Artist Talk

Praca u Podstaw / Grassroots Work

on the shaping of new forms of art in times of disasters

A research project by Dariusz Fodczuk
Dariusz Fodczuk


Praca u Podstaw / Grassroots Work
o kształtowaniu się nowych form sztuki w dobie katastrof
on the shaping of new forms of art in times of disasters

Concept / realization: Dariusz Fodczuk
Layout & programming: Konrad Wujciów

Supported by:
SZARA GALERY / Katowice, Poland
NOMUS MUSEUM / Gdansk, Poland
With the support of the Polish Culture Ministry


Fatima Jawdat (Iraq)
Piotr Ratajczak (Poland)
Patrick Klingenschmitt (Germany)
Yura Biley (Ukraine/Poland)
Kai Lam (Singapore)
Mideo M. Cruz (Philippines)
Joanna Rzepka Dziedzic (Poland)
Shannon Cochrane (Canada)
Jiri Suruvka (Czech Republic)

We are used to thinking that the role of art is to change reality. Praca u Podstaw/Grassroots Work is a research project that points out a change going in the opposite direction, a result of rapidly changing living conditions on art. The aim of this project is a creative reflection on the development of new attitudes and forms of artistic expression in the face of epidemics, natural disasters, economic transformations, repression and armed conflicts. Praca u Podstaw/Grassroots Work manifests as a cloud-shaped, collection of video materials. These are statements, artists, curators and theoreticians who reflect on changing working conditions in their practice. The interface will allow the viewer navigating in it to construct their own video essay resonating with their own sensitivity and corresponding to their interests.

The title of the project refers to the main postulate of positivism, demanding efforts to raise the standard of living of the poorest classes and to build a new social order based on egalitarian principles "Working at the Basics" is a research project trying to capture the changes taking place in the field of art under the influence of current political tensions, social divisions, epidemiological threats or a progressive climate catastrophe. My goal is to look at new methods of creative work, modern communication channels developed by art institutions and the latest goals of cultural creators. Using digital communication tools, I conducted meetings with 10 artists, curators and art historians from Poland and abroad. Interviews with them are to become a document of changes taking place in the area of ​​culture and an attempt to diagnose and describe the directions of art development. 

The heroes of these meetings are artists struggling with the nightmare of war (Yura Biley), colonialism (Mideo M. Cruz, Kai Lam), religious fundamentalism (Fatimah Jawdat), neoliberalism (Jiri Suruvka, Piotr Ratajczak, Joanna Rzepka-Dziedzic), capitalism (Shannon Cochrane, Patrick Klingen Schmitt) and repression or totalitarianism (Uladzimir Pazniak). The collected footage is a mosaic of short film fragments that can be viewed autonomously or arranged as a larger whole. Several hours of footage creates a cloud of data that combine into a dozen or so different combinations, thus creating film essays with many different meanings. The length and shape of the video essay watched by the viewer depends on an individual’s own choices. The viewer decides the order of viewing by navigating through the interface created especially for the project. The project resigns from linear narrative and causes the same story to be presented from different perspectives and cultural orders. 

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+ Praca u Podstaw / Grassroots Work