer people in his native Poland, returning to the phrase at the outset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year. The BWKŁS choir—an acronym playfully derived from Bojące wszystkich krajów łączmy się—comprises a group who sing in Polish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian, languages which are native to some members and entirely foreign to others. Reimagining the slogan of class struggle "Workers of the world, unite!", the choir’s refrain takes fear as a starting point, but moves through and beyond it with variations on the phrase that feel true to them: marzące (Polish for the dreamers), Вразливі (Ukranian for the vulnerable), Нежните (Bulgarian for the gentle) or Kiváncsiak (Hungarian for the curious) of all lands unite. It starts with words, but sung in unison, moves beyond them to create a visceral shared experience that forges a space for mutual and self-understanding. Such a practice nods to a lineage of utopian collectivity, as well as to spiritual congregations, including the Polish Catholic church and the mood and tonality of the Holy Masses that Kosma grew up with. Reconstruing the musical history of his own heritage to new means is central to Kosma’s broader practice, in which he draws on Polish folk and contemporary club music to conjure new, intimate mythologies imbued with a queer, anti-nationalist sentiment.

The choir gathers around Jess Zamora-Turner’s quilt when they sing. Working with untreated wool and stitching together scraps of second-hand fabric, Zamora-Turner melds metaphorical and tactile registers with her patchwork quilt. Making this blanket is a mode of piecing together her own personal and cultural histories, connecting the generations of British wool and cotton mill workers on her mother’s side with her Chilean roots on her father’s side, invoking the tradition of Arpilleras–bright, burlap textiles that depicted the brutal oppression of Pinochet’s military regime in a form of collective resistance disguised as folk embroidery. Zamora-Turner’s works with quilting is a mode of acknowledging and continuing the rich history of Andean textile traditions. The quilt is something of an offering to her father, dyed in varying shades of pink with madder root in allusion to the infamous pink walls of the Pisagua concentration camp in northern Chile, where he was detained as a prisoner during the dictatorship. The peachy tones also evoke the hues of Chile’s desert landscape, the color of the artist’s own skin, a feminine hue for this practice of quilting long relegated as women’s work. Zamora-Turner works through these many layers of inheritance, as she pieces together cuts of table linen, clothing and bedding that she sources from recycling centers in Poland, where she lives and works. Repurposing these discarded textiles, she regenerates what had been deemed waste, nodding also to a connection between Poland and Chile’s Atacama desert as two of the world’s largest receivers of fast fashion leftovers and textile waste.

Such processes of regeneration resonate with the imaginative futurity of the video installation in the gallery’s subterranean floor, as the forms conceived by Warsaw-based artist Mania Łukaszewska appear to tap into frequencies beyond a human realm composed by Kosma. Sampling and altering his own voice, Kosma’s composition becomes a sonic evolution of the BWKŁS choir’s refrains. What would it sound like to sing “The afraid of all lands unite” not only in a medley of eastern European languages, but in the sound waves and signals emitted by trees, fungi, bacteria—those networks of communication and deep connectivity that reach far beyond human comprehension? And in the rhythms of the ancestors, future generations, non-human entities, real or imagined? How far could this unity stretch? These figures are both connected to the body—their movement was trained based on movements by choreographer Marta Ruszkowska—and emphatically other. Traces of a connection to the hand inherent in the drawn forms remain palpable; this connection to the body is accentuated by the fact that Łukaszewska also works as a tattoo artist and thus often draws directly on human skin. The power of paying attention to something felt—physically, emotionally, intuitively—is the pulse that courses through Bojące wszystkich krajów łączmy się. Latent in that awareness is the radical connection between all pasts and futures that is always here right now.

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An Archive of the Weak? The afraid of all lands unite, essay by Ewa Majewska for Blok Magazine

BWKŁS Choir Agnieszka Bulacik Bobo Vilma Braun Katharine Halls Pablo Horn Velizara Karaivanova Agnieszka Kucharska Wojciech Kosma Marcioz Yuki Nishimura Ewa Sadowska Marta Ruszkowska Eli Vardzhiyska Anastasiia Yezhyzhanska Ola Zielińska

3D creation Marcin Kosakowski