We walked just this way – workshop, performance, exhibition, public forum

Muzeum Etnograficzne in Kraków has recently opened an exhibition, “Widok zza bliska. Inne obrazy Zagłady”, about the objects which tell the story of World War II.  One of these objects is called TRUPOSZNICA, Franciszek Wacek’s object/corpse carrier from Treblinka that was used to illustrate wartime stories he told to local children. In collaboration with the Cricoteka and curators of the exhibition (Erica Lehrer and Roma Sendyka), the “Staging Difficult Pasts” research team have invited Ludmiła Ryba to conduct a week-long workshop with the Kolektyw Kuratorski about objects, based on her experience with the theatre of Tadeusz Kantor (February 18-22). Alongside the workshops, Wojtek Ziemilski has been commissioned to create a performative action of moving TRUPOSZNICA from the Muzeum Etnograficzne to Cricoteka (February 23).

Please join us for a public panel discussion on the workshops and the performative action, with reflections on the function of the object, its objectness, and the staging of difficult pasts across theatrical and museal frames. Panellists will include curators Erica Lehrer and Roma Sendyka, theatre makers Ludmiła Ryba and Wojtek Ziemilski, and scholars Katarzyna Fazan and Anna Róża Burzyńska. The panel will be chaired by Michal Kobialka.

“Staging Difficult Pasts” is a research project that develops collaborations between theatre makers and museum curators. Over the past few decades, widespread attempts to expose or reinterpret public memory have been determined and shaped in theatres and museums, where formerly taboo historical narratives of difficult pasts have come to public concern for live audiences. This research project considers how theatre makers have innovated narrative forms and reframed theatrical and artefactual objects, and analyses curatorial approaches to the “staging” of historical narratives and performative encounters in the museum.

We walked just this way

Theatre Workshop

  • February 18-22, 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Location: Cricoteka, ul. Nadwiślańska 2-4, 30-527 Kraków

Ludmiła Ryba conducts a week-long workshop with Kolektyw Kuratorski on the function of objects and machines in theatre and museum spaces based on her experience of working with Tadeusz Kantor and Cricot 2.

Performative Action / Intervention / Panel Discussion

  • February 23

3:00 pm — Performative Action, ’90/100′

The performative action, directed by Wojtek Ziemilski, is a procession from the MEK headquarters in Krakow (46 Krakowska St.) to the Cricoteka. We invite you to participate in the action. Route: MEK (plac Wolnica 1) – Piłsudski Bridge – Cricoteka.

Wojtek Ziemilski


I don’t have access. Not to the experience of other people. Not to the events. Not to the source.

I had heard about the original sculpture—Truposznica. This is how it was named by its author, Franciszek Wacek. Trup means corpse. This truck, as the description reads, transported the dead bodies of the Jews for burning. (Yes, across this bridge, too.)

I am looking at it now. The tangibility of the wood, its sensuality—it is not the driver’s features that impress me, but the features of the wood.

I do not, fortunately, have access to the suffering of other people.

I am safely hidden behind my sympathy. It protects me.

Slowly, the numbers game meets sympathy: how many were they? How many passed through? How many stayed behind? How many on which side? The algebra of absence.

This is no longer a single toy.  This is no longer a singular experience. It’s growing into an entire constellation of sympathies—our contemporary constellation, with so many features washed out, only slightly engraved by our own stories.

We carry the burden.

But not on our own shoulders.

Because this is not our burden. Our contemporary bodies will not be burdened.

Let us then drag it behind us. The absurd toys, dispassionately symbolizing suffering.

As if by chance: we were just passing by. All this horror and this end of all ends, they just happened to stray into our path. What were we to do? Kick them out? Fine, let them come, we’ll take them with us. Who knows why so many. Say, they hatched. They look so unformed, small and ordinary. But sure. Let them join us. We were going that way anyway.

And so it happens: we haul the burden.

If at all possible, together. If at all possible, consciously.

The burden is light, as we are of this lightness made.

4:30 pm — ‘462. Przysietnica-Wielopole-Treblinka’, Intervention by the Kolektyw Kuratorski in the Cricoteka’s permanent exhibition of Tadeusz Kantor’s objects.

5:00 pm — ‘Staging Difficult Pasts: Objects in the State of Unrest’

Public forum on the historical and cultural materiality of objects and their function in theatrical and museological practices.

Panellists: Ludmiła Ryba (Teatr Cricot 2), Wojtek Ziemilski, Kolektyw Kuratorski, Erica Lehrer, Roma Sendyka, Katarzyna Fazan and Anna Róża Burzyńska.

Panel chair: Michał Kobiałka.

Location:  Cricoteka, ul. Nadwiślańska 2-4, 30-527 Kraków

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