Film notation with Jacek Petrycki is one of hundreds of biographical interviews conducted by ECS’s Mediateka, but it certainly stands out from the others due to the special status of the interviewee. Jacek Petrycki is a respected Polish film director and operator who engaged in democratic opposition in the 1980s. Thus, his testimony tells the story from two perspectives. He comments past events as an artist and political activist.
As a film-maker Petrycki yet in the 1970s engaged in courageous artistic projects. He frequently cooperated with Krzysztof Kieślowski in his productions of cinema of moral anxiety (in films like ”Spokój” or ”Amator”). In the 1980s he began to document the activity of growing democratic opposition. He filmed the strikes in Gdansk Shipyard and later his recorded material served as a basis for the famous documentary “Workers 1980” (pl. “Robotnicy 80”): a film which thoroughly shows the protest’s development. His secret footages from the martial law were montaged into a film “My notes from the underground” (pl. “Moje zapiski z podziemia”). He also povided the original materials for “The City without a God” (pl. “Miasto bez Boga”) - an exceptional documentary film about the beginnings of Nowa Huta.
In ECS’s film notation Jacek Petrycki speaks about his creative work in the 1970s and 1980s. He describes the environment of Polish opposition, but also his personal experiences, relations, and views. He gives some insight into the rapprochement of Polish artists and intelligentsia who united in common goal.
Some parts of the film notation with Jacek Petrycki are presented on the permanent exhibition in the museum of the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk.
Polish professor of sociology, affiliated with the University of Warsaw. In 1960s as a young academic assistant she engaged in the dissident environment of Polish intelligentsia elite. She participated in secret gatherings, organised regularly by the biggest intellectual authorities of that time (e.g. Zygmunt Bauman, Leszek Kolakowski, Maria Ossowska, Tadeusz Kotarbinski). She took part in the 1968's protests of academics. Because of that she was fired from the University and imprisoned for seven months. For a long time her books were blocked from publishing in Poland, but she managed to publish them abroad. She was not able to return to Academia until 1981. She is still a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Warsaw and a big authority in public debates.In her Notation Jadwiga Staniszkis describes how she became the "Solidarity" advisor during the strikes in Gdansk Shipyard in August 1980. Her narrative shows how randomly the experts were invited by the opposition leaders. Staniszkis knew Tadeusz Mazowiecki from the meetings of the Catholic Intelligentsia Club (KIK - Klub Inteligencji Katolickiej), which regularly organised meetings of dissident nature. Through personal connections she was invited to come to Gdansk and advise the workers' union during their talks with the government. In the Notation Staniszkisz speaks about her motivations and hopes which prompt her to participate in those events. However, she is quite critical about the union's leaders, especially about their attitude towards intelligentsia (which in her opinion served as mediators between two sides of conflict, whose role was to deliver a balanced compromise). From today's perspective she is unhappy with the August 1980 results, which in her mind could have had much better, long-term outcomes for Poland. She states that if she was given a chance, now she would have done in quite differently.
The Film Notation with Jadwiga Staniszkis was a part of the project "Experts and Advisors. August 1980 Agreements" ("Eksperci i doradcy. Porozumienia sierpniowe 1980"), conducted by the European Solidarity Centre and Video Studio Gdansk in 2010.
It is estimated that the film archive of the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland consists of over 1500 archival units and includes videos made by civil and military departments of the State Security. The biggest part of the collection are the materials from different surveillance actions, including training materials for employees of state security. In the collection we can find:
- videos from manifestations in March 1968 and December 1970
– materials from invigilation of dissidents: Jan Józef Lipski, Jacek Kuroń, Adam Michnik, Leszek Kołakowski and organisations such as Workers' Defence Committee or "Solidarity"
- materials documenting foreigners in Poland - both diplomatic residents and representatives of foreign governments, official visits of Fidel Castro, Josip Broz Tito or Richard Nixon.
- Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland
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Milan Knížák is an artist associated with Fluxus and the organiser of the first Happenings in Czechoslovakia. Together with Jan Mach, Vít Mach, Sonia Švecová, Jan Trtílek, and Robert Wittmann, he founded the group Aktuální umění (Actual Art) in 1963, but the group removed the word “art” from its name in 1966 and was known as Aktual from then on. Aktual proclaimed a complete union of art and life, and it strove to awakening people’s awareness of life in art and art in life.
Liget Gallery invited Knížák to hold a solo show in 1987. The exhibition was thoroughly documented, because the gallerist knew that he would not have been able to hold a similar exhibition in Czechoslovakia. Novotny Miklós and Székelyhidi Sándor made photographs, as did Tibor Várnagy and István Halas, and György Durst made a video (the video unfortunately has been lost). Many local artists joined the action, and all participants were given a shirt for the occasion, and Knížák painted the shirts and the faces and hands of the participants.
The next day, Knížák showed his films in the Kassák Club. This was followed by a talk-show conversation between Knížák and art historian László Beke. At one point, someone ran into the room from the office with the news that Tamás Szentjóby, a well-known artist in exile, was on the phone. Knížák went to the office to take the call, and Szentjóby told him that “the greatest Czechoslovak artist has died today.” He was referring to Andy Warhol, whose death was in the news only one or two days later. Knížák had known Andy personally, so the rest of the evening became a personal commemoration.A couple of weeks later, the gallerist brought the materials from the exhibition to Knížák in Prague, with the exception of the shirts, which Knížák had asked him not to bring. The gallerist donated the shirts to Artpool, and the documentation remained in the Liget archive.
Samizdat magazines appeared in Bulgaria only at the end of the 1980s. Two important Bulgarian samizdat magazines were conceived together, their first issues were published at the same time: "Glas. Nezavisimo spisanie za literatura i publitsistika [Voice. Independent Magazine for Literature and Journalism]" with founder and editor-in-chief Vladimir Levchev and "Most. Almanah za eksperimentalna poezia [Bridge: Almanac for Experimental Poetry]" with founder and chief editor Edvin Sugarev. Both magazines were printed on typewriter and reproduced on xerox at no more than 100-200 copies. The first issue of "Glas [Voice]" was reproduced on documentary photo paper. The artist was Stefan Despodov, who created the covers by hand. The magazine was produced in the bathroom of Vladimir Levchev, which was turned into a photo laboratory.
Vladimir Levchev says: "In the autumn of 1988, the Club for Publicity and Democracy, then known as the Klub za glasnost i preustroystvo [Club for Glasnost and Reconstruction] was organized. At the end of December, enthusiastic about the new developments, Edvin and I spontaneously decided to start a Samizdat magazine. We acted very expeditious. Since then there were two accessible xerox machines in Sofia and they were under surveillance, and there were no computers at all, the 'samizdat' was, of course, a technically difficult task. On Edvin's idea, we bought two-sided photo paper, and using my bathroom for a lab, after a week's work, we produced around 100 counts of two independent magazines, Edvin's 'Most' and 'Bridge'. We photographed each page printed on a typewriter - it was like a hand paved street ... First we thought of making two issues of one magazine so that if we were arrested after the first issue, we would do a second one. But then we switched to two different magazines. After we prepared the issues, we distributed them to friends, famous 'dissidents', people with access to a copy machine at their office, who could made more copies. ... The first issues of the two magazines came out in January 1989.
In January 1989, with Blaga Dimitrova, I signed the letter in support of Petar Manolov and became a member of the Club [for publicity and democracy] and then of 'Ekoglasnost'. A little later, Deutsche Welle, the BBC and Radio Free Europe reported about the magazine, and in the autumn, during the Eko-Forum, Rumyana Uzunova also took an interview with me. I was released from the magazine I worked at at that time, “Narodna Kultura” ['People's Culture'] and fined 500 leva for issuing an unregistered magazine. They called me to the Bulgarian Book and Print Association [i.e. the censorship authority] and I was threatened that if I publish another issue, I will be fined 1,500 levs, and State Security will deal with my case and I will probably go to jail. I did, however, issue another issue - this was during a 'Ekoglasity' subscription […], an eco-forum. No one could even suspect that even on November 10, 1989 Zhivkov would resign. Until 10th of November 1989, I published four issues." (quoted after interview of V. Levchev, Rudnikova 2006)
In the first issue of the magazine "Glas [Voice]" the founder Vladimir Levchev - after the introduction ending with the words "It [Bulgaria] yearns for a little publicity, for democracy!" - statet the main objectives of the magazine as “to publish mainly literature, poetry, criticism and essays, which hardly can find a place on the pages of the official jurnals”, as well as of critical texts on ecological, economic and social problems, written by Bulgarian and foreign authors.
Both samizdat magazines cooperated with well-known Bulgarian intellectuals who published their critical views of the regime: the writer-dissidents Blaga Dimitrova, Radoy Ralin, Valeri Petrov, Binyo Ivanov, Dragomir Petrov; the emmigrants Tzvetan Todorov, Atanas Slavov, Tsvetan Marangozov and many other well-known authors parallel to young authors such as Rumen Leonidov, Anni Ilkov, Mirela Ivanova, Virginia Zaharieva, Elisaveta Musakova, Ilko Dimitrov, Hristo Stoyanov, Antoaneta Tzeneva, Boryana Katsarska and other; the critics Aleksandar Kyosev, Mihail Nedelchev, Alexander Yordanov; the philosophers Zhelyu Zhelev (the later president of the country), Ivan Krastev, Kalin Yanakiev and others.
After the fall of the communist regime, "Glas" and "Most" were legalized. Many independent journals appeared, even printing became expensive. The magazine "Glas" remained a literary magazine, the publishing of several issues was sponsored by the Open Society Foundation of George Soros. In 1994, Editor-in-Chief Vladimir Levchev left for the United States. For several years he kept the magazine on the Internet, and in Sofia Rumen Leonidov and Vladimir Trendafilov published several more issues. The last issue of the magazine "Glas" was num. 14/1994.
Today, "Glas" and "Most" magazines are bibliographic rarities. Thanks to the "Free Poetry Society", created in 1990 by Blaga Dimitrova, Vladimir Levchev, Edvin Sugarev and other writers, and re-organized in 2016, all issues of the two magazines are uploaded with free access to the website of their society, www.freepoetrysociety.com.
- Sofia, Bulgaria
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