Research Fellow Jesper Alvær (2013 — 2016)
Oslo National Academy of the Arts / Fine Art
Norwegian Artistic Research Programm

Interviews 1-10, transcripts, Stretching the Imagination

Warsaw Interview 1

I: So thanks a lot for taking your time for this extra session.
IV: No problem.
I: I think it’s quite important to our session, especially since you having been working on this possibility of making this work here to some more reflexive part of one of your case studies obviously it’s continuing. (4) And I will be following a special format of interviews which I’ve been trying out, which I think worked in some case quite well. And, and it’s very simple and so obviously produced in what it’s about in that sense because as you know I’ve been starting this project to look at the other works I did before has to do with the working processes, artistic working processes, non-artistic working processes, what is the difference, and what was interesting at this exhibition here, of course the topic of this particular exhibition. But it is also that the possibility to work through the public education department or the volunteers, that was our first point of the question. So I will have ten interviews with volunteers or temporary workers around the student. In your particular case, you changed category, is that you became employed here, so it’s not so important and not so dependent on these exact so how long you worked. It’s not so much an interview about you as a person, or it’s very much such but not as what you do and how you work and so on, it’s kind of secondary things but what’s interesting is that there is a group now of 10 people who somehow has taken part in some activities and that know part of it in this institutional context and so on. And the point of the project was this approaching the different, from the other side, the volunteers or the non-paid workers. So what I would… it sounds weird because it’s a big jump, what I would ask you is maybe more, it’s maybe more going into the certain kind of narrative and more about your feelings, and then it’s up to you to what degree you connected to the said experience…
IV: Sorry what experiences?
I: This participation in this work shop.
IV: Okay.
I: I think it’s not possible to ask about that directly and perhaps we can discuss it later on maybe. But this interview that I on, it’s just I’m asking you one question and then I’ll decide which are the more important as you produce in the narrative which is interesting. And in quite a lot of time I’ll just take notes so when you’ve finished, I’ll just ask some question and so on, so it works in different kinds of sessions.
IV: Okay.
I: So it also has this kind of narrative induced question. So (6) in your life, that’s the question, just a little transcript to say about it. So in your life, (2) we are sitting here based on the certain trajectory which is your life story.
IV: And yours.
I: And mine as well yeah. So I can only ask you about yours, and what’s interesting to exchange chairs, we can do that. But maybe it’s very probative and you will be the one directs the story. So if you’re ready to start.
IV: I am.
I: Tell me about it?
IV: About my life. (7) I’m not sure if I can come up with any answers that would not be cliché because I still don’t know what life is, and so on and so on, just like everyone. And it’s really confusing. But I think what I find interesting in my life is that I got interested in philosophy and critical theory which kind of changes my approach to how I perceive certain things, like for instance my subjectivity, my identity, what it means to live in a society and it’s really interesting but at the same time once you learn certain things, how your psychology works and how we tend to project upon the reality it might somehow sometimes get a bit difficult I suppose. But what I like about my life I have to be, if I have to be completely honest, is that through philosophy and critical theory I somehow was able to break through certain (2) problems. I believe that many people of my age have to deal with due to out capitalist situations so to speak. You have to fight for your place within society, and I believe that philosophy and critical theory enables you just to step out from the rat race and to look at it from a different perspective. And when I very often talk to people of my age who are not interested in these things. I believe I can see a difference in my kind of perception of reality compared to theirs. And then on the other hand when I meet people with kind of similar interests to mine, and I can also tell that they share you know, some similarities with me and so… (2) I don’t know what else I could say about my life I guess, that said, it’s very interesting how your thought patterns so to say, affect the way you perceive reality and, (4) that’s all I can say I suppose about my life. (laughs) (3) If I don’t want to go onto clichés but I don’t want to so yeah. (2) So yeah, I just want to sum up this part of the answer is that so far in my life, this philosophy and critical theory that dramatically changed my life, I guess. And I view them as one of the most important things that happened to me I guess. (27) Would you like me to say anything else?
I: Yes, if you’d like to add something?
IV: I don’t think there is anything else that I have at this point maybe later I’ll maybe come up with some new thoughts but for now I think it’s the most accurate description of my life as I see it. (8)
I: So, for me just if you want to test the scripture into a narrative maybe it would be closer to, give you the narrative…
IV: So you’d like me to tell the story of my life?
I: Tell the story otherwise I can’t move around with it.
IV: Okay, so if I had to put it into a story, I would start by saying that life at first is just a slide show of many different images and visual stimulants, and also other kind of stimulants which do make not really any sense and you just go through it somehow automatically without thinking, because you’re programmed to behave in a certain way to respond to certain stimulants and then you encounter interesting books that, that well basically they do not provide any answers, however, they give you some advice on how can you navigate yourself with the sea of all these chaotic images. And this is I think the best narrative I think I can come up with at the moment. So it’s like at first it’s like swimming in a very chaotic sea, and you just swim to survive, you don’t really know what’s happen and then you encounter certain people that effect your thinking. Then you encounter… well okay. So first of all you encounter people because it all stems from people. Then people give you certain books, and the books in turn affect your thinking even more perhaps. (5) So, erm, (5) so it was a chaotic journey at some point which through (thinking) certain circumstances to the point where you think you’re more able to navigate yourself more consciously perhaps. But I do believe that it requires a lot of luck to meet the right people, and I know for a fact that it doesn’t happen to everyone. So perceive myself to be quite a lucky person I guess. (23)
I: As I said earlier I’m not allowed…
IV: You’re not allowed to ask any questions.
I: So it’s a very challenging situation maybe for you but…
IV: So you stay silent all the time.
I: That’s the observe part of this. And then for maybe an hour…
IV: For an hour.
I: There’s no real, it can be this and then we can start session two, but it’s like second part.
IV: Okay, okay.
I: That’s why I need the narrative, so for example if you had asked me. I would start, I was born in this place and then I grew up here and then I met these people who were really important, blah, blah, blah. And then…
IV: Okay, okay, okay.
I: I’ll start now and then I’ll be back and I’ll jump back and forth…
IV: There are no rules?
I: Because you’re telling your own life experience.
IV: Okay. Okay.
I: Of course I’m asking this because we shared certain experience, described you and me in different ways I’m sure but so that will maybe very interesting to see what kind of connections, and what kind of problems, to analyse this compared with other interviews, how this is explained or narrated.
IV: Ah, okay.
I: I’m listening to it so I can listen to your voice, and listen how you view certain way of talking. Some people talk like funny stories, some people are used to talking about their self and have an established narrative, you can hear it very easily, because I don’t want to say too much…
IV: Okay.
I: Maybe sample, in this case to just give you a little bit more…
IV: Open space.
I: (?? 13.53) say what you’re looking for (?? 13.57) then somehow…
IV: Fits in.
I: Fits in and I didn’t go too much bullshit and want to deliver something you, or most people want to say something useful or they think, you know what you want you want to hear something which you think the person will think is interesting. Right, so every time you meet another person, the other person gives the circumstance…
IV: Usually it’s a form of exchange isn’t it.
I: Yes.
IV: And the circumstance I have to be…
I: So this is also exchange, I believe, but it just that we are causing different way of exchange so it has a different rule to make it allow to, to…
IV: Okay. Okay.
I: To move differently than answering question, answering question, all this stuff. So but you said lots of things so it’s possible to say okay that’s all I want.
IV: No I can carry on.
I: So maybe just start over again or just continue. So imagine I say, so tell me all about it, right. Tell me about it all, what’s your story? So tell me your story?
IV: Okay. So I do believe that my story hasn’t been written yet. So it’s an open concept I guess. And I still don’t know what my story is. (2) It’s still in the making, so it’s difficult to talk about it. (thinking) (4) So I do believe that you need to have certain concepts of what your story is in order to be able to go through it. And the concept of my story is, this is a tricky topic because I never really thought about it in these terms, but I suppose it might be interesting. So as I said you need a concept of what your story might be in order to live. So you have to have an image of yourself I guess. You have to visualise yourself in the future.
So, what I would like to do in the future or would like I like to be able to do in the future is to understand different languages, but not languages like English, Polish or whatever, but languages that co-exist, let’s say in the art world. I find it very interesting that every person I met within this institution or within the art world, so to speak, speaks totally different languages, and very often they are dramatically different. And I think this is one of the most interesting things I find in art.
And art for me is very important because one of the concepts of my story that I have of my story is that you need a passion, you know, to be able to live. So I decided, I’m not sure if it’s something you can decide upon, but I decided that it would be nice if my passion was art, whatever it means. So I wanted to be an artist, but I soon realised that within the art school, I suppose… oh… (3) I didn’t feel compelled to make art and I didn’t want to force myself to do art either. So I somehow gave up on doing art, so I had to find a different kind of passion, so I decided it would be interesting if my passion was art theory.
And what I found really interesting about art theory is that there is so many languages within it. And it’s really fascinating how everyone can speak totally different languages, and pretend to understand each other. Maybe they do understand each other, maybe the pretend, I don’t know. But so this is one of the interests I have at this very stage of my life, which greatly effects the direction I’m following because since I want to understand all these different languages, I want to go to an art school which deals with art theory and it’s also a very important chapter with my story which will probably will effect it (thinking) dramatically in the future. (4)
So yes I’m very much interested in languages, because the language is something that shape your perception of things. It shapes your own ontology and I guess it’s a really interesting question what art means to different people. And so it’s one of the questions I’m dealing with at the moment, What is Art? (7) And as I said this question might be the passion I mentioned earlier that kind of fuels, maybe not fuels, but that is the field for me to carry on. (5)
(speech becoming slower) And I also notice that once you start following your passion you encounter interesting people who kind of share your interest, you encounter interesting things, experiences, moments, stimulants, there are actually stimulating not boring, and (6) and this is the kind of force behind my story I suppose. The passion which at this very moment is I have the question What is Art, and how is it possible that there are so many languages within it. (10) Yeah.
And another kind of important part of my life, I suppose, is the question of making a living hood, because it’s very, very difficult nowadays to make a living in the culture industry, and my worry is that if I’m lucky enough to actually be able to survive in the culture industry, will I still have the interest to, to investigate it, or maybe I’ll go into the survival mode. So (4) this question is also a big question in my life. Of course, cannot answer it right now so I will have to wait and see what happens.
So if everything goes well in October, I will start my university course which is going to be MA. It’s going to take two years, its most going to be focused on art theory, contemporary art theory. And I think it would nice if I somehow managed to combine studying and working here in the Institution. It’s one of my big dreams, working here at the museum. Of course, I would have to be working part time as I am at the moment, but even if it’s part time I’m not sure if I will be able to combine it with full time studying but hopefully I will somehow manage to do it.
So this is also a big thing for me which makes me somehow stressed I guess. And why am I stressed? I am stressed because I will have to have the interview at the university in late June, so it’s far from now, a few weeks. And I’m somehow procrastinating and it’s very difficult for me to, to come up with a good plan for my presentation. I do have some ideas but they are vague for most part. And I’m stressed that I might not get accepted (laughs) although I do believe that I will, but you know we all fear certain things. So it’s still a possibility that I will not get accepted which makes me sometimes stressed as to whether I will still be working here. And the museum once I get accepted. So these are the big questions in my life. (thinking). At the very moment let’s say in this year perhaps, which somehow make me a little bit stressed.
And now since we are talking about stress I notice that I am being heavily affected, well I used to be heavily affected by stress, not so much now but a few months ago indeed. And I decided to do something about it so I started swimming and running, which is very weird because I have never ever done it before but I think it’s helping me (laughs), so hopefully I will be able to stick to it.
And if I have to say anything else about my life, is (6) is (thinking) time perception I suppose, because one could say probably it’s not true, but one could say that we only live in the present, in the present. So I find the idea of the past somehow interesting because the present keeps changing all the time but what’s happening to the past. And what I noticed is I’m in my 20s and I feel like there is no past behind me. That’s weird to say that so many memories are gone and (thinking) and I still have to be so heavily focused on the present moment and the difficulties I’m encountering at this point of my life, that my childhood sense, my memories of the childhood seem somehow, seem to be totally gone from, from my brain, which makes me feel like I’m (3) still new, so to say to this world.
And since I’m dealing with coping, and since with this Institution to say, I deal with so many interesting people who speak so many different languages, so we get back to the idea of language. Is that I, I can encounter new ways of thinking about life every single month, which makes it very difficult to actually stick to one perception of reality so to say. Which kind of results in a way that your life is kind of very unstable, also very stimulating and interesting, but it keeps changing all the time. And sometimes I feel jealous for people who, for example, believe in God or have very, very fixed imaginations of what life is and what the world consists of. Because I believe that they live in a more stable world. But mine for example, is very unstable. It’s very, very flexible to the point that somehow it is disturbing at times. Erm, (thinking) (5) I suppose that I am not the only person who have these kind of problems, and it’s something that I have to accept, perhaps since one has accepted that everything is fine. And so yes. And maybe it’s one of the reasons why I’m so interested in all the different languages I’m encountering because I want to have a grasp of them in order to introduce some stability to my life.
And yeah, that’s it I guess when it comes to my life. I do not really want to turn it into psychanalytical session or a therapy but yeah. What else could I say?
Oh, for instance your work, was also a totally different language to what I was used to. And it’s one of the reasons why it’s kind of difficult for me to comment on it because it’s one of a hundred languages encountered within the last year. And I still do not really have a fixed ground upon which I could evaluate what happens during your workshop. So (2) perhaps my problem is that I am so open to all the new things that I kind of neglect setting up my own (2) fixed perception of what art is, what life is. And (17).
So we can come back to the question of art ontology for example and I do feel like most of, well many of recent erm, meetings, lectures and including your workshop as well, were concerned with the question of the Institution. (3) So maybe it’s not as important what art is and it’s maybe not a question that deals with art, but it’s a question that deals with the Institution. And it’s also something I find really, really interesting, and it’s something I discovered not so long ago, once I got into this. So perhaps, or maybe earlier, I don’t know. Is that once you start to operate within an Institution it becomes the central point which is really, really interesting because it looks totally different from the outside. For example, people who go to galleries to the museum are not interested in the question of this, they try to find art and whatever it is. But here from this perspective on the other hand, it looks totally different. (9)
And so I find it quite interesting that your workshop also dealt with the questions, I suppose, that we’re dealing with the issue of the Institution. (3) So I’m just babbling at the moment but I just wanted to point out that it’s an interesting switch in perception that once you’re outside it, it’s about art, and once you get inside, so to say, it’s all about the Institution.
And it’s one of the topics I would like to address in my presentation, in my interview at the university as well. So (2) what is art, and for example there is the (thinking). And it’s an interesting question because there is a theory that art is being designated by the art world, the institutions, which I believe it is. But then you meet people, art students, for example, and many of whom are my friends. And they are never ever concerned with the question of the institution. They think that the institution does not exist and it’s all about art. So we get into the sphere of essentialism, one can say. And it’s something that interests me at the moment, how these two worlds kind of collide, it’s kind of very, very formal this world, essentialist world where art is art. This is the world of a personal side of the institution or a world of a person who is art student. And then there is another world which is a person who works within an institution. And then art ontology completely changes, it might even disappear. It usually does. And it’s interesting. It’s interesting to me because I’m surrounded by people who have totally two different ways of looking at things that are somehow important for me. And since I’m surrounded by these people and they are dear to me. It’s still one of the most interesting questions in my life I guess, whether I want it or not. But I do, because it’s an interesting question and it keeps me going.
But when it comes to your workshops since you dealt, since you applied the perhaps slightly different language then I was used to, (2) in your activities with us, at the volunteers and the educators, it’s very difficult for me to comment on it. And I am somehow afraid that I will disappoint you with my commentary because I am not sure I will have anything interesting to say. And it’s not because I didn’t care, it’s not because I didn’t like it, it’s just because the language you applied was, is still very difficult for me to grasp and to, to understand perhaps. And since the workshop ended, I have been busy with different things as well, including, including my, my interview, which I didn’t work much upon it anyway, but since I’ve been doing many different things, I’m not sure if… I, I didn’t really have a chance to, to think it through what happens with your workshop. But hopefully we’ll somehow manage to, to address this issue perhaps in another section of today’s interview. But as for this section, I’m not sure what else I could say. (22) Okay just let me think. (28)
And I’m thinking about your workshop by the way. (25) I kind of find it interesting that as an artist you, not necessarily you, but all the artists perhaps today are so dependant, dependant on projects. So very often all your activity, activities and interactions with other people are part of a project. And I do believe it somehow effects the way things go because it is a filter through which you interact with us. You perceive us and you think about us. And of course it’s not meant to be a criticism of you, I just talking about the system of how it works, and I’m trying to ask myself a question right now. I’m trying to find an answer to this question whether I felt as if I was a part of a project. And (4) And I think I did, but it wasn’t a big nuance but I, I feel that it was possible to perceive it this way because very often due to different language you applied, well I cannot speak for others, but I will speak for myself, that very often I felt, erm, somehow not sure what just happened and what was going to happen next. And normally I would just ask you what was going on, and we would have a conversation about it but just because of the fact that I knew somehow consciously and unconsciously perhaps that it was a project and it was a well-researched and well thought through structure, that I just let it go and went along with it. And it did affect the way I interacted with you, I interacted with other participants of the workshop and (9) and just because of the fact that it was a project, I feel that it might have felt somehow weird at some points, that this kind of, you know (thinking) I mean, you were very human, you were very nice, but somehow this kind of human touch gets lost when you work within the structures of the project, I guess. (5) But then of course we all knew from the very beginning that we would participate in a project, so I’m not complaining but since you wanted to perhaps observe how the educators or volunteers behave in certain situations, you of course, have to take into consideration that their responses have been dramatically changed due to the fact that we were all the parts of the ongoing project and we somehow experienced and felt it. Maybe a bit unconsciously I guess. So, the relations between people were somehow altered due to it. (14) And perhaps one of the mistakes I did, was that since I knew it was a project I was perhaps anticipating some of, (thinking) I don’t want to say results, but some sort of clear ending to it. And what I find interesting and I think it’s actually a positive thing and advantage, is that I don’t think there was one, which is really interesting, because this project, even though it was a project, I think I could say it was a very open one. (9) And also since, we talk and perhaps deal in a way with power relations between the institution and the volunteer, or an educator and so on and so on, perhaps it would be nice to take into consideration the power relation between your university and you as PhD students, right. So (5) how much this project was your sincere doing, so to say, and how much was it effected by the will to succeed as a student. And to show the commission or whoever’s going to evaluate you, what they expected. (20)
And what is also quite interesting is that every participant of your workshop had their own reasons to participate in your project, and perhaps it would also be a good idea, I don’t know, to think about it, what caused certain people to participate in it. (6) And if Kubrashada (? 44:31) is right perhaps the only reason, well not the only reason but one of the reasons to participate in the workshop was the will to be seen, by others within the context of the institution, which somehow shows how other people, well desperate is not the work but that they do want to somehow, well they do think about their future, that they want to secure their place perhaps within this museum in the future, and survive. Either working here or cooperating with this place. Perhaps many of them were students and they had to, so they joined, decided to join the workshop to participate in it, because they would gain some bonuses at the university for participating in it.
I’m just talking to myself of course, I’m speculating, and I’m speculating about these things because it’s all a part of the power relations and it is interesting what motivates people to do certain things. And the original idea was, I think the name of the workshop was Stretching Imagination. And I’m just wondering how many people just came here to stretch their imagination, or maybe it was just something else. As I said before part of the will to be seen, the will to secure a place here at the museum in the future, or, or survive the student networking, meet certain people in order to, to advance in their career. I don’t know it’s interesting. (4). And as for myself I’m trying to figure out my motivation. Well my motivation was, that I missed a deadline for my university, so I didn’t start my course last year, so I had a year off. And I didn’t know what to do with myself so I decided to, to learn more about the art world so to speak before I start my studies. And I decided to volunteer here at the museum and, and I did. And I believe that participating, participating in your workshop was not necessarily the will to stretch my imagination but perhaps to, to, to gain some more insight into how these things work, and when I joined, decided to join your workshop, I did not work at the museum here at the time. Well I did, as an educator, but the educators are not really the employees of the museums. They are like topic outside workers, so to say.
So I guess I wanted to have some more insight, and if you want me to be totally, completely honest, I believe that money was also a factor for many people, because it was some sort of misunderstanding, but Hania, when she was looking for people to participate in the project, she mentioned that we would get paid some sort of money, I don’t remember what it was. And I do believe that also kind of affected, not all people, and it wasn’t, I think that with all honesty I think I can say it didn’t make any difference to me. But it might have affected other people and they made up their minds to participate in the workshop due to the extra money that they would get paid. So perhaps it’s also something you will have to take into consideration. While writing, when writing your thesis. And how did this kind of promise affect their enthusiasm perhaps while performing of the activities, that the workshop consisted of.
So we started talking about my life and then we moved to, to the workshop. And it’s really funny because I had no idea what I would say but I think that this structure is working because when it’s only me it’s talking I keep coming up with new things, I can think about before. (thinking) So I believe, I just wanted to point out that it wasn’t as simple that you… it wasn’t that you were working with volunteers and educators, and you could actually interact with them without any outside filters.
So I think I just want to point that there were so many things involved in the whole process and so many power relations and perhaps desperate to be seen, desperate to get money. Some of them were interesting, bored, some of them wanted to use it as a leverage at their university. So there were so many things involved in it as well and that I don’t think it’s going to be an easy task to write a thesis about it, but I am sure you will manage to have plenty of time, and you’re smart enough to do it. And I would love to read your thesis, hopefully it will be possible, I don’t know. (74). I’m not sure what I can say anymore. (6). If you give me some time I will come up with something.
I: If you don’t have anything right now we can stop, we can take a short break, few minutes, and I’ll just look at the notes and prepare a few questions.
IV: Okay. Alright. So let’s have a break, five minutes, ten minutes.
I: It should just be a few minutes.
IV: A few minutes, I’ll just bring some water.
IV: Here’s some water for you.
I: Thanks a lot. So if I ask you four questions. (9) You said at some point that you need an image of yourself to life up to. So I’d like you to just if possible to say something more about this, this image?
IV: Yeah it’s a concept of yourself because your interactions with other people is heavily affected by who you think you are. So you need to create an image, your own identity I believe, an imagination of who you are, then you just play the role I suppose in the real world. (3) And you also kind of think what, how, other people perceive you and you very often, conscientiously or unconsciously fit the frame, it’s a simple thing I suppose. (3) And it’s also one of the most decisive factors (2) of your behaviour, and everyday life situations. (3) For example, if you think that you’re a true Pole, a true Polish person, a patriot then you tend to behave in a certain way, you tend to meet certain people instead of the others who you think are not true enough. (4) And then you start to believe in certain things that somehow fit your perception of who you are. (10) And I believe that everyone has an inner, a certain image, or a certain concept, but I believe that it’s the same thing of who they are. (4) And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you really are your concept but it’s something you can prescribe to, or it’s something that directs your way of life. (3). I’m sorry it was a very, very, very basic payment. Nothing special. (6)
I: I have another question. You said you wanted to be an artist but I gave up on it. I would like to ask if it’s possible to (2) in your experience, how this shift, or this act of giving up, if you can remember the situation you understood now, you do this, it means I’m giving up or any other area from your experience, you knew?
IV: So a moment of this shift in my life.
I: One example…
IV: Okay I can give you…
I: If it’s more precise if you understand that I’m giving up or I don’t know if this is one particular moment or incident, I would be curious to hear your example.
IV: Okay, it’s an interesting question. It’s an interesting question, just let me think about when the shift happened exactly. (34) Okay. So (5). In my art school (5). Okay so I suppose that we have to touch upon the question of art ontology because when I was a student, it was very visible to me that everyone had a totally different perception of what art is. And some people for example believed in free expression, that you can express yourself and they believed that other people would be interested in their free expression. So they tended to paint, where the others were not concerned with formalism or aesthetics. They viewed art as a political, as a production of certain politics. So they were more concerned with, one could say, to put in certain words, intellectual more theory based art. And, and I suppose that I was kind of overwhelmed with so many different ontologies perhaps a lack of non-clear ontology or perhaps of the lack of ontology whatsoever. That I became interested in the languages, I’d trained in languages before and this is exactly what I meant, that it’s really interesting to me that everyone operates, that everyone uses totally different languages. And I wanted to somehow understand why is it happening, so. And, and it was really interesting to me and I remember one thing in my art school, that we had a degree show, and everyone was putting their works on the walls, paintings, photographs, collages, whatever, whatever, whatever. And I framed my thesis, and I put my thesis on the wall. And I think it was one of the moments that somehow shifted my interest from being an artist to becoming more interested, more interested in how the languages work.
And (thinking) (18) And I also kind of think that Poland is a very particular situation, I’m not sure if it’s just me projecting upon Poland or maybe there is something about it, but we had very kind of (2) weird relation to let’s say Marxist theories, to use our history. And, and our contemporary politics which is basically based in criticism of the previous ideologist and so on and so on. And what I find interesting, interesting that in the west more (thinking) (2) more Marxist based art, for example, flows more freely than it does in Poland. And on the other hand, when you look at Eastern countries like Russia and I met a few young people from Russia. And even though (thinking) (3). And in Russia I suppose that art is far more radical as well as it is in Poland when it comes to this kind of ideological background, so to say. And, and I find myself that Poland is like this kind of island between these two different ways of thinking about art, and I do believe that so many young people, aspiring artists as well, like perhaps me a few years ago, even though they would like to kind of political art, because of all this kind of weird (thinking) low and weird (thinking) (3), I’m struggling to find the right description of it.
But (4) I guess what I wanted to say is that one of the reasons I gave up in doing art, is that I’m not interested in, in, in traditional art, formalist art as it being put, and as it is being taught in our fine art schools in Poland, for example most of the time. I’m not interested in it. And I’m not interested also in (5) in, art that is funny and art that is somehow cool. Because this art sometimes tends to do, they give up on their kind of formalism, formalist aspiration and they give up on their paintings and they go into kind of funny, smart video art and so on. And I’m not so interested much in it either.
What would somehow interest me is this kind of maybe political and critical art. But I notice that in Poland it’s not very popular. And it’s almost invisible in Polish art schools. And send you to this kind of weird situation I believe. That Poland perhaps indeed being an island, I, I just kind of (4) I didn’t feel like I wanted to adopt the art, to make art. Because even I wanted to, I wouldn’t know what to do in this kind of situation. But it’s most likely my projection but it doesn’t really matter whether it’s my projection or not, what matters is that I somehow decided to, to give up on it. And, and since as I said I, I feel I could tell the difference between how countries and certain people think about art, I became more interested in, in the different languages, I guess. And so I just wanted to know what is causing so many different perceptions of, of what is happening in the culture and what culture were and such things. And since I didn’t know what was causing these differences, I decided it would be nice to investigate it and, and it somehow felt to me far more interesting than the, doing art. Being an artist. (3) Yeah. (11)
I: One more, you said, you emphasised several times, that you follow your passions, what’s the force behind all that? Is it possible to, to describe how that’s related directly into this, explaining what your attraction was?
IV: I think I was, I did emphasise it but (thinking) but it’s very difficult for me to, to investigate, to, to tell when my interest and passions began. But I think it was, it might have been Nietzsche, it was Nietzsche perhaps. When I was reading Nietzsche many years ago. And the way he was describing life, that you need to find something, you need to find passion that makes you fire, that makes you behave like fire. That you keep changing all the time, that you’re discovering new things. And (thinking) And I remember that it was when I was reading Nietzsche many years ago, I remember it being one of the more vital moments in my life. When I felt really alive. And perhaps I still can remember, maybe there is some kind of unconscious mechanism going round as well but I think very fondly of that time.
So I’m still kind of trying to find some passion within myself all the time. And perhaps it’s one of the reasons why I keep kind of mentioning it, because I’m still looking for it. I’m still trying to find this vitality I had some time ago. But, so I suppose the question of passion is the question of vitality. And what makes people vital. I think it’s they pursue something. That they live to, to, to, for their passions I guess. And I believe it’s far more interesting than the begging for money, I guess. So the question of passion, is the question of vitality and feeling okay with yourself and life around you, I guess. And it’s, I just want to add, because at some point I also got interested in the psychological analysis and the way kind of psychoanalysis tries to grows. I find it very depressing and this is why I’m trying to encourage myself to learn about all these depressing things about life, but at the same time to counter it with vitality. And I think that passion is the best fuel for vitality.
I: You said childhood memories seem to be totally gone. And that you sense a newness to this world. Can you give an example of this?
IV: So now when I’m in my 20s for example, okay the best example I can think of is the relation between me and my parents. It’s completely changed over my time of growing up, which results in a way… which results in a way that you don’t really have a fixed idea of who your parents really are. Because you kind of realise that your previous perception of your parents does not match the current one. And so the state of the world in constant, in the state of constant flux for example. Your relationships with people, with your parents, how they grow up, you can see the difference, they’re not the same people they used to be 10 years ago. And just because of the fact that nothing is fixed, you always kind of feel new I believe. And the only way to fix the world, I guess, is to believe in absolutely faith, but if you don’t believe in such things, everything’s just flux. (4) I don’t believe that I have a soul. (6)
I: You said that you sometimes feel jealous of stable, simple, religious people because they have some faith?
IV: Yes exactly. (2)
I: Is it possible to describe more this sense of jealousy?
IV: (thinking) (6) Yes I think it’s, it’s, it might be the question of some kind of inner strength so to say. That ones that believe there are certain fixed things behind you that will support you in your journey through life, you feel more confident, you feel more secure and perhaps you are more, courageous to explore it, to play with it. But once you kind of realise that perhaps you’re just alone and everything is just in a complete state of flux, chaos perhaps, it’s, you have to find different means of navigating yourself. And it was something I was struggling with and of course I’m still struggling with it, so what I’m trying… So I’m still in search of a means for navigating myself, and as I said at the beginning, the best thing so far, I’ve found is I guess, (thinking) philosophy I suppose. But I also noticed that all these thinking and philosophy, and critical theory was not enough at certain points, when I experienced a lot of stress. When I, yeah.
So it wasn’t enough and I could actually bodily sense all this tension building up in me. And it’s not something you can deal with by just pure intellect, by just thinking. So I decided to do something about it and I decided to do some sport. Some running and swimming, and I think it’s very helpful as well. And perhaps you cannot only, you cannot fully navigate yourself through life just by pure intellect. Perhaps you also need to, to relieve this tension, this building tension by different means, by the means of moving, by different, by the means of (thinking) sport I guess. So my way of navigating myself and my attempt to find somehow, maybe not fixed points, because I know that fixed points do not exist right now, so it’s not that I’m looking for fixed points. I’m just jealous of people who do have fixed points, but perhaps the only way you can deal with the problem of no fixed points is to just keep going all the time and not stay in one place for too long. And I believe that sport is a very nice administration of this. Of this (thinking), of this way of thinking perhaps. That sport is, works like a drug in a way. You get tired, you just spent two hours or an hour running and you don’t have to think about the things you thought about an hour ago. It’s a really nice thing. So it’s just, you just do things that keep you moving on and perhaps sport and philosophy work as, and perhaps art as well might work as (thinking) painkillers, I don’t know. (9)
I: More questions. (9) You talked about the different languages, then you mentioned the workshop and it was a difficult language, difficult to grasp language.
IV: Hmmhmm.
I: So I guess that might be dead-end, if I ask about that? But I’m curious if it’s possible to remember a particular moment that the difficult appeared?
IV: I wouldn’t necessarily call it a difficulty but I do believe now when I look back at it. I was a passive subject. That I didn’t try to understand it, I didn’t try to, to fully participate in it. I was just prepared to do everything you wanted me to do in a way. And (thinking) I suppose there were many reasons behind it. One of the reasons was that I, I was very busy at the time and I was very stressed at the time. So I didn’t have mental capabilities to, to, to understand everything, I didn’t have the will, the inner strength to, to (thinking) to investigate (thinking) what we were doing. And why we were doing it. So I do believe that I was a passive agent for most of the part. (thinking) (3) and you did apply language I was not familiar with. (4) And I have to give you an example of this weird language. (48)
I suppose one of the reasons for, I said your language was (3), you tried to make it intuitive. And (2) I’m not a big fan of intuition at the moment, because I try to internalise everything, because I’m trying to understand everything and trying to put everything into the boxes. And since you applied a very kind of free flowing language of unusual correlations, tensions between certain things, I lost kind of the linguistic perception of what was going on. And when I lost the linguistic perception of what was going on, I become a passive agent. And so in other words, I couldn’t actually explain to myself using the language in my head what was going on. So I decided, it’s not like I decided, there were many factors involved in it as I mentioned the stress and so on, but I decided not to analyse it anymore and just become a passive agent. And so, there perhaps could be some advantages to not internalising everything, perhaps you didn’t want us to analyse everything, perhaps just wanted to observe, I didn’t know. No, okay. But you didn’t do anything okay. But (thinking) the fact that I gave up analysing and understanding things that didn’t mean that I became more intuitive, I don’t think I did. I still felt stressed because of a number of things and (2) I was just participating in a series of, to me, uncorrelated things. (2) And (thinking) (3) and (3) it’s not meant to be a criticism. It’s just the result of many things that were happening to me at the time I guess. (6) And I wonder what about how other people kind of participated in it, whether they were passive agents as well or maybe they were like proper subjects, fully expressing themselves and were kind of realising themselves within the context you provided. But perhaps just because of the fact that the context was still the project you didn’t work with subjects, you really worked with some passive agents, I don’t know something you’d have to ask other people about.
I: So, (17) so you said you’re not sure and let it go, you just followed through as passive agent because effect on how it felt, and you said it felt weir?
IV: It felt weird because it felt I couldn’t connect the dots, as I always try unfortunately, because I always try to turn things into its linguistic equivalent so to say. And I couldn’t make it here, which wouldn’t be a big deal I would actually be very happy to give up on this desire if I was proper subject but because of the fact that I felt as I said, was stressed, I didn’t have much time at the time. I don’t think I was a fully realised one, which did affect my participation in it. (2) But it still was (3) This is a very difficult part, because I wanted to say it still was interesting, but what does interesting actually mean. And that it somehow has to interest you but it’s my purpose of the interests you, why it interests you. And (thinking) (2) perhaps it was just interesting to observe how things develop when you just let it go. And (thinking) so that was nice. Perhaps I was just an observant who didn’t come to any conclusions yet.
I: We’re getting towards the end, I have a few more.
IV: No problem.
I: You said relations among people were altered due to what we’ve been talking about, how did that materialise or what do you mean by that?
IV: (3) What I meant by it is that people perhaps were trying to (thinking) Okay it’s not going to be a nice thing I’m going to say right now but people just basically wanted to create, maybe not to create but show up a certain concept of themselves. Obviously a very good one, just to show off so to say. And they were doing all they could, to, to support this concept and during the workshop to, to (3) to (5) I mean it’s a very good question as well, and a very, very difficult point, because I can’t really tell how much people’s behaviour was altered by, were altered by the things we mentioned. And I do not mean that people are insincere or dishonest either but yet they are. I’m just trying to talk about how the frame that you provided, and so the museum provided and not only the frame, but the frame that our culture industry perhaps provided and the prospects of future provided, how all these things kind of affect the way people behave, and (thinking) it’s very, very difficult for me to, to talk about it because obviously, I can only speak for myself. But my intuition is that (4) I can’t really put my finger on it, but I do think it had something to do with survival within the frame of the situation and that many people wanted to, to be seen, many people wanted to exist in this space and obviously, I cannot blame them because I then did the same thing. But (5) but not everyone, I know that certain people were just to have fun, to, to, to, to experience something new and interesting. So there were people I know for a fact who were somehow freed from these (thinking) these, predicaments but perhaps not so much the rest. And (4) I don’t know. (3).
I: I’m really interested in this and just to repeat it, this sitting is being recorded I don’t know if you (?? 01.33.54) or anything like that but it’s, what everything that’s said here is not being open to anyone. So that’s one thing. And it will never be kind of written up in a way which you’d not be able to accept it basically with commentary. But I think it’s very important for me to, or other people’s in terms of… if it’s possible to get some concrete examples, for example, one day I came and then a, b, c and then before I received this operation we’re talking about just temporary and I think it’s very interesting and you can just talk about this, it’s great, because then I can also pay more attention later on during the next stage. So this is the question is if I say to you blah, blah, blah, I’m just curious if you experienced for example, okay, here, this is a change of alteration of your relationships here, this frame of the…
IV: Okay.
I: Just be something totally simple, like the person never did this before, or never seen that side of that… I don’t know I’m just speculating. So I’d be curious just to, just if possible as an example, if not I’ve a few more questions.
IV: Okay. (5) No I don’t think I can give you (2) an example like a very, very clear example but (thinking) it was very interesting that Hania was participating in the workshop and was Hania is responsible for deciding who of the volunteers will become educator perhaps, who’s going to get some you know, more chances to participate in the future projects. And perhaps it kind of did affect how people behaved because they wanted to, to, to, to be seen by Hania, I guess. And some of the people that took part in the workshop were indeed were became educators later on, so it did kind of work that way. And it’s very difficult for me to say whether it was planned or somehow, they were counting on it. Or it happened but there is this kind of you know relations between participating in the work shop and what is going to happen to you after the workshop ends. And I do think that all of the participants were very kind of aware of this relationship between it too. And it did affect how things work. And (3) and yeah I believe that people are somehow becoming more and more looking for work in Poland that is very difficult to kind of survive in the world of the art and this is exactly what Kuber was writing as well this kind of desire to be seen, that you have to be seen all the time, in order to support yourself, and perhaps the same mechanism exists or existed to some degree during the workshop.
I: I recognise it from my institution as well that subject because it’s interesting I didn’t pay much attention to that, but it’s interesting, because in Chechnya and Norway, I’m used to this most, in the US a little bit, and then Japan a little bit, like in the duration, and spending some time, but especially I think in Poland compared to the other contexts I know, and have been working in. And I’ve been very different places, not only in Warsaw. I was quite surprised by the intensity of the volunteer in this, this survival (2) issues you’re talking about, it’s high pressure…
IV: And current.
I: … then it’s easier to have 60 volunteers in a big situation rather than maybe not even any in a Norwegian institution or Czech Institution. There’s not this tradition for it.
R: Pressure is enormous here. I can tell… I can just, my friends for example who… everyone basically deals with the culture, the dream of working here at the museum which makes me feel very uncomfortable because I was really surprised that I got a job here and I do believe that many people would do much better than I do here. And I could… and it is a big deal in Poland. It is a big deal. And, and I also remember talking about it with Monika and just after you left we had a different kind workshop, today’s workshop. It wasn’t really a workshop but it was a chance of participating in today’s event with some artists, and drink of the period when we are saying goodbye to a media building, it was like a week of events, the last week or events…
IV: (?? 01.39.30)
I: Yes, yes, yes. And there was an open call for volunteers. Well they weren’t really volunteers because they would get paid for it. But the money was just laughable, it was just completely pointless. And Monika doesn’t really care about the money, she just enjoys being here at the museum. She likes the people, so she signed up for it. And she actually volunteered. She didn’t get paid for it. But what was really interesting is that she had a chance to actually speak to the other people who signed up for this activity. And they all said that they didn’t do it for the money because it’s almost like nothing, they did it just to be there to be seen to have something you could put on your CV. So the pressure is absolutely enormous here. And not so long ago when the museum was looking for an editor, more than 200 people applied, applied for those jobs. So you can tell that the demand for, this kind of survival in the art world in Poland, within the culture industry, is, is just enormous. But what is really interesting is that it is so, and it isn’t so.
For example, the art school, I still have some friends in the art schools. And they still, they just think that artists are somehow special, that I have a gift, I can paint, look at my beautiful abstract paintings. I am sure that someone would appreciate my gift one day so I don’t have to worry about it. And there are so many people in the art school that they do not worry about anything. And at some point it clicks, after they crunch their way through real life, they are in a very, difficult situation, and this is where they’ve applied for volunteering for many different things, again. And I believe it was the same situation with me, again to this choice and I just knew that my situation was pretty much hopeless. Okay I didn’t. It wasn’t hopeless because I still have the prospect of being a student, I still have the MA ahead of me and some things can happen during MA. So it wasn’t like I was hopeless but I began to feel that, the tricky points are coming. And it’s basically the desire to be plucked into the network and this is why people come here. So it’s not a fun factor, oh I can work with people, I can give them a guided tour. I think it’s more to do with just the survival mode.
I: Yeah. Which you have done.
IV: Can I go to the toilet. I only be a second. Do you want some water?
I: Thank you.
IV: No worries.
I: You said you were anticipating a clear ending. It was an open one. I’m just curious what you mean by a clear ending in this?
IV: This is the conclusion I believe. This is what we’ve done and this is why we’ve done it, and this is the result of our activities. I was anticipating as well, maybe, sorry, anticipating is not the right word, was kind of expecting that it would happen but it didn’t, and it doesn’t bother me at all. Perhaps I enjoyed being a passive agent.
I: You said the motivation to take part in the workshop was promoted, or there was a promise to the effect, it’s actually a job (5). Do you want to say something about why that makes a difference? How as that here?
IV: I think I signed up before I heard about it, so it wasn’t a decisive factor in my case. But I was kind happy when I learned about it. But (4) I don’t remember how much Hania said it would be, 150 Euros or something like that. It’s a lot of money in Poland I guess, especially if you’re a student. (speaking slowly) So the prospect of a weekend a month didn’t seem like a struggle or anything like this. (thinking) And perhaps people thought it would be totally worth it to sign up for it in exchange for the money. But (thinking) I don’t think, I not trying to say that it was a decisive factor because I know for a fact it wasn’t. It’s, it’s not like people were bothered or anything, there was absolutely no discussion about the money afterwards. But when it comes up to signing up, I do believe that some people perhaps were counting on it and it might have affected their choice. I don’t know because I can’t speak for them. (3) But of course it wasn’t, a convenient role, you know some impact.
I: Great, I think that’s probably (?? 01.49.26). I think we were talking just about the fee. It should be announced because that was my proposal that these people may have weekend jobs, I don’t know your reasons and so you have a stable group for the trial and it’s like a fee, participation fee if you’re there every time, and it makes it possible to do it. Without maybe, because I’m curious if … it’s a funny situation that you pay volunteers not to be volunteers, to talk about volunteers.
IV: The concept, the concept of the volunteers falls anyway. There are no volunteers. You always get something in return, and this is why people volunteer.
I: So that’s interesting, especially (?? 01.50.22) articulations on the projector, up on the wall, I mean this kind of institutional, we find it extremely relevant and necessarily, and I think it’s good, like you say as well to mirror what I’m doing, that it’s my own institution, what I am trying to do, and talk about alterations
IV: So we are trying to fit in. (laughs)
I: Yeah, I’m using it for this work permit, (?? 01.50.58) back then, or using the resources. Of course it’s paid and it’s project money, and that’s what’s important with the fee, that others than take it from some bank, I have to work extra to use this money for something else. I think this is really, feels better or it feels good for me to be able to say, that’s the participation fee, that’s actually a job you are doing, and there’s something happening. Something more, if it’s, (?? 1:51:32) altruistic, then experience for them. I think it’s interesting, because you didn’t talk about it and Hania said let’s not do it, with the money. Let’s see how many are interested and then, then we didn’t it much more. Then I had to ask her in the end, so how is it. How so many (?? 01.51.57) it’s very rare that you have this continuity, and everybody’s there. It’s almost too good to be true, if you have this kind of… yeah, so I was a bit surprised.
IV: Sorry, so you were surprised.
I: I was surprised because I wasn’t sure if it’s announced formally or not.
IV: It wasn’t really a formal announcement it was just, it was just mentioned in the email you know at some point and that’s it. But (3) I remember that when Hania was looking for the volunteers to participate in it, it was a point of discussion, ah did you hear that you would get paid for it, oh gosh, wow, this is nice amount of money. So it might have been a factor.
I: Do you see any other alternative because I wasn’t sure exactly, I know that Hania took some of the responsibilities for what’s happening, for the education department and the volunteer aspects. And she said to me she was the first I got on this and she was very, very solid partner in this. But do you think it would be, you said it would be different if she wouldn’t be there somehow because she played a role in way that also come from recruitment section.
R: It would be totally different. I am sure it would be.
I: In what way do you think it would be different?
R: That we would kind of establish a different relationship and perhaps every participant would establish a totally different concept of themselves because the concept they began with was very much designed to perhaps please Hania and make them seem like good educators and people who she can count on. I do believe it played a role.
I: That’s interesting. The work shop in a way was formulated for the institution as a sort of an assessment process.
R: It was. I mean there was so many things happened in it really.
I: We got a good profile you can tell me this.
R: Yeah.
I: A really big wow for the candidates (laughs)
R: It’s funny about I think there is something to it that it might have been like this. Even I felt the pressure you know that I’m being judged by Hania, because I was an educator at the time. But I still felt the pressure of being judged and evaluated. So I do believe it played a role.
I: And if she wouldn’t be there.
R: We were perhaps more kind of, I mean Hania is a lovely person, I absolutely adore her, so it’s not really Hania’s fault but (thinking). It wasn’t Hania’s presence, it was the Institution’s presence and I think it’s important to make it clear that the very fact that there was a representative of the Institution, that somehow employs you, and that you are somehow being observed, it does affect your behaviour and the way you want to present yourself in front of the others. So definitely played a role in my, in my experience.
I: It’s interesting also that, also from me coming outside in to the Institution be that of say artists and to the expedition, you also have this institutional presence that she probably or I felt throughout the time that she would probably talk with the curators and they will have a certain kind of possibilities, to say, this doesn’t really make sense.
IV: Did you want Hania to participate in it or not?
I: I wanted.
IV: Did she want it, if you could choose, would you like Hania to participate it again?
I: Yeah, I think that maybe, I think because she’s, I like her.
IV: Yeah, she’s a great person, in terms of the…
I: I didn’t want to, and I don’t know the institution that well to make these kind of underlying element, vis a vis the …
IV: Too much.
I: Too much of a… and I think this kind of, if it’s good enough content-wise, maybe she also can benefit how she is, without, it can move both ways, but she also change her power position. She could control these kind of exercises, or these kind of, either principles of how things work. She also had to come out on the same level, let’s say, maybe not in the breaks, and maybe not before and after and organising it. There is, kind of that structure in the work itself, she cannot be observer and then look, how you had a chance to also stand out, do it herself.
IV: Plus, I totally agree with you and Hania of course participated and was equal with us but it doesn’t change the fact that behind Hania there was also the Institution.
I: Exactly, look because I felt it.
IV: Hania participated in the workshop, that’s the Institution, I don’t think so. It was just hanging over us all the time.
I: Yeah. And I didn’t like Kuber sometimes,
IV: Kuber wasn’t really that scary because he wasn’t you know representative of the institution, he was an outsider as well. So.
I: I think recognised it as well because he discussed it at the start and I think he’s just happy it wasn’t there, but still if we don’t tell people this is, it’s not worth the time for it. Even you know to push to be seen or any price, there were some people jumping off in the beginning, that’s interesting, that’s good. Maybe if you have something else that you’d like to say or is that…
IV: Yeah, I really enjoyed it and I absolutely do not regret that I took part in the workshop and it was a really nice experience. (3) So I suppose my sum up. It was really nice. And we also, I also had a chance to meet certain people closer which is always nice. (8) Yeah.
I: Okay.
IV: Would you like to say something as well?
I: Well I’m not sure because this interview is almost like out of the…
IV: Thesis type project.
I: No it’s part of the workshop.
IV: Yeah it is. Yeah.
I: Which I think it’s not right to say something or post a reflection. But no I think it’s been, I don’t know, I think it’s been quite interesting to hear and it’s really very rich this near reading of what’s going on. Maybe interesting to talk with, because of course I will take the material and I will collect from everyone something and I’ll listen to it a few times and make some kind of, maybe friends?
IV: In (?? 02.00.27)
I: Then I’m supposed to present something in November but I’ll try to pay attention that it will be interesting if you not immediately but maybe later to have access if you want of your interview, but at least to share what is being used and how it looks like.
IV: Yes, no problem.
I: What’s good direction and use of it.
R: No problem.

Warsaw interview 2

I: Great, so are you ready?
IV: Yes.
I: And (?? 0:05) in terms of just, we won’t be disturbed by this recorder. And so, as you know, I’m doing this kind of research on the people, on the biographies of the people who took part in this workshop, and maybe even without the workshop, it could be interesting to hear, what’s the stories of the people working here, especially from the Department of Education and the volunteers. That is the first point of departure. So now, I’m looking forward to hear, what is your story, like what’s your story of your life basically, and then you can start where you want, and you can include events or things which are important to you, and as I said, I will just sit here, but listening, and I’ll take a little bit notes, and then, when you’ve finished, I’ll ask some questions, and we’ll make a short break and continue.
IV: Okay, but should it be like, really about my life, or how I came here?
I: I think it’s more interesting for me to hear about your life, because you also bring your life when you come here, so I’m interested much more in your life story than what was exactly, because that’s part of your life story, so if you start, then sooner or later, I think that we will come to this, something close to why we are sitting here now, somehow that we are sitting here now because, we can start to unwrap it. So I would rather hear it, as far as you’re comfortable, but your story, and some people, I mean, that’s not, some people start with their grandparents, and then their parents, so it’s totally up to you, where you want to start, and how you want to tell it, but what is important is that I’m not interrupting. That’s kind of the principle, very simple, but also really strange sometimes.
IV: Okay, for how long should I talk?
I: It’s like, we have two hours, three hours, so please tell your story.
IV: Okay, so I was born in Szczecin (speaks slowly). This is in Poland, but it’s in the other part. It’s near the sea, the Baltic Sea, but I moved a lot throughout my life. First, I moved, I lived in different cities in Poland, because of my dad’s job. He’s working in a big company, and they move him, every like, two or three years. So, erm, basically that was my childhood, moving around a lot, and finally I came to Warsaw, so I feel from Warsaw, like, I didn’t live here constantly for a long time, but we … then, from Warsaw, we moved abroad. We lived in Latvia, and we lived in Romania, and we always had a house here, so for example, for a vacation and stuff, I came to Warsaw. So even though I didn’t live here, I kept, I had some contact with the city, so like, I’m not really from here, I’m from Szczecin, but, for example, I never go to Szczecin, so I don’t really feel from there. So yeah, if I would have to like, say where is my place in the world, it would be Warsaw.
Then again, I moved abroad, which was quite hard for me, because when I lived in, I was like about 14, 15, something like that, and here in Warsaw, I went to a German school, and I learned then English, and when I went abroad, I didn’t know (she sounds amused) any English, but I had to go to the American school, and also, because I moved a lot, like we had, my dad had this weird schedule, that I could never start my school year from the beginning, so I always came in the middle of the year, and then know the language, so that was always challenging.
So I … (5), yeah, okay, so then I went to Latvia, then I moved to Romania, and there I was supposed, like, to finish my high school, and I was supposed to, these were the plans, the big plans, I was supposed to go to college, to the state, like I already chose my college, and wrote the SATs, because the American system is different, so you have to have different exams, and then, in the last year of my high school, I got really sick (sounds sad/regretful), and I had to come back to Poland to get the medications, and I went to a hospital for like three months or something, so I had to like take the gap year, and like that kind of ruined my plans (sounds sad), and because I wasn’t, then after like three months, I went home, and I didn’t have to be in the hospital, but I didn’t want to go abroad, because I was kind of afraid that I will get sick again, and I will not have my family around and all the doctors and stuff, so I didn’t want to go to the state any more, so I decided to go to the University of Warsaw, but then, like it was a big, like, shift, and I didn’t know really what I want to study and anything. In the, mmm (thoughtfully), when I was thinking of going to the state, I was thinking more of like sciences and biology and all this stuff, but in the end, here I ended up more in the humanities. I study now art history and philosophy, more art history than philosophy. Philosophy is kind of my second subject.
(5) Yes, but after, actually after the first year of college, in Warsaw, in the, like in the spring, mmm, I started being, (hesitantly) being a little sick again, and I had this kind of, you know, like not a really big breakdown (ruefully), but like, I didn’t know if I wanted to study any more, and I said, I don’t like art history, and I dropped the studies, and I said, I’m just going to go to work, and after one month in the restaurant, I decided (ruefully), it’s not for me, so like, but I didn’t take my exams, so I had to start my college all over again, so really, I am two years behind. (6)
Yes, so, but then I went back to the University. I did again the first year, but first, I studied on the art history. After this year, I started both art history and philosophy, was just, I think, better, because I have this balance now, and only with art history, I got really bored, and now, it’s more balanced, it’s better for me. (4)
Yes, I’m studying now for like, five years, but I’m in the fourth year, doing the fourth year now, and last year, in the summer, I came here, because I saw this, yes, I think they sent me the newsletter from the Museum, and they sent me this info, that they are looking for volunteers, and that they are looking for volunteers for the exhibition of (?? 9:58). I was thinking, I will only work here for this specific exhibition, like … (4), and I saw an exhibition (?? 10:18), a few months before, in Gdansk, and I thought, that’s really interesting, so I got interested in that particular exhibition … (3), and I was not thinking of being here for a long time, but I’m co-operating with the Museum now, for one year already, almost.
I don’t know if it’s … right now, I don’t know if I really … (with emphasis), if it’s what I want to do, because like, I like the people here, I like the atmosphere here (enthusiastically), but I’m not that much interested in, like contemporary art, more like in the history of art, so right now, I’m thinking if I should say here, and work more with this institution, or maybe look for another place. (6)
Yes, and I was thinking of, when I came here, what was important for me was of course to, like to know, always the big part is, for a student studying art history, is gaining experience with art institutions. Also, to be honest, to have … so then I can write it in my cv, but also it was in the summer, and I was staying in Warsaw, because I was doing some other jobs for Zahanta (? 12:17), and I just wanted to do something fun with other people (with humour), not sitting along, but how, because most of my friends went somewhere … yeah, and it’s turned out right, because we had some workshops preparing that. We were in, like in a small group, with Hanya (? 12:49) from the Education Department, and with Agneshka, and (?? 12:53). We were preparing … (4) some guiding tours, but they were to be connected with workshops for adults, and they never did that before, so we were trying different options, and we were spending a lot of time on that, but it was really … we were really engaged in this project, so I really liked it (warmly).
So that’s basically how I came here. (9)
And then, yes, then came the other exhibitions that were, the free exhibitions that were here before they closed the building, and to be honest, they were completely … (4) not all the time interested in, so, but I was supposed, like, they asked me if I wanted to work with them? – and I agreed, because I wanted to stay connected to the institution somehow, so I really tried to, like I came to the different meetings, because I really tried to find something for me, that could speak to me in this free exhibition, because I believed that, even with stuff that is not really … mmm, that is not really the topic you are interested most at, you can always find something interesting, so that’s how I came to your workshop, because I felt it’s a little bit different from the other things that were more, er, maybe political sometimes, and I’m not interested so much in that. It’s really, I liked that you’re exploring the topic of imagination. I’m also a little bit interested in that. (5) So yes, basically I came to the workshop to find something for myself in this exhibition. (14)
You’re not going to ask additional questions now, so there are more? (laughs) (9)
Yeah, so for now, what I’m doing, I think, I don’t know if they like what I am doing here, so, because you know, now my situation here is not really stable, because I, mmm, I was working in the other building which closed? I was working with exhibitions which are no longer here, and I don’t really know what’s going to happen next. They ask me to come to this, when they are like, talking about the exhibitions which are going to take place in the future, and I come, and sometimes they contact me to help with something, like for example, now they were opening the small exhibition here, so they contacted me to come to the opening, to help them, but it was just for one evening, and I don’t know if they will want me to come here more, and work, or not. So I’m staying open to what they have to offer me, because I also, I have the last year of college, and next year I’m doing the last year, so I will have to write my thesis and everything, so I don’t want to start maybe, mmm, to work seriously yet, but after this year … so now I am basically just staying open (3), but yes, sometimes I think I should look for maybe an institution that is more focused on all their art, mmm (4), because that’s what I’m interested in now, but it’s also changing, because at high school, I was more interested in contemporary art, and in the beginning of my college, I felt that’s what I’m going to do, but as I learn more, I’m not that sure (hesitantly), mmm. (7)
And sometimes (keenly), I also think that it’s the problem of polished scholars, that they focus only on (4), on one topic, on one century, for example, but when I look now, mmm, at the scholars who work abroad, they often do all their stuff, like Renaissance art and modern stuff also, so maybe that’s something for me, so maybe I can just say here, but also do other stuff, for example, at the University maybe. It gives me a broader experience. (40)
Okay, (laughing) I really don’t know what to say next! (49) Okay, sorry for that silence.
I: No, don’t be sorry – it’s okay, it’s no problem. (7)
IV: I don’t know, because maybe I didn’t tell you enough about, like, my life story, like my biographical … I don’t know. I don’t think it’s very good, that interesting, and that much connected to why I’m here really. (4) You know, like, mmm, I treat my (hesitantly) … I don’t think it’s that much important, because I’m not really doing plans that much, like, I don’t know what’s going to happen, you know, like maybe … okay, at some time at my life, I had big plans, and they didn’t work, so, and when I make plans, something always happens, and I cannot realise them, and right now I’m just thinking, like, I just … (thoughtfully) (5), I don’t know, maybe, of course I’m thinking a little bit about the future, but in this kind of situation, I don’t have to worry so much about money, or anything really, so … (5) mmm, I just stay open, and it somehow happens that people ask me to do different stuff, and if I like it, I just agree, and when I don’t have time, or I don’t like it, I don’t do it, mmm. I think it gives me a lot of different experiences.
Also, I am doing that stuff, not always … (5) because it’s something that really interests me, but because the people who are offering it, I find interesting, which sometimes ends up weird, because I end up in these projects which are, which I wouldn’t normally do, but you know, because like, I like the people that are engaged in it. Somehow I move in the different directions … (4) but, mmm, I think they’re right, I mean, in the right place to do it, because I am a student, and I think I should look for more and more options, and maybe next year I should focus more on one thing. (65)
The other thing is, which it’s interesting about this place, is that there is a lot of movement in here now, and really interesting, where it’s going to go, when the new building is going to open … (3) and how it’s going to look, and I think, because of that, the structure of the Museum is really open, and they are open for new projects, like in the Education Department. When I worked at the different galleries here in Warsaw, they had their structure, and of course, I could say, I want to try something new maybe, but I was a new person there always, so, er … (6) I liked the situation here now, so, I’m trying to stay in contact, and come to the meetings here, because I just don’t want … (5) to be left out, because I think it’s a really interesting situation here now. (10) But also, I’m not connected to, you know, as I talk to you, like, I moved a lot, and I’m used to that, so even though I like Warsaw, I don’t have to stay here. Nothing keeps me here already, except for the college, which I’m going to end, so maybe I will move somewhere. (4) Mmm, (thoughtfully), that’s what I’m thinking now, that I can do it, because … as I talk to you, it’s always changing, because right now I don’t have a boyfriend. Nothing keeps me here, but maybe in a year I will want to stay here. You never know, really. (6) But actually, I would like to see how the, like, how a really big institution, like a really big museum works, so that would be also nice to go, er, I don’t know, to Germany or somewhere, to Berlin, to see how it works there.
Also, because my parents don’t live in Poland now, they live in Germany, they really want me to move to Germany, because they think it’s a better, they offer better working, they have better working options there. (10) But, on the other hand … (thoughtfully) (5) I also like being in Warsaw, because for the first time in my life, I am in a situation when I’m not very different. I speak the language. That is nice. (34)
Yeah, and I’m trying to think now about your workshop, why I really came to the workshop, okay, and the first reason was just as I thought, that I was looking for something for me in this new exhibition, which I wasn’t that much interested in.
The second thing was that I just liked Hanya (warmly), and she asked me if I wanted to join, but also, (3) mmm, okay, maybe I am thinking about my options for the future, and I think imagination plays a huge part in it, because you are really, you have to have the ability to imagine different perspectives, so that you can trust something, mmm, so I think it’s a really, the imaginary skills are something really really important that you should work on (4) and actually I think I’m not very good at it, because … (3) I always get really stressed about stuff, and always think about the small concrete tasks, and I’m always in a hurry, and sometimes it’s just difficult to take the time, and to have like a broader imaginary perspective, like people don’t, I think people don’t think about it, to imagine, you actually have to take the time, a lot of time.
That’s what I really liked in your workshop (enthusiastically), that we really took a lot of time, because if you go really fast, like we do in every day, like in everyday life, I don’t think that the images that we evolve, that we create, are really finished perspectives. They are just like fragments of perspectives, and, er … (4) so they are not that helpful. (40)
This is pretty interesting, that you are now asking me to talk about my past … (8) because actually I think, like I don’t like it that much. I like more, to think about the future, and to imagine stuff, than to concentrate on the past that much … (5) because … (thoughtfully) … er (5) I think that, in our culture, we emphasise our past experience too much, because of the whole psychoanalysis concepts. We say it’s really important, but … (3) it’s also that, when we think about the past, for some reason, like my observations are that, like people think more about their problems. Okay, also about the good experiences, but when they start to analyse, they think they have to think about their problems (sounds disappointed). I don’t know about their childhood and stuff, because it influences their personality that much, and I’m not sure if … of course, past influences mean, but the future, and the stuff I’m imagining, also influences me a lot, so I wouldn’t like to say that my past is … mmm, I don’t know if what happened to me is more important, that what I think can happen to me. (75)
Okay, but maybe I can give you some, if I have to talk anyway, I can give you some more, like, insight to my biography. What is, mmm …. what is also like, part of my experience, is that, what I’m thinking, like, the two things I’m thinking of now are, of working in an art institution, or staying at the University, but no-one from my family ever did this kind of stuff. No-one worked in culture, and no-one, I’m not from a very intellectual family, like my grandparents, they were more like physical workers. My grandpa was a sailor, and my grandma, she just never worked. I wouldn’t say they were lower class, because they had a lot of money, and now they are living quite high … (4) but they are not very educated, and my parents, they are quite well-educated actually, but it’s more formal, I think, than, it doesn’t really show in practice. I think … (4) they are more, the kind of people who, like they come to exhibitions, but I don’t think they are that much interested, and they read books, but … like, I don’t know. I have some friends who have this tradition of, like … (4) that you’ll just have to know some books, and my parents are more like, of course it’s good to read, you have to read and stuff, but in practice, when I look at them … they don’t do that much. (3)
So yes, so I also have a sister, but she’s much younger than me, twelve years younger (3), and we don’t, because now my parents are also living abroad, we don’t have that much contact. So in reference to, like, my family surroundings, I am doing something completely different than everyone ever did basically, which is interesting, and no-one says, it’s not like my family is saying, my family is really open. They never told me that it’s not practical, or that I should like choose a job which would give me money or something, but it’s just different. I don’t think they really get it. (15) But it also means that it’s really important for me to learn new people, like for example, when I work here, it’s important for me to like, meet people who are connected with art institutions, because I never before had the contact with anyone working in this field. (29) And sometimes, I just think … (5), like you know, in this workshop, I met the other girls who were saying that they’re really determined by this Polish … Polish, erm, stereotype of woman, and they never really felt about it, because it’s, I … I never felt like anyone is telling me I shouldn’t work. I don’t have this experience, that someone’s giving me this money. Like, in my surroundings, I always felt quite equal, but now, when I talk to them, and I looked at my family, it’s true that only men were working, and actually women are, and are not working. My mum is also not working, my grandma never worked. Maybe it is something that has some impact on me, because sometimes I do have the faults, that I should just maybe I shouldn’t study, and shouldn’t look for a job, but you know, like, have a family and do something that is not so ambitious. I’m good at artists, sewing and sometimes I think I should, something like that, but I don’t know if it’s because of the women’s stereotype in Poland, like as I told you, I didn’t live that much in Poland, but it made me think about it.
Actually, what is more of my problem with the volunteer work is that, as this course where I went, in American schools you always have to volunteer, like it’s just something, like every year you have to do some hours, like 100 hours or something on volunteer work, and it looks like a great concept, but actually I’m not that sure if it’s that great, because also in American schools basically we are kids who never had financial problems, and … I think it made me really used to working for no money. Also, right now, I don’t need any money, because my parents are giving me money, and for example, when I come here, I never expect them to pay me. Like, for now, I’m working here for one year already, and for some jobs they pay me, for some, they don’t, and I’m okay with that, but sometimes I think maybe I shouldn’t be. It’s really hard for me to see where is the border, when I should work for free, and when I shouldn’t, because it’s just, you know, using me.
So I think, I’m not that optimistic about, like, making children do voluntary work (disapprovingly). We’re just not that, when I talk to people, it’s not a very popular idea, because everyone is very optimistic about volunteering, and of course, it’s great. You get this experience of helping others. I did great stuff for school, for example. I worked, in Romania, I worked at the hospital with children who were sick with AIDS, and it was great. That’s something I would never do, if the school didn’t organise it, so of course, you can get great experience, but it can make you feel like your work is not really worth paying, and also, like for example in the art department, and then the sculpture department, they now tell us there are no jobs. I don’t know if that’s really true. I always have this feeling, because like, I can always find a job when I really like, need to. I don’t know if I could make enough money to live by my own, but I think that, if you work and you want to work, you can really find a job, but I constantly hear that I will not find a job, and it also makes me accept anything for really low wages, because I’m used to working for free, and there will be no paid job! (she laughs), so it’s better to have something than nothing. So this combination, yeah, you have to be careful about volunteering.
(48) Also, what keeps me here is that I really don’t want to be this kind of art historian that is not interested in contemporary art …. (7) because it’s really easy just to complain about contemporary art, and at every time in the past, when you read, like, really old, ancient texts, you always also read that they were disappointed about their art, and they liked the ones in the past better, so I, even though right now, I’m not that much interested in it, and when I come to exhibitions, honestly, it doesn’t move me that much! (sounds amused) I cannot do anything about it, I just like to go and see more than like contemporary art, but … I never want to like stop coming to contemporary exhibitions. I just feel it’s something I have to do, and stay open, and look for something positive, and it’s something that, something that I can connect to. (10) I don’t believe in the concept of “end of art”. I think that maybe it’s going to change, but it’s not going to end. Maybe it’s just going to be different. (21)
What was something that was interesting in the exhibition, that your workshop was part of, that they tried to, like discuss the topic, except for I didn’t really agree with the concept that artists are going to completely like diffuse in everyday practice, or is diffusing, or can like … I think that part of art can function in that way, but I think that art projects which are only models, because they talked about this scale one-to-one, and I think these kind of projects are great, fantastic, but they are not the only projects that are useful. I think sometimes you need a project, or an art piece, that is just a model, because it makes you think, it makes you also, like you know, you need the difference case. Like, they talked about the map that is the one-to-one scale, but sometimes you just need a map that is small, to get oriented, like a map that is one-to-one is not useful, if you are lost. So I think we all need both, like these architects, they presented, but also I don’t know if more traditional, but just … I think that we still need like painters and, like more traditional kind of artists, maybe. I can see why we have both. (20) But, okay, right now I’m not talking about my biography at all, any more, but I really, I am trying to think of something like, that could be interesting connecting to, like, this situation … (42)
Yeah, it’s interesting that also you are coming to plant, doing a project in a different city where you don’t live, like I was in this situation for a long time, but you didn’t really tell us so much about yourself, so I can’t really connect to that! (she chuckles) But it’s something completely, like what you are doing is very different from what I was doing when I lived abroad, because I was much younger, so I never connected to the people in the countries where I lived, and right now I’m very angry, and my parents did, they didn’t make me do that. I lived in this bubble, mmm, but I always lived close to the American School, and only socialised with the people from the American School, and even when we like, as I told you, we went to work in a hospital, it was organised by the School and co-operated by the school, so even when we met, like other people and contacted them, it was us and the others. We didn’t really, I never made an effort to really like talk to the people there, and to learn their culture. I never learned the language. I think that’s really special, that you are talking to us so much, like of course, you don’t come to live here, so it’s different, but you are working with like people from different cultures. That’s basically what I learnt from my travels. Now, if I move abroad, I will learn the language, and I will try to learn the culture, because it doesn’t make sense to stay separate. (89)
I: Perfect, the long silences, because when we listen to it later, it also … it’s easier to transcribe. (30)
IV: By the way, you said you were going to give me some, like, additional questions?
I: Yes. If you think you are finished, then maybe you are finished? I don’t know if you want to add something, I’m very happy to look at my notes.
IV: Yeah, maybe we can do that, because I think I’m done, like.
I: So you would like a short break? – ten minutes, and we’ll continue in a few minutes, like that?
IV: Okay. I will go get some coffee, can I do that?
(short break)
I: You said that you’ve worked on guided tours, with a workshop also for adults? – and you really liked it?
IV: Yeah.
I: Do you remember what in particular, that you liked?
IV: I liked that we really, because it was a long process, to prepare them. It was something completely new, because before, MSN tried separate guiding tours and workshops, but I don’t think workshops for adults. For adults, they had only guiding tours, I think, so we met, we actually met five times, I think, each time like three hours, and we were thinking of different exercises, and ways to communicate the information, but also like, to have discussions and maybe some exercises, and we tried it on ourselves. Then the exhibition opened, so we went there, and looked at ourselves, like we did, we actually did the exercises in our group, and see how they worked in space, and then evaluated on it. So, it was the first project that I was doing here at MSN, so it made me feel like, I’m not left on my own, working with other people. I also knew that, I’m going to do my guiding tour with the workshop, but other people are also going to the similar stuff, but on different themes. Each one had a different topic, like we chose it ourselves, and then we met again, like to share our experience, so I really like the process, because it wasn’t just that I had to prepare a guiding tour, and do it, and the end, but it actually, and I was doing it as a volunteer, so I really had a feeling that I’m doing something for other people, but it’s also right for me, so that was great. Seriously, I never had such a great experience at any other art institution, I think. Then, it also, like actually, I was supposed to do it twice. It only worked once for me, because one time, like one person only came, so I didn’t do it, but I already felt prepared for that. I wasn’t that much nervous, like in the beginning, I was a little bit, but then I just knew what to do, and even though it was completely new … and you know, because I was so well prepared for that, I don’t know if you know the photographs that Sophia did. She’s like photographing people? – and it is a project which is a little bit controversial, because there are just very many issues about it, and I think people can have really different opinions about it, and when I was prepared for this discussion and the exercises, I wasn’t stressed about it, and I could really listen to the people, so that was great. I think it was great for me, because I actually learned the opinions of others, and could really discuss with them the issues, but it was also good for them, because I wasn’t trying, like I think, I can say that I wasn’t trying to convince them what I think about the pictures, but actually discuss them.
I: So (?? 1:19:56)
IV: Yeah. (15)
I: Okay, I have a few more questions. (9) You said that this workshop we did felt a bit different, because it was more focused on imagination, which was attractive, because it was not so political. Do you have any comment on that?
IV: Of course, you can say that everything is political, and private is political (smilingly). What I meant is that like, I’m not really, like … I am not really interested in politics. I try to follow, but I can’t really get engaged in it. It’s just something that doesn’t interest me much, and I have learned to accept it, that it’s just this kind of person I am being. Maybe it’s because I never felt that, like my situation is in any way wrong or bad. I never felt that, it was there, nothing really. Nothing bad ever happened to me really, and I don’t have really much reasons to complain, and when I listen to the politics talking, and to the people who comment on that, and also when I’m looking at artworks that are like really engaged in politics, like also Polish artists do that, I don’t really feel connected, because I don’t feel I have so much problems, like, sometimes I understand what they are saying, and I don’t know, maybe it’s wrong. Maybe I should emphasise more something. (4)
So if you analyse your project deeper, of course you could say that like, there are many aspects of it that are like political, but they are not concrete, like you are not talking about concrete political parties, and stuff like that. That was what I mean. You are not trying to analyse their political situation, or (?? 1:23:33), whatever, so that was what I was interested in, because I’m not really interested in the concrete issues.
I: Great, I was just taking a note, breaking the form out a bit. It seems quite interesting, what (?? 1:23:56) … engaged.
I have a few more questions. You said that you are in, for the time being, staying open, to what (?? 1:24:15) for me, as soon as a standby position, which they could also use. I like the situation here now. I’d like to stay in contact, and I’m not wanting to be left out, so this kind of feeling, a question about, you called it staying open, so I’m curious, like, if you could tell an incident where you can say, this is an example of how I stayed open.
IV: Can you repeat once?
I: Like, what does it mean to stay open? Is it possible to give an example of your position as, let’s say an unpaid worker, that you stay open to be in touch, to come for this interview. I was curious, like about this mould of staying open. I mean, it’s obvious, fine, but I’m just curious if there’s some examples of how you stay open.
IV: Like, mmm …. (10), I try to let them know that I’m still interested, that I want them to contact me. So, for example, if they send me an invitation, if I’m interested, and if I have time, I come here, like to listen to some lectures and stuff, and even if I don’t, for example, don’t have time, I email them back, thank you for contacting me. I can’t, but keep in touch, and stuff, because I really want them to keep contacting me, so that’s what I’m trying to let them know. Sometimes I don’t do that, like simply I work with institutions with which I don’t want to work any more, so I just either stopped like sending emails and appearing there, or I just said, sorry, I don’t have time now, because I have to focus on my studies, and thank you. It was like, good working with you, but I don’t want to do it any more, but you know, what I meant by staying open was also that, I really need to stay open, like in the sense that, if it doesn’t work, if they are not happy with me working here, it’s also not something bad for me, because as I told you, I’m not sure if that’s really what I am interested in. I feel great here, but if it doesn’t work, it’s also okay, like I’m really open for different options also.
IV: Okay. (8) You said, you’re looking for something for me, something which speaks to you, so I’m just curious, how do you discover that a thing, or a topic is speaking to you?
I: Okay, that’s actually a great question, and I need to answer it, because I believe that contemporary, I was taking about art, right? – so I think that, with contemporary art, it’s often difficult, and you have to make an effort to understand it. I don’t think that it’s, I don’t believe that it’s just, that you are just going to come to it. Sometimes it happens, that something just speaks to you like that, but most of the time with contemporary art, I think that you have to read about it, and you have to learn about the projects, what they are really about, because they are not that visual, so when I was working here, and I came to that decision, and I was like, okay, maybe, but did that really move me? I still wanted to come to some other lectures and meetings, so we had, because I knew, it’s important for me, like, to actually listen to what the projects are about, because … (5) it’s often more intellectual. It’s not so much emotional, or like, I don’t know. I don’t really believe in that metaphysical connection with artwork, especially if the projects are not about, you know, like a metaphysical connection, like when you have a picture of Mark Rothko, it’s about a metaphysical connection with the painting, and that’s this kind of art, that it is. A social project, is not this kind of artwork. You have to read about it, understand what it’s about, and like, think of the issues it’s talking about, if it likes … if you can connect to the problems, and if it’s interesting for you. (10)
I: So you said, thinking, the imagination is important, concerning thinking of options for the future, to be able to know it in different perspectives, so you can have a choice, an enabled choice, and so your imaginary skills were important, but the time, you needed to take the time.
IV: Yeah.
I: So I’m just curious, if you remember taking the time, and thinking something, or imagining something to the end, just not the fragment, and if that’s the case, you have that experience, if you could say something about that? It doesn’t have to be that concrete, that you didn’t have a choice, but something, from experience, something close to your ideal, so from the imagination, or experience.
IV: Actually, now I have to correct myself, because I don’t think, with imagination, it’s always open, and you’ll never finish it. I took a lot of time imagining things, when I was in the hospital, I was there for like three months, and following my plans, for my future, and there was nothing to do there. I was just basically spending most of my time in bed, so yeah, like, the imagination was what kept me going on, because basically that was the only thing that I could do. The difficulty with imagination is that you have to make a different about fake fantasising, and imagining things that can be useful to you, because I think I spent a lot of time just fantasising, because I had to take a gap year, so I had, I knew I was going to come back home in February from the hospital, and I will have like a few months doing nothing basically, so I was like fantasising, okay, I can learn, like, I always wanted to do yoga, I will do yoga, but it was more on the fantasy level. I just, I had this like, image that it will be great, but it wasn’t really connected to like, I didn’t connect it really that much to like my personal … (7) I didn’t, it was, I think with a fantasy like that, it’s something that is separate from your other experiences, your other plans, and with like, all the imagination, that it’s really useful, you have to really like connect it. That means … (10), for example, in the case of yoga, I didn’t want, but you could like, make an option, and make it an option, by like really imagining, okay, I will go back home, and I will have a few months, but then I will have to go back to college, so I actually maybe want to do something, then go back to high school, so maybe, in that time, I would like to do something that will be like my goals, for my application for the college, you know, like … and then you’ll try later to build different imaginary scenarios, like, okay I can do yoga, which will make me relax, and okay, yoga is not a good example, but I don’t know, I can take a drawing class, because maybe then I want to apply for an art school, so that will be like, useful, but then I don’t want to draw for all the time, so I can also do yoga, okay, so that’s one option, but maybe I don’t want to. Maybe I’m not really good at that, so … (3) maybe another thing to do in these two months is to travel, because then I can see different paintings, and get this kind of experience, and then you can compare these imaginary scenarios, so that’s really connected to, it’s not a fantasy any more – it’s really connected to you and to your future, to your past, to where you are now.
I: Great. (25) You said, too much focus on the past, due to psychoanalysis across everything. It’s interesting, due to this focus on the negatives, negativity, because you’re looking back on the past, and then you said, because I was just thinking, maybe there’s no connection, but it’s interesting, what you said about the politics, because it’s all about the problems, and we were not affected by any problems, so we didn’t have a natural entry to be engaged, while again, about the psychoanalysis, you could do well, interesting analysis in that works, that you can look in what … analyse, it can also not necessarily be about the progress, which is where we’re focused, because of you, on what is working well.
IV: Yeah, but I don’t think we are … okay, finished, yeah.
I: No, the question, if you will put it opposite to politics, the argument to not being engaged in politics is that those problems doesn’t concern you, because I wasn’t touched by it. I have a job, and it’s about unemployment, or we have money, so I don’t need a job, and so on, right? Also there must be, I’m talking, an open question. I’m not saying you said this, but it’s interesting, if you are engaged in politics, because some things work, and you want to maintain that, so it’s more about harm reduction, is that you’re engaged to protect those few things that are working, for example, hospital care is still working. I don’t know if it’s privatised here, but it still works. If you get stick, you get a place in hospital, and it works due to politics as well, so I’m just curious, because you said, with this narrative, that looking about the past life, it could be more interesting to think about, like you said you didn’t mention it, to focus on the future, which is life which is not explored yet, but which is somehow also your life, right? There are too many questions, but I think it’s interesting, if you can psychoanalyse this, you can say, it’s not so good, well, the lessons are good, but the problems is over-focused. They should focus on what works, and if you look at politics, and say yeah, I’m not interested, because they just focus on problems, and they don’t concern me, because it’s not my problem. It needs some kind of discussion, this is maybe my projection, but there does seem to be a parallel between looking at, I don’t know, the sort of engagement in some kind of analysis. Either it’s more psychological, or more society, or social. Maybe it’s the wrong question. We can, I don’t know, if you see it as the same question, really.
IV: No. I don’t know if I understand it, but … so you are saying that, in both, like analysis and in politics, you can focus not on the past and problems, but more on future, right?
I: I think in both. I think also since the thing, with what you said about psychoanalysis, that much focus on the past due to, psychoanalysis concern. If you look at your life, if you analyse your life, and you look back, you often tend to look at problems, because psychoanalysis introduced is solving problems for tomorrow by looking at yesterday, something like that, while in politics, it’s a different topic, but in politics, you say there’s … the results, a little bit similar. You say you’re not interested, and not engaged? – but maybe it’s because it doesn’t involved you. You’re not touched by a political situation, because somehow you are protected so far, in your life. So it was just a question, if you argue that, in looking at the past, more focus should be on what works, but the apparatus of analysis can work well, also to see, okay, what worked well in the past? – and also in politics, it’s also, it’s my last point, that the reason you’re not touched by politics is because it works well, because you didn’t have to borrow money to go to hospital, because there is a social system. I don’t know if that’s your case, but that’s in fact my point, if it’s …
IV: Okay, I still don’t know, but I understand that. Yeah, with politics – okay (decisively) – I’m really not comfortable, just because I don’t think of my, like, position as really right, like, sometimes I feel I should be more engaged, but it just, I can’t do anything about that, that I’m not interested by it, and so like, when I think of reasons why not, I think that maybe because when I wanted to go to hospital, I did, it worked, and that’s my experience, but also like, my other thought was that … (4) you know, I think you have, like, each person has different circles, and I just don’t have the skills to get engaged in politics, and I don’t have this way of thinking. I studied in philosophy, and I have a lot of friends engaged in this kind of stuff, and I think it’s great. They are doing a great job, I can’t do it, so I’m trying to look for, like things that I can do, like for example, I’m quite good at seeing like ethical problems, about like issues. I can discuss those, like they can do projects for the future, and I can do something else, and we can co-operate. That’s how I can get, (?? 1:45:07) maybe, because I just kind of do stuff which doesn’t interest me. Of course, I can force myself too, but it doesn’t work. Maybe the right thing to do is not like trying to do something you are not able to, but trying to get engaged in different ways, and you know they co-operate.
With the psychoanalysis answer, I don’t really understand, like …
I: What I’m saying is, I thought it was interesting, that it’s not, that you had to answer it, but because you mentioned it, I just thought it was interesting to compare it.
IV: I don’t know. Right now, I don’t see the connection really, but maybe I will see it later.
I: Great, I’m nearly done. I have a few more, if that’s okay?
IV: Uhum.
I: You said, sometimes it’s hard to see the border, when you work for free or not to work for free? Do you remember some situation you’ve been in, where you’d like to consider this?
IV: Yeah, like, to be honest, constantly, like, okay Monday, I came here. I was supposed to help with the opening of the exhibition, and actually when they send me the email, they told me that they hoped they will be able to pay me, but they are not sure, and you know, like, what they offer me, anyway, I don’t care for the money. It doesn’t really make a difference, like for me. (Firmly) I know that I’m not going to feel it, like, that I’ve got the money or not, mmm. So then, if so, then I should like, just think, do I want to come here and help, or not? – but it’s not that easy, because I also think I have … but then I think, okay, I want to come, and I don’t care if they pay me, but maybe there are some other people who they will treat the same, and they do need the money, so it’s not fair really that they … so do I want to agree to this kind of arrangement of the situation? – even though it’s okay with me? You can’t really like … because I know that, if it happens to me, it will also happen to my friends who need money. So, yeah, I think it’s very common for this kind of situation to happen. (16)
And also, you know, like it’s … (4), okay, maybe it will just sound like, that I’m making a problem, that it’s not really a problem, and that maybe I’m just a spoilt kid who always had money, but mmm, it’s also, when you are a child of parents who have money and want to give you money, it’s really hard to feel the border. When is the time that you shouldn’t take money from your parents? I’m 25, and I am still studying, so even by law, they still have the obligation to give me money, until I’m 26, so it’s really hard for me to decide, okay – should I still take money from my parents, and do some voluntary work? Do I have the right to do that, or should I maybe work on my own, and get my own money? Is the money that they are giving me, my money or not, you know? It’s really hard to feel, the border is. Actually, it’s very challenging for me, because also like, I was discussing it once with my other friend, who was … I don’t remember exactly the situation, but it was about, because what I am doing, I am doing voluntary work. It’s a little bit different, because like, I’m doing something good, and maybe something that is useful to other people, but in voluntary work, you also get something for yourselves, like, get some skills, like for example, when I was preparing the workshops, the guiding tours, I got some skills, so I can tell my parents, okay, I’m doing voluntary work now, but then it’s going to be useful for my future, and stuff like that, but then, like, my friend, she was doing a project, and she wanted me to just give money for the project, for like some personal kits or whatever, and I told her, I can’t really do that, because, okay, I have the money, I can give the money, but it’s money that I didn’t get on my own. I didn’t work for that money – my parents worked for that. If I work at a job, and I will earn my own money, I can decide, like to give money to some foundation and stuff, but right now, I don’t feel in that situation, that I can do it, because I get it from other people, so … I think it’s a complex situation, and you actually have to make choices. What I wanted also to say is that voluntary work is great, but it’s not one-sided. (47)
I: You said that you heard people saying, you will find a job. There is this kind of, the whole, at least two things you mentioned is, that you will not find a job, and structurally, needs you to accept pretty low-paid jobs? – and there’s this balance between the free work you talked about, and also accepting your wages, but there’s some connections, which I think you already know actually, maybe (?? 1:53:53) about is, constant negotiation, that’s okay to do, or for you, systematically to agree. I don’t know if you want to add something about that? (6)
IV: No, I don’t think so. It’s just, what I wanted to acknowledge, you have to think that it’s not only about your situation, but also like, other students. (8)
I: I have two more questions. One is, you said, exhibitions doesn’t move me that much, so dismissing for you?
IV: In that particular exhibition, or … ?
I: I’m not sure exactly if you’re talking about this particular exhibition, but maybe in relation to contemporary art, but anyhow, as you were saying, art always has been contemporary. It’s always been a discussion about, past art is contemporary art, even if you move with the times, and now, contemporary art and historical, that you have to stay open, to connect, to stay connected. So I’m just curious, what’s missing for you, if you say that contemporary art or an exhibition, doesn’t move you that much?
IV: To be honest, I don’t know. I can’t, I’m thinking about it a lot, and it might be a bit … I don’t know if it’s … one thing is that, okay, I told you, when I was in high school, and the first year of college, I really liked contemporary art, not all of it. I never was into this, very critical art. In Poland, we have this kind of school, like of critical art, and like (?? 1:56:12). I don’t know if you know Polish art that much, but it’s about, very engaged, socially and politically, and I wasn’t into that, but for example, I really liked … like I really, I was interested in performance, and this art that … (6) concentrates on the topic of your body, and what you can do with your body, and not. So I used to be really interested in that, but now, I’m not, and what I am thinking is that I’m in that point of my life, and back then, I was much more … (5), I looked for art that was much more emotional, that I could connect to on an emotional level, and right now, I don’t know, I don’t think I’m looking for that. I really got into the historical way of thinking, and that’s something that interests me now. I think it will last for like two years, and then I will look for something else. I think I’m at a different point in my life now, like, that … I look for emotional connection more with people, not with like art, and in art, I’m just fascinated by this historical, boring stuff. I don’t know, maybe that’s something I want to do now. (10)
Yes, and it didn’t bother me back then, that art is not that much visual, that it’s more concept-based, but right now, I feel a little bit overloaded with like conceptual stuff, and I actually want, okay, I try, when I go to a gallery, I try to tell myself, okay, not everything is about visualising. Conceptual stuff can be great also, but somehow I don’t find it that interesting any more, but that’s what I want to say. I think it’s more about your attitude, or my attitude in this case, what I am looking for, not about the work itself, that it’s bad.
I: Okay. (17) It will be the last question. You said that you were angry to your parents, for creating kind of a protective bubble. You were moving around, and that now you realised that it doesn’t make sense to separate. So, that’s the question – if you have … (5) a particular incident that you sensed, this kind of real sense of separation, or something like that, or maybe not nonsense, but if it doesn’t make sense to separate, to stay separated, so it’s more about connecting. (6) So, maybe I’m going for, how you connect, but maybe you said it already, so I’m just curious about some anecdotes maybe. (8)
IV: I don’t know, because, okay, the thing is, I don’t, like, I tried, because I said I will try to connect, and if I was to move now, I would learn the language and try to learn the culture, but it’s not easy for me to connect. I’m this kind of person who easily stays separated, so also, that’s one, my parents did that, it was easy for me to accept, because I don’t have the tendency to go into the surrounding, so I don’t know if I have this experience. It’s more about like … (13), and then like, very small situations, like, when I don’t plan to do something, and you know, someone tells me, but okay, let’s do it, and if I finally agree, I don’t often agree to this kind of situation. I keep control, you know? – but if I finally agree, I realise that it doesn’t harm me, and actually I get experience, which I didn’t expect, nothing happened, and something fun happened. Let me think of an anecdote! (she chuckles)
(8) Okay, like, that’s actually what keeps coming to my mind (sounds amused). I don’t know if it’s really about this, what we are discussing right now, but somehow it feels it is. I have this kind of friend, at my university, who I have, like, there’s this girl. I have nothing, like, not very much in common with her, except we are both girls, and we studied art history, but she’s quite interested in completely different stuff. We have completely different taste. We come from completely different families, completely different experience. We seriously have nothing in common, and we had some classes together, and for some reason she keeps contacting me. I wouldn’t contact her, and we met, like a few times, after class – I really don’t want, no – why is she contacting me? – because, er, why she wants to stay in touch with me? Mmm … I wouldn’t think of contacting her. I don’t know how to put it. She just seems, to me she just seems very different, like from me, like not very, you know, like sometimes you meet these people who are different, and because of that, you feel connected to them, and it’s not this kind of situation, but she keeps asking if I want to like go to coffee and stuff, and I, at first I was, like, no, because why should we? – but she kept doing that, and I just accepted, and now we are meeting sometimes, and I don’t think, we are going to be really, like close friends, but somehow it’s started to be interesting. It’s a completely different relation that I have with other people, because with other people, like with my close friends, I have this kind of relation based on connection in some fields. Some things with some friends, I have a connection that is more based on my past, and they don’t know about things that other people don’t, and it’s really intimate. With other friends, I have this kind of connection that is more like, based on what we do in our lives, and what we do, with our things now, and with this person, it’s a completely different relation, and I’m totally not in control, but I just accept it. She comes to me, and I don’t know, somehow it just feels great, you know? (enthusiastically) It started to feel great, because at the beginning, it didn’t feel great. I was really confused, and I am still a bit confused. That’s the kind of, me coming and … I don’t know if it connects to what we were talking, but that’s the closest experience I can think of now. It’s experiencing something different, someone different. It’s important, I think, that it’s a person. (5) It gives me, I think it’s a relation based more on accepting the difference, than on projecting, because I seriously don’t project on her any of my expectations. I don’t expect anything from her, and it actually gives me, like I’m really surprised how much it gives me. For example, she’s travelling a lot, but she doesn’t have a lot of money, so this kind of travel, we have a completely different experience, and she likes to show me the pictures from her travels, and she’s actually showing me stuff I never came in touch with. I don’t know, yeah, it’s great. It’s started to be great, but it’s really weird. (Firmly) It’s just a small situation, but it’s not like, contacting a completely different culture, I understand, but it’s …
I: It’s also like a self-made, partly achieves maybe, that accepting is not a new, unwritten, it’s not, compared to this other example you had, like, pre-organised and pre-settled.
IV: The other experiences, I can rationalise, I can explain. This one I can’t, but it’s still great.
I: Great, that’s all for the present time. I don’t know if you want to say something more?
IV: No, no. I think I’m …
I: Finished, yeah? What time is it?
IV: It’s twenty-to-four.
I: So we have lots of time. So you want to go?
IV: No, because I don’t know, do you want to finish? Do you have to take three hours with a person?
I: No. So I will finish, and stop this.

Warsaw 3 interview

I: I’m doing basically the same interview with everyone and I’m trying to make it very simple and (7) and I basically, I will try to have only one question. What is difficult with this format or interview is that basically from this question, you talk and I will just listen, so I will not interrupt you.
IV: Maybe you should sometimes now. I mean if I don’t ..
I: And that is okay.
IV: I wonder if we shouldn’t close the window because sometimes the cars out there.
I: I think it could be interesting based on our workshop to – since we are individually, which is the first time we have this kind of part. I would be quite curious to hear about each biography, so a biography is basically a collection of real experiences over time and at a certain time we have shared some experiences during this workshop, which is maybe a very small part. So I’m curious if it’s possible and this is the suggestion that I will just ask you of your biography, which means your life story, so for a story and then you could choose where you want to start, what you feel like including and then when we move. I mean you could start with a future or you could.. so there’s no rules in terms of .. you could start with now or when, what happened before you came here or. So it’s a very open question which makes it a bit difficult, but it also makes it quite interesting, maybe and the reason I’m not interrupting is that you could just talk.
IV: People are talking for two hours.
I: Yes.
IV: I mean about the biography?
I: Yes.
IV: Because I can’t imagine that.
I: Imagine they are like 22 or 24 years old, so they are very shy, I noticed.
IV: Yes but if I choose my biography, I may choose, I don’t know, just one month ago, yes starting here so..
I: Starting from this morning, but what what is important is to try to catch a kind of narrative so that you are speaking, so it’s like that you speak here from yourself – ‘This morning I was waking up and it was already quite …’ I mean, it’s just my example ‘and there I was going there, then I was thinking about that …’ It’s very open, you choose the format and then I will listen until you feel okay, now it’s enough and then I will take some notes while you’re speaking. Then when you’ve finished your part, I will have some questions, which I think are based on what you’re saying and I would like to ask more about this particular part, something like that. So it’s quite, I mean it’s very open format but it’s also quite – I have quite an okay experience with that kind of narrative, articulation of live experience, entirely up to you, related talk about workshop if it’s interesting in your context.
IV: Well it’s hard to choose, okay. I may just talk about workshops, if I choose?
I: If you choose, you may. My question and I put it and as you know, I’m doing this workshop and I’m curious about the biography of the people participating in the workshop.
IV: But you have, you’re interested but you know, it depends how much people want to tell you, yes so some may just talk about today and you won’t know anything in fact.
I: This is a question of how comfortable you are to talk about something. I mean this is, every person has a different.. which is okay. I don’t have any concrete core and for me it’s also in a way just a part of the workshop as well, to have this totally different possibility to talk about something (7) and maybe it’s important to say that it’s not like any kind of job interview or..
IV: I understand that, yes.
I: I guess it’s part of .. cos some of the younger people, they I don’t know so it’s part of my research for my institution so it also puts me under the rules of ..
IV: I understand you. You are not interested in my professional CV or..
I: I also want you to just – that normally helps for listening to this, what you are saying so it’s more for me to understand. Maybe in one you can hear a certain pattern, if you compare the different people who have some experience in an institution or something like that. So what I want just to say is that nobody else will listen to this so you shouldn’t be afraid to say something wrong which might be.. So we can think that for the research it’s important that you feel open and protected in terms of speaking freely, not afraid of saying something which actually should be said. At the same time I’m not looking for. that particular, I think it’s important if it’s there, I think it’s interesting to, at least it’s important for me to say that it will not be used by anyone and if something is used from this interview, then I’ll make sure, I mean it will be first analysed in case it’s written up, something, and then it will be … it’s not a classical research, I’m not a sociologist. It’s maybe more to look for some time (?? 7:19) together, that’s what I’m maybe hoping for, in this case that there is some. and I listen to a few times this interview, there is something else specially to think about. If you start to talk and you don’t know what to say, it’s okay. Have a break and it’s no problem for – it’s just very good for the transcription, alright. So it’s not that you have to talk all the time. I think if.. and have time and it’s quite you from what, and it’s a bit weird if I don’t say because normally a conversation is not that long away. So that’s the format, and if something happens, then we can change it. I think that’s, it works only if I don’t interrupt – that’s the kind of first part and in the second part, I return to what you’re saying and ask if you normally can say anything more, or what did you mean about that so it’s very, very simple, but destruction makes it also a bit corny sometimes. There is no, I don’t know, there’s nothing which is not interesting and neither does it have to do with impressing you.
IV: I don’t know, what would impress you? What would I want to try to impress you?
I: For some people maybe it wants to be perceived as very reflective and have a finished experience to, so I don’t know..
IV: I won’t force myself then, okay. I just, I’m not sure where to start, what to talk about but maybe about the museum. In my life I will say yes and that some time again I discovered this museum here and I liked it very much. I came to see the exhibits and I decided to be around here. It was at the beginning of this year I suppose and well, I didn’t know how it worked here, meaning what is it to be around here with the museum. (3) I liked the idea and well, the idea they had here, how to manage this whole, the volunteers, the education and I like the people I met here and then I learnt about your workshop. At first I couldn’t participate in the first meeting because I had, it was, I don’t remember well what it was. I think when the vacation, when the holidays ended I went out of the city so I couldn’t come. I thought I won’t be participating because there was a whole group I think but somebody resigned so I could join and well, it was quite special just to (3). I had participated already in some kind of workshops but they were like more psychology call things, so therapy, this kind of thing about dealing with some problems etc. So I had an idea what it could be somehow, meaning a group of people nobody knows, well some of them knew themselves but usually you know these people from one place, yes. These are not your friends because if they are it doesn’t work well so what I learned before was to come with an open mind, meaning I didn’t know what to expect and just you know, I didn’t want to prepare myself for anything for that. And I was surprised, I remember, working with clay for some time but I have to say that all the activities involving doing things (3) individually, yes like working with clay or drawing, or painting, writing worked easier for me than the parts we were.. I had to like present myself (7). I don’t know what to say more. These days when we were working, as I said yes with clay, with paper, with poems, with words etc and it was harder when we started to like act, yes, these.. I don’t remember how it was called. We had to improvise some kind of conversation and then the imaginary world etc and it was harder for me really and at last I didn’t come, the last time, the last day of this I didn’t come because I was ill, I felt sick so I didn’t do it. I mean I didn’t participate, I was only a viewer of this and I couldn’t imagine myself, you know, talking for 20 minutes in front of the group and imagining things etc. I would do a lot of things writing but talking, talking and feeling everybody watching me, you know, concentrating on my words would be quite difficult for me. So maybe I felt sick because it was too hard for me, it was like my reaction (6). I have read once, it was Agatha Christie who said that everybody has some kind of artistic activities, you know, that she is writing her novels but someone is, well painting but, you know, or I don’t know how it’s called, not sewing but making stitches, how is it called? In the old times women were doing, yes you know like flowers and things on..
I: Embroidery.
IV: Right, she said that even embroidery is a weight (? 51:42) of an artistic act, let’s say so I like that so I like the idea that I could try to do something that would have some kind of meaning, you know (4). I think that the workshops were like, kind of an escape from the everyday life, yes, doing things like completely unexpected, yes. Well for you they had a meaning but for us, they were just you know like an adventure. We were just doing, we didn’t know where we were going, what we were doing, what’s the result and that was fun. (8) I don’t know what more to say. Maybe you could ask me questions or something (21).
I: Okay do you want to add something before I have some questions?
IV: No, no.
I: Okay so leave it just for a minutes, I’ll just.
IV: Okay.
I: (54). Okay, so I have a few questions. So you said that you decided to become a volunteer.
IV: Yes.
I: Maybe you could try to remember exactly the moment or how was that decision, was it spontaneous or was it?
IV: I have been thinking about that before, about you know being around here and it was partly because I have been thinking about gathering the kind of experience as a translator. Some translators do some, you know volunteering job for some kind of NGOs (? 19:21) just translating things, documents or something and so, it was, I had been thinking before like years even. I have a daughter, she’s fifteen now and she’s a volunteer for different kind of things, like we have each year the anniversary of the uprising in the ghetto and she is a volunteer. This was, this year she was the second time and she was, she does more things so I thought that if she can, I would like to try to, yes to engage because I think that is very interesting and in fact, I think that the volunteers get a lot, you know, learn a lot etc. So that partly was, well it was a decision that was like, you know, took some time for me and I remember I tried to get in touch with the Graphical Museum here also but they, well they didn’t respond etc. Then I learned they were looking here in the Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Art and as I said, I liked it very much, you know the shows, the exhibits and exhibitions etc. So I thought well, it’s like, it’s just for me and yes, it was I think quite spontaneous but it had quite a long background, you know. So it was half and half. (5).
I: You said I thought was interesting raising your daughter, that it’s an interesting to engage them, and that she’s learning a lot. Is there anything in particular which is, this engagement, like do you have some examples?
IV: Meaning what have I learned or?
I: You said it’s interesting to engage in quite a lot so I’m just curious if you could give some example of this engagement or learning.
IV: When we had the (?? 16:46) of the opening of the exhibition I was, you know, just as a part and I liked it very much, the Inca part of it and my head’s just, you know to give some information etc. It wasn’t a big job but still it was taking part in a big event, lots of people came here and I learnt a lot I think about maybe not modern art but about the way it works, you know, about the way the museum works, about the way. You know, modern art is quite difficult and I don’t have this clear idea what is art, what is not and how you establish something is art. I wanted to know more about that and I think that I have some ideas now, yes. It doesn’t mean.. I’m sure but sorry (phone rings with musical tone).
I: Just thinking about her.
IV: It’s my daughter, hallo! (13). Sorry, my daughter is in the Orange Warsaw Festival and as she’s fifteen, I’m not very, you know (laughs). I will have to be in touch with her.
I: Festival? What kind of festival did you say?
IV: Orange Warsaw Festival. It’s a musical festival and Orange, you know it’s the mobile phones company and they are organising a two-day festival of music in Warsaw and it’s Lana Del Rey who’s coming and lots of, you know, mostly young girls come because these are singers and groups that young girls like. So when I told her that I don’t feel very comfortable and sure, you know, she told me that 80% will be girls. I don’t have to be afraid for her (laughs). You know Lana Del Rey, well it’s an American singer who is quite, well she’s quite popular and she’s quite special. They say that she can’t really sing because everything she does is, you know is being made up in a digital way, that she’s not a very good singer but she has a concert about herself, you know. She had some surgical operation so she’s very, very pretty in a special way and her songs are very, like sad and young girls like her.
I: So, did you finish like the answer for this, the way of using words and we were engaged in that.
IV: Well, yes about the art, contemporary art, some new thoughts, some new knowledge I have (6). I would like to participate, to go on with my well, I didn’t – in fact I didn’t do much. I know that some of the volunteers were guiding, I haven’t been guiding. Some of them were participating in workshops with children, which I didn’t do as well so I would like to try that once because now I don’t know how it will work because now they have only this small part here. I don’t know if they have any guided visits here and I don’t know if you’ve seen, there is a park when they have the, how’s it called, the sculptures, park of sculptures.
I: No.
IV: No, so they have like an open space, Paduart Hammer (? 27:23) was creating, well created some of the works there, so maybe the.. Yes, that’s all.
I: So just to say on that, you said like you have some new thoughts and knowledge, like could you give an example of one of your thoughts like inside?
IV: (5). There was one of the exhibitions (7 – water being poured). One of the exhibitions was about the non-professional artists and that was very, very interesting for me, the other way of seeing part, meaning you know. I don’t know if you’ve seen that part of the exhibition, no – you haven’t visited? It was the ground floor.
I: Yes, I was (?? 28:30) actually.
IV: No, no. There was a man who, well his whole life was like an act of art. You know he was photographing himself, taking photographs of himself but he was changing his face, he was imitating people. He was like, you know growing hair and well, he was changing in a very, very strange way. You could see his features but still you could see who he was imitating and that was very, very well, sometimes there is, I suppose there is a big difference between the artist who is like renowned. You know, the critics of art are talking about them and they have, like studies and they have exhibitions etc but there is also a group of people who are just a part and the name of the exhibition was ‘Outsiders’. So Outsider, he had no studies, he was quite a simple man, this artist but still I think he was great. He is great, he is living and that’s interesting. Sometimes, I think that the artist who studied at the academy, who has a lot of knowledge about the history of art, about the world, about the ideas, you know, the theory of art, well are not that much appealing to me that he is, for example. That was some kind of well, new thing for me (5). Also the part of the exhibition, making news about the, well art making, having some impact on real life, yes on people etc that was new and interesting because I thought artists were people who are not interested in other people. So, it was new for me (laughs) that they want to have some kind of influence yes, or they have some ideas to make things better for example. That was, yes (7).
I: You said you liked the programme here, which is volunteers and education. Is there anything in particular you remember?
IV: Well yes, I like the meetings with the curators, we’re speaking about the exhibitions, yes, a lot of knowledge and a lot of passion as well and I learned about the artists, about the exhibition but as well about the way they were, the curators work and that was very interesting. I liked that the volunteers are people with different backgrounds but they are taken quite seriously, meaning we come and we have some kind of a lecture, and we feel that we are important. I like that very much, yes. And as well I like the idea that the volunteers are trained to be guides afterwards. I know a lot, well mainly the volunteers are students of art, of history of art so they have some more knowledge than the others but some of them are not and as well they may, you know be guiding (10).
I: A few more questions. You said that you preferred individual works and poems, the painting, clay and that it was easier to present myself. Do you remember any particular moments which could be some inciting for this shift of individual and not individual work, how you experienced it?
IV: Well, yes. Well, I remember that I was, I think I was painting, I was writing a poem and I was painting, and afterwards I had to somehow present it, yes and that was the hardest part. Not painting, painting was wonderful. Writing was wonderful but afterwards I had to stand in front of people presenting my work and say something, and it was quite, well hard you know. I think I felt like a bit maybe exposed with what I did. But maybe not about the work, yes because my work was okay but about the way I had to, I don’t remember what I had to read, I suppose and that was okay but I had to produce something, some noise or some reaction and that was, I think hard. As well I remember that we had part of the, well mainly of the activities was the aesthetic reaction which I wasn’t really sure what should be, I mean if I understood it well, you know. How, after some time well I had an idea what is it but still I had the impression that I cannot come with anything original. Maybe I’m introvert so the aesthetic reaction is like, you know showing your feelings which is not very easy, okay? (12).
I: You said the imaginary word, the imaginary part was also a bit harder, was difficult to act and that.. is it possible to tell me something more about this hesitation or this charge?
IV: I didn’t do it, yes. At last, I didn’t do it. Why was it hard, yes? (5) Well, in fact I don’t know if it would be hard if I started doing it. But I didn’t so it was kind of my expectation and imagination that it was hard, to be in front of people and be talking and talking, and talking. It’s not only talking, when it’s talking in English which is not my native language, it’s even harder because sometimes I don’t have the right words etc etc. Well, I suppose that’s kind of my personal problem that I have these like, I’m thinking too much about what other people are thinking about me, okay? So even if you say that nobody is judging or something in my head there is always some kind of judgement, what would they think if I say something for example, and I think it’s quite unconscious but you know, it’s something that is stopping me from saying things or doing things, and that was the hard part, just to start talking and yes, start talking. I don’t know what to say more but is it clear more or less?
I: Yes, because you said or you didn’t say exactly like this but you propose that maybe your absence is a psychosomatic reaction.
IV: Maybe, it could be, yes (laughs).
|: Yes, I don’t know if that’s something good to talk more about, you want to add something about that? I think it’s very interesting because it’s very important to, reading something you think is very easy to be really a big challenge for some people and I think it’s very good that you’re saying it because I’m maybe a little bit surprised, but I know it myself also. I haven’t seen (?? 40:21), I feel there is, and I’ve found ways to break it. I know how hard it can be even if it’s, could be a different you know if it’s actually in a workshop, that ordinary kind of performance and aspects of …
IV: Yes because it’s a kind of performance like being an actor or you know, singer or it’s always .. I think that an actor is very conscious that people are watching and they will have some kind of reaction etc but maybe some just don’t care and this is the best thing probably, but some do care I suppose. But they know how to cope with that and I don’t have these, well experience with that because I haven’t been doing any acting, only when I was at school but it was a long time ago. So it’s, yes difficult to break this (8).
I: You said everyone, you quoted one actor saying that everyone has an artistic activity (5). What’s the name, who was that again?
IV: The writer, it was Agatha Christie, the crime stories. When I was younger, I was a teenager, I started to read her books and I liked them very much. I read a lot. She wrote about 80 novels and afterwards I read her autobiography and it was there she said that (28).
I: You said something about to do something with me.
IV: Maybe, I don’t remember that (laughs), I don’t remember that part but yes.
I: In terms of artistic activity.
IV: (6) I don’t remember that part (7).
I: It had something to do with embroidery, it was different, it was connected to different types of artistic activity and then maybe connected to if you were doing painting or clay or that also it’s possible to do something which has meaning or meaningful.
IV: (11) No, I don’t remember (phone rings). I thought I had it off but I haven’t. I don’t remember. Was it connected with the embroidery? No.
I: Maybe it was just a …
IV: No, no (7).
I: It’s not so important if you don’t remember, question because you said some people this workshop was an escape from everyday life and what did you mean?
IV: I think, I suppose more or less for everybody in the group because usually we don’t have (4).. it was children for example, going to school, they have some kind of artistic activities. They have some art classes etc and some of them don’t like it, my son for example, he doesn’t and I was quite surprised because I tried to make him see that it’s fun, it’s interesting and it’s good for him as well. I think that grownup people, well sometimes they, I don’t know, they do some embroidery etc but that’s not very, that’s something that is very conventional, yes that’s not very, how to say, it’s like it has, it has some name like craft or something like that, it’s not very, it’s doesn’t have this extra meaning. Just it’s nice when you have it done etc, it’s something you do with your hands and then you don’t think about it, it’s relaxing etc. But here it was something that we were doing, some things that we wouldn’t be doing in our lives. We wouldn’t rather buy clay and just, you know take some time to work with it. You had to come and to make us doing, do this because I don’t think that neither of us would think about it. I don’t know if any of the, any person in this group was, maybe someone was studying hard, maybe someone has the opportunity to do this but I don’t think that they do. And as well with painting, I haven’t been painting for I don’t know how many years. That’s the kind of activity you do when you are a child at school or a teenager and afterwards you just don’t.. if you are not an artist, you just don’t do it so it was this kind of, you know like being someone else or being a younger self or being someone else, being an artist, being someone who is allowed to do these things and nobody would ask, ‘why are you doing this. Are you a kid or something, just playing with..’ so that was an escape.
I: And in the same part of what you said, you said that it was completely unexpected what was happening.
IV: Yes, because at first working with clay but with eyes closed and without knowing what I was exactly doing etc, so I didn’t know, I didn’t expect anything, yes? But as well when I started doing this it was unexpected and afterwards each activity was a different one. It was sometimes connected with the previous, sometimes it wasn’t but well, it wasn’t like you know clay classes all over, just painting all over. It was different kinds of activity so it was unexpected, yes. We had like clay, paint, writing and acting and afterwards we went back to the clay but doing it in pairs and so it was unexpected.
I: (10) So this unexpectedness, because you said in the same way that it was like an adventure.
IV: Right.
I: So you say something more about that?
IV: About adventures. About adventures? Yes but this is about an adventure that you are doing things that you don’ expect. Some things happen to you and some of them are fun, some of them are hard but you’re getting engaged in what you are doing, so that’s an adventure I think. It’s like, I don’t know, being close to somewhere and finding the way and meeting new people etc, and that kind of adventure, yes.
I: (4) Great, I don’t know if you want to add something?
IV: (12) If you have no questions left.
I: Maybe I can try to ask you some questions which are related to the previous people to see if you have a memory..
IV: Okay.
I: Plan it like that to see if we have any good times, keep it interesting (9). Cos maybe since you are here a very short time, it’s different if you are here a long time and deducing for example that due to the nature of this workshop that the relations between people who are normally here change it somehow.
IV: But between, in the group? Yes, I think yes, we got to know each other but yes. And I think that we felt quite well, quite safe, yes after these days together doing different things and feeling that we had some kind of (6) safety in what we are doing, talking, no you know criticising, no bad feelings (11). I don’t know what more could I say.
I: Some people say that it’s a constant negotiation, the fact of being connected as we weren’t here, that if you want to keep this relationship you have to have the balance of when you say yes to do things and then when you say no, and also that connected to when you get paid for it and then you don’t paid, it’s normally a kind of facet of this relationship. Is this something you recognise or is it something not true?
IV: I don’t know if I understand this.
I: Maybe I can, for some people maybe you feel a sense of duty to participate because they won’t like to maybe get a job or get more responsibility for it so there’s push pull and they should work for free or maybe they should work for money. So it’s more a question about the..
IV: But in the workshops as well, yes?
I: Yes could be in the workshop.
IV: It’s like presenting themselves all the time, playing about that they are just so much into art or are so creative etc. It might be, yes. I didn’t, you know, one of my friends told me that I’m a person who is judging all the time so I tried not to judge, I mean just observe and not to say that ‘oh that one, he’s trying so hard because he wants to get a job’ or no. I didn’t have that kind of observation, maybe because I didn’t have any expectations. I didn’t come to have some kind of professional profits so if I didn’t, I didn’t suspect anyone would but that’s possible of course, yes because some of them are somehow engaged in the museum and of course some of them want to be more engaged, be working etc etc. I know that Hanna, she is working and I think she was engaged because that’s her nature, that’s her personality. She’s engaging in many, many things very much and maybe too much sometimes because I think she was very tired sometimes because she’s doing everything, but that was very positive. I mean I like her very much and I admire her eagerness and some of them, well yes. I think that some younger people have this need to present themselves even if they don’t look for some kind of profit but still they want to present themselves that ‘oh, I’m so fun, I’m so interesting, I’m an artist or I am so..’ I don’t know what and well, they’re younger than I am so I just feel like, okay I can watch you and fine. I wasn’t judging, I wasn’t judging (3) but I think that even if some of them they were doing it because they had some other motivations but still, I think they had a lot of interesting things to say and it was good for the other ones because it was interesting and the interaction was lively etc, so I don’t care what was their motivations really, because it worked well (34).
I: Yes, I think we talked about lots of things (16). I don’t have any particular questions, I think.
IV: Were they talking about the biography meaning or were they talking about their lives like I was born etcetera?
I: The other two before?
IV: Yes.
I: Maybe just it was more connected to studies and then how this is relating. Maybe there’s a way of talking a little bit about their, not childhood, but about their experience, in the younger part of their life, and how it influenced the studies and it’s one step behind. They probably will stop and say ‘yeah, well my grandparents, were born in Vienna. My mother was born, this place, and I was born, so it’s some kind of, well, I think they started to talk when they were quite young, so maybe they didn’t have this so many times, it was a bit strange maybe to talk about their biography, as a kind of narrative, and I don’t know whether, in your case maybe, it’s not so visible to see why should be interesting to talk about things which are not connected to the museum and workshop, and I don’t know if that’s a good approach because if you, if you ask people, so how is their workshop or how is … maybe that will be more, it’s a very small part and it’s somehow based on concrete experiences, but maybe a bit more interesting is how, well if you get into a certain kind of live experience, how it’s articulated in relation maybe to, I don’t know.
IV: What kind of experience?
I: Could be anything, I don’t know. Could be, we are sitting here now. I have a certain background and there is some reason why and you have an equivalent and we need to come back a few times during this workshop, so I’m just curious about how these, that sharing experience, how that fits into a narrative.
IV: And what kind of background you are interested in, like I don’t know, where have I lived or that kind of thing, for example? Meaning if I have travelled or if I have..
I: Could be, could be if you moved a lot when you were a child and you never had time to participate in any group like this. It was all the time that you were.. I don’t know, everything was arranged for you. I don’t know, it could be anything.
IV: Are interesting in what way?
I: I don’t know exactly but I think the fact of putting your live experience in a, then this happened and then that happened in itself has a certain logic which I think a lot of the exercises we’ve been doing is breaking this logic. It doesn’t fit this same image.
IV: But would you like, I don’t know, me to talk about my childhood, for example? (she laughs) Yes, I might if it has a meaning for you, I might.
I: I don’t know if it has a meaning, now to request something missing and maybe you should, because it’s not, like you said, it’s not like really a therapy group, it’s different and it’s not really, well we’ll say something else. But I think that’s a good example. It’s not like a therapist or psychologist or psychiatrist, so maybe then it will be important to work on something concrete which brings us together. And I think this is something concrete in a way that brings us together but it’s like two different formats, it’s not to articulate an issue which we had to overcome. In a way, in an extended way it is a bit similar. But we had some experience around our art, about art institutions, about producing art, about this everybody has a need, is good, is creative and believe in a society which we had to negotiate that activity and this is maybe interesting when you get to a life experience because in the articulation of an experience there is also becomes visible a certain type of subjectivity, which is very similar to a kind of perfect way that it’s not really that you are integrating in that sense like you and of your generation. In general it’s interesting to see for example how younger people are really fighting to survive because they need to think about what’s coming next in their lives, so it’s a very different pressure and you feel like you have a job, you have your education, you have a certain set routine or you’re doing this to stimulate part of your adult life, I don’t know.
IV: Well, in fact I don’t have a real stability but well, I have probably a different, how you say, approach, yes. Simply because I don’t expect myself to do a big career or something and maybe they are just at the beginning, so they want to do it and do it fast, yes, and be a curator or somebody and then, yes they feel a pressure maybe, right.
I: Or if you are an art historian maybe you feel that you will never get a job in the institution unless you keep yourself updated, or whether you participate, you produce a CV to make chances so in a way, it’s self-motivation.
IV: But you wanted people, people, what did you want? The people in your workshop, did you want them to be somehow connected to the art world, or not at all? What was your expectation or no expectations?
I: No, I was asking people, because I worked in different placed in Poland, I was surprised how strong is this volunteer, of business, but that’s a kind of different than Czech (? 1:07:13) place to study and I thought this is very, it could be an interesting prospect for my work because sometimes I work with the groups and delegation and I also, the topic of my work has to do with different sense of motivation for doing, entering a certain kind of artistic process or what you can do for money and what you don’t do for money, what is producing meaning, and how far you stretch. I can pay a lot but if the job doesn’t make sense then you say no thanks, even if it’s an easy job.
IV: That’s psychological as well, isn’t it?
I: Yes. I very often experienced, if I think I know too much of what I need, then I lose maybe, and that’s why I’m trying to insert these kind of questions with the particular incident narratives. Thank you, I’m quoting you, you take this as purely technical thing. I quote you, say you said, it was (8) ‘I decided to volunteer’. I’m interested in this decision and to not hear it, it was done today but not motivated, right and you had read the answer to say, I’ve observed my daughter. She’s been doing this and this, and this in this context and I, thinking it could be also of the idea, I like it, and I would like to do it myself and see this museum, it was new, maybe a thing I could be part of, or to bring into this and to engage with her, to discover. So then it is possible to move even more, (?? 1:09:15) to ask, to describe the first time, if you remember the first time you entered here and you were already a volunteer, how was that (3). No, I mean asking, because.
IV: Yes, I’m thinking if I remember, if I remember. I suppose it was kind, it was a meeting with the curators I suppose, and lots of people coming.
I: So it was, how was it outside? Was it a rainy day or do you remember something, a meeting? How was it like to make it into a more kind of, not imaginary, but to bring it out like if you describe it’s like you really visualise it. So this is sometimes very interesting, and it tells a lot about that particular, not that same person, but this experience of (4), this decision of before and after and what’s the first experience you had as a volunteer, do you remember?
IV: (9) Okay.
I: So this is, because I think a lot of things were information or what is interesting for me, it’s maybe happening in this … it’s very interesting, something this year, I didn’t write or read stories so much, I just see the TV, kind of, but maybe in her autobiography, there’s nothing really important about this observation about everybody has their kind of motivation for their creative needs. Somehow they do it different ways and it’s stimulating different areas and it’s very mundane, conventional, like you said, but also for the person maybe be ready somehow, I don’t know, so I’m not giving priority so much to a certain, this is what I need to know, so every and a person has an independent … so this kind of biography, it’s also, this method has, like a biography, biographical narrative, to engage in biography and then there is a whole way of looking at material and if I listen to this, I prefer to separate, normally it will be much more, what’s your life story, you know what’s your biography, people have a different way of saying it. For example, you talk with immigrants to London coming from the Caribbean you would maybe already in the beginning sense that they came from a grandmothers, like learn and mother, and then they moved to London and then you can hear a person set in their times, peoples’ journey growing up in London as an immigrant, you have to only declare what’s your background or where you’re from, that land so in itself that’s very interesting. Then how is your relation within here, that she talks about always the mother and grandmother but never mention a male, the father and grandfather so you could start getting prepared to look for whatever you’re researching and depends what you’re researching but what is quite interesting for me in this method is that you could take some sequences from what the person is saying, so it’s just a sentence and you can bring your proof of the researchers, so people together, and you can put it on the wall and say, if they first started interview for example like this is my life story then it’s very short because you can ask people based on this, what do you think the person experiencing the interview. Then the person will perhaps say, you would say, the person is very flattered that someone wants to hear their life story or maybe the predominant same person is really nervous doesn’t, never said it before, maybe they can be interested in my story, so, the same person will say, I think the person is really uncomfortable, or … so you have a different hypothesis of what the person experienced, based on what they say, and how they say it.
Then, we can say, okay, so you said the person is nervous – what do you think the person will say next? – if the person’s nervous? So you put to her, and then you speculate, during the speculation, and you say, I think the person would confirm, or ask again, where do you want me to start? – because I’m nervous at the moment, just start, or start to do this, or movement here, or jump maybe, start to talk about something without structure, and then, if the person is flattered, then they would have a very kind of … talking in a certain way.
IV: Present himself, or herself, yes?
I: And they’re very proud.
IV: Yes,
I: Or actually, no, maybe it’s like this, and etcetera, and then you show what the person is actually saying next, (?? 1:15:29) build it up, and then, of course, like you said, they didn’t know where to start. It was very articulate. The person says, it’s like this, in this thing, or established, it’s the official press release, and then you will continue. You will take an inventory, so what do you think? Are you able to do the same? What do you think of the person’s experience now, in this part of the interview? You move around, and do speculations, and you do it for hours, sitting like we are sitting, with more people, and then you say, okay, now, you sit, like for two hours, and you’ll have maybe seven, eight different (?? 1:16:14), because you’ll write it, and then we can see, is there any pattern, if you look for a certain way of … yeah, she always talks about, she never mentions her role in the family, for example. It’s all about mother, motherhood, and her grandmother, and her father.
IV: I haven’t, no. I have been talking about my family, but only my children! (she laughs) Yes, I know, but I’m comparing, yes? – if there is, yes? (with humour)
I: What is interesting, if I’m doing this production, then I listen to them many times, and I have an idea about the expectation, maybe what could be exceptional elements, then I bring to this head of panel, which I just went, and then, maybe through this panel, somebody who is also a volunteer, or somebody who is an institutional person, will say, yeah, but it’s for me, obvious that Lana, something like this, this is what the person’s saying, this and this is the motivation, which we haven’t talked about at all, because I’m not … I think that experience, or for instance, an immigrant from London, from the Caribbean, since they don’t have any connection to the banks, they have a kind of inter system, how to help each other, which she’s actually talking about, but I cannot understand it, because I didn’t know about these things, and so on, so it’s a way to avoid having to be in blind spots in your own research, so this is also (?? 1:17:51), get the chance to talk with it, with ten different people. We did this kind of workshop together, and very different comments would come, so it’s also very important for me to see what I think I’m doing, and maybe that’s not exactly how it is, what you do, so this is also, I think, important, and then it’s good, if it enables your biography, then already you have some conscious or unconscious expectation of what I want to hear maybe, or maybe what’s relevant to talk about and what’s not relevant, and all these decisions are decisions, so it’s somehow …
IV: Yes, probably yes! (she laughs) I start to involve my childhood, was it? (she laughs) Something, I would consider, but maybe I could!
I: You said, as a child, what you’re doing, would act like a child, and making (?? 1:18:56), something like that. So you talk about adulthood and childhood, and you say, okay, it was not like the (?? 1:19:04) child, but there’s something about, in adult, this context, doing these kind of things, you either have to be an artist. There’s a licence, you need a licence to do it. If you’re crazy, you do it, like children’s things, or you have to be an artist, or you have to be entitled to do it, otherwise people will say, what are you doing? – and judging it. A lot of (?? 1:19:29) being at play, has lots of information, which is not maybe the primary information, but the way it’s articulated, as an experience maybe indirectly. It’s giving that information, if you listen to it, one time, or two times, maybe three times, then you can start to hear what they talked about, or what’s totally … so that’s why maybe it’s interesting to compare and to listen to.
IV: But maybe if you had some kind of more, like, some kind of points, we have to talk about our biography, you would see a pattern more easy, don’t you think so? Maybe if you had some kind of, I don’t know, point like, something about the childhood, I don’t know what, or something about experience, in some teenage age, yes?
I: Yes, but I feel that I cannot …
IV: But still we, why not? – because still, we are talking that much, we talk, what we say, maybe better. We say what you want to say, yes? – and if we don’t want to talk in details about our childhood, still we can talk about our childhood in a general way, yes? – and still you would have some kind of information from that as well, yes? – like, a whole childhood would take a lot of time (she laughs). It depends how many memories you have, but there’s still here.
I: But yes, you think it would be interesting?
IV: To talk about childhood? – erm, my, or in general?
I: No, because I didn’t, because I cannot come and ask people about childhood.
IV: Why not?
I: Because I felt it’s too close to some kind of, I mean, there’s a power relation, I think, already, that one person is coming, and there is a recorder, and they’re asking for a meeting, and then tell me about your childhood. It’s somehow important.
IV: It depends how you ask, I suppose, because if you ask a question that is not very straightforward, very personal, you can ask it, and there are kind of, very general questions, I don’t know, your best memory of your childhood, or something, what was very important, what do you remember? – because I think that, if you have a question about something that was … a bad memory, or something difficult, well yes, but usually I think that people remember good things about their childhood. They have an image which is very, it’s like heaven, so I suppose, I’m talking about, maybe about growing up, and about being a teenager would be harder, but childhood, it’s a happy land, so I suppose, no problem about that. (6)
But my childhood was, I suppose, was quite okay! (she laughs). It wasn’t bad!
I think I’ve read, in the interview, yes? – that you have travelled, yes, as a child? – yes?
I: Yes, a little bit, because my parents were in the travel industry, so we moved a lot within Copenhagen, Moscow, but we travelled quite frequently, because at the time, in the Seventies and Eighties, it was very, with the development of air travel basically, it was growing a lot, and it was mainly business, so they were very generous within the business, to support each other. We had free seats on the aeroplane, and free hotels, because that is my parents’ brother, working on this, they buy 1,000 seats and sell it to the travel agencies, and then, buy 2,000 hotel beds, so it was business, to take that from there, a large quantity, so this small ticket was making things smooth, and with the family. I think that was quite a strong experience from my childhood.
IV: But you lived in Denmark, yes? – but you didn’t go anywhere else?
I: No.
IV: Because I have, and that’s why I’m asking. I have been living in Algeria for some time, because my father was working at the university there for nine years, but I have been living there, like three years, so that’s the experience of other cultures.
I: That was, which time was that?
IV: It was, well, at the beginning of the Eighties, my father started to work in ’75, I think, but I went there to school, when we had the state of war in Poland, so it was ’81. I started to go to school there.
I: So you speak French there?
IV: Uhum.
I: And what he was teaching?
IV: Well, I’m teaching Spanish.
I: No, he, your father?
IV: Ah, well he was teaching, he went there as a metallurgist, but the university there at that time, had a very low level, so there he had to teach, like physics and things that were at the level of high school in Poland, the technical drawing, that kind of thing, so he asked my mother to send him some manuals. He had the knowledge to teach that as well, but it wasn’t his speciality, so it was quite strange at the beginning, but he could speak French, and he managed.
I: So you moved there later, when he was already established?
IV: Well, we went there before that, for vacations, yes, for some time, but when I was five, I lived there for a few months, but I went to school in Poland, so I went there for two months, in spring, not in the summer holidays, but because it was too hot there. But when the troubles started in Poland, my mother worked in the Polish TV, so she was quite well-informed, and we went to Algeria one month before the state of war, or how it is called in English.
I: Did you have an exception, and things like that?
IV: Yes, okay.
I: I don’t know, in Poland?
IV: They had two names for that, a state of war, or a state of exception? In English, I don’t know, it’s used?
I: It’s used from the juridical system, it’s accepted, and there is military control, that they’ve all signed (?? 1:28:33), because it’s so difficult that you cannot have a normal civil society, so it’s a state of exception.
IV: Yes, but in Poland, we called it both ways, yes?
I: So you went to this international school there?
IV: To a French school, well, I went to two schools, because I had Polish school once a week, and the French school five times a week.
I: And there were lots of people from other places?
IV: Well, there were, yes, there were different nations, but lots of Algerians as well, because they had their own schools, Arabic schools, but in Poland we have the same now, people who earn a lot of money, prefer to send their children to American school instead of Polish school, or at least to have a private school, not a public one, and there as well, there were some that were, well, richer, and better-educated. They preferred to send their children to a French school, because they had, as well as Arabic, classes of Arabic, but all the other classes were in French, so they could speak French well.
I: And this was in Algiers?
IV: Yes.
I: And did you experience any cause of the conflict with (?? 1:30:18), which was ten years before, or something like that? They had the big kind of liberation.
IV: I don’t remember that, because I was a child when it happened. I think that, I’m not sure what … they will. It was like, one night before you had all the information signs in French, and the other, well, in the morning you could see that it was written in Arabic. Yes, it was like takeover, it was very, very fast, but as far as I can remember, the signs, I remember, written both ways – in French, and in Arabic. Now I sometimes, I hear people from Algeria, they don’t speak Arabic. It’s with French, it’s half-French, half-Arabic. I don’t know if they know how much French words and phrases, sentences, whole sentences, they are saying, so it’s fun to listen, because I can’t speak Arabic, but, well … I hear when they speak French. They put words, etcetera, and now it’s hard to go there, because it’s quite dangerous.
I: I was there ten years ago, exactly.
IV: Ten years ago? – and how was it?
I: It was full of, it was still, these incidents of violence, and we were driving from Tunis to Libya, so this was just before it started to cook for real in this region, but it was this kind of, every 50 kilometres, there was a military, I’d say like a control, so you had to always stop, put on the lights, and always like these people, very kind of high alert, in heavy armour, so it was a sense of, we stayed in the (?? 1:32:44) a few nights, and it was a sense of, a bit tense. Everything was a bit tense. Then the whole port, and the whole city, so it was something different, Tunis.
IV: But I’ve seen photographs of Algiers, and I have to say that it’s modern. It’s a modern city now. They have, it’s different from what I remember.
I: (?? 1:33:19)
IV: I have been there, well, 30 years ago, the last time? – so a lot of time.
I: I think they kept, in the centre, this old colonial kind of …
IV: Some of it, yes, but well, they … I don’t know, they didn’t like it really, because it reminded them that they weren’t independent, etcetera. But still, I think that, in their minds, it’s very present now, all the time, and they keep coming to France. They have the immigration, etcetera, and people moving, so they are very close, still.
I: Did you travel sometimes in Algeria?
IV: I’d like to some time, well …
I: But did you visit only Algiers, or did you go to other cities?
IV: Ah, when I was a child, yes? We went to, well, I remember one travel, we went to a desert, to Galdai (? 1:34:49) to see the (?? 1:34:50) and the biscrab (? 1:34:52), some of them. It was like, for the strip, yes? We didn’t go for the border. It was quite a short one, I’d say, but still I remember the desert, and the Galdai (? 1:35:13) oasis, a very picturesque place. I was eleven then. I have some pictures, so I can remember some things. I was afraid of scorpions! (she laughs)
I: I had scorpions.
IV: Yes, and a friend of my parents told me that, well, they don’t kill you, they just make you paralysed! (she laughs) – the scorpions.
I: But then you’re paralysed forever.
IV: Yes! (she laughs) I don’t know if it was true, you know. Maybe it was a joke. I was really afraid, because I read they are just waiting under some stones to go out. But there are different kinds, not all of them are dangerous, I suppose, but I didn’t see any.
I: We were going just to the village somewhere, for a place to park the car, because we could sleep in the car, and then we were driving in this small road, and park on the field somewhere, and then came three men, or three bit younger men, and they all had this kind of weapon, or some kind of, not a gun, but this kind of, storm, like a hammer, type of thing, and they were asking what we were doing, then I tried to speak in French, and they said, “Don’t speak French!” (he laughs)
IV: They didn’t expect you to speak Arabic, but French, yes? – that’s fun! (she laughs)
I: That’s how they said that we had to take a small child, to adopt it, and so we had to say, yeah, we can do it in the morning, and then we had to escape, because it became quite intense. That’s just one anecdote from … when you think back, it was quite strange, I think.
IV: The situation was, you know, getting worse, in each year, because when my father came, it was about ’75 or ’76. It was still very civilised, but year after year, it was getting worse, and we went back to Poland in ’84, I think, and some of the Polish people who stayed were living in the very bad situation, because they had to be very, very careful. They weren’t safe really. They needed some kind of escort to go to work, for example. I can’t imagine that, because when I was there, well, we were just going shopping on our street, etcetera. They were watching me, because I had very fair hair, well, very pale skin, but still there wasn’t any violence. I wasn’t maybe feeling very, very comfortable, because I was different, but still, it wasn’t dangerous, and afterwards, it got dangerous.
I: I remember another story, that we were driving in this (?? 1:39:38) area, which is a bit closer towards Morocco, and I don’t remember exactly, we passed (?? 1:39:47) or something. We came to (?? 1:39:50), and then we were driving around, a little bit further, to (?? 1:39:54), which is like, more (?? 1:39:57), and we were stopping to buy something in the store, and then we came in the store, and this man behind the counter, he looked just like me! (he laughs)
IV: (she laughs) Okay!
I: It was almost like, the same kind of eyes, and hair. It was kind of funny! You know that if you see someone who looks like you very much, if you’ve had the experience, it was very unexpected there.
I don’t know, like, if you have something more, it could be, some more tips, how to do the other seven conversations or interviews?
IV: I don’t, no.
I: No? So maybe we could end it, in a way. I don’t know if you’re … you feel okay, if we’re finishing?
IV: Okay.
I: What time is it? – somewhere, nine?
IV: It’s five to nine.
I: No, I think, because we have three hours, but maybe that’s just also to have enough time, and then to have also a break, in case … so I’m quite happy with this.
IV: You want to ask something?
I: I think it’s, if you want to add something. If you don’t have anything, then I can just close it.
IV: Yes.
I: Okay. So I will take that.

Warsaw Interview 4

IV: I don’t know if I’m supposed to quote, so that I have anything to say, to speak about!
I: I’ll explain a little bit, my idea with it.
IV: With the project? – yeah.
I: And it’s the same for everyone, so I just have a very simple approach, which also is really, kind of, maybe challenging for some people, because one thing which was on this kind of list, which is where we got to in this workshop, was these narratives, and the interpretation of narratives, so we got to the point of having these kind of timelines, with (?? 0:49) on, but not so much about anything further. So what I thought would be better, I have one question, and you can answer in the way you feel like, and then I will just listen to your answer.
IV: Not necessarily the response, or anything like that! (she laughs)
I: No, but no, it’s interesting. No, not like that, so this is for real, because the response is more imaginary, but this is more bringing the imaginary to reality?
IV: Yeah, I see.
I: So, because if I would ask everyone about the workshop, then there was, hey, what’s your life like (? 1:37), but maybe what is interesting is that, since we are sitting here in real time, and we have some shared experience a little bit from this work, but a tiny little bit only, in the group context, then before that you have some experience, and I have some other experience, but you have this overlap, which has to do with the way our lives are unfolding, so you’re coming from somewhere, and then we met there, and then I’m going somewhere, you go somewhere, so the question I would like to ask, which I’ll ask in a second, is about your life story, so it’s not true, because I was a little bit hesitant, because the word’s too personal, but I think you decide. Some people, are, yeah, my grandparents, they …
IV: You want me to tell, like the whole life story? (surprised)
I: We have, only like two hours, so you’re not going to have a chance, but you could start where you want, and include the things you feel is important, and then maybe we will see it, when we get to ….
IV: But are you going to tell me yours as well? (jokingly)
I: If you want, I can tell something, but it’s more me interviewing you, and if you want to hear mine, then you have to ask me for a meeting, and we can do it.
IV: Okay. (sounds amused)
I: So, and everything which is recorded and being said is not at all, like to be evaluated, if it’s a good story or not.
IV: I’ve lived a shit life, sorry! (she laughs)
I: No, no, it’s more to … because also, the people working here, which I was talking, they’re quite young, so it’s not like you’re talking, because I did lots of interviews with older, elder people, so they had their whole life to kind of (?? 3:30), and they spent a lot of time to produce a certain kind of life story, and (?? 3:32) how to different people, and discovered maybe, by younger, it’s the different, you can’t see anything, the life is in front of you, so it’s not like, yeah, there’s much room (? 3:41), so this can also be, you can also move in a different way, like into the future if you feel like that. But I feel, the more I say it, the more kind of complicated it becomes, so it’s maybe, the way it works, according to this method, which is like a biographical interpretation method, it’s not like interpretation, it’s not like, now I’m going to listen to your problems, or anything psychological like that, so it’s really descriptive. It’s very much close to the principles we’ve been working on all the time, and then, when you finish, I’ll ask you if you have something more to say, and then you say, no, or whether you have something, and then, during, when you talk, I’ll take notes, and then, based on these notes, maybe I’ll have a few questions when you’ve finished, based on what you’ve said, so that will be a part two, kind of after a short break.
IV: Okay.
I: So, if you accept those conditions, then …
IV: I do.
I: I’m ready to hear the story of your life, so tell me all about it.
IV: This is scary! I feel like, I should have done something really amazing, so that it gets to this point! – but I’m supposed to tell the story from my birth? How do the others begin, because I’m not sure how to, really?
I: I’m just going to … this is great, a great start, but what is going to be strange is that I’m not going to interrupt. I’m just going to say, maybe no, there’s the answer, or something like that.
IV: That’s a lot of speaking, from my part.
I: It’s okay to take your time, make breaks. It’s totally fine. Also, for me, if I’m transcribing it, and if it’s a break, it’s not like any problem at all, so if you have two minutes’ break, take a short nap, it’s totally fine, and we have quite a good time, which is weird, because you never sit with someone, and there are two hours to … so that’s also a bit strange, but I think it’s nice. So please, so start where you want, include the things you think is important.
IV: Well, my life is pretty short up to this point, so I think I’ll begin from my very first days on earth, so that it seems that I have a lot to say. So I was born in Warsaw in 1994, and I’m my mother’s first child, but my father’s third, and I have a really big family. I have a lot of siblings and half-brothers and half-sisters and step-brothers and step-sisters, and it’s quite a circus, let’s say. Well, before, my father was with my mother, he was with his first wife when he was really young. He was my age now, and they had two kids, my oldest brother and my oldest sister, who are in their thirties now, so they are quite a bit older than I am, then my father split with his wife, and then he was with my mother, and had me and my younger sister, that’s five years younger than me. I don’t know if it’s important or not, so (sounds amused) … okay, keep going!
I rely, like I exist in relation to my siblings, like a lot. They make me who I am very much, so I guess that’s pretty important, and I also have … and then my parents split, and my mother was with my stepfather, and they had a child, my youngest sister, who is nine now, and I also have two cousins, two female cousins, like they’re a pretty close family. In Polish, you say, it’s your … I don’t know how to translate it well, but it’s … an “auntish” sister, as in, your aunt has a child, so it’s your auntish sister, because my father has a sister who’s the mother to two of my cousins. So, in Polish, it’s like, when you say it in Polish, it’s more, the connection seems closer, whereas when you say cousin, we also had the word “cousin”, but you say it about your further family usually, so I have two cousins who are in their thirties as well, and I also had, like the oldest cousin, who was male, and the age difference between my father and my mother is so big, that he was actually, he was born the same year my mother was born, so that’s kind of odd to say so, that your auntish brother was the age of your mother, but he died after his wedding, so that’s that.
I lived in Warsaw up until I was 14, and then I moved with my mother and my stepfather and my two younger sisters, to the suburbs, so it’s a rural area. I don’t know if this expression exists in English, but we say it’s a “satellite city” to Warsaw, so yeah, this is, it’s like 20 kilometres from the very city centre, but actually, it’s like a cottage, let’s say. It’s really rural, even though it’s only 20 kilometres. We have like cows and horses and hens. I still live with my mother and my two sisters. Am I supposed to speak about my parents too? (she laughs)
Okay, let’s do it! My father was an engineer, but actually, he works as a journalist, and my mother is … as my younger sister once wrote in her, she had this kind of essay to write when she was seven, this is for school, and she wrote, “My father is a journalist. My mother earns money”, so I think that describes the dynamic between them very well! (she laughs). (7)
And I lived in the suburbs, because I finished high school and junior high school, junior high school, high school, and now I’m studying. Am I supposed to say what I’m studying? Okay, I used to study criminology, but I quit the studies, because they were really, not conducted in a proper way, I believe. I mean, who am I to judge? – but I don’t think I was learning anything really. Now, I study the art of new media, which is like graphic design and this kind of, classic fine arts connected with computer technologies, let’s say.
Am I supposed to speak about how I end up in the museum? – because, I don’t know, I feel like I’m running forward really fast. I don’t know whether I’m supposed to focus and describe every, as I go on, of my … the people from my family, or am I supposed to be like, an egomaniac, and talk about myself all the time, because I’m so interesting! (jokingly) – obviously. So I ended up, maybe I’ll say how I ended up in the museum, because that’s quite important, I think. It’s where our fates overlap. So I’m supposed to make this kind of … I don’t know how to describe it in English? – I had to have work experience to finish my studies, and I was thinking about, that I will get in here, and work in the graphic design department maybe, but actually I ended up in education, and I really enjoy that, so I did voluntary work, and now, I’m not a … I don’t have, well yeah, I’m still, let’s say, I do voluntary work, because I’ve been here doing voluntary work for long enough for them to hire me, but they don’t! (she laughs) – so it’s kind of sad! They keep on saying, you’re like, not a co-worker, but like, you assist the museum, and I’m like, wah! – thanks a lot!! (sarcastically) I mainly do workshops with kids, because I really, I mean, I don’t really like kids. I don’t even want kids, but I think working with kids is really, I really like working with kids, I just don’t want my own, so for the hour-and-a-half that I have, the workshops with them, it’s funny, but any more, it’s not, because kids are not biased toward some things. When adults come here, for example, the guided tour for the exhibitions, I think they usually come here to prove something to themselves, to just ask me questions about, they don’t really want the answer too, but they want to show off that they can ask such a question, that’s really frustrating! – so yeah, grown ups really scare me, whereas kids are like, I mean, their cognitive possibilities, I think, are underestimated, because they understand … I mean, yeah, they understand quite a lot, and I think it’s a good exercise for me to say it in a way that a child will understand, and will be able to speak about it critically. Sorry, this is kind of gross (blows nose). Being ill in June is odd.
So yeah, the kids are really, like capable of understanding, in fact, really, like even the issues we talk about here in the museum quite well, and I mean, obviously I want to talk to them about the tension between classes and socialism and precarious workers, but to speak about it to kids, not really using these terms, I think it’s good for the brain, for my brain, so that, on the one hand, I still tell them the story, and on the other hand, I don’t treat them like idiots, so I think that’s a good exercise for speaking general, I think.
I really like the really honest reactions you get from kids, that they will say something, they’re really bored, and they will yawn and they will moan, and they will say that they don’t want to be here any more, if they’re really bored, so I appreciate it, but they’re usually really nice, and they just, when we had the Pavalon, the Amelia (? 17:34) building, they would come and say, it’s nice, it’s fine, so that was really sweet, like this really raw, honest reaction that was not filtered by, like you do with adults, it’s really nice. Sometimes they say that they feel like, in Masterchef? – they have this TV show in Norway as well, so that you could, so that … it’s like cooking in a really small amount of time, so one day we have workshops, and it’s a really small amount of time, so that they scream, and that’s great fun, because I’m a sadist! – no, I am not, sorry! (she laughs)
But I don’t really know what to say else, what else to say. Keep on speaking, where am I supposed to keep on speaking about, my work? – because I also work with kids, as I give lessons, drawing lessons for … not always kids, to adults as well, so that’s my job that is paid actually! (she laughs) – that’s nice, so I do some programming, but … and I think actually, arts and mathematics have really a lot of, in common, and programming, because I teach drawing mostly, and I think it’s like greatly mathematical, and it really helps the brain, because you look at space, and then you look at the absence of space, and yeah, it’s really intellectual work actually, and it sort of makes you think better, I think, whereas, but what I love about programming is that, it only has two options – the code either works or not, whereas when you write an essay, or when you draw something and when you paint something, you have like billions of possibilities, and when you, you mess up something, it’s just not a good drawing, or not a good painting, or a really, like, badly-written essay, whereas with code, it’s like, it either works or not. It’s so calming, I don’t know how to say it anyway, but it’s great. You just have two possibilities.
What else am I supposed to say? – it’s really frustrating, like, you can’t talk to me back, with anything else. I try to stay on track. (23)
Can’t you even tell me what the others were speaking about? – because I just have no idea! (exasperated). I can describe every single one … because I can also speak about the future, right? – oh, okay. I try to stay around the museum theme, as I believe it’s important, I don’t know whether truthfully or not, but I would like to keep working in the museum. They could pay me, that would be great.
I don’t know how far into the future I’m supposed to move, because I can either speak about how anxious I am, about not having even a steady job, and my plans for what I do after studies, or whether I’m supposed to like, run, like 50 years from now on, for example, and speak about my retirement! – I’m not sure.
Sorry. If you cannot stare at me when I’m blowing my nose, that would be great! (29)
That’s really uncomfortable!
I: That’s not the intention.
IV: Yeah, I know.
I: We can take a short break, or something like that?
IV: Already?
I: No, no, but there’s, I just want to repeat that there’s actually no rules, and there’s nothing which is, this is interesting or this is not interesting. I think it’s, maybe it’s interesting, even if you feel like, you want to talk about yourself, it’s not that you’re an egomaniac. It doesn’t matter, in this case, because it’s a sort of, of your life. It has a certain, this timeline, you have to grow, and things start happening in your time, but there are no rules, and I think if I suggest something, and then it’s obviously controlling somehow, so that’s why, the silent part, it’s more to … and it’s okay. Some people talk about the future, and they forget actually, and as a child, so you can jump, so there’s no track, other than the ones you make, so I think that’s totally open, and if you want to break, you just say, I just need a break. I think it’s a bit unfair, because I’m sitting here, with equipment, so it’s not a good …
IV: Because you know, it’s really kind of uncomfortable, because I feel that I sound like, it’s me, me, me! I know that’s the point, but it makes me really uncomfortable, but yeah … can we take a break, then? – because I really don’t know what I’m supposed to talk about. Do I detach this thingy? – because I have to get a drink, because it’s really too hot in here, in general. Do you think I can bring food in here?
I: I think you can. How could this … if it’s not too much, and I will just sit here, and when you’re ready, just come here, and then we’ll just continue. Remember that it stays here, so it’s nothing that …
IV: I know, I’m not really ashamed of what I said. I did not kill anyone, but it’s still really odd.
I: How’s it going, are you okay?
IV: I think so. Dominica from the helpdesk, she said that everyone was more or less terrified. I feel a bit better now.
I: So, I have one idea, in case, it makes a change in a bit, it’s possible to go for a walk, if you think it’s better?
IV: No, it’s fine. I think this way … yeah. The fact that you don’t ask questions …
I: Yeah, no, it’s weird. For me, it’s very weird, I promise. It’s on the border of a little bit … I don’t know, what you’re inclined, would be more supportive, and constantly listening, but that’s also what makes it interesting sometimes, to have this open, because you manoeuvre it.
IV: Okay. She also said that they all believed it’s terrible personal, what they said, so now I feel sort of obliged to also say something pretty personal! (she laughs)
I: I just said, I mean, there’s no obligations. It’s also like, okay to say, I don’t accept this format, if you want to talk, something different, that’s also, I know I have to change.
IV: Of course. I mean, generally, during your workshops, I had this … the need to rebel against you, but I never did, and I was so frustrated that I did not do it, and I talk about it, and I think Monica also had these kind of thoughts, that she wanted to rebel, but she could not, because on the one hand, she always knew, we all knew that it has, like it’s really loose, and it has no rules in general, and it will maybe even make it more interesting to … for someone to break down, and say, we’ll do it, but neither of us ever did. We all did what she told us to do, so I’m really amazed actually, because your really gentle approach, I don’t know how it happened, but it did. I’m really impressed. No-one had second thoughts. Maybe they had second thoughts, but they never vocalised them, so it’s really odd. It’s like, yeah, you should, as you said, lie down, and mould the clay, and everyone was like, that’s fine, that’s totally normal – let’s do this, and I think that was our first meeting, and then there was this, the man from the bookshop downstairs, he was working upstairs, so I was like, oh my God! – this is the worst! (sounds alarmed), and I still had to see his face every day probably, when I come here! (she laughs) So I was like, mmm, great! So yeah, I don’t know if you remember his dad, but I remember, like, and I feel like, mmm, that’s really odd! I feel like he, even like we don’t know each other, we only know, I know that he works in the bookshop, bookstore, and I feel like he got to see something so intimate, so I’m really embarrassed every time I see him now. I’m like this really, I feel vulnerable, I have to say.
Generally, all this rambling is about the thing that I was really surprised that, even though you were so gentle with your approach, everyone, like obliged and did what they had to do, and ran around the museum, like planted their paintings on the wall, etcetera, made sounds, just so out of my comfort zone, I must say! (with emphasis), and like probably everyone else’s as well, I believe. I mean, maybe their comfort zone is like so far away, that they’re not surprised with singing to some colours, or whatever, but I think that’s that.
… and you have more tissues? I’m fine. Before I came here today, I was in the museum of Polish military, for some reason, to paint, draw some tanks. I mean, that’s really on topic (she laughs), but if you want to see some tanks, you can go to the museum, I guess, whatever. (17)
I still feel like I need to speak about my family, or something – oh, God! (7)
I often wonder whether the people, because a lot of people that work in the museum that are, well, they’re mostly women, but most of them have studied the history of art, and I always wonder whether it’s because they come from this really, because it’s sort of in, I think we say it’s a luxurious form of studies, because it might not end up in a profitable job, so I often wonder whether they come from really big … I always imagine that they come from really posh families, like connected to the art world. It’s the child of a curator, or a child of an artist, or something like this. (35)
(blows her nose) This is the worst! (12)
I: I’m glad it’s a cold and not tears!
IV: (she laughs) Yeah! Maybe we should highlight the fact that I’m not crying about my family story, or anything like that!
I wanted to get to the point actually, with the people that study the history of art, and their poor families, and I always feel, out of case, and I’m, let’s say, because I come from a family of, let’s say, scientists and people that work in IT or chemistry, or whatever, I always have this approach that I don’t know as much about arts as I should know, and as much as the other workers of the museum do. (20) I also heard that a lot of people that come to work here want to be curators, and actually even one person that applied for being an accountant also actually had the ambitions to be a curator – that’s kind of interesting. I mean, I’m probably the least ambitious person in this institution! (she laughs) – so I don’t want to be a curator. I want to work with people. I don’t know if it means the same thing in English as it does in Polish, but when you say, you “animate the culture”, it’s not like you make animated movies somehow.
I: It’s like in French, (?? 46:22).
IV: Yeah, you engage people into it, exactly. That’s what I want to do, because I think … yeah, I can see a lot of similarities between … the way, I mean, it changes your way of thinking. I know it’s sounds really cliché and cheesy, etcetera, but it really does, and the same, not the same way, but just as learning maths, or physics does, I think it sort of stretches your brain’s possibilities, let’s say, of perceiving things in many different ways, and seeing, like other … I don’t think I know the word … it’s a shame we are not in a group, because I can always throw out words in Polish, and they would answer now, like … aargh! – what is it?
I: What is it in Polish?
IV: (she speaks Polish) It gives you like, new ways to go, or new conclusions. That’s the closest I can get, I guess, to what I want to say in Polish. I mean, the language barrier is really frustrating, because … and probably is for you as well, since we have to use English, which is like the common ground, but like, our English differs, and it also differs between even me and the other participants of the group. Some people have it better, some people have it not as good, and it’s obviously, all of us, it’s like, for all of us, it’s the second language, so we can’t really express everything as we want it to be, so it might sound not as emotional, or maybe even more emotional, because when you are taught language, you actually, you don’t get into such nuances as you get in your mother tongue, so yeah … it’s always obvious when someone has learned a language, yeah? They use it in a more proper way, but they also, it’s, I think more simple actually. I mean, they probably don’t use slang, but they also don’t, they don’t know all the words obviously, and don’t use them quite as much as they would in their mother tongue. (12)
(?? 49:45), I’m sorry. I’m sorry I keep, like, repeating it, but it’s … (30)
Even when I was like, taking the water, I was thinking about telling like a really random story, or maybe even imagining one, because I feel like I don’t want really to … like inventing, you can’t really know whether I’m lying or not, so that’s kind of … and you don’t care, probably! (she laughs) – or do you? And you can’t answer.
I: No, I mean, I cannot, but I can’t say, tell me about childhood more, or tell me about your family, or what started the story, because then I’m somehow interrupting. This interruption disturbs.
IV: Yeah, it makes me biased, I get it, yeah.
I: Yeah, so it’s like, okay, it gets you hooked, or like, put your stuff on, and maybe it’s smoother and more comfortable, because that’s probably normal for you, but this is recognised from other things you’ve been doing, as being (?? 51:24) into, and not prevailed against. It has a certain exorcise element to it, which makes it more interesting, but maybe more challenging also, so that’s okay.
IV: I mean, this whole set up reminds me of, like, this is going to be personal, so there it is, the meat! (she laughs) My therapy, because I’ve been to group therapy, and I also went to individual therapy, and basically I was so shy, I quit it, I ditched it, because I just could not bear it, because it looked exactly like this – what happened last week? – then there was silence on the other side, and I had to speak, so it basically looked like we sit there for like an hour-and-a-half, look at each other, smile! It’s just like, na, na, na, na, and then she would like, that’s 120 zlotys, and I would leave basically. She had the exact same chair actually, as you do, so it’s funny, but I guess going there makes you feel like you’re doing something with your life, so like, you have your shit (sorry) together. I mean, that’s really, the concept of it is really odd, especially, actually when I was in group therapy, I’ve met a woman whose name is, I think Magda, but not the Magda we had in the workshop, and I know a lot about her, because when you’re in group therapy, you have these experiences, like ten or even fifteen people. It takes like three hours, one meeting, and they speak and they speak and they speak and speak, and when it got to the end, usually I would say, they’ll skip me, and so, I’m not Magda, and I know like a lot of things about her, because you instantly, it’s really artificial, because you instantly have to speak to people about your really intimate things, and you sort of really like them, and you go through the things they’re going, with them, but on the other hand, when you meet them on the street, it’s really odd. It’s like, oh, I know your husband cheated on you and tried to kill you, or something like this.
So I met Magda, and actually I quit the therapy, and then it turned out she works here. She works in the archive, so that was odd. It was like, should I hug you? Do I acknowledge you as a person? – or not? Do we pretend we don’t know each other, and let other people introduce us? – or do we go with it? Are we ashamed of it, that we’ve gone through therapy together, or not? – because I’m not really ashamed of it, but she might be, and then, if I out her, so the other people that were also … but I would feel really stupid, so yeah. Once you see someone, like in this really vulnerable state, crying, speaking about their life failures, let’s say, you just never can quite look at them the same again. I don’t know if you have this, when you see your parents crying for the first time, if you ever do, because some people don’t ever see their parents crying, or your friends or your acquaintances from school even, you just never look at them the same way again. (12)
Do you mind, maybe I will take my phone, can I use the dictionary sometimes?
I: Yeah.
IV: (24) I think it’s working, so if I lack a word, but some words are really not, you’re not able to translate. I think that in Swedish, they have this word that they use quite a lot. It’s lagom – do you know of the word? – because Norwegian and Swedish are kind of close, so the lagom word? I think it describes actually Swedes perfectly, because they like everything to be lagom. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing it right actually. I think you’re unable to translate it into any other language. You can just like go around it, and try to find a definition, but it’s never quite it, but like when you meet Swedes, you’re going to get the concept. They like their lagoms a lot. (14)
I: Do you think it’s better if I sit there?
IV: No, it’s a good position, because this way, I don’t know, it’s more like a job interview, so I think this is quite good. It’s not like I have PTSD from my therapy, or anything like that! (she laughs) But yeah, it’s, I mean, however you like it. With the others, I don’t know how you sit. You sit there, I know you have different rooms.
I: (?? 58:58)
IV: Okay. There are group therapy language barriers. I don’t know, I feel like I should focus on the museum, but I don’t really know what else to say, because I’m not really a worker in here. Generally, like working, you probably know that, but working with like cultural institutions, it’s really hard, because, well, it’s really, at least in Poland, culture never earns the money for itself. It’s more like a luxurious thing, so we have to sort of sign up for the grants, etcetera. I don’t actually know how it is in Norway. Do you think – I can’t ask questions, sorry! Does culture like, earn for itself? Can it sustain its living? – like institutions, theatres and museums, etcetera?
I: In Norway?
IV: Yeah, from what you think, you’ve experienced?
I: I think it’s two different economical questions, because it’s heavily subsidised, but it’s also seen as something necessary, or something unusual, or something … without it, it will have some consequences.
IV: Because, for my school, my university, I’ve actually had to make … because I have English classes, because I study in English, so I have English classes more like about academic writing, and I have to make a project, like write an article, a theme that’s connected to my university, so I talked with, like administrative workers about what they think we’re doing in here actually, whether they think it’s a whim, or they believe it’s like necessary, and unreasonable, and sort of, whether it comes from a purpose, or it’s just a whim, as I said. They always were really sweet, because, for example, the guards, I talked with them. I talked with the lady that works in the cloakroom, that you leave your outer garments in, yeah? – so I felt good then; with the cleaners, etcetera, and I don’t know whether they said it because they did not want to hurt me, and my fragile feelings, but they were all like, they couldn’t quite put a finger on it, but they all believed that arts are like, really important (with emphasis). Without it, it’s like, the heritage won’t be, like, transported to the other generations, so that was their main reason, but also they hated conceptual art. They were like, I asked them, what, from the old things that are created here, like sculptures and installations and the paintings, etcetera, what would you actually pay money for, and take home? – and they mostly liked these landscapes, things that recreate nature, like they can relate to and recognise, whereas they find performances and installations pretentious. (40)
I don’t know what else I’m supposed to say. If it’s about me, then fine. I’ve recently been to Cieszyn. It’s a city that’s on the border between Poland and the Czech Republic. Am I supposed to talk about it? – probably yes, no, I don’t know. It’s not about the museum, but it’s about my studies, I guess.
So, if you ever have the idea to do it, do it Cieszyn, it’s great. It’s like, I don’t know if this expression exists in any other language, but when something is like a great massive mess, we say, in Polish, “straszhezin” (? 1:05:28), which means it’s terribly, it’s Rome, but I mean, what Rome basically means, because it refers to the times Rome was burnt probably, or something like this, so it’s a terrible mess. No-one controls anything, etcetera, so that’s when we used the expression, and I think actually, in Czech, you say, it’s like in Poland, that it’s the equivalent of Rome. So yeah, it’s like a wild city, like, you can do anything, and it’s incredible. The Polish side is really beautiful, because it was, I think German officers lived there during the occupation, so they really liked the city basically, so it’s preserved in a really great state. It’s really pretty, and we have been there for a “plein air”, which is, you paint outside, at least that’s what we believed we will do, but actually we had to make typography based on the architecture of the city. Making letters generally is really hard, but making them so that it’s evident that you’ve been to Cieszyn, those letters, and the way they’re set up, is inspired by the city architecture.
It’s really hard to … yeah, but what might interest you is, I don’t know, do you know Aurasma? It’s like a programme for, they say it’s for enhancing reality, which basically is that you get something more from the thing you can … you get these marks, or bookmarks, or something like this, and you scan the code, QR code, and the programme, the code recognises it, and gives you some more information. For example, you can sort of, for example, make it recognise the shapes of buildings, and then it’ll tell you something about the buildings, or you can make it recognise an inscription, and then it will animate it, or show something more, so we did that, we enhanced the reality. I don’t know, I mean generally, it’s not that great, but when you say you enhance reality, it sounds really good, so I really love saying it!
That was an abstract. I don’t know why I even did it, but I’m pretty proud of it, so I guess that’s why – a humble brag. (20)
Tell me, I mean, when you look at it like this, I had this, micro-hard (?? 1:09:34) that it was not recording, or something like this! (dramatically). I was like, no, please! – please don’t do this to me!
I: I was just checking how long, so …. because we talked a bit more and longer, and maybe if you would like to add something, you can, otherwise we could try to switch over to the second part of this, we’re asking questions?
IV: I’d love some questions! (enthusiastically) – that would be great! I don’t really know what I’m supposed to say here, so yeah, let’s move to the other part.
I: Just give me a minute.
IV: Obviously. So can I get some more of, something to drink?
Questions, I couldn’t be more excited, really! (8)
I: Great, so I have a few questions.
IV: Okay. (17)
I: So are you ready?
IV: Yeah, I think it’s working.
I: I’ll just double-check.
IV: Is it?
I: Yeah.
IV: Okay.
I: Yes, so you said …
IV: No, I’m preparing myself to be embarrassed about things that I said. Okay, let’s go with it!
I: So my job now is, the second part, is to quote you, on what you said, and ask you to talk now. That’s the technique of the interview.
So you said, it’s quite a circus, let’s say? – when you started with your family, so I’m just curious, if you could tell me more about that?
IV: Well, if you imagine, because my parents wanted to be, I don’t know whether they really are, or they just really want to seem this way, but I guess they want to seem really open-minded, so they pretend, or not, I don’t know whether it’s true or not, that they are in like, great relations, even though they split, like over ten years ago, so I have all the siblings from my mother’s side, from my father’s side. My stepfather, my father’s fiancé, my sister, my father’s sister with her daughters, and her husband and their boyfriends, and then my sisters and their boyfriends, and my brother and his wife, and my brother’s children, and we all come up together, and my grandmas as well, for Christmas or Easter, so you can imagine what kind of, a party, it’s quite a thing, so it’s really tiring! (emphasises). I don’t know how big your family is, but it’s really tiring! (she laughs) Everyone wants to be so chill, etcetera, but it never really is, because they have the issues from the past.
I guess when you split with someone that you’ve shared your life with for so, so long, you never really get over it. They have, like two kids together, my parents, they have two kids together, and a really long relationship they had, yeah, so it’s never quite chill as they would like it to be. From the outside, it might seem like it’s so idyllic, because they’ve got over their issues, and they meet and like each other still, but it’s not really like that. We all know that, but we still like acting the theatre. They’re all, like, I take great pride in what my siblings are, who they are. They think they’re really like interesting, fleshed-out, full-bodied characters in this comedy, let’s say! – so there was like, really colourful characters, and when they all meet, it seems, it almost seems like unreal, because you wouldn’t think that these kind of, sorry, I’ll have to use the dictionary, because I don’t know the word, sorry! (11)
Exaggerated people, that seem almost comic-booky, or something like this, they actually exist in real life! – but they do. So yeah, that’s why I think it’s quite a circus. It’s the really intense personalities, let’s say, that may clash.
I: Okay, so I have several questions, so if you’re finished, I will come to them.
IV: I think that’s … yeah.
I: Which is a connected question, because you said, “I exist in relations with my siblings.”
IV: I said, (?? 1:21:25) there as well. Well, yes, I do.
I: Is it possible to describe particular incidents?
IV: I mean, I don’t want to say that they’re the most interesting thing about me, because they kind of are, because I don’t think it’s really typical for people to have this many siblings, and even if they do, they are not always so close-knit as a family, and so close together, and we truly, I think, are, especially some of us old girls. There’s only my brother who is like really, I think he’s very womanly, not in his shape obviously, but he’s very delicate, he’s nervous, etcetera. He also has this kind of fragility and way of thinking that women have. I spend like so much time with them, and they are really, due to the fact that they’re really intense people, they’re really engaging, and then it’s also so many of them, that wherever I go, I meet my siblings, even though we don’t live in the same, I mean, most of them are in their thirties, so they live by themselves or with their partners, or something like this, so I can try and avoid them, but I won’t, because, and always whenever I appear somewhere, there’s always someone who knows at least one of my sisters, so that’s, I always am in the … like, sorry, again I don’t know the word … because Warsaw is actually quite a small city, and I think everyone at some point knows everyone in some way, so it’s always like this, you’re from this big group of sisters, yeah? (15)
I wanted to say that when you … so we’re defined by the fact that I have so many siblings, and whenever you go to, like a social circle, there is always someone who knows one of them, so that’s that, so that’s why I exist in relation to them. I’m always some sister of …
I: Fine. You said that you used to study criminology, but it was not conducted in a proper way, so I’m just curious if you could describe one episode which you recognised from that institution, or that place you studied, which was improper, which you thought, okay, this is not …
IV: Well, I had, it’s hard to explain to you, because you’re … you don’t live in Poland, and you don’t know the political situation, but actually, because the criminology was conducted in the University of Warsaw, so like the main, the biggest university in Poland, and the head of my speciality, the faculty, was a man who is, who was and still is, now I’m going to make up a word, and you will tell me whether it’s correct or not in English – we have something like, constitutional tribunal? – like, this is the institution that takes, consisting of judges and lawyers, etcetera, that controls whether or not the government is working according to the constitution, so he was the boss of the whole tribunal. I have to check whether it’s proper … well, it’s a tribunal that takes care of the constitution. I don’t know how to explain it to you, but you probably have it as well, I mean, for sure you have it. So he was the head of the faculty as well, because he has so many, like, doctorates and habilitations, etcetera, so many titles in front of his name, so the situation that I was like (sounds amused) … I mean, I was not even angry, I was really amazed that he just said it, and it was not a joke, and it was like real life.
There was this, because every year politicians have to make these kind of statements about their income – you have it in Norway as well? – and there was a really huge issue, that one of the politicians, the ministers of something, had a collection of really expensive watches, and it was like, way over his income that was stated in his documents, and everyone was, like, oh my God – this is terrible! – and so my, the head of the faculty, was giving a lecture to us, and he looked at his own watch, and said, “I heard (?? 1:28:19), has a watch that cost like 25 grand” – hmm, mine cost 5K, and I don’t know whether it’s now, it costs 4, because it’s old, or maybe 10, because I wore it. I was like, you know, that’s kind of rude, so that’s a euphemism. I didn’t really know what to say, and everyone was like, ha ha? – that’s funny, that’s terrible, we don’t know what to do? (sounds incredulous) – because someone who, like, whatever he is or isn’t, as a person, he truly does have the knowledge, and the abilities that made him to the head of the tribunal. You can’t really say anything to someone that has … because at least I did, I believed in his like, cognitive possibilities, let’s say! – so that’s kind of odd, and he just, he was really hard to work with, because he was just a terrible person, but also I think that people there, they did not really teach us. They were just pretending to teach us, and I pretended to learn, and I had really good grades, despite the fact that I worked then as a waitress, which is like a really exhausting, demanding job, that physically just ruins you, because you just run around all day, and you have to bear with people that are not necessarily nice to you, and despite the fact that I was able to work almost 40 hours a week, which is like a full-time job probably, I was still able to get like pretty good grades, and I was like, really frustrated with it, because I thought that I was taught like, common knowledge, but in prettier words, so that’s that. That’s why I quit criminology, and went to more of a technical university, so that I can … yeah, so that, it’s not only theory, but actually I do something … (5) but also, I mean it was a good experience, because when I say, oh yes, I studied criminology, everyone is like, ooh, my God! (dramatically) – that must be so hard! – no, it wasn’t, it was not. It was not scary, or anything like that, and I did not find out the roots of all evil, which I was hoping to do. Maybe I should have gone and studied philosophy, or something like this, because this, in Latin, I don’t know whether you’re taught Latin in school? We sort of are, some people, and then there’s this question, “unde malum”, which is, malum, mala is evil, but unde, where does it come from? – so I was really curious, where does it come from? – whether it’s like ingrained in the very nature of a human, or it is, it’s something that your surroundings push you to, and I did not really find out, so that’s really frustrating. That’s that, about criminology. (8)
I: You said something, how you ended up in the museum? – that you personally were interested in the graphic arts? – and a graphic assignment? – and then you started an education?
IV: Because that’s kind of confusing – no. At first, I thought I wanted to do this, because I just wanted to do this, and I knew that I was going to the education department, but then I found out, when I started actually, the work here in the education department, that I need to have this work experience, but then I found out that actually, they don’t really check, where do you get the work experience? – that the institution just has to, whether it’s say, a company or an institution, they just have to give you like, that you’ve worked 160 or something like that hours, or 180, during the three years that I get to my Bachelor degree, so that’s that, and I thought at first, I thought that I’m going to use the experience that I get here, the hours, that at least fuel some of it, because, well I’m lazy, and I also have like, a regular, paid job, but now, I’m thinking that actually … because generally I would, it would really be better for me to like, stay here in the education department, but to get the job experience in actual graphic design or arts, or something like this, somewhere else, because I like the way, what I’m doing here right now, I like it, and I don’t want to change it, because I probably, if I really try, I could probably get the work experience, they could move me from the education to the graphic design department, but I don’t know what the museum actually does, because they do have something like this, but I don’t think it’s too interesting, because they just make the posters, and they update the web page, or something like this.
I: So there’s someone else doing the publications and stuff?
IV: Yeah, it’s a separate thing. Yeah, they do it in collaboration with publishing houses, so I don’t think someone from the outside, which I in fact am, could do it as well, so yeah. Does it clarify anything?
I: Yeah, definitely.
IV: It does? That’s good.
I: You said that you’ve been doing voluntary work for a long time, long enough to (?? 1:35:45), and they are saying, they categorise you now, that you’re assisting the museum?
IV: Yes, a bit like that. I’ve heard someone, I don’t know how to translate it well, again, but the literal translation I have in mind, it’s a co-worker, but it doesn’t mean exactly the same thing in Polish, when you say it, so I will look it up, but I don’t know if there is any synonyms to it. (11) Maybe a collaborator of the museum? It’s not here, but I think it will be the closest one, a collaborator. So what’s the other department, because I said, we were having, like in a group, we are having a conversation with people from the museum and people from out of the institution, and someone said, I said that I do voluntary work, and someone corrected me, that I’m a collaborator, and I was like, well, that sounds better, yes! (with emphasis) – but I’m not, really! (sounds amused). Also, the other educators, they were like, yes, you are doing a really good job. Just be around – you will get it eventually. It was just really sweet of them. They said that they volunteered, like, their fair share of hours, let’s say, and they finally got it, so I guess that’s … I mean, even if I don’t, I would still like to do it, at least the fact that I was here, and I got the experience, like, gave me some perspective on what I can or will maybe do in the future. Is that satisfying?
I: Yeah. (13) You said, kids’ cognitive capacities are underestimated?
IV: Yeah.
I: Even the issues we talked about in the museum, it’s possible to discuss with the kids, in (?? 1:38:30) language. I’m just curious if you could give an example, or if you remember a particular situation, whether you could place that kind of …
IV: Well, it would be … because I don’t know how good you know the exhibition. You don’t know the exhibition, yeah? – because that’s hard, kind of hard to relate, especially with making you the exhibition, because it’s not really an exhibition. It’s reports from different actions around the world actually. Well, I mean, I can … because explaining the fact that it’s actually an exhibition comes this thing of reports. It’s also kind of hard to explain to kids, yes? So you have to like give them basics, so that they know that, like, you don’t treat them like idiots, so you ask them, what a museum actually is for them, what they know to be art, what is their, like the basic knowledge they have, the associations they have with the word museum, and from there, we sort of, we get … there’s these philosophical methods of giving birth to an idea, which is … sorry, I will use the dictionary again. I think it was Socrates we used, you know, I will go around the definitions.
I: I know it.
IV: You know it? I don’t know how it is, in Polish it’s “myo titchna” (? 1:40:46).
I: It’s a midwife kind of metaphor.
IV: Probably, yes.
I: That you bring out the knowledge which is already there, yes, exactly, so we tried to sort of do this. We never called it this way, that’s just the closest I can get to it. So at first, we asked, what a museum is, and then we say, do you know what a report is? (for example), and then we connected to things, and then we can go further, when we all have the, when we sort of stand on the common ground, we have the basic knowledge, that they all need to have to experience the exhibition as well as they can, so there is that. Does it explain it, I think, in a way? So I guess we let them do a lot of thinking and like putting together definitions, so it’s like unified knowledge between the group, for example.
I: Yeah, and continue?
IV: Yeah, I think so. (14)
I: You said that you were working with drawing lessons, and you talked a bit about the mathematics in drawing, and the translation?
IV: That was kind of, sorry I was rambling, but it actually, is quite true, I think, because I mean, I know there’s this stereotype that people who do arts don’t necessarily know mathematics, or they’re just … when you say you’re a humanist, you don’t really, it’s like a euphemism for like, “I don’t really know what science is”, like, fake mathematics, sciences are about, where I think, because I’m pretty good at maths, I think that actually knowing mathematics makes you think really well. It’s like exercise for the brain, but it also, you go to a conclusion way faster, in a really logical way, so you can point out what your thinking was, and I think actually, when you do drawing, so I think that my knowledge of mathematics basically makes me draw better, and makes me a better observer of, like my objects that I’m supposed to draw, for example, because it’s like, with the … I don’t know the word again. When you have this like massive equation, then you have like one side of it, and then you have the equals, and then you have the other side of it, then you have to find an x and y, and you get like, you make it smaller and smaller and smaller. Do you get what I’m talking about, what kind of exercise? (sounds amused) – this kind of mathematics exercise. It’s like the high school level, so I guess we can sort of get there. It makes you like put the care key (? 1:44:43) to things, and I think applying it to drawing, it actually help you draw, like way better, because at first you look at the whole picture, and then you like make the counter, for example? You look at this as a whole. You don’t focus on details, and then you just make it more and more, like the smaller and smaller and smaller parts, so I think yeah, you’re trying to simplify it, and then you put the things where they’re supposed to be, so actually it’s quite, I think it’s quite mathematical. It’s quite, it’s about observing, and, yeah, so it’s really hard to explain it in English right now for me, so not having any examples of it, but you have to trust me! – it really does work, I think.
I: (8) So you said, during the workshop, no-one had second thoughts about what you were doing, or your systems, even if there was some kind of ….
IV: I mean, the literal second thoughts that probably everyone had, they were like, I mean, there was this one girl, that when you made us write the evaluation in the first like fifteen minutes of the first meeting, there was this one woman that was like, I’m sorry, this isn’t for me, and left! (sounds amused) So she vocalised, like pretty well, I guess, the second thoughts, and I think a lot of people had second thoughts, because it’s not like they’re submissive sheep, or something like this. I think those are really, I respect them all, and I think we are all like pretty critical in our thinking, but still, no-one said like, this is too hard for me – I won’t do it, even though it was, and I was like, when I was made to make the scene with Hania, I was so uncomfortable, and I was like, I’m going to quit. I was so close to doing, like, I can’t do this any more – I’m so embarrassed. I’m so uncomfortable, that I just can’t do it any more – I’m really sorry, because it was really, the museum that day was really crowded, and there was a lot of things happening that day. I don’t know what it was, but yeah, so I think everyone did have second thoughts, but no-one actually rebelled against it, and no-one said, this is too hard, I won’t do it, or did they? – no. I think we did all the exercises probably more or less, which was quite surprising. Even when we talked after the workshops, everyone was like, oh no, that was so uncomfortable! This is so out of the comfort zone. So I was quite surprised that no-one dropped out, like no-one said it really, like, stop, this it too much! (firmly) You’re stretching the imagination way too far! – or something like this, I don’t know. (49)
I: You said that, a few times during, at this workshop, that you were out of your comfort zone, which I understand immediately. I’m just curious if it’s possible to describe the particular, one example? I mean, you mentioned the one with the book, being served by this book guy, and sitting there for half a day? – was weird, that he was doing that actually, so apart from that, like being out of the comfort zone? You talked about it, but I’m just curious to say, with that period of time, this and this situation, if it’s possible to …
IV: So where do I, I don’t know, but the books are like, men grown up. He was there only when we were doing the play things, like lying on the ground, so that’s that – that, I was uncomfortable, but I was actually, because when you get to a point, at the brink of very, like, breaking off, so you get there, and you either stop, or you just don’t care any more at all, because, whatever, so when we were doing the scene that I talked about with Hania, when the museum was pretty crowded, that was really … yeah, because …
I: What was the scene again, exactly?
IV: We were together, and we were just running around, and everyone … because we invented like, really abstract land …
I: (?? 1:51:16), is it this?
IV: No, it was like, clouds and dragons and turtles.
I: So we were sitting behind …
IV: Yeah, and then we started walking, and then there was Marta, who interrupted us, and she said, “She’s the turtle now!”
I: I remember.
IV: Okay. I was like, “Ha ha, ha ha!” It was like, oh my God – this is the worst thing ever! (emphasises). I’m insane, and everyone around me is as well! Then I’d say, you have go for it, okay, it’s, whatever, I don’t have to explain myself. I won’t see the guests of the museum ever again, so maybe it’s fine, but then I bumped into a person, like, oh my God! (sounds amused) I’m embarrassed when I’m talking about it right now! – like, I almost killed a man probably, because he was going up the stairs, and then, where the plants were, and I was really running away from the turtle. That was scary, and I bumped onto him, and since I’m really tall, he obviously was really tiny for me, so I probably almost killed him. That was embarrassing, and out of my comfort zone, because I really tried not to be too invasive with my presence in general, and I think that’s common sense, I guess! (sounds amused) – not to take up so much space! But I did, but he’s still alive, but just for the record! (she laughs) So yeah, I was really uncomfortable then, and then also, we did a scene together, and then Daniel was the designated observer, and I think, because I think he has a really critical way of thinking, but not in a bad way. He has really reasonable criticism, that gets you somewhere. It’s really valuable, but then he said that … I don’t know what it was, but in general I found that it’s so on point, and then I reflected upon my life, and then I felt like, in group therapy, because it was so on point. I was so impressed with it, and also embarrassed, because I have to experience it with you, and all the other people. It’s not like in therapy, that you just see each other once a week, and then you can quit therapy and never see them again – it’s like, I work with them, and I will see them, yeah? So I felt very vulnerable at this very moment, then? It was like, ha! – he found out, oh no! – like, he said I was really neurotic, and I was treating it as a child, and actually that’s what I do with people in general, and I was like, oh no, they know now! (strongly) Ah, that’s the worst!
I: I have a few, two more questions?
IV: Yeah.
I: Yeah, we have plenty of time. We are not in a rush. Okay, so … maybe I have three questions, if that’s alright? You said that you’d been to the Military Museum earlier today?
IV: Yes. That was just to fill up the time, because I really don’t know what to say.
I: But, so maybe, I’m curious – how was it?
IV: How was it?
I: From a narrative point of view, if it’s possible. I came there, and I knew what I was looking for, because I’d been there many times, this kind of …
IV: Oh, God! – that’s really personal, because I’ve been there on a date actually, with a boy that’s an architect, and he also draws, and we went there to draw some tanks basically, which is odd, but I guess that’s what we did. (she laughs) We just sat there and talked, and drew some planes and tanks, and firearms, or whatever, which sounds odd, but it’s not like we were … I feel like I sound like a nationalist now! It’s not like I go to the Museum of Polish Military every week, it’s just, odd, sorry! (she laughs) But those are really like, not everyday objects, that you can draw from nature, and like, when you, so that’s, it’s a form of exercise, I guess, yeah.
I: I don’t think it’s weird, because I also draw, more before, but I’ve come from studies of drawing, and I’ve been also travelling around in different kind of technical (?? 1:57:02), and different places.
IV: To see?
I: Yeah, it’s a good way to …
IV: Practise, I guess?
I: Yeah, it’s a good combination to … because, to go to the, often to those anatomical museums, it has collections, (?? 1:57:20), I totally understand this.
IV: Thank you. Well actually, I’ve been there for the very first time, because I’ve never been there before. It’s the same building as the National Museum, and I’ve been to the National Museum multiple times, like more than I can count really.
I: (?? 1:57:46)
IV: Yeah, when there is – sorry, I can’t sneeze now.
I: (?? 1:57:58)
IV: No, when there is the square with the palm tree, to go further to the river, and that’s that. It’s huge, it’s a really big, monumental German building that just screams, like fascism, but it’s, so yeah, so that’s the National Museum, and it’s like, on the other side, there’s this military museum. I mean, it has like huge tanks and planes outside, so I think you will notice, if you want to go there! (she laughs)
I: That’s fine.
IV: Yeah, but you meet some really odd people there, that are like really obsessed with military and Polish pride, or whatever, and you get really embarrassed for them. The second I had embarrassment, I’m like, please stop!
I: Are you ready for another question? You said that you feel out of place sometimes, when you’re here, on this, on the different family background from the sciences, and you have the idea that people are more (?? 1:59:26), and from an elite class of humanities, or something like that?
IV: It’s not like I feel they’re superior to me, but I think that it’s really human to generally feel … there are like two things that everyone is embarrassed about, or three. There’s these basic things, that they don’t know enough, that they’re not pretty enough, and they are not funny enough. It’s like a saying, so I guess, like most people really, over-estimate the knowledge of others, and actually I think it’s quite a common thing, to feel that you don’t know as much as they do, the “others”, or whatever, which is not necessarily true, but I think it’s something that I will feel always, and most people feel always during their lifetime, that they just don’t know as much as the other people do. There is also the other tendency to think that everyone else is to really dumb, like, so society in general, it consists of dumb people, but no, I don’t think so, because I keep on moving. So it’s not something I fight, or I will cry if they criticise me – I think it’s just normal, it’s rather regular. (15)
I: Okay, one more? You said, it’s kind of a tricky question, but you said, I’m weirded out … I’m sorry.
IV: As in weirded out with the whole experience?
I: Yes, and sitting here, I don’t know, probably ….
IV: I mean, having to monologue for an hour is kind of weird? – and I don’t know if anyone can do it without feeling weirded out! I don’t know whether I’m mastering English or not, so, sorry. Probably this experience is odd for you as well, for sitting here for three hours, and you’re like, oh my God! – just one more, and I have to listen to all these stories! So, it might be boring for you as well, so I sort of also feel the need to use fireworks, so that you don’t fall asleep! But, I’m guessing that most people that have been here, and also will have to be here, will feel similar? – no, yes? – because I would be really surprised if anyone came here, and then got out, and they were like, yeah, that was a breeze, talking about myself for three hours! No-one does that, like ever. I don’t know how egomaniac you would have to be, to actually do so, yeah.
I: I mean, for me it’s not so boring. I kind of know everyone, but I don’t know them at all. That’s really interesting, because I have some image, who people are, but this is very different. I discover each time, and I have a chance to listen to what they’re about, what’s on their mind, so that’s not so boring, even if it might … it’s a bit tight, because normally we would do one in the day, and then the next day, after two days, so it’s tough to do the third one, or at least yesterday, it was a bit too tough, but that’s quite okay. (?? 2:04:04) and also I’m in a position to kind of decide and construct a frame, so it’s also, it’s not so weird for me somehow.
The last question, if you still have … you said that, after meeting some people in therapy, you remember meeting them outside of the context, for example in the archives here, in the network, that it’s impossible to see that person in the same way again, and then you had quite a nice way of discussing that, but did it actually happen, this surprise meeting with that person here?
IV: Are you asking me whether I’m lying or not? – no, it’s true, actually yeah. I met her, yes (assertively).
I: So I’m just curious if it’s possible to describe that, the meeting, and how … ?
IV: Actually, it was really sweet, because it was at the opening of the three last exhibitions in the Amelia Building, and I was standing there, and I was like, just so tired, because there were all these people. I was here from like, six pm until like midnight, I don’t know, and it was insane, because so many people, and they were all … I think it was 5,000 people that go, had gone through this really short amount of time, in fact, through the exhibitions, and I was really tired, and I was like falling asleep, and on the other hand, guarding the things, so that no-one pushes anything and breaks it or something like this, and then I saw Magda, and she was with her children, about whom she spoke quite a bit in therapy, but I was actually, it’s something that I never do, which, I went for a hug actually, and I was like, oh my God! (surprised) – and she did it as well, and then we were both like, kind of embarrassed that we did it! We were like, ah, sorry! (sounds embarrassed) – that was that. But actually seeing her children in the flesh was, yeah, there was something quite odd, because it was like, “You little person! – I know so much about you”, so that’s it, and then she spoke, because before she started working in the Museum, because I didn’t know she worked here. I knew that she had studied art history as well, and she was really struggling to find a job, and she was, she is terribly intelligent, and her way of speaking is incredible, and the way she reflects upon her actions, because she was going, I mean, I have to talk about her a bit, and we have to take things, that I know her, but you don’t know her, so I don’t feel as bad. She was going through a divorce with her husband. Her kids are pretty small, she’s pretty young, and she was really struggling to make ends meet, and she was still managing to find the money for the therapy sessions, etcetera, and then, I was really surprised, but also very happy for her, that she found a steady job. Yeah, and now, I don’t know … I’m really curious how she feels about it, but from what I’ve heard from other people that work in the archive, that they speak really well about her, and her work ethics, etcetera, and it makes me like really happy. I don’t know, if that’s like, does not affect my life at all right now, but yeah.
Also, when I talked about other people, because I was really, I think it was not really thought through on my side, because I said, yeah, I know Magda from the archive, and then obviously the question came, well, how do you know her? – and I don’t know how she feels about being in therapy, and I think she continues it, so she’s not a quitter like me, so I don’t know, I don’t really know what to do with this situation. Can I out her, or not, to other people? – and I actually did. I sort of, from what I know, she wouldn’t mind, but I still, I think about it sometimes, and I was like, no, I shouldn’t have done that! (with emphasis) So, that’s that, that’s it. Does it explain anything?
I: Yeah, that’s perfect. I have one last favour. This is totally the last, because there’s no more. Maybe, because you mentioned, and you said, enhanced reality, and you had a story about (?? 2:10:06). You seemed to be working with this enhanced … and is it the same as augmented reality, or is it something else?
IV: Because augmented reality … yeah, it is similar, because I think also, I’m not sure how it is with terms, but I think augmented reality is more like, with the Oculus Rift or something like this, Oculus, you know, there’s this thing? – or Leap Motion, so it’s more like a device, I guess? – whether enhanced reality … basically, yeah, it’s the same thing, but Oculus makes me like really sick. I don’t know, if you wear it ever, the thingy … ? – but it’s really uncomfortable, and it makes you dizzy. It’s a big fat lie. I don’t know why it would be useful for anyone, but I do get the Leap Motion technology. Leap Motion is when you have this device, so Leap Motion is, you have the device that makes an array of something, some kind of light, or infrared, I don’t know. I don’t know really how it works, I just know how it should work, and it reads, for example, your palm movements, and then you can sort of, for example, sculpt, when you have the ZBrush, the graphic programme, you can mould something in, I mean in theory, or I think it will be useful for like medical schools, so you don’t have to use so many dead bodies, actually dead bodies. You can just photograph them really well, and make them, it’s more hygienic, etcetera, and in theory it’s a great device, but actually our brains are not as advanced as the machine, so when you sculpt something in it, it reads your palm movements, and they’re actually really precise. Human movements are really imperfect, so your brain basically goes dumb, when you don’t have any friction or anything to touch your fingers on, but you see that you’re doing it on the screen, so it’s really … in theory, it’s great, but we are not, our bodies are not advanced this way, so the human makes it really imperfect, and you can just push something too hard, and you ruin the whole thing, the whole visualisation. It’s really interesting, but yeah, it’s actually really inhuman.
I: Yeah, there was also a technical question. Last one, of course, I know a little about it. It seems to be more and more interest coming, from people, and also they’re doing, prepared for the exhibition, of these kind of new developments.
IV: As a gimmick, or as a curious thing to explore, it’s nice, but I don’t know if it will be ever … because for example, what they have on their web page, the Leap Motion thingy, is that, for example, you can make a presentation, and you can just swipe your hand above it, and it changes the slides, for example, but is it really worth it? I mean, is it really so much harder than you use the Mac, and you use three fingers, and you swipe it, and there’s the other screen? I don’t know if it’s really so helpful and so necessary.
I: Great, so I’m kind of done, unless you have something to add?
IV: No, I am weirded out! I have to probably cure myself. I’m really sorry about the gross sounds, of me blowing my nose.
I: Thanks a lot, Corina.
IV: Thank you. I’ll detach it now.

Warsaw Interview 05

I: You haven’t been in touch with anyone here?
IV: No, no, no, no.
I: So, the question or the plan for these two hours plus is to, is for an interview, and I’m trying to work with a special interview technique which is called biographical narrative and quotation method. So, I have a very strict system, which I’m using for small parts of my work, and it was also planned at some point that we may go do some exercises in the workshop that I didn’t do, which is fine. But I think it could be interesting now to use it, and for some people it’s a little bit of a challenge because it raises old question about biographies, and your own biography, and I will just ask you in a simple way to talk about your biography, and I’ll just listen, and I will not interrupt you at all, so which is weird because it become a monologue and I have to pay attention and listen and take notes. And then when you are finished, and a good time spent, then I can ask you question, I’ll try to frame the questions based on what you’ve been talking about. And so maybe if you think a little and just jump into we can just start and then we can talk more about it at the end. Because I was trying to talk about it a lot before with some people and it’s more clear if we…
IV: It’s simpler if we just start.
I: Okay so (6) as you know we are spending time in this workshop and somehow had some overlap experience during these previous months, very little, but what we didn’t do a lot was to little talk about visual links and that was kind of interesting and nice way to know a little bit more about these people who actually took part of this workshop, and I’m interested since, yeah. We can return to that at the end. So, without further interruption, it would be curious to hear your life story why we’re here. And you can start where you want, you can you know you compose it as you please. And there’s no rules per se. So.
IV: So, I have to tell you about my life, yes?
I: Well you don’t have to but if you accept the proposal then go ahead, tell your story.
IV: Okay, so I think I will go chronically. So, I was born in Warsaw. I was the first one on my family born in Warsaw because my family is from east side of our country. And erm, I was, I am the second child of my mother and my father, but he wasn’t there when I was growing up and now. But I know him. He lives in Canada. He went there in 80s to earn money and he just stayed there. My older brother is older than me, 11 years. Which was quite fun, fine for me I think now looking from perspective because I have both experience of the one child in family because you know when I was five, he was 16, so he was very much older, so I have big experience in being the one child, but also, I had the brother, so had the siblings. And I think this diversity is okay. And, (thinking) so my mother was working very hard to earn money for both of us. And she tried to be also a father and mother because I knew my father for very long time just like a voice in the telephone. And in fact, I don’t like him very much. It’s not like I have any you know, bad feelings that he left us or something, I just think he’s not too intelligent and I think pity for him because I think that intelligence is something that complicates your world but also makes you more interesting person. And so, but in the same time while she was working so hard she didn’t have much time for us but it’s also okay, because she’s not very likeable person. You know big expectations, big criticism and you know it grows in you this attitude that you would like to be best in everything you do. (3) But I think in the other hand it’s better to have big expectations for oneself than not have any ambition. And (2) but also it causes many problems. Then you have to go to therapy and you know (laughs) when you’re older and you get to know what is going on. And then I also because she didn’t have many time to spend to me, I was rather lonely child. So, I played by myself a lot and that is why I found myself very creative because I think I draw about million pages of images and cartoons and so on. And though she didn’t support me in this because she wasn’t very, she don’t pay many respects for graphics. But after a year quite couple of years, own my own develop kind of alternative career for me and I make animated movies by myself so. (2) So it was effective.
And I went to my primary school was very interesting because I went to two primary schools. And both of them were Christian schools and first one was directed by nuns. (laughs) And I think about it like interesting because all my friends from this time, they’re so extremely atheist now as I am. You know like the nuns like took all the faith from us but I don’t regret it (laughs) I think it was also positive, positive effect. And then I also started to go for many additional exercises, like theatre, dance, singing and so on, so it was very creative time and I spent a lot of time with many creative people in my own age. And I think about 13 year of my life, I decided that I would like to be theatre director. (4)
So, in this point I think very different from other people, because I knew what I want to do very early. And in fact, from this 13 year of my life, I prepared myself to do what I do now. So, I read a lot and lot of books. I saw a lot of films, and old films especially. In fact, last two years of my high school, I was more sitting in cinema than in school.
And I went to very highly noted high school, very popular and very you know, famous because of grades. I don’t know what word I would like to say, but educational level is very high. And I met many great people there. And then I learned how to choose things that you have to do, and what you don’t have to do, and how to not spend time on things that are not just stealing your pressure time of your life, like for example, doing stupid exercises from stupid lessons you don’t need to know, like for example, for me geography. I didn’t want to spend my time on doing things with very incompetent teacher, and so. I learned how to be independent in my intellectual, you know development.
And also, I have experience that I had this teacher, because I went to a class with historic and philosophy profile. And because I really loved history, and as the nuns with this Christianity that they put it away from my mind and heart, my history teacher did the same with history. So, after four years of learning you know, in the history profile class, I know nothing about history because I erased it from my mind. Because she hated me from the very first time we saw each other. And, but she also learned, she also teached us philosophy but she didn’t respect this second lessons. So, when I decided to do my final exams from philosophy, she didn’t even know that this is possible. So, that is why I could spend most of my time in the cinema, because she told my mother, I want to prepare her for this exam okay, because I don’t want you know have more work to do. I have to teach people history and philosophy it’s not so important. So, I had to learn by myself, and it was great. And I get the best note for final exams in my school when I learned alone. And it was also a great year because my mother was abroad because she, she travelled a lot abroad. So, I was living just with my older brother, who’s taking care of me. But he was in fact most important person during my, the process of me becoming adult. And as I said my mother is not very likeable person, so it was okay for me not to have her with her criticism all the time.
And I passed my final exam very well and then I passed also exams for two universities. One is Theatre Academy in Warsaw on directing class, which was, it was (thinking) (2) highly unexpected because for decades Theatre Academy didn’t allow people who are not after another school to, to be a part of directing class. And I was the first person for the case, so everyone looked at me very suspicious. What she has in her brain that they allowed her, so. Many professors who in fact accepted me then, the first and second year was telling me, I don’t know what you’re doing here, you shouldn’t be here because you’re too young and you have no life experience, so what you can say in your performance in theatre. So, it wasn’t very nice.
And the other university was the University of Warsaw and I went there for philosophy and also with higher note on my exams. So, we can tell that my start was from the very high level but it also caused that I had in my mind I had to be great in everything to (thinking) to you know, to provide people evidence that I worth it. But in the end I met a lot of great friends there with, and these friendships last till now. And it was very, very important for me.
But what is interesting all these friends are from philosophy because in Theatre Academy there is so rivalry there, everyone wants other to be (thinking) (4). They want to be better than anyone else, so sometimes they do very vicious things. (5)
And (2) on the second year of Theatre Academy I met this great professor who was the first one in this, in me being there time who told me your imagination is great, don’t, don’t give a shit about these other professors, who tell you you’re too young, or that you have nothing to say because your imagination and what you do is really great and you should believe in yourself and don’t care what people say. And he was the first one to tell you something like this. And also, he’s a friend of mine till now. And he watched, he’s watching all my performances and always tell me what he things and supports me.
And during my studies, I also started to work in theatre as director’s assistant, like you know creative assistant not someone who gives the coffee or something like this but you know, helping with working with the performance and putting some ideas of my own. And then the director, yes and it is also funny because I never earned any money in other work than artistic work. And I think it’s, it’s (5) I’m searching for word, accomplishment I think. Because I think that I don’t like to waste time, like what I said about my high school that I learned there that life isn’t worth to waste your time and you have to do. Like this, my professor who told me that I should do what I wanted to do and don’t give a shit what other people say, he also every time, for example, told him that I’m going to work in the museum, he told me, okay, okay, fine, but in fact you shouldn’t waste your time and you should go and do performances, because this is what you’re good at. So, he’s also a bit criticise me for doing other stuff than theatre. (Animated) But I also don’t give a shit what he things because I want to do for example, animated movies or, I want to diverse my artistic experiences.
And also, this is why I joined your workshop. And (thinking) So and I was very successful because I was the first one in my whole class on Theatre Academy and we are only six of us that were there because it’s very, very small class. There are six people a year, or four people a year. So, I was the first one and other people were like older than me, seven years, ten years. So, I was the first one who made my own performance that I directed my own piece. And I started there. I think I was 24 years old, and I did a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff.
And (3), and about this year when I was 24 years old, I met my boyfriend, with whom I am till now. I think I can simply call him the love of my life (laughs) and he’s also involved in artistic matter, but he’s in film. I learned that movies if Americanism and so film. He’s writing and directing his very film now. So, we are both in to art but our two subjects the same so there’s no, you know, (thinking) point of disagreement or rivalry which is very important in my opinion that we are individuals. And we can help each other by you know, inspirating each other but we don’t fight on professional level.
And erm (3) after directing seven performances of my own my closest, she’s both my (thinking) the closest, colleague is not good word, (thinking) (2) co-worker but it was also the deepest friendship I have ever had in my life. And I worked with her during this, every performance, and three years ago, she just left me, from one day to another with almost no explanation and we ended this very deep relationship both in work and in normal life. Like she ended it. And I felt very betrayed and it, it kind of reason for last three years I just did, only three performances. Directed only three because I fell in depression, (2) because I knew that people in general are not very good for each other but I never thought I will be betrayed by almost the closest person in my life. So, last three years were very hard for me, because (thinking) (2) because of this emotional, on this emotional level but also in other level, because of my mother. She developed in me this attitude and thinking that money is what makes you adult. It makes you someone who can (3) who can manage your life. You know what I mean? It’s (2) if you can afford your life, you’re doing great. And if you don’t have money, it means that you’re a loser, because you can’t take care of yourself. So, that was also hard for me because 2013 was the last year when I was able to really, I was very comfortable with money I earned. And last three years was really, like in bible they say, yes, there were seven great years and seven very poor years, like seven fat cows, and seven very you know like thin. So, it was really hard years for me.
And, but I fight it of course. And I was working but you know the stress and uncertainty of future was, was make me, make me feel very stressed and pessimistic.
And I think that those three months in Museum, was, because I decided that to go here just to you know come out from my house and talk to people and get angry on people and get happy with people, you know just to diverse my environment. Not to know have this really close group of friends and don’t go out, like to, to force myself to stop be afraid of getting, getting out.
And I think it, I think it did its job. Because I get, I learned a lot of stuff and when there was possibility to earn money here I took it from the, you know I just told girls, put me in the schedule every hour you want, I have nothing else to do, so put me everywhere, I want to do wherever I can, whenever I can, just take me. And I think it was kind of therapeutic because (3) I was going out, I was meeting people. I was learning new stuff, which is really, I also learned this last year, is that learning new stuff is one of the drugs I like to take you know. That learning and new knowledge and information and you know this feeling that you are making yourself wiser or knowing more stuff is really something that makes me feel very good. It is comforting, you can say.
And during these three exhibitions I think that I learned a lot. (3) And (4) and also, I started to (2) call and meet with directors of theatres. Not theatre directors, but you know the directors of theatres. And I had this, I think it’s success, kind of, but you know in my work everything is just so (thinking) like, we can agree that I will direct a performance in your theatre in six months but in five months, director of theatre can tell me, shit I don’t have money for you. So, it’s you know, you can be sure about your future but I agreed with this guy who saw my previous performances and he liked it very much, that I will do, direct one in his theatre. And now I’m preparing the scenario because I write all my own scenarios by myself. I’m not basing it on other people place. And (5) and I’m trying to (3) to have a bright look on my future, which is not simple. But I think that after these three months I changed and my attitude has changed. And I think in good way. (10)
And I think that we are here now. So, this is the end of my story (4). As you can see work is the most important part of my life (laughs). And I don’t deny it. (19)
I: Thanks, do you want to add something or is it…?
IV: I also have two cats and I love to horseback ride. And my big fascinations are animals.
I: Are?
IV: Animals. (5) And I draw a lot of course. (13) And one more thing, the best thing in my work and I am not saying animation or in theatre directing, or in writing scenarios, is that people pay me for me reading books and getting more and more you know, I forget the word, (thinking) (16), this word I know very well. (2) Okay, I will just describe it. I, people are paying me for something I love, like I told you like I love to learn new things and become more aware of many things, so it’s the great part of being artist, that you know you are growing more and more and like a plant. (4) You reach every year, every experience, every play, every animation, everything that you do in your work makes you more reach, personally rich inside. Yes. That’s all. (4)
I: Right so give me a second just to set out this.
(Break 33.48 – 35.08)
IV: And I think that I didn’t tell you a lot about my close family. (3) But if you ask I will tell you.
(Break 35.16 – 38.34)
I: Okay I’ll ask a few questions. (4) So, I’ll just ask questions logically so I’ll go back to the beginning. It’s based on what you’re saying (?? 38.58) after that. So (4) you said that your father was around and he was an absent person, can you describe this sense of absent?
IV: So (3) he went there when I was 14 months old.
I: (?? 39.35)
IV: I have no problem with it so if the sound is okay. So, when I was 14 years old, not years, months old. So, and I first saw him when I was eight years old. He came to Poland then. For me he was just a, you know, strange guy. I knew him from photographs. But the funny thing, you can consider it tragic for me really, it’s not because I don’t have this feeling of loss, because I never had feeling of him being here, so I don’t have the feeling of loss. That he has two brothers, older and younger and they all look the same. And for a couple of years when my mother showed me his photographs and told me that this is my father, I thought it was my uncle. And (thinking) so he come to Poland and then he came to Poland when I was eight, and then I think when I was 12. Then I think I was 16 or 17. So I saw him like five times and one time I went there to Canada when I was adult, already. (2) And (thinking) I don’t know. I just (4) the feelings I have for him is just like I feel sorry for him, like that his life looks like it looks and then I think he’s very childish in his vision of his life. (3) sentimental and not aware how reality works and so I feel sorry for him like I feel sorry every human being who is not very capable of thinking in realistic or intelligent way. When he goes I’m talking with him and we laugh. So, no hard feelings really.
I: And your mother was working hard?
IV: My mother yes.
I: What kind of work does she do?
IV: She’s statistician. Statistician, you know, inflation stuff and numbers. Statistics.
I: What’s statistics?
IV: Statistics, economy.
I: Yes.
IV: Like (thinking) like making researches for this whole, you know, processes of prices, how they’re getting up and down and so on, very, very boring stuff.
I: Yeah. (20) So, you said that this consequence you were a lonely child, played with myself a lot, and you were doing drawings and cartoons and developing dramatic sphere. So, curious if you remember a particular moment where, do you remember a particular moment of this activity and you finding ways to somehow…
IV: Yes, I remember some stuff. One sounds very, very, sad, because, because of this loneliness, the sense of loneliness I thought I should build a robot that will play with me. So, it sounds really sad and really lonely. Well I think it was. But also, I remember that because of my compulsive drawings, my mother decides to buy a really big pile of pages, like you know, like this big whole box of pages and I was just, every three hours asking for more and more because I needed more, I just all the other, so yes. And I think that two months ago, me and my boyfriend we were tidying up our apartment and I found some of my old drawings, and I also told you that I’m very fond of animals. So, I erm I made my own animal books, like albums and I was you know looking at the real books and trying to draw you know, like for example, the fish from the photograph with my crayons. And really after 25 years, it still look very nice. (2) And also, I draw a lot of comics, like how they call it, (2) maybe cartoons, yes drawings with what they say with some funny adventures. And I did it for many years, because I was always very bored in school. I didn’t like school and every year I’m getting older I am happier that this time is you know, I’m not still educating and so I draw a lot of cartoons about everything around me. (2) I think it was you know like, first step to doing animation. Animated movies, later (5)
I: You said that from 13 years old you decided to be a theatre director.
IV: Yeah.
I: So, there was a decision being made somehow. Do you remember…
IV: The moment?
I: The moment…
IV: Yes.
I: Can you describe that moment?
IV: Yes, because I… about when I was 12 years old, I begin to go to this additional classes. It was like for older kids and adolescences, youth, theatre classes. One of the theatres organised kind of classes for youth. And I went there, and we were, (thinking) not pushed by (thinking) encouraged to do our own projects, you know, write our own scripts or take place by someone else and do your own version, and to direct it, and to play it and I felt the best when I was directing. So, I was very, very young when I directed my first, kind of, of course the duration was about 20 minutes, so it was really small form but, but I learned a lot and it felt so great because I felt the most creative in my life. And it was with this, this classes for young people interested in theatre. We went also for a holidays in July and August to you know like two weeks of classes somewhere in the country. And, and it was then, I there directed my first little thing and then I thought that it’s the best thing that I ever felt and this is what I want to do.
I: So, in this moment, like this is the best thing you ever felt, just to try to open this, was that just a short moment after it was just finished or during the work or do you remember exactly how you understood as, like, this is a decision, this is it?
IV: You know because it wasn’t just this one moment after for example premiere, opening night, because it was very, very active time and we had the best teachers, they were actors. But you know with great imagination and in fact every five minutes, from eight o’clock till, in the morning, till nine o’clock in the evening, we, we have different but so many things to do. So, for example, there were three groups and each day one group have to prepare kind of form interesting style of serving breakfast, dinner and lunch and dinner for example. Like I remember that one time a group of people invented that we will have lunch in hell and heaven. So, they were like you know dressing devils and angels disguise and made some sad. Or I remember that I invented that one dinner will be served in kind of museum of natural history. So, we are dressed like you know, like native (thinking) native, Polish you know, people from 10th century for example, like you with this long hair and eating our meal with hands and so on. (becoming more animated) And also another group have to invent how to make a wakeup call for everyone. So, for example, they were dressed like Indians and Cowboys and you know at eight o’clock in your room there were Indians and they were running and in fact minutes they came cowboys who were you know running after them. And also, every evening one group have to prepare a little small form for like improvisation on the theme they were given. So every each minute of the day you were pushed to do creating stuff. So, it wasn’t just my performance that I was doing the whole two weeks. Everything was creation there. And what I told you was just like a little piece of it. We had to do so many stuff, artistic stuff. And it was I think the best time, in this time of my life it was the best two weeks. (3)
I: So just to ask the same but with a difference, so this decision came after or this is a gradual process, how it manifested in your body, do you remember like when you came after these two weeks, then there was no question any more, there was like what had been a question before is not any more a question, or was it conscious that you had made decision or it was more that you look back and you understand that I had decided. Or is it, do you remember any particular moment when you actually realised that I made up my mind, the on the way home from there or if that, just trying to locate some kind of (3).
IV: I think it could be because I don’t remember the, you know, the very moment but I think it could be somewhere between this premiere of my little form, and, and time when I went back home. And because I think that someone ask me there and how about these two weeks, and maybe someone asked me do you want to be actress, and then I thought no, no the hell I don’t want to be actress, acting is boring. I want to direct. I think it was something like this. (3)
I: Great, I have more questions if you… (4) You said that you recognise in high school, which was a high educational thing, and mine too, you had to navigate your have to dos and not have to dos, and you mentioned geography. Could you tell something more about this recognition and that you actually navigate?
IV: In fact, I didn’t realise this until my best friend from my class in high school, told me that she always admired me and thought one of levels of my intelligence and something that makes me, you know, (thinking) wise I think, it was that she had this internal (7) she was convinced that she have to do everything in the school, because this is school. So, you are meant to do everything. No questioning yes or no, why. And then she met me and for me it was so natural that there is stuff that you don’t, that really too stupid, you pay your attention to it. That there are always people who did their homework and you can ask them if you can just you know right it and you are also great in that you know can took their homework and put it in your own exercise book and I was also good at some stuff. For example, French language, or Polish language, or philosophy. So of course, it wasn’t just I was you know, like vulture going around their home works and I was also giving them something. But she told me and when she told me that for her it was revelation that you can ask yourself why do something, and then I get to know this is one you know, one thing in my character that’s individual. (2) In fact, I think that it developed in time that I always ask myself why do some stuff rather than asking why not to do. For example, I really don’t want to have children. I don’t like children. I can’t imagine that I will care about (2) them and I found boyfriend who also don’t want to have children and many people who have children feel like attacked by our attitude because you know if they don’t want to have children, maybe it means that they think we are, I don’t know stupid or something that we have them. And they asked us why you don’t want to have children, and I ask myself why I would want to have them. You know this kind of character, my character that I’d rather ask myself why do something, yes. So.
I: You said that due to relationships, special female teacher in the history class, the history was as a school topic erased from your mind.
IV: Yeah.
I: And it was this relationship hate from first sight like a mutual…
IV: Yeah.
I: I’m quite curious to hear something more about this…
IV: Okay so. After preschool we had exams to high school. And one of, part of the exam to this class, was meeting with two teachers, and just you talk with them. So, they can get to know you. One was French teacher, who will then be like kind of you know the special teacher of your class that will, I (thinking) I’m losing my words, so one was French teacher and the second one was history teacher, like the two most important teachers during this four years of high school. And it was conversation about you know what you’re interested in and (5) and what they think about some stuff. And I was so stressed that I really I, this conversation was one of the greatest intimidations of my life, because really, I said so many stupid things that I till now, really disappointed in myself. And I think that it was moment when she thought. Oh, my god what a stupid girl. But the second thing was that in my primary school and then in high school. I had very individual style of being dressing myself, music I listened, and, and interests because I was always very interested in hippie sub culture, and this why many friends, even now, it was like was, on the same vacation that I was 13 years old, on the theatre tour. One of my friends from the theatre circle, called me Janis, like Janis Joplin. And I am called this nickname to now even. So, it was very strong part of me to (2) this kind of person. And she hated it. And she from the first lesson, I was the first person that she you know called to answer her question, and I wasn’t prepared for that and I get the lowest note, and you know it was kind of first lesson, in first year, you don’t know other people, and it was like her planned humiliation of me before the whole class. And I remember one lesson, about half a year later, when I knew that she will ask me, and I was so fucking prepared (angrily) that she didn’t have any possibility not to give me the highest note. And my friends from my class after this lesson you know, just (2) congratulated me a lot because they know that it was kind of fight back on her. Yeah so. (5)
I: So, I’ll continue. You said that your mother travelled a lot and your brother took care of me.
IV: Yeah.
I: In the process of becoming, during the process of becoming an adult. (?? 1.03.54). I’m just curious about this process of becoming an adult, in proximity with your brother. (?? 1.04.08) brief episode which represents that kind of process?
IV: Yes, I remember when I was 14 years old and it was the first time that I was allowed to go out of city with couple of friends. And me and my best friend we decided that it would be the first time that we will smoke cigarettes. And because I was very shy, too shy. Not shy but afraid to go to store and ask for cigarettes because I was 14 and I looked like I am 14. So, it’s an interesting fact, my first cigarette were rolled by myself from the elements that I found in my brother’s closet. So, I made these three cigarettes. And I went on this trip and after coming back to my apartment, my brother asked me how was it. And I said it was great and he asked me if were drinking alcohol, but not like. (stern voice) Were you drinking alcohol? But like, and what are you doing because he knew that you now the first trip and you know this feeling of being adult because you now no parents at all. And I told him that we were not drinking alcohol and he asked me, so you weren’t drinking alcohol so maybe you were smoking marijuana. And I said no, not marijuana. And he asked me, so you were smoking cigarettes, and I said yes. And he said, hmm, I’m disappointed because I thought that the first cigarette you will smoke with me. And it was one of these moments. I know that it may sound not very mature or educational but I think that it is kind of example of you know this relationship. Because he didn’t erm, want to tell me no, you can’t do this, you can’t do this, you can’t do this. He knew because he was also young, then, then this is time when I will try many stuff. But he wanted to prepare or you know, (thinking) (2) help me have good memories after it, you know. Not get into trouble but he wanted just to, yes help me and protect me while I was doing this stuff. And then when for example, I have many conversations with him. And also, he was, I think, the first one who, with whom I tried a beer, and also, he was the first one who told me, you are going to vacation, okay, but remember what should happen if you smoke marijuana. So, don’t rather mix it with alcohol because you know when you are first time, what you are first time smoking it’s not very good and so on, and so on and so on. And he also knew all my friends. And we were talking a lot about my feelings for example, when I was in the last class of my preschool, primary school. My best friend, (2) started new friendship and I felt very disappointed and alone. And he helped me, he helped me a lot. By just accepting who I am and my mother will fight with. Who I am, so. This kind of relationship.
I: Okay. (7). You said there was rivalry in the theatre school, the theatre department. That people would do vicious things. Do you have any examples of something you observed there which…?
IV: (3) For example, there were you know, you were obliged to do four (3) performances a year. And you had the notes, grades and you know it decided if you are passing to another year or not with public, people from all over the school were coming to see what you are doing, who you are. If you’re interesting or not and so on. But we had only two rooms prepared to do such performance. And there was a big fight for time for rehearsals. And people from high, older years, were very (thinking) have to fight for this and they were taking advantage of this, that I don’t know, that I am younger than them and they sometimes intimidated me and, or for example. Yes, many of these colleagues of mine take advantage, took advantage this, I wasn’t very sure of myself because you know this whole professors will tell me this that started, there’s no place for me here. After accepting me. And so, you know, there were for example, when I had my rehearsal in the room, they were interrupting, and yelling, this is my time now, go somewhere else, such stuff. Or you know, after this performance of mine, gossiping and laughing or some stuff. (3) After two years, we became friends with some of them when they saw that I am very talented but first few months were hell, really both professors and other students. (12)
I: You said you started to work with as a director’s assistant, performances and contributing your own ideas.
IV: Hmmhmm.
I: Artistic work and was also paid, but you had like access to bring in some of your ideas. Do you remember any particular idea that you…?
IV: Yes. I remember two with two directors which one work was really (3) strange because he was young director. And many of my friends from school told me, are you stupid, you are like 22 years old and he’s 28 and you will be his assistant. He’s like you know almost your age. And I thought fuck you, I want to you know, be in theatre, maybe learn something. I don’t care if he’s not older enough. But he wasn’t very good person. And I remember this moment when we sitting in apartment of one of our actors, discussing one of scenes. And this actor went to kitchen for something to prepare, and I was sitting with this director, I was assisting, and I thought that this character, the actor was playing, should in one scene, because we were discussing how he should appear on the stage. And I thought that he should like you know, appear from, you know you have empty chair and somehow, he’s growing from the centre of it. And this director thought yes, you’re right and he went to kitchen and say to this actor, listen what I have, I have so great idea, I just invented, and it was fucking my idea, you know and he went five metres away from me and telling that it was his idea. So, it was bad experience, but I had also many great experiences because then I was assistant of other director, that I admired very much. And then he became a director of this theatre and he gave me opportunity to do my own pieces. And we are doing Alice in Wonderland, of course it wasn’t for kids, it was very existential, very philosophical, and we were thinking about how the Cheshire cat, you remember Cheshire cat, and Alice from Wonderland. You remember?
I: Yes, but I don’t remember it in detail.
IV: The Cheshire cat was this figure who appeared like a cat for example on a tree. And disappeared but his smile were staying, that there was no cat but the smile stayed. And he thought that the Cheshire cat in our play should commit suicide. And we were thinking what kind of suicide he should you know commit. And I came with the idea, that for example in old time prisons when people were hanged, it wasn’t like you know, not like 100 years when you have this you know construction and they were just like this. But there is a floor and they are staying on the floor, then this you know, and they’re just like disappearing in the whole. And, and he was very fond of it and we did it. So, the Cheshire cat was just putting you know the rope around his face, he was doing this smile. He was (noise) and then this floor is going down and he fell in this hole. I was very, (2) happy that this idea came into the play.
I: Two more questions if that’s alright?
IV: Right.
I: (10). You say you met your boyfriend, when you were 24, (?? 01.16.53) involved in film and you said there’s no point to be rebels, rival, because you have the chance of mutual inspiration. Just curious again if this mutual, this mutuality if you have something, if you remember something more particular about mutual inspirational element.
IV: For me this lack of same work is very important, because during one performance I invited him to work with me, to write scenario with me, and it was bad experience because his attitude to work is very different than mine. I could very you know, digging emotionally in what I do, and he’s like very distance, yes, in distance to the work. But for example, he’s now, yes, he almost finished his first, you know, like full film. And he, and he show me every version, for example, addition you know and I have to write notes and tell him. In this moment, I think this is too long, or I think that you should put this scene before this scene, so that people will think something and then it appeared something else. And, and yes, he’s listening to these ideas. And also, when I’m working something I ask him what do you think I should do with the end of the scene, for example. (2) Or now I am working on animation and this is about two groups, and it was inspired by real situation, about two groups of football fans, but it’s not real football fans, but rather hooligans, you know, who are making these fighting dates (laughs) and it is really very interesting, real life and funny story but I don’t want it in this animation them to be so realistically from this club and this club. I want them just to be more, (2) it’s not the best word but kind of symbolic, like you know, one have flags with circle and one have flag with cross or something like this. And so, we are discussing, we were discussing it yesterday, you know, he asked me why I want this and I told him and he told me that maybe even if I should look in internet and you know watch for some photographs of this kind of hooligans and maybe something will express itself. You know we have this different experience in developing our projects, and it is good. It may be sometimes he’s too distant to his work and maybe sometimes I’m too inside and this exchange of methods is very (thinking) (3) effective.
I: Okay. (4) I go on about this, you said three years after she left me, and ended life work relationship, you felt betrayed. So, is it possible to enter this sense of betrayal in what way or what does it mean?
IV: You know I in fact did it, and it was kind of very subtle revenge. Not in fact revenge but very subtle, because she left me. I think a month before I started rehearsals to a play that we wrote together. So, remembered every word of it. You know because in this cooperation I was director and she was rather person of words. She was you know providing inspirations in literature and so on. So, she knew the scenario in every word. And during this rehearsal I found out because, because some, a lot of stuff, that I cannot use some citations, quotes in one scene. And it was scene about rules that you are given how to live your life. And I knew that she knew every word of this scene, and I had to change the words. And I did, I changed the words in the sense that it made a lot of sense on the stage but it was kind of also message for her. Then for example one of the sentences was that, let people know that relationship with you is like one way street, there are no comebacks. And I know that she get the message. (4)
I: So, that was the revenge.
IV: Subtle and rather you know kind of, very you know micro sized, Nano size of revenge but I, I felt a little satisfied that she heard it and I know that it, it meant something. But it’s you know, didn’t influence, after few years I still. I’m not in pain anymore but I feel really, bad when I think about it, about what she did. (4)
I: You mentioned, you said that the sort of stress and uncertainty about the future, which was kind of pessimistic.
IV: Yeah.
I: And I’m just curious how this pessimism came to an expression in life? What do you mean in what way was it pessimistic?
IV: It was after 2013 which was very, very good year for me financially in an artistic way. I earned really a lot of money. And after this year came to 2014 when I had to you know, ate my whole savings. And then I get one work but it wasn’t enough because in 2015 I had to ate new savings and so on, so I think that… And also, I was fighting with depression these years. You know I had to start to therapy and so on, and I was crying a lot, lying in my bed, crying and so. (3) I think that you know, while watching my, my account in internet, I got too you know, more and more sad. (3)
I: Okay, so few more questions. Seeing what I’m writing. Okay so, (5) you started after this at the museum to work as a volunteer and it was also a way of forcing, you said, to force diversity.
IV: Hmmhmm.
I: And you learnt a lot of stuff, your money and a list of things. But maybe I would like to ask you what did you learn about these sorts of things?
IV: You know, learning can mean two things. A lot of things. But now I mean these two things. Or learning methods of how to do something or how to behave, you know this construction of reality. Or collect new information. And I think that I collected new information these days, because especially, upstairs exhibition. I loved it. I really loved it and also, I had many conversation with other volunteers about it, who were more critical, for example. And it was very interesting. Both exhibition and the stuff I learned and artists I, I you know, started to know because I didn’t know them earlier because I wasn’t very into art world like you know museums, galleries and this kind of art world. I knew stuff but not really profoundly. And, and because this upstairs exhibition you know had 80 elements or something like this, it was a lot of stuff to learn about world, about what people are doing, what are people are spending their life for, like they are spending their life like for example, some guy from Belgium is working with farmers in Congo to make a discussion about this post-colonial politics of you know, work and (2) and it opens your eyes to so many things, and for example I, (2) I was inspired by many things on this exhibition and I started to think about you know in the matter of my own work. (2) Yeah, so both exhibition and both conversations, and conversation, my conversation with other people, not only volunteers, but also my friends, who are also artists but in other fields, or they are not artists. Discussions about what they see what they think, what they like, what they don’t like. People who for example love to like better the downstairs this. Why do we have wars exhibition which for me is really not even controversial but is I think really misunderstanding, and for example, this small Marti, but it’s not blunt Marti, but darker Marti. She liked this why we have wars the most, and my favourite she didn’t like at all. And we had really some nice conversation. And in the other hand the people I met in museum and in our workshops, are people that I would never met in my life and I wouldn’t you know spend my time drinking coffee with them, because they’re so different than me. Like when of the girls Michelina who is art history student, she with no shame, communicated us on first, on first meeting, that she’s not reading any books and watching any movies. For me it was so strange that somebody can first of all live like this, second of all don’t be ashamed of it. First, third of all, art history student. And I admit it. But also, the small Marti was discussing exhibitions, this is person I find very interesting. And I know we wouldn’t become friends in any other case than this exhibition. You know (2) like in real world people like her are feeling dominated by me and, and I, and I need more imitative from people. And for example, learned also to (2) listen and conversating with people that I’m not really willing to start in other situation.
I: Great.
IV: And also, that there are people who I hated from the first meeting. And now I like them. (3) That’s always nice.
I: (5) You said in the, after saying that you have two cats and like horseback riding and you’re fascinated by animals, you said that you draw a lot of course, so do you draw?
IV: Everything. Like I can show you because while this my, the most notebook now, because I have this, I call it work diary, and I’m addicted to it, and you know I have just like here’s (?? 01.34.12) meeting on Saturday and all my notes, and for example some (?? 01.34.19). This is like from kind of lecture and while listening to lecture, I was just like, here’s for example, a ship with a man and a horse in it. And I think somewhere else, oh yes and this is ship with a guy, not goat, it is a sheep. Ship with a sheep. And also, this strange plant or here is pigeon penguin, bird.
I: You mentioned this movie you made in this…
IV: Yes (laughs)
I: You did a couple right. Did you make this film with two people in the boat?
IV: No, no. It’s not mine, it’s Monika’s and she will be…
I: Directing?
IV: No. No. My film was…
I: With Tomas.
IV: It’s not movement, it’s a painting which is running away from exhibition.
I: Escaping.
IV: Yes. I was acting in this film with ship. Ship, little boat. And also, I draw mostly animals, animal characters rather. And people. That’s what I’m doing my animations about. So, I like living my dream (laughs).
I: Great, I don’t know if you want to add something, I’ve gone through all the questions.
IV: I don’t know. I don’t know why you need it. I felt like I was on therapy really. (laughs)
I: Yes, I don’t know exactly. I thought it’s a good way for me maybe to round off this work. I’m not sure what will come out of it, so it’s no more precise than that. And (7) you were asking what I needed this for?
IV: No, no, no.
I: Okay so maybe we will end it here. So, I’ll stop the recording.

Warsaw Interview 6

I: So, I started recording, just so you know it, if that’s okay. So, it doesn’t matter if you make breaks, just me, that’s going to listen to this, so you shouldn’t be concerned about the recording.
IV: What concerns me, what really concerns me is that it tells me that you’re not going to say anything.
I: No. The proposal…
IV: Okay we shall ask first. (Humming).
[Background noise] 00.00.54 – 00.02.13
I: What we’re going to do, instead, because it was the plan originally to see if we could something about a narrative and interpretation is part of the workshop and never time for it, (?? 02.37) some part and now I thought this narrative, biography is interesting to have (?? 02.51) been part of this workshop and so I was asking if they could tell their biography. So is what they probably associated with the free conscientious. It is actually about story of certain life experience, how you talk about your experience. That was a special technique I’m trying to use.
IV: About my experience, you mean biographically?
I: Yes, your experience, you choose yourself what you (?? 03.35) if you think it’s advantage to talk about but it could also be the experience of the volunteer work and the workshop, so that’s a very isolated, if that’s something which you’d prefer. And people have interpreted this question in very different ways. So, some people start, I was born blah, blah, blah, and they started there and did this. And some people are (?? 04.07) life which I don’t think of so much because I work with elders who are retired and have a whole life to reflect. (?? 04.19) (laughter). So, but I didn’t want it to be that I wanted dig into your life that’s the other thing. So, if you want to summarise your life story, what is tricky about this situation is that I will just ask this, so tell me all about it, including events and what is also important to you and what you’d like to talk about. You can start where you want there’s no rules basically, except that I will just listen and I’ll not interrupt at all. So, which is odd because when you see normally two people there is a conversation which is like questions and (?? 05.07).
IV: That’s what I…
I: That is good. Some people like to talk for a while, and some people are distressed and feels a bit weird, like what you say and what you’ve got to say.
IV: You’re going to… (laughter) sorry.
I: So. So far everybody agreed somehow, same way as the other exercises, because kind of…
IV: So, I have to agree, yes?
I: You don’t have to agree. You can say this is a bad idea, I don’t feel like it and it’s okay we just (?? 05.49). So, what is happening, after you tell your story, I will take some notes, then when you will finish I will maybe have some questions based on those notes, then it’s more like kind of interview as we know it.
IV: So anyway, this first part is supposed to be my life story, because some people understood it this way, but other people didn’t and they just spoke about…
I: I was very clear about the biography, your life story.
IV: Okay, so the first part is like my life story.
I: Because our life stories, let’s say our experiences have a sort of lack in a few months, and we can see if we can now base on that then we are, we are different, so I’m just curious about this work with the way lived experience is put into language and I think it’s much more likely that something interesting is coming out because it’s not so narrowed down. What you think about the second workshop or how has it been, the most important things for you as a volunteer. Because what comes in the narrative, because already its schedule because we worked together in the museum and it’s already clear what’s the biometrics, but it’s more interesting for the possible development of exchange if…
IV: Are you stressed?
I: Not too much no.
IV: No okay.
I: I’m just trying to be concealing.
IV: I’m not saying that you look stressed. I just wanted to know, you know.
I: I’m quite (3), are you stressed with a lot of work but not because of this in particular. And I also have to make decisions to finalise…
IV: Are you going to listen to all these like recorded things for so many hours, you don’t listen to it later.
I: This is right, and then I will hear for the second time, then I would think probably note some stage some interesting elements relating to this. Yeah, I have to. If you don’t listen to it, you don’t hear nothing.
IV: Yeah, yeah. Sure.
I: You have to hear it twice, maybe three times then you hear the voice what wasn’t mentioned.
IV: You make it sound like a concert or something.
I: Like a cinema.
IV: Okay.
I: So yes, I’m a little, I’m okay.
IV: Because I am stressed you know. Because I’m a bit… it doesn’t really matter because I’m usually stressed you know. Anything…
I: Are you stressed about this situation?
IV: About. Yes because (thinking) every time I’m asked to do something I’m stressed, because I want to conform. I just want…
I: Relax.
IV: I just don’t want to waste your time.
I: Waste my time?
IV: Yes, because I’m here to make something that I’m asked to do, so I just want to do it… do you understand it, just good as I can. It’s like yeah, anyway, that’s much. So first it’s the life story, yeah. (laughter).
I: If you accept it, first order.
[Ordering refreshments]
IV: Shall I start.
I: Take your time and start where you want to.
IV: Not really, life story.
I: Well…
IV: I’m sorry for asking questions but that’s what I usually think I don’t understand things. (5)
I: Of course, if I say about volunteer or about museum, or you told me about your background or something like that, so I know a little. (5) (laughter).
IV: You know when I was doing the interview, you know, by the end of it, do you remember, by the end they were just like putting the chairs, they’re making it obvious and they’re like, I had like 15 minutes of you speaking, that was okay, but in the background there was this sound of the chairs being put, it got on my nerves so much really, because it really disturbed the sound and everything, so I’m sorry for this. There is so yes, so erm, I was born in Warsaw, that’s how it starts, you mean.
I: Just start here.
IV: Sorry?
I: As soon as you start then it’s going to be weird because I’m not going to say yes, I’m not going to talk anymore, I’m just going to listen carefully and then take notes.
IV: So how do you want me to insert all this volunteering by the end of it.
I: If you like.
IV: If I like it?
I: There are no rules, you say what you think you want to say (3) anyhow what you don’t say well actually I didn’t say that and that’s important. I don’t know just, I mean probably likely you would start to talk and likely you would have some kind of chronological (?? 13.16) because already I was born somewhere…
IV: Yeah, that’s the easiest…
I: Over the years to contemporary times, for that already you can make to the museum. So, I think without thinking too much about it you can just start some place and in my experience, that will start to, then you will think probably more about this because it’s out of context. You can avoid it also if you want, so I just experience it, trying to make it less interesting it becomes, so that’s why it’s a bit weird.
IV: Okay so we can start like, because (2) that’s funny because I forgot that I was supposed to speak in English, you know I almost started in Polish.
I: That’s good sign.
IV: Anyway, first what comes to my mind actually not that I was born here or there, is that being at the museum and the meeting with you and our workshop was because I think, I think was quite normal but I think that the strongest experience of my life was like going to the kindergarten. And I think our workshop was a kind of redoing of the kindergarten but better you know. Because when I am saying that kindergarten was one of the strongest experiences of my life, it’s not to say that it was good, it was very bad you know. I think was just too fragile to go to the kindergarten in the 70s. So here the workshop, it was like being again in a group (2) but doing it without all the stress or the nerves, because that’s why I came here to the workshop you know, just to try myself, socially I would say, something that you know. So, that’s (7) So that’s what comes to my mind. Because as you know I was born in the 70s. And actually, for me that period is not, I don’t remember like people remember the childhood, like the happiest part of their lives, sunny and you know and stress less and happy and things. I think it was very difficult for me you know because I was, I was quite lonely. I mean maybe that’s the experience of everybody that you just feel lonely. But I was just extremely lonely. I think I saw things a little bit differently and I just couldn’t conform. I couldn’t conform to the rules like, all, at the same time I all the time conformed to the rules. So, I knew what was expected of me, so I did it. And then it was very difficult to me because I just don’t understand anything you know.
So anyway, I was born in Warsaw (?? 16.36) district, describes one of the regular district of Warsaw. So to speak I’m intelligent, yeah but this (?? 16.44) I mean it was very grey there you know. You had apartment buildings but the kindergarten aesthetically speaking it was a very pretty place you know, because everything was very angry in the 70s here in Poland, and kindergarten was built, it was quite new, and it was built quite nicely. It was like a flat building without, without storeys, (attaches Polish for storeys), and so this makes of memories, because really horrible on the part of social, you know, emotional experiences, but nice aesthetically. But still the kindergarten had the fence, the metal fence around it. And I remember the fence as a kind of you know, prison, because I was constantly inside the fence, and just looking outside of the metal, and just dreaming about being set free or getting free outside of the fence. (4) I think that’s you know (2) my whole life I think (laughs) well it sounds, it’s like a you know, a psychotherapy, I would say. It’s like, because I’m speaking about kindergarten, because kindergarten was something that I had to do things and I did the things although I didn’t like it all. And I think that like 90% of life was like doing things that I thought I should do. It wasn’t doing something because I wanted to or because it just happened like it, it was because I thought should do it. (2) So, that’s why I started with this workshop skill because I think for the first time, well it wasn’t for the first time that I promised myself not to be forced to do something, and just to behave like I wanted to, but I think it was one of the first moments in my life that I really, got to do what I wanted to do. I mean didn’t, without caring what other people think, something like that. (2) So that was my kindergarten, no, pretty place but really horrible you know with the teachers that were forcing food on us, can you imagine being like a five years old and quite stressed out without your parents, the one that didn’t want to be where you were, and then you have to eat your soup and if you didn’t eat your soup like on time, then the second dish was put inside your soup, you know, it was something really, like really, really horrible. (3) And I really got to spend many time in the kindergarten because I wonder when I wasn’t being three years old, because I was born in December, so you know the school year or kindergarten year starts in September, so I was always quite young and I was quite small, quite young, quite weak and quite you know scared all the time of everything. (2) And yes, then I went to, and my parents worked a lot. So, I had to spend a lot of time in, in the kindergarten and of course they treated me quite, I mean they treated me quite wisely I would say, that they explained things to me, and I think I was quite smart, so I just understood the things and that’s why I just didn’t rebel, because I understood that I shouldn’t rebel because they were worked, so I go to the kindergarten and I shouldn’t cry. (3) So, I just but it was really, really difficult for me and then I went to the primary school, which was much, much better (laughs).
You know really the educational system here in the 70s and beginning of 80s was really, I think it was like, it’s just like prison. Nobody cared for the individual. Nobody cared for what you thought. It was just that you went there. It was like a jungle. And I just, well I don’t think it’s only me but I’m supposed here to speak about me, myself and I. (laughing). So, I think I was quite unfit for any jungles, any rules, any fighting for your place, something like that. (2) and I think that I was also from the very beginning, from the time I was two or three years old, I was very self-conscious. And self-conscious in the two meanings, and the second meaning is that I was very aware of the things and I always analyse things. So, I was aware of what I was doing, what the others were doing about their relations between people. I remember it even from the kindergarten when I observed the kids, how they behaved, how they used to try to win the better place in the group. And even then, I remember from me it was pathetic. Because for most, you know most of (laughing) most of what I think about you know, people and life is that we are like 80% pathetic, you know (laughing) in our actions and things. And that started in the kindergarten. So, the primary school wasn’t much better. (3) I really don’t know you know. (4) There’s a saying, here in Poland that says it’s better to sin and later regret, than to regret that you haven’t sin. So, I think that I’m just the other part, I regret a little bit that I haven’t sinned. I was just too obedient, too you know, I just did what was expected from me. I think because I would. Would I be, but only now I’m starting to realise that you have only one life and there will be no repetitions. And there were some chances lost. (4) So (4) So yes so like being 40, speaking about kindergarten and still feeling so moved by the experience, I think it’s, I think it means that I still haven’t overcome certain things. I mean I don’t know. I think I know but I just don’t want to go deeper into it.
So then when, well the primary school was more or less the same. I was stressed all the time (2) very anxious. (3) And very lonely. I mean not really socially because I wasn’t a lonely child, I mean I had girlfriends and things. So, we constantly went out, we played badminton, we just played with our dolls and things. So, it wasn’t as if I was a lonely childlike from the outside. But I was really lonely inside. (5). And then there was the secondary school which some might say was a kind of a rebel period but it wasn’t you know. I just went to one of the best secondary schools here in Warsaw. (4) Maybe I’m contradicting myself but on the one hand I’m saying I was quite reflective and conscious of everything I did but at the second-hand I would say that I was very unreflective. I just did things (2) because I did them. I just didn’t stop, I just didn’t know that I had the right to stop and just think what I really wanted. That never occurred to me. (4) And I was so unsure of myself that I really at the beginning didn’t go to study, didn’t try because here by the end of 80s, beginning of 90s you just couldn’t choose one, one faculty at the university. And you had one chance. I had one examination and then either you passed or not. So, I didn’t even go to pass the examinations to the faculty I wanted to study. I just went to something that was easier because I just felt that I wouldn’t be able to pass it. Only with time I started to understand that I was quite smart you know what I mean, when I was in the kindergarten then primary school, it didn’t, well of course I got good grades but it didn’t occur to me that I was, I was quite smart.
And then by the end of 80s, that funny I can tell you about it. Because I had a boyfriend then and there’s this organisation MENSA, do you know this MENSA? And they came here to Poland in I think in 80, 1989 and he told me, this boyfriend of mine, he told me you should go there. And I said what, and he said yes let’s go, I’ll pay for your entrance exam and we will check. And I did it and it came out that I was like, I’m still a member of MENSA, that’s funny because I’m not advertising it, but okay, it’s just that it’s a different thing you know (laughing) a different moment I’m coming through this. So, it was the first moment when I started to maybe understand some things why it was so, why it had been so difficult for me in kindergarten. In one way, I saw so many things and for the first time I started to realise that maybe, just maybe I really was one of the few people that had seen certain things, you know what I mean, I know you are supposed to not interrupt (laughing). (2) But it didn’t change a lot you know. What (2) what really like saved me a little bit in those years, like when I was 18, 20, 22 was that I was quite attractive, so at least that. And that is what is very, that’s what really so terribly difficult now, you know. Because it’s this past year has been like the first moment in my life that I (2) that I just got old. I mean physically I start to feel like out of the game, if you know what I mean (laughing). I know that it sounds, I think I’m a little bit narcissistic also it’s really horribly difficult you know. When you have like 20 something, 30 something and you feel more less that when you go to a party and you just have this feeling that okay, if I want just I can, you know, with almost any guy that is there. And now during the last year, I just started feeling for the first time that it’s, it’s closing, you know the window is closing and that’s why I’m saying about thing that I haven’t, I just haven’t used enough you know. Please thanks. I just starting feel old and I’m starting to realise that there will be no repetitions and that I just didn’t, I haven’t, I haven’t (2) I haven’t used what I should have done you know, what I should have used there. Possibilities, abilities, capacity, something, something. But really, I came to the museum out of desperation either as well. Because (thinking) I really don’t know what I should do now. I mean, I’m at the crossroads, but I think I’m constantly on the crossroads. I mean I was, so okay we got more or less to, to the university, so I started to study the faculty I didn’t really want to study. And then after one or two years I finally passed the exam to study this Spanish philosophy that I wanted. And yes, it was quite nice because we got to go to Spain in the summer. I hitch hiked a lot. Every summer was like hitch hiking, so it wasn’t so easy like now, you don’t know about it, but in the 90s we had to have visas to go almost anywhere in Europe. So first we had to get the visa, then you didn’t have money because the rate, the exchange rate of money was so horrible that we would just have only a few bucks and that’s all. So, we travelled by hitch hiking. We you know people took care of us, invited us to their homes and things like that. That was Spain in the 90s fine and in France I also did it, and I, I really liked it.
And then I got married when I was 23, can you imagine this (laughing). I, to tell you the truth, that’s why I’m saying that I was, a long time I was quite reflective but on the other hand I was like very thoughtless, because I think the biggest reason to get married was to be original, because none of my friends was getting married then you know. They were just partying. (2) And none getting married. So, I was the one that got again because I’m a narcissist so I got again to be this pretty bride in this beautiful dress, in one of the most pretty churches in the old town. (3). I’m telling you things, I don’t care, I don’t think that I’m not going to meet. (laughing). If you just (?? 32.27). I remember when we are getting married and we are outside of the church. And there were some like tourist people walking, and they just went to the florist and they bought flowers and they brought it to me, and they congratulated my husband because they just found me so, I don’t know, attractive or something, but I wasn’t pretty, not at all, I was just think that I loved really very nice in the white dress, and that was my goal now to get married in this white dress. Stupid I know, but still, no.
The best part of my life are the things when things were pretty, you know so the kindergarten, the building was pretty. Then I remember, as I told you, the 70s were so horribly ugly, and then this primary school was the ugliest place on earth you know. They were dirty staircases, you know, there were window sills made of this (lastrico) I don’t know if this is an English name, of a certain conglomerate of stone and plastic and you also saw some like pieces of, of food in the corners of it because it wasn’t cleaned properly. And we were supposed also to clean it, so I remember those horrible shifts where we were supposed to clean the classrooms and it was so ugly, so dirty you know. I hated that so, coming back to the secondary school. Because my primary school was so ugly, so I went to one of the best secondary schools, but my reason for it was, that when I went there to visit with my friend, I saw the pretty building, because the building of the secondary school was from before the second world war, it had wooden staircases, it had a patio, and it was just pretty. So, I said okay, this building, because I’m not, I’m not going to go again to an ugly building. No, so I just chose the secondary school because it was pretty. And then I got married because it all seemed so nice and pretty to do it you know (laughing) more or less. I’m thinking it’s a little bit superficial but that’s how it was. (2) And my husband was quite handsome, so it was nice on the outside. (3) And then well I had my son, when I was 26, it wasn’t, it didn’t seem that early then, although I was I think the only one, the first one and only one among my friends to have a child, so again I was quite original. Stupid. And (thinking) yes, I think to this day, it was one of the most fulfilling periods of life, when my son was baby and then a toddler, really. (2) So, because like four years later, I had my daughter, but it wasn’t so great. I mean I think I was a little bit depressed and a little bit overworked also, and my marriage wasn’t that good so with my daughter it wasn’t so nice, but with my son, it was really I think one of the, as I just said, one of the most fulfilling periods of my life. And I’m still longing for it. For that feeling of fulfilment, and I’m just like feeling that I am at the place where I should be. (3) And he was a very nice guy, I mean from the beginning. Very intelligent, thoughtful (laughing) communicated, so he just didn’t cry, we just talked a lot. I mean you can talk to a three months old baby, really you can. (4) So, from yeah, from this point of view like being a mother, then it was really great. But it didn’t work for me this being wife of person. I think I just (2) I wasn’t just born to be (2) a woman (laughing). To conform. I think that it was because I was forced, or maybe I forced myself to conform to the rules from the very beginning of my life, so at the same time for me it’s the more horrible thing to conform to the rules. I’m always trying to rebel. Even if it is stupid, till now and I know that. I cannot help for example, a boss when I work, fortunately I haven’t been forced to have a boss because normally when I started working, I was quite good at it so everybody was like okay, just whatever she does, let her do it and that’s good. But of course, I had also some experience for me, for example once as I told you we travelled by hiking in Spain. We also looked for some drugs. I was for example, a guy for some youngsters, that went from Poland, groups of youngsters travelling to Spain, like tourist. And I remember they had, I had some not very nice adventures because, always, I’m maybe, I’m not anti-social but I’m a little bit asocial you know. I just, I don’t know, maybe I know what the rules are, just to find your place, to fight for your place, but I don’t want to do it, you know. I just don’t want to conform to the rules that rule the society, because I just, I just don’t want, I just prefer to stay at the margins but at the same time I’m very, I think very lonely at those margins. I’m sorry for saying so banal things. I know these are banal things but well then again, so what. (3) I hope Margush has said something funnier or whatever (laughing).
Okay. So, we’ve more or less covered the kindergarten, the schools, the studies. Yes, the kids yes. So yes. My son, that was really, when I just want to go back to something that makes me like sunny, now even now I have my voice, can you hear it that I’m a little bit like how do you say it, maybe not tearful, but a little bit moved by remembering the period with my son, and things yeah. Oh my. Yes, for a long, long know (laughing) you know you don’t know (3) just here now again I’m forcing myself because you asked me to do. Well not because you asked me to do it, because I just, I just (thinking) how do you say it in English, I just agree to be a part of it. So, if you agree to be a part of something, you just should do your best to fulfil that expectations. So now I’m really stressed out, but as I started then I have to do it. (laughing).
I: If we take a very short break, because I need to use the bathroom. (?? 40.33)
IV: I think so yeah. I don’t know where… shall I stop it somehow?
[Break 00.40.46 – 00.43.22]
IV: Now the dogs nowadays are becoming more and more like kids to people (laughing). Yes, so it’s funny. So really, I think that my relationship with my son is one of the best things that I have had. (2) I think I told you once that my daughter was quite difficult now, she’s 14 and she’s a teenager and she’s constantly like against me. And after me I mean, but yeah that’s how it goes. (3) And yes, quite early after I graduated from the university I started to work as an editor in the Cosmopolitan. But it was different in the 90s, Cosmopolitan was one of the two magazines for women, and it was quite intelligent. It wasn’t like it is now, you know. Everybody read it and I got to do, I got to know some interesting people, got to do some interesting interviews and articles and things, but I just worked there for less than a year, because I got fed up because before I had my son, and then I just decided to (thinking) I decided to stay with my son. I thought you know, I think, well I’m almost sure, I never was a stay at home mum mentally, you know. But practically on the outside, I was you know. But the inside, I think when people say (thinking) girls say, women say that staying at home makes them numb, and I mean that they just want to go back to work because staying with their child is, is not so rewarding, it’s so boring, it wasn’t for me, not at all. It was the most rewarding part of my life. I don’t know. My son was really an intelligent creature to interact, I had lots of time. I really liked raising him, you know because it was in the 90s, and it wasn’t so popular here for example, to read to a child books you know. To talk to a child, and I was really in to it. I was so because of a journalist, because later on I came back to work, I, I little bit dedicated myself to, because I didn’t go back to Cosmopolitan but I went to work for another magazine for parents. And I, am I started to be quite interested in nature, natural child births and pregnancies and then raising your child from the very beginning from this brain point of view and things like that. So, I wrote articles about giving birth, about the rights of women to for example to shout during child birth. About how why it’s so important for example, to give birth naturally and things connected to that. And I was really in to that and I was really interested, and it was really, yeah. I think that we just did a good job, I mean by me, I mean the magazines for parents and the in the 90s and then in the early 00s. Because people here just used more (thinking) how to say, violence against the kids, and the kids got spanked and weren’t treated like, well partners. Now I know, because in the 90s and the 00s, I think I was in the Avant Garde, speaking about raising kids. Now I’m not at all, you know. Now I’m much more traditional, because when I observe now is going on, the kids go totally free without any restrictions, now I’m a little bit you know, like on the traditional side. But then what I did was quite new and I also tried to write about it. To write about the raising kids, not as a partner, but in this intelligent way, for example, taking your child to theatres, reading to it, things like that you know. And I liked it. (3)
And then I had my daughter and gets a little bit murky you know from then. I feel that I was, I think that was I quite depressed. It wasn’t a clinical depression or nothing, but yeah, well first of all I think that I have a mild depression from the times of kindergarten more or less, you know I’m all this, you know melancholy part of life. And it just got worse and worse I think, and it wasn’t that good with my husband really. (4) And yes, and then I decided when my daughter was four, I think I decided to well to leave my husband, and I just, I did it. (6) And yes, when I got divorced it was really even worse. I just think that I have some, some really black holes in my memory from, it was very difficult because I didn’t know how to ask for help. I knew I had two kids, I had a big house, I had a mortgage which I took from my husband, because he left me like the whole house, so I got the whole house, but I also got the mortgage, and I told him that, it was an agreement that he will leave his half of the house to me and I won’t make him pay any alimonies to me. So, I had two kids, a big house, a mortgage, a job and I just couldn’t you know. (laughing). I had days, there were days that I for example, I didn’t have money, and I know that at least I needed money for the petrol, for the gasoline, that was the most important thing, because I live, I lived on the outskirts. I had to get my son to school and my daughter to school. Him to the football training, or chess training, her to her ballet classes or something like that. And I knew I could not eat, but I just needed money for the gasoline, you know. So, it was funny, well it was horrible but it was funny.
Now it’s completely different because now for example, it somehow for example that my father now helps to pay my mortgage and that’s how it is. But it took me so many years to finally admit that I just needed help. Because I had to, I needed so many years to admit that otherwise I would have died, really died you know. Emotionally and physically I will die if I proceeded like that with two kids, with work. I think that I was over stressed, over worked and things like that you know. And it really started getting on my health also. (3) I think that I’m sounding like a 40 something stupid woman from the suburbs. That’s it’s I’m a stupid 40 something woman from the suburbs (laughing). Anyway. (3) And then I, yes, because I after having my daughter I went back to work to, in a magazine for parents and then I just couldn’t anymore. You know that’s what happens to me. That I do something, I’m quite good but then I can’t anymore. I just can’t. I just can’t conform to the rules. I just can’t, can’t be in that group, I hate groups you know but you can’t live without groups. So, that’s, it’s just you cannot be if you are me, you cannot be inside a group, because you don’t agree with the things you have to conform to, and there’s always a price you have to pay, so I don’t want to be in a group. When you are outside of the group, you also cannot stand it because you a social human being, so you want to be inside a group and you don’t want to be inside a group, and that’s the tragedy of my life (laughing) I would say. So, I quit my job. And I started the bookstore you know thing, and it really, when it comes to time and money, it got even worse because when I was an editor and then editor in chief, at least got now a steady, a steady wage, you don’t say wage in English, whatever. But I just couldn’t you know. The stupid (?? 53.07) all those women there, just talking about those stupid things, you know and including, and excluding some of the group you know, all that, all these energies inside, all the things that manage a group. You know what I’m talking about. I hate it because I see and I don’t want be a part of it.
So, I quit the job and I started a book store and I still had two kids and a mortgage, a house, and an employee or two employees, at the store at the moment, and it was like that if I worked seven days a week, for example, many times I have to be in three places at one time, and then my daughter got ill, because she has, I don’t know if I told you. My daughter has this lifelong incurable illness. So, on top of everything she got ill with the illness and I thought, and I still think that maybe because you (2) really, it’s unknown how these kinds of tiny neurological illnesses start. So, one of the theories of course is that it’s a psychological, the rules are psychological and of course, what you think you divorce your husband, and your child got so stressed by it, that it develop the illness, so it’s really being, there’s this, book written here in Poland, I haven’t read it but it’s a book by a Polish, quite well known psychologist. And he wrote a book titled, Woman without guilt and shame. So, I’m constantly a woman with guilt and shame (laughing), that’s how it goes. (3) And I think that really with her illness, with working seven days a week, and things like that it, it really got on my health, because at certain point. And then I had some I would say romantic affairs, but I just, I’m really, I think that I am overreactive to the world, so I just, I just think that everything is just too much for me. And it was too much for me. So, it was, I just got so tired for the last two years, I didn’t have energy for anything. You know because before that I looked much younger, I have, I felt like, when I went to the mountains I walk like a 20 year old you know. And then it stopped like two or one and a half years ago. It just stopped. It’s started with my face, physically it stopped all of my power, stopped with my mind. It’s like that. And I decided to close the bookstore. (2)
And I really for the past two years, I really feel fine. For the first time in my life, I have time. And I really don’t know if it’s good or not, because my kids are now much more independent. I have time, I have this feeling of getting older. I have this feeling of not getting anything like in my life. I’m nobody. With no successes. Being an editor in chief is just a (3) it’s not a failure but you cannot say it’s a big success. So just move myself because some of my friends told me that maybe I was depressed but the lack of energy wasn’t in my head, because in my head, I want it, it was in my body. I just couldn’t move you know. I got tired after half an hour of doing anything. So, I just pushed myself and I came to the museum, to just to repeat certain things, as I said at the beginning you know. Just to be somewhere without caring that you are forced to be there. Without thinking for the other. It’s impossible not to think what the others will think about, but you can try to be a little less self-conscious. (2) And that’s why I came to the museum. It has worked out quite nicely but now it’s just everything is getting to an end. And I’m still clueless you know. Clueless was a title of a film of some teenager something, I’m not a teenager but I am clueless. That’s what I think. Yeah. And still quite lonely. And this loneliness I think it’s getting now, now it’s getting much more also social. I mean because in the previous years I always have many obligations, like school, studies, kids, and now my kids, okay my daughter quite ill, but they are, they are quite independent. And what happened to me socially was that I also started like, losing friends, or turning down, or maybe my getting tired, of constantly trying to help them if you know what I mean. So, I said to myself, okay, so I don’t have to, and I feel that I’m quite lonely also, because when you have a partner, then it doesn’t, even if you don’t have friends, then you still have this partner, so we are never alone so to speak. If you are alone, and I’ve been alone for the past, I think almost ten years, with somebody, very few romantic interactions into it (laughing) because I’m not just not into, I don’t know I still asocial, just like that. Maybe I’m just too difficult to be with somebody, I don’t know. So anyway, my kids are more and more independent, and now I’m getting more energy and I think that there are so many things that I would like to do. Like so many, I have so many ideas of things to go, to talk. So, I constantly like discussions, I love discussions, but there are few people who want to discuss things, just to fight. Even like the sense of conversation you know. So, I really would like to have this feeling of losing time. (3). That’s how it goes. And that’s it. (laughing) I think. I think it’s enough. (5)
I: Okay, a short break and I will ask you if there something you think you want to add.
IV: Well you know, now I’m getting a little bit, much more relaxed so I could talk and talk and talk. And I would also like to talk to you, I mean to have a discussion, but I think it’s enough otherwise we won’t end. That’s more or less it. There’s so many aspects you can look from the other point of view, and I think you can start different narrations. I could start telling you this whole story from another point, from still my point of view, but in your head, you have different points of view. I could tell you at least five or six stories different. I chose this one. But it’s only one of many realities. Really, and I really do believe it. If I could tell you a different completely different story it would also be more or less true. So, let’s.
I: Give me like a minute of two just to check the notes.
IV: I have two work this…
[Break 01.01.54 – 01.01.57]
IV: I’m sorry about my legs but I’m putting them here because they get, I have some problem with circulation, so they should be a little bit higher. (laughing).
[Break 01.02.14 – 01.03.55]
IV: Think I’ll go to the loo. [Polish speaking].
[Break 01.04.05 – 01.11.20]
I: Okay so I have a few more questions, and I’ll just go back to the beginning and I’ll just work back from the same way you talked, so I’ll start from the beginning. (4). You said in terms of being in the kindergarten, in terms of being in a group, do you remember any particular group experience from the kindergarten that compares to the workshop.
IV: For example, yes, I remember, this is nothing to do for example in comparison to the workshop of ours, but I remember for example, and I was like five years old, and it was in the kindergarten and one of the, one of the kids brought some sweets, and he or she had it like that, let’s say it was in his hand, and the kids from the group wanted these sweets. So, he was like that, and everybody was around him and asking him, give me, give me, give me, give me, and he was the one because he had the power. By having these sweets, he had the power, and he got the power to choose to whom he’s going to give the sweets, and I was like, no, I’m not going to ask. I’m not even going to ask for it. I’m not getting into this game of asking and praying to be chosen to be given it, you know. I remember that, so that’s my example of it. (laughing). (7)
I: Okay you said that also in the kindergarten that you were looking that it was a beautiful building but there was this fence around it, and…
IV: Building and surroundings, it was also nice, but the fence was horrible.
I: That you were standing at the fence and you were looking out.
IV: Yes exactly.
I: So, do you remember that you did see, when you were looking out?
IV: Well I saw the apartment buildings and the pavement and I was, the most important thing was the feeling that I was caged and that I was dreaming that one day I would be outside of the cage and not having to do, not having to do anything. Just not being forced to do things. Because like you know being inside and dreaming of being outside. It’s now quite banal and simple, no. That’s what I was thinking things, apartment buildings and people, but people were walking freely outside, you could just do whatever you wanted and things like that and I couldn’t. (laughing). (2). It had like these metal bars like that and I was like that. You know, but I couldn’t stand like that all the time because I was supposed to take part in the activities and things.
I: So yes, because in kindergarten you said that you had to do things, things that I should do, apart from eating the food within a certain order, what kind of things…
IV: First of all, you had to get up early, because your parents went to work and firstly they’d have to take you. So, you had to wake up early. You have to dress properly. You have to walk. You have not to cry although you wanted to cry. You had not to vomit which also happened me from time to time because of stress, because my father to this day, he remembers, those episodes. And then you just had to be, oh my, you had for example to learn how to write letters. And I was so nervous that I won’t be able to learn letters, that I couldn’t. Then teachers in the kindergarten they shouted at me because I couldn’t somehow memorise the letters you know. Ah I remember for example, the R, the R written on the blackboard. I hated this R, because I couldn’t remember what was it, because I was so nervous and stressed because now I’m sure, because I know that letter but psychologically I think, because I know that I couldn’t memorise things because I was too stressed out and there was one for example, one activity that you could do. You could sit by the intercom and then you didn’t have to take part in learning letters, because when you were sat by intercom you were supposed to answer the intercom when parents came and now, Anna is supposed to go. So, I was dreaming about being sat by the intercom and not having to learn letters, because I couldn’t. And then you also had to sleep because there was an obligatory nap after lunch, and I hated that. I just hated being forced to nap. You know you were forced to do everything you were forced. I remember when we were going for a walk in the summer when it was hot. I was just, they put, some kind of hat on my head, it was a scarf and the teachers tied it so, so, so strongly that my head ached. So, I hated this scarf. And all the time just had to do things, nobody listened to you. You just were this little creature you know wanted to go outside but we were constantly inside yeah. And the girls they just seemed very you know social you know. There were groups of girls. They were playing and I consciously wanted not to be there. But I had to be there because if I, if I hadn’t been there, then I would have been an outsider. And of course, no child wants to be an outsider, so I forced myself just to be a part of the group, and I was. I had friends. But constantly with my stomach like you know churned (laughing). But was your question, the things I was forced to…
I: No, no just…
IV: Eating, learning letters. But I remember one nice thing, because we had English classes. It was like an experiment because in the 70s you didn’t have English classes in the kindergarten. But we had, and I liked it, because I think the teacher came from the outside and she was just nice and she was showing a doll and saying, a doll. And I couldn’t memorise it. I was always stressed, so that was a kind of an escape those English classes. (8)
I: You said that you were in this period you were already self-conscious, how pathetic are the kids?
IV: For example, the sweets, there was for example there was a teacher and her daughter was in our group. And we were like six years old because it was the last grade of kindergarten. And she stole things, I mean the daughter, six years old, she stole things. And it was somehow that we knew that she stole things. I knew that her mother knew but at the same time her mother didn’t behave like she should have been behaved. I saw that, there was something wrong in the behaviour of the mother, who somehow protected her stealing daughter, but at the same time I somehow knew she was very cruel towards the daughter at home. Maybe she told me that her mother had beaten her or something like that. Everything was so screwed now there, that’s what I think of the kindergarten, but maybe these are just my impressions. (laughing) (2) Dressing you know, dressing was horrible, because I constantly, because now you have these clothes that are so adaptable, so elastic, so loose, and in the 70s you had those clothes that were very, like tight. And all the time I told you that I am a little bit over reactive to things so constantly got on my nerves, the clothes that were so tight, and I had to scratch myself because they were so rough, and things you know. So, dressing up was difficult. (laughing). (6) For example, I was, I liked going to my grandmother, because my parents worked a lot and when I was ill they had to work, so they brought me to my grandmother’s place in the Prad District, and I slept with her and she always told me stories. And it was really nice. I remember one story about Havula, because my grandmother she was raised in the well-off family in the country with a house, with lots of fields, and they had this Jewish guy who took care of their, of their farm so to speak. And he had a daughter and the daughter got drowned when she was a child, and my grandmother then was like 14 years old and she remember all the household, all the people in the household in the farm looking for that Jewish girl, and my grandmother’s brother saw, he was the first to see it, part of her dress in the stream, because she got drowned you know. That’s the story you know, and my grandmother she had lots of stories, because you know he was raised in this world of family. She went to school and she went to secondary school and she was like, and I liked it. (7) That’s just to say, tell you something that is not about kindergarten and horrible in my memories but something nice, so that was my grandma and her stories yes. And the name of this Jewish girl was Havula, Havula and she got drowned and this. (2) It was like 60 kilometres from Warsaw in the district in Masuria district, they have lots of ground of fields.
I: Okay, I have another question.
IV: You almost ask me, just interrupt me, when we are not saying anything I feel that I should be saying something (laughing) okay.
I: I’m jumping a bit.
IV: That’s okay I’ve started, I like it now.
I: No, it’s a bit about this you mentioned a few times this change of getting older.
IV: Yes, I think that I’m speaking too much about, that’s what my friends tell me now.
I: And you said window is closing, can you mentioned a few examples for that, maybe, I mean is it because you mentioned that no repetition possible, a different way of realising that (?? 01.24.11) …
IV: That I could have done more and more things, yeah.
I: I’m just curious to know if it’s possible to open about it more?
IV: I don’t know, I don’t know you know. For example, you know I went to the States when I was 20. And I went there on this J1 visa, it was an exchange. I had a work permit as a student, I could work. I went there for just for holidays to practice my English, and with a work permit for holidays. And well work was, my first work there was a disaster, but then I went to Chicago where I had friends, those illegal Polish people in Chicago as the story goes. And then it was a wonderful holiday because we partied all the time and I got to work a little bit. And then I really could stay there, could stay there to study. I had at least two guys, friends who wanted me to stay with them, just as a friend, and they just could stay there in Michigan to study. And they, I was, I don’t know I just didn’t believe in myself. I was scared and instead of staying in the States because I could do it. I didn’t. I can’t imagine that I just came back. You know. After the holidays, we partied, and I got to travel a little bit and that’s it, and I came back here, and I should, I really genuinely believe I should have stayed there to study. And then just do another thing. I should have. (2) And I also should have partied more. Yeah. (laughing) I was really, you know I was really that, a little bit. My son is this kind of guy as well. We are just two proper. I mean I didn’t want to take drugs, I didn’t want to get drunk, don’t know why, no I think, I don’t know I just didn’t want to have it at first guys. Now I just I should have because now the window is closing. So. (laughing).
I: So.
IV: But still I say I’m saying that I should have done something, this or that, but now I’m not doing it. I’m not necessarily partying but I’m still too much restricted when it comes to what I do I think. I don’t know (laughing). Next question please. (7) That’s a lovely evening, it’s really nice to be here in the evening. Yeah. Super. (4)
I: So, you said that you married at 23, can you imagine that it was motivated by the original, narcissism or something and (?? 01.27.49) school and secondary school, I think secondary school was also beautiful.
IV: Yes.
I: You mentioned. So maybe that’s…
IV: I had some. I think that my childhood is also, was also a little bit traumatic from aesthetic point of view. So, I was always looking for some pretty setting, some things like that. I’m a little bit like, we see in Polish [polish language] that all the time I see those ugly things they’re art. And I think it’s because of the childhood in the 70s because 90% of space was really ugly. (2) And dirty. And dirty. Because nobody cared really. And because nobody really cared for the communal space, the family places. Now people for example, this is what I’m saying to the people at the museum, because they are now so, they admire so much the architecture of the building and I agree, it’s beautiful but now it’s beautiful when it is so open, but in the 70s and 80s when there was this furniture store there, it was so crammed you know. It was so ugly. It was grey. It was dusty. You couldn’t see through the windows because there was lots of furniture. It was really ugly then you know.
I: You remember it?
IV: And I remember it yeah. (laughing). So now yeah by the end it was beautiful but people who are like 20 or 30 something, they just don’t remember, they think it’s so beautiful. Oh, Warsaw is modern architecture. No, it was really repulsive at times. (laughing). (11)
I: Can I ask another.
IV: Yes of course.
I: You said being a wife didn’t work, you weren’t born to be a wife, a woman and you were forced to conform to rules again, so this sort of self (?? 01.30.20) but you remember any particular views accepted.
IV: What do you mean as a wife?
I: After, you said…
IV: No because I told you about those, maybe not rules but about those, all these mechanisms working inside groups, that you have for example. There’s always this price you have to pay. And that’s what I’m saying in general. Not particular (2) I don’t know probably when we say goodbye to a child, I would have like a flag of examples but now I just cannot think about (4) I don’t know there are lots, I think that you know, I know that you want me to do it.
I: I’m just curious.
IV: For example, I have a group of friends that I inherited so to speak from my husband. I mean when we got divorced because those were his friends. But after divorce they somehow stay with me. And but I was like on the outskirts of the group but then a certain, let’s say, romantic liaison, I got involved more. And before that I had known that I shouldn’t because when you become a part of the group, then you should for example, (2) there is usually a leader of the group. I hate leaders and the leader just usually. I don’t know it’s, I think it’s, it’s a subject for another conversation, very long conversation. Anyway, I stepped inside that group and it got so much on my nerves that I stopped the romantic liaison and now I cut all the ties with the group you know, because I saw how people inside that group pray for staying that group. How they are worried about the leader, well of course I’m exaggerating it, now I’m just saying in those, yes that’s how it works. I remember one woman, not girl, woman, being so stressed out that what she said would influence how she would be perceived and they won’t invite her to the party. And I said no, it was like you know, I think the example the sweets in the kindergarten, it was an example. I said from the beginning no, I’m not going even ask for that because then it’s too difficult, because you may be accepted, but you may not be accepted. If you are accepted then you have, you go deeper and you are even more like entangled and there are more forces, because if you are inside you want to stay. If you are not admitted from, don’t get the sweets, then it’s very painful. So, either way it’s not for me. (laughing).
I: It’s a very strong image. Do you remember what kind of sweets?
IV: I think like, I don’t know how to say this, hard candy, small hard candies.
I: Different colours?
IV: Yeah. That’s what I think. (laughing). I think so. Yeah. Different colours yes. (5) No, no next question please. What’s the time?
I: Nine.
IV: Nine, five to nine. (4) If you want I can tell you all, so it’s not really about belonging to groups but there’s another, that’s what I’ve been thinking, if you want a piece of psychotherapy, (laughing) that’s what I was thinking ultimately a lot. Because as I told you already during the first start, I’m losing friends now. Either losing them by my decision or losing them by their decisions. And I don’t know what’s going on. (5) So, that’s really now a difficult part of (2) of so to speak my life. Because I (2) I don’t know, I always believe before that I have a strong circle of friends and now they are not here. Most of them are not here, I don’t know why.
I: They’re not here in your life?
IV: Yes. Well part, some of them are not here because somehow, I think (2) sometimes I think that something happened to my head you know. That I am not so patient now that I am just, oh I don’t know. Maybe just, I started unnecessarily this thing, but that’s what I think…
I: The question I want to ask, I have a question about that…
IV: So maybe we can get to there, and ask your next question.
I: Okay so I’ll just continue with original questions. (18)
IV: You have light nights in Norway.
I: We have even (?? 01.36.56) and travel north it’s really going to work in the summer when I was student, in Oslo and I thought, and I didn’t (?? 01.37 11) and I look for a job in the north and I somehow hitch hiked and I found a way up and then I went to this end of Norway…
IV: So, it’s on the other side of the polar circle yeah.
I: That’s bit beyond that, as north as you can get. The north part and it’s very popular for observing the midnight sun. But some of my colleagues and I went there to see it, beautiful of course…
IV: (?? 01.37.46)
I: And then started finding this old town nearby, and I was looking for a job and employment office and asked what they have and they said we have a job, a got a job in the hotel (?? 01.38.02) so it was quite nice to see it. I worked and I worked maybe for one month, three weeks and so I earned quite good money, and tourist came and they were going to see the midnight sun, and it’s not great weather and lots of people travel and then there’s nothing to see. It’s still light but nothing special.
[Aside conversation]
I: Then north of Norway a place called Spitzbergen which is two hours flight, (?? 01.39.36).
IV: My ex, my husband went there with some polar scientists because he was a camera man and he went to make some documentary in the 90s.
I: So it’s a very famous for many reasons, but so I was earning so I can go there, and I can look for a job there, and if I don’t find a job I can still spend a week there and I’ll still have money than I expect, and then after a week I got a job there doing dishes in a very nice restaurant, there’s only a few restaurants.
IV: How old were you then?
I: I was probably 26. I started about 24, so I a few years out, and then I got this job and (?? 01.40.27) it was also well paid. From there it was really weird because then I had this some, normally quite weather but I remember a lot of, you can’t really tell if it’s day or night, what time of the day. So, it’s even more (?? 01.40.51) you have to orientate yourself, so it was really mental.
IV: Could you sleep?
I: You keep awake and you try to react, it’s like torturing your biological rhythm so it was quite nice when I was after a month or three weeks I was there or something more, I was flying and you can see dark, like now it, and it felt like….
IV: Such a relief.
I: Yes. Which (?? 01.41.30) the sensation. You don’t think about it if you don’t have absence from it or something like that.
IV: Yes, I once spent a week in Iceland and it was quite, it was like that, and it was really difficult and no matter how much you cover the curtains there was always a small hole where the rays, the sun ray at 1 am just shot into your eyes. And I almost didn’t sleep for the whole week there. That’s really possibility. I’ve never been to Norway but Iceland was really nice.
I: It’s beautiful.
IV: Really, really yeah. Really…. Okay. So. (laughing)
I: I have just a few more questions.
IV: Okay.
I: I mean I’m jumping a lot of questions which are obviously I don’t know…
IV: Well you suppose you are tired, but when it comes to me just don’t worry, you know just ask whatever you want I’m just you know.
I: So. When you said you closed the book store, it’s the first time in my life that I have time. So how do you know.
IV: How do I like that?
I: No how do you know it.
IV: That I have time? (laughing) Because there weren’t many things that I had to do. I could just wake up. First of all, I could eat breakfast. It was the first time in my life, when I just could eat, when I could have breakfast. I had to take my daughter to school but then I could go back because before that when I had to work, when I had the book store and things, it was always running, like in the morning, getting to school, then going to work. I also during the period when I had the book store, I also a little bit before that, I came back I went back to the university, because I had the idea of doing of PhD, so I went to the faculty of American Studies, so it was like having an ill daughter, having a business, and being at the university, and normal regular day student, because you had to pass an examination and if you passed that real good they accepted you as a non-paying day student. And I passed the examination and fortunately quite well, so I became at 38 of age, I became a day student at the university, the Warsaw University, the faculty of, of American studies, so it was like getting my daughter to school, then running to have classes, then during classes when there was a break, going out of the class room at the university, answering phone calls about my business, then going back to the classes, then running in the car to the book store. It was really crazy. Then going with my daughter to the hospital and at night when she was, because I was allowed to be with her at the hospital, so when she was asleep I was for example, writing some paper that I was supposed to for lecture, because I was invited to some, at the university, of some things like that. So, it was really crazy. I don’t know how I did it. It lasted like three or four years. Seven days a week at night writing papers, having this business. It was really, I think that I partly did it out of need to not to think too much, because there was probably or at least I somehow, subconsciously how I felt then that either I will be occupied all the time or I will just sink into the black hole, maybe. And then because you asked how I knew that I had free time because after getting my daughter to school I could go back home and have breakfast. Just breakfast you know. For an hour. For the first time in my life, at 40. (laughing) for example.
I: That’s interesting.
IV: You are good at, you know making yourself look interested, saying hmm, hmm. (laughter). You would be a good psychotherapist, I think. (9) But at the same time, you know I because I always, I always have time because even if I work seven days a week, and had all those responsibilities, I still could when somebody asked me to meet, or something like that. I could. That’s how I am. And, and (5) you know that Warsaw and people in Warsaw they have changed so much during the last like eight, seven years, like ten years ago, you didn’t get to see things like that. People are more, were different really. A hipster people only started to be like ten years ago or something, didn’t have all these cafes and restaurants, no. Not at all, but that’s great really, I’m a fan of Warsaw. Well I was born here and I’m yeah, really.
I: You don’t miss living in the suburbs?
IV: No. No, no. That’s another point to this aesthetical trauma because I was raised in this apartment and it was like 60, 60 square metres and my room, I had my own room, it was like 10 square metres, it was too crammed. It was, it was, no, the bathroom was so small, there was only of course one bathroom and very small. The furniture were just the furniture that your parents could get maybe at (?? 01.48.28) but it was very difficult if you just get to buy a desk you bought it. It didn’t matter whether you liked it or not aesthetically, you just, if you saw in the shop a desk you bought it. Because if you didn’t then the next day it wouldn’t be and you would be left without a desk. So just aesthetics were not a rule. You couldn’t think about aesthetics just thought about having things and buying something, anything. So, I started saying about that…
I: Living in the suburb?
IV: So, from the very beginning I dreamt because my good aesthetic memories are connected to the country. When I went for example to a wooden house of my aunt’s, it was pretty there. It was ugly in the city, it was pretty in nature. And I always love nature. So, I’m a city girl but I always wanted to live in the outskirts, but still I consider myself, when somebody asks me where do you live, I say Warsaw, because that’s how I feel. I’m for example, today this is my second time when I am here in, I also have to come to Warsaw in the morning yeah, then came back and then back again. So, but I always knew that I wanted to live in nature. (2) I love nature. I really like nature. I’m very, I’m very moved by things. I mean I am very easy, maybe not easy, yeah, I’m quite easy crying when I see something beautiful. When I see something ugly. When I see anything. It’s every day full of…that’s what somebody told me I’m from wall to wall. You know, I have my life and it’s very difficult you know. But I once went to a psychotherapy and it was the first moment when somebody told me, and made me realise that maybe I’m simply sensitive. Because before that I thought that I am very tough and very like wood you know. Like that, but maybe it was just a shield, I don’t know, I don’t want to get into this psychotherapy stupid stuff, because it sounds like from magazines for women, so sorry for that. But still it was quite good for me hearing somebody telling me that you are extremely sensitive because then when I finally accepted that, certain things just became more understandable, you know. So, it’s constantly (?? 01.51.10) something is, it’s always like that. Every day is full of it. It’s sometimes very difficult, but probably you have this because you are an artist.
I: I think (?? 01.51.22) but it’s interesting that it makes it so, so I have to say already in kindergarten, you have the same sensitivity.
IV: Yes. Exactly yeah.
I: Being touch by the sense of something.
IV: Yes, it started very, very early.
I: And also, because that’s physical but also ethical, (?? 01.51.59).
IV: Yes, I see that. And you know what for years I thought that it’s a common experience. That people have it but then, but then only recently certain things, experiences, conversations, made me realise that there are lots of people who are much more superficial you know. Before that I didn’t know that. I thought that everybody saw these things constantly, that everybody just thought about it. Constantly this feeling that I thought about something. But somebody says something about something I say yeah, I already thought about it. I analysed it. (laughter). I don’t know maybe I am mistaken. Maybe now I’m a little bit too much on the other side, like thinking, just forget it. Another question. (laughter).
I: Okay so maybe last two question I have from this. In the end, you said now I’m getting more energy and that I like discussions, and you love discussions.
IV: Yes, that’s what I really love. I love fighting, I mean in the discussion sense of things now. I love to talk to, and I love to have somebody who has for example another point of view, who doesn’t agree with me. I love that, but at the same time people tell me that I’m difficult (2) because I, that will be I’ll tell you something. I very often no how to win a discussion. I mean unfortunately now, and I think that’s why it’s quite difficult to discuss with me because I always find argument. I’m a good fighter when it comes to discussions with me. And I’ve had some yeah. I think that sometimes you can simply annoy people, but it doesn’t really matter. Well it does matter (laughter).
I: So, what kind of discussions do you prefer?
IV: Well everything. You can discuss everything and anything. Yesterday for example, I went to a, there was a party, (3) because I have, well I had, I’m really bad at small talk. I don’t know how to do it. Every time I start to talk to somebody it very quickly morphs into a deeper conversation, and sometimes I know I shouldn’t be doing that but I don’t know how to stop at the small talk. There is always something you know appearing and you want to go deeper you know. But you want me to give examples.
I: Do you have an example?
IV: I think about everything. You have, oh that’s interesting, everything is interesting. But have you heard this story of this Japanese boy that got lost in the woods.
I: Was his parents teaching him a lesson?
IV: Yes exactly.
I: They looked for him and (?? 01.55.22)
IV: Yeah but they found him you know. They found about six days, he was in an army hut in the forest. And that’s interesting because everybody was like against those parents. Like how could they cause such a trauma to the kid and the kid has broken heart now and he will never be the same. And from the very beginning for me, I think, I think you more or less felt the same. From the very beginning I felt for the parents. You can imagine what they felt and because in the media you have this narration that parents neglect, neglectful parents, and poor child. But then again, it’s just possible, and I know nothing about the family, so I’m just creating another narration. Do you remember such, there was a book and the film it went to Let’s Talk about Kevin? Do you remember something like that? No. Anyway, it was about a psychopath kid from the beginning and there’s another narration because think of it. The parents just put the child by the road, but it was a seven year old who kept on throwing stones at people and cars. Normally a seven year old when told, a seven year old is not a two year old, you know. A seven year old just knows that you shouldn’t throw stones, and if he throws stones and is told to stop then he or she doesn’t because these are stones. A seven year old just knows that it’s very harmful to hit, to throw a stone. So, if he keeps on throwing them maybe, just maybe the kid was so difficult that the parents just couldn’t cope. And then they left him by the road, and they came back after four minutes, and he wasn’t there. So, he just turned around and went into the woods, you know. And then after two hours he found that hut and he came unharmed by the experience you know. He’s stronger. It’s just a narration that he seems much stronger than his parents. He looks a little bit like a child with problems with this part of brain, when you have, when actually you everything but a psychopath. Because you know that when you have, I don’t remember the English word, but here’s the centre of empathy and things. So sometimes when you are born with problems with this part of your brain or sometimes after an accident, you just start being a psychopath. But of course, it’s just, it’s just another narration, but I started to, no I started the subject at the party and it got very interesting. No, I’m just giving an example. It’s very nice to find, because the public and the media are so like one way, you know but there are always different narrations. And I really felt for the parents and for the father who cried and said he was sorry, and he said to the child he was sorry. And I can just imagine the kid, if I am right, then it would only get worse for the parents I think. (laughing). No but I’m just, it’s not an example, I just thought that it was interesting. (3)
I: Great I don’t have any more kind of questions. And I’m curious a little bit that you said you don’t really want to talk about it but because it’s kind of interesting like this thing from kindergarten which you indicated somehow still going on and you said it’s different, you don’t want to go there, so we don’t have to but I think it might, it’s just an open question, to get into it. But (3) so imagine you would get into it. Is it like it would take years of therapy to deal with it.
IV: I don’t really. No. I wanted to say that I don’t really believe in therapy. It’s not that I don’t believe in therapy. I believe in nothing. I don’t believe in anything. I mean okay there’s therapy, there used to be like church, and priest and confessions. No I don’t think it would help. It’s just there’s a strong experience that you can be aware of it, and being aware of it maybe therapy is being sort of aware of something like that. But then you almost never recover from being the…

Warsaw Interview 7

I: It’s recording. I’ll ask you a question, and then you start there, and then just remember that it’s also strange for me a little bit, to not answer. Just remember, if you feel stressed about it.
IV: Yeah, okay.
I: So we’ve been doing this workshop together partly, and our biographies somehow, for a short time, crossed paths. So that’s the last part of this workshop, for some kind of additional appendix, I’d be curious to hear individually the biographies of the people who were part of this experience, so if you could tell me your life story, your biography, it would be great, and you can, maybe start how you want. There’s no particular rules, how you say it. So please, start.
IV: It’s not so easy, but I could start on the basics. So I’m 22, and I’m not from Warsaw. I mean, I used to live near to the seaside, in a small village, actually a really, really small village, and it’s 100 kilometres from Szczecin, and I used to live, until I was … I think I was like fifteen, and then, when I started my high school, I moved to, like alone without my mother, because I used to live with my mother and my stepfather. I used to live in Szczecin for one-and-a-half years, and then I moved to Warsaw and my high school, and I used to live with my father for a while, and then I used to live alone here. I mean, I have, I rent a flat, and then, when I ended my high school, I moved to Berlin. I used to live in Berlin for one year, and I was, at the beginning, I was planning to stay there and study there, but I just didn’t actually feel really well there, because all of my friends and my boyfriend, they were in Warsaw. They still are, and that’s why, after this one year, I was doing voluntary work there, in Berlin, in an organisation which was interested in the history of the Second World War, but not in like, there was much more about the social aspects of Germany in that time, than in some other, and then, I moved again back to Warsaw, and now I’m studying philosophy, and I used to study Artes Liberales. It’s kind of a new thing to study, but I don’t like it. I will start art history in the next year, so I’m quite excited about that, and so, like that’s the history of my moving from place to place, because it’s kind of interesting, so there was a time that I couldn’t stay longer than two years in one place and so on, but I don’t really like that now. I mean, I was thinking about going for an Erasmus programme somewhere in Europe, or to France probably, but I’m not sure now, because I started to like that I stay longer in a place, it’s kind of my home again, and not only like moving.
Yeah, so, like I say, my mother’s living in (?? 4:27), because my village is called (?? 4:34), and with my stepfather, Robert, and so, here I have my stepsister and my stepmother and my father, but we are not really close, so much more I’m here to be with my friends, and with my boyfriend, Adam, because we are quite long together, we are four years together, and I’m only 22! – so actually it’s quite long.
And what else? … so, what I could I say? Yes, so I’m quite an energetic person. I like to do things. I like to work in the Museum, but I also like to study, so I’m really happy about what I’m doing now. I also used to do other voluntary stuff, and so on, for example, I did the voluntary work for two years, for the WWF foundation, so it was about the Baltic mammals. I mean, we have a programme which, it still is, but I’m not a part of that, because I’m not living any longer near to the seaside, but it is about to protect Baltic mammals, and it’s really cool. I mean, I really like stuff like that, something new, something like, a new experience, exactly.
I don’t know what else to say, I mean … so, sometimes I miss Berlin, because it’s a really nice place to stay and a nice place to live, but now I think, I’m not a big fan of Warsaw. I think it’s a cool place, but not as cool as other places in the world, but yeah, so sometimes I miss Berlin. It’s still cooler to be here, and have my friends around, than be there, but I feel the best when I say in (?? 6:59), so actually I’m trying everything like this, so I want to stay sometimes in Warsaw, as short as I can, because, not about, that I hate Warsaw, but I just want to be with my family near to the seaside, and in a village. I don’t really like big cities. I feel much better in smaller places, where there’s not so much civilisation and so on. (10)
I like to travel, I mean, I used to travel quite a lot with my parents, or with my boyfriend or with my friends, but now I’m much more about to, I don’t know why, but I’m actually, I’m not so interested in seeing the whole world any more. I mean, I just really like to stay at my home, in (?? 8:05), and I’m not about, like see all of this, capitals, so national parks, and so on. I just really like to be in one place. I don’t like to move, I really hate it. I’m just really stressed with moving, even for like a small piece of time, like for a week, it’s always like stressful for me, because at the beginning, I didn’t want to go somewhere, and then, after the time, I don’t want to go back, and so it’s kind of, I need time to associate, so it’s like this.
I really like dogs. I mean, I don’t have any pets, because I don’t have time for that, and I don’t really have a place for them, because I’m renting a room in a flat with two other people. They’re a couple. They’re really great. Sometimes there are problems, but mostly we are really great and close to each other, but they have one cat and one dog, so it’s too much. I don’t have a place to have my own animals, and actually I feel maybe I’m not in this time of my life, when it’s the best decision, because it’s too much responsibility. There’s a big problem with this cat, it’s a she actually, and she’s like pissing everywhere, and I really hate it, because I mean, yeah … (she laughs) so sometimes I have problems with that, but actually I like my room and so on.
I’m a vegetarian, not like, not the whole way, because I started to eat fish. I’m not sure if it’s so good, but I just like, last time, like the last few months, I really don’t have, I didn’t have time to think about everything I’m doing, so I started to eat fish, and I really like them, but I’m like, in general, I don’t eat other meat, and it’s like, now it’s six years, I’m a vegetarian, and that’s quite nice.
I like to eat, and I like to cook, not always, but sometimes it’s a really nice experience, and actually, I really like to have time for my own. It’s a problem sometimes, because I’m studying two things, like two courses, and I’m working, so sometimes it’s really hard to find time for myself, just for, not doing everything and not planning everything, so I’m like the person who always plans everything, and sometimes too much, and so I hope like this holiday, which comes, it will be time for me to have much more time just for not doing everything, or just doing like spontaneous, doing some things, not even planning them.
I’m really ambitious. I mean, it’s also maybe … not the best, but I really like to learn, and I would like to make, I just didn’t want to end my studies, and my Master’s degree. I would prefer to do something more, and maybe even then stay at the University, because I’m really interested in philosophy, but in aesthetics, so that’s the way, how I connect the art history, because I’m not really interested in being an art historian. I’m not really interested about knowing everything about every piece of art and so on. I’m much more about, like, feeling about, or learning about it, thinking about it more, in a philosophical way, so just about aesthetics and so on. It’s quite an interesting thing, I think. It’s also quite problematic. It’s my problem, because I know there is lots of like social responsibility which I have to the world. I mean, I think everyone has it, and my friends, lots of my friends, and my boyfriend, they are like really interested in the social problems and social philosophy, like they are all have a special, make meetings where they read Marx and so on, so it’s quite revolutionary in Poland, because people still have a problem with that, and I know it’s important, and I know it’s interesting, but I’m not sure if it’s the thing which I want to do. I’m much more about … yeah (thoughtfully .. she sighs) Yeah, what else?
I used to have two dogs, but they passed away, and it’s kind of, it’s also one of the reasons why I don’t want to have another animal now, because it’s a hard experience. (12)
I really like books and movies. I like to read books, not all of them, but lots of them, they’re really cool, and I also like to go to the cinema, because I’m not really a fan of watching things at home. It’s always disturbing for me. There’s always something which is disturbs me, so I would prefer to watch the movies in the cinema, with others.
I can speak English. I’m not really like satisfied with my English. I hope I will improve that in the next year, and I also speak German, and I’m learning French for two years, and I would love to develop it, because I think learning languages, it’s kind of a nice thing, and I think it’s also kind of an important thing, especially when you are studying philosophy, and lots of things are just not translated into Polish, so you just have to read in the other language.
I do yoga, I mean, now I’m not, because I have lots of exams, and I don’t have time for that, but like, normally I do yoga also for six years, so it’s quite long. I like to ride a bike. I don’t know what, could I say? I like to go for walks and to parks, this kind of thing. (24)
So, I have lots of fun experiences with my mum, and I’m really connected to her, I mean, really really! Maybe sometimes I feel that I’m too old to feel like this, but I also think it’s alright. There was a time when we were only together, and it’s really, like a close bond between us, so her and my boyfriend, they are the most important people in my life, but I also really really love and like my stepfather, he’s so cool, and his children, because he has two children, who are actually now around thirty, so older than me, but they’re really nice.
So … (9) I like to travel around Poland, so for a weekend to Krakow, or to some other cities, Poznań and so on, because I’m not, like seeing lots of them, but I’m eating lots of nice things, and drinking lots of hot chocolate and so on. It’s kind of a time which is out of the everyday life, it’s important.
I like fashion, I mean, I was thinking about studying fashion design, but I don’t know. Maybe I will do that in the future, but now I just don’t have time. Now it’s too much, but in the future maybe. Sometimes I design something, and I have one lady who, she’s a little bit older, but she can sew really good. I’m designing, she’s making these things for me, so it’s nice, I like that. (8) But it’s much more like a hobby, and so … (49) Yeah, I don’t know, what to say?
I really like my friends, and they are really nice, but sometimes I’m really not into meeting other people. Sometimes I just have time, I want to be, only with others, or only alone, but like normally, I just spend time with them. (23)
I’m afraid of flying. That’s also the reason why I don’t really like to travel, because it’s really stressful for me. I really hate that. I have one experience, when I was flying with my father, and my stepmother and stepsister were flying to Spain, and there was trouble, I mean, someone called and told us, a bomb on a plane, so they have to do this emergency landing, and it wasn’t so bad, but after that was this whole evacuation thing. I mean, because they really thought that there was a bomb, so they have to do everything as if there were, so we have to go through the slides and we have to run away, and so on, and then there was like, checking all of the luggage, and after that, of course there wasn’t any, but after that, I really don’t like to fly. Sometimes I’m doing that, for example, when I was going to Norway, or this year, when I was going to Rome, I just didn’t have a choice actually, but actually, normally I would prefer to stay at home than go somewhere else, if I have to fly, but there are sometimes situations when you know that all of your friends are going somewhere, so you actually don’t have such a big choice, but normally I don’t like it.
I like to go by train, I really like to travel by train. I travel a lot, because I’m going home, or to some places in Poland for a short time. I think last month, I was travelling like, seven times by train, so it’s quite a lot, I mean, maybe not so, but … yeah. (43)
I really like this exercise during our project, when we have to do something from a play. It was really nice, I mean, I think it was really also good kind of therapy to just like, relax yourself and so on, and I used to go for the ceramic classes, so I used to do pots and so on. There was a time when I have all of the pots, which I had at home, and plates and so on, were made by myself, I mean, it was quite cool. I still have them … they are quite, they don’t look so nice, because they don’t have the parts, or something like that, they are broken, but I really like them.
I like to do things which are, I mean, where you don’t have to really have like a talent, because I’m not really talented in handmade things, but I don’t have really big creativity to do such things, but I like these times when you have a chance just to express yourself, or just to have fun by doing something.
I don’t like to write, I mean, I really hate it. I prefer to speak, and it’s not so hard for me to like, have exams or make tool guides for visitors, but like, to write something, it’s kind of a hard thing for me, that’s why. (32)
I would love to have my own flat, I mean, it’s also, you have the room mates or flat mates, but much more, like, you don’t have to rent something, because it’s always a problem. There will be probably a time when you have to move to another apartment, or another flat, and it’s kind of … I don’t like this feeling. I would love to have a place which is just for me, and I know where I can stay as long as I actually want to, and I don’t have to move from there, because I really like to design the space around me. I think really lots about that, how should my room look like, or how should the other rooms in the flat look like. It’s really important for me, I really like that. It’s like, it’s nice, but I don’t like to move from place to place. (68)
I’m not really into a party. I mean, I like to go for a party, but from time to time, and not like every week, like four times or three times per week. I just like to meet people, but I prefer actually to do something, things together, like cook together, or go for the cinema, and after that, for a meal or something, but not just like drinking alcohol the whole time. It’s okay, but it’s, I like when it’s kind of, when I see the other things between us than just drinking. (39)
I like to dance. I used to, when I was younger, I used to go for dance classes, I mean, when I was in primary school, so when I was quite young, but I, there I didn’t like it so much, because there started to be a problem where other people, which were at these classes, they started to sing about the winning medals and so on, and the parents started to think like that (not all of them, but lots of them), and for me, it was just about having fun, because I wasn’t really good at that. I was just like, did it because it was something new to do, and it was sport and so on, but me and my mother, we just thought about it as about some kind of, you relax and so on, but there were the people that started to think about it, like about winning, and they were really good at that, but it wasn’t fun for me any more, but now I like to dance during the parties and so on. But after I stopped going to the classes, I didn’t want to dance at all, but then I … but it was like a time in, when I just didn’t really like to meet other people. I’d just like to be by myself all the time. After the primary school, at the junior high school, I wasn’t really a social person. It’s always, I guess, with teenagers, they’re changing and so on. (76)
My mother is a psychologist, and my stepfather’s a teacher at the junior high school, and my father is working at an IT company. He’s not writing programmes, but he’s just much more about being kind of a manager, or something like that, I mean like meeting people and so on, but it’s connected with the IT business. My stepmother, I don’t know actually. She’s working as, I don’t know how to call it? – there’s kind of an agency which is like, an agency about the villages in Poland and so on, and things connected with agriculture, and she’s just one of the workers there. I think she’s crawling the Facebook all the time, because sometimes she says she does, because it’s kind of boring work! She hates that, I mean, she would prefer to have like, kind of a restaurant, because she cooks really well, I mean really, really well, but … yeah.
My sister is younger. She now has ended her high school, and she would prefer to study abroad, somewhere in Great Britain, but I don’t think so, it will work. I mean, the first thing is that she’s such an ambitious person, she would like to study at one of the best universities and so on, and the second thing is that actually, we don’t have so much money to pay for studying in Great Britain. It’s really expensive, and I don’t know what she’s going to do in her life. (12)
My whole family is not from (?? 36:12). I mean, they are from, (?? 36:17), it’s a city nearby, (?? 36:21), and my family, from my mother’s side, and also from my father’s side, my parents studied in Krakow, but then, just because my father did something which is connected with, I don’t know how to put it, with forest, I mean, you learn how to take care of a forest, and he actually, he wanted to live near the seaside, and they moved there with my mother, so without the parents and so on, they moved just by their own, and then, after that, two years I was born and so on, but then they just split up, and they divorced, and my father, like after some time, he went to Warsaw, to work here, and then he changed also the work. He started to work in IT things. (219)
Yeah, I don’t know what else to say. (13)
I: Unless you want to add something, then I’ll just look at the notes, and I’ll ask some questions?
IV: Okay, yeah. (380)
I: Do you have time to have some questions?
IV: Okay.
I: I’ll just ask the questions going back to when you started, and I’ll just move from there. (16) You said that after high school, you lived in Berlin?
IV: Yeah.
I: Doing voluntary work, connected to social aspects of the Second World War?
IV: Yeah, exactly.
I: Do you remember any concrete examples? – what you worked with?
IV: So actually, we worked a lot with the central, like Prora. It’s in Rügen, it’s an island in Germany, and actually, to pacify workers, Hitler wanted to build the biggest holiday centre in the whole world, for 40,000 people one time, and actually they’re working mostly with that, and they’re making a museum and telling this story. I mean, this building is totally terrible. I mean, it’s so big, because it’s still there, and actually, Hitler never opened that, because then, the start of the war, and they made a hospital there and so on, but it was kind of an important thing, because he at the beginning, he just destroyed all of the communities of workers, and then to pacify the situation, he just promised that he will open, like make a holiday for every German, so we worked mostly with that, and I just translated some things into Polish, from German to Polish, so it was the basic aspects of this, of my work, but also of the work of this foundation. They are also working with people who were forced to be workers at this island, so often from Poland and so on, and now they are like old, like eighty-something, but they were young, and they were forced to work there, and they make, I mean, this foundation makes every year a meeting, where they invite these old people who worked there, and they invite high school students from Poland and from Germany, and they make kind of a meeting. I mean, these people are just going back. It’s sometimes really important for them, because they don’t always have the money to go there, and it’s kind of an important part of the past, and so it’s important for them, and also just to meet these young people who were, don’t know this history and so on. I was there once, I mean, because it’s once a year, so I was there once, and during this meeting, and I was also translating, and it was a really interesting thing to do. I mean, this whole, it wasn’t so interesting, because translating things, it’s not such cool work, I think, but then, doing this meeting, which takes one week, it was really cool.
I: Okay, I will continue. So back in Warsaw, like you were studied philosophy, but you studied Artes Liberales, and you said, I don’t like it? I’m just curious if you’d say any particular situation you didn’t like?
IV: Yeah, of course. The problem is that it’s kind of, this, like this study, Artes Liberales, is an idea from Chicago, I think, because they started it there, and it’s kind of an idea, I will learn lots of things which are connected with culture, but not like specifically only art and literature, but also a little bit from the biology and so on, so you will have like a really, lots of information about different things and so on, and you can choose your lectures and so on, and in (?? 53:36), it’s really cool, so they have lots of money here in Warsaw, I mean, maybe not lots of, but more than other institutes, and they invite to co-operate really well-known professors, but actually, it’s only a theory, because in practice, it didn’t work, in my opinion. The people at the study who are not doing anything, I mean, you are going to talk about some book, and no-one instead of you, and two other people in 20% group is not reading that, so you just don’t have to, even the space to discuss that, and these professors are also like this, I mean, they are not coming, or they’re coming and actually saying, so yeah, everyone has to do one term, and one topic, and then you just listen to other students, so you don’t have to have a class with a well-known professor, or if you are anyway going to listen to some kind of students, I don’t think it developed me. I mean, it’s easy, it’s not so hard to like have a (?? 54:53) from these classes and so on, but it doesn’t give me anything, so I don’t think it’s interesting.
I: You said, you’re an energetic person. I’m just curious if you could give me an example of this energetic …
IV: Yeah, so I’m doing lots of stuff, and that’s the first thing, and the other thing is that, if I’m not tired, I have really lots of energy to meet people, talk with people, do cool stuff with people and so on, so I’m just really open to other people, and to the things which have happened to me, I mean not always, because sometimes, there’s always something which is too much, but like normally, I’m an open person.
I: So I have two more questions. You said I was doing other volunteer work for the WWF foundation, to protect the Baltic mammals at the seaside. Could you describe something you did?
IV: Yeah, it was kind of easy work, because the whole seaside, was split in 40 parts, and every volunteer got one part, which was around 10 kilometres long, and for two years every week, you have to go this 10 kilometres on the beach, near the seaside, this distance, and you have to make a report, if you see any Baltic mammals, or if you see anything which was strange, and so on, and while there were like special situations, because there were like tables where you have, or ads where you have information, that if you are a tourist …
(recording finishes at 57’21)

Warsaw Interview 8

I: So, it’s recording already.
IV: Okay.
I: And it’s a recording, I’ll just find another chair…
[00.00.26 – 00.00.36]
I: So, idea was to do a last kind of wrapping up or last interview. We had originally planned to have some part of some narrative for some in the workshop which we didn’t have time to put in there. And I also thought that interview could be interesting individually because we were always working in a group.
IV: Yeah.
I: And I’ve been working in some other places with the interview format, but then it has been more with people who are quite old, elders.
IV: Okay.
I: I’m surprised I didn’t think because most of the people here are quite young, and if you talk about interview and then you talk biography, maybe it’s a biography are quite short compared to full…
IV: Yes, it’s true.
I: It doesn’t matter. It can be biography of today or something like that. So, the challenge I think for, for some people is that this method which I will try to use now, is called, it’s an interview technique and it’s called biographical narrative. It’s not very serious but what is good is the way it has, see people’s structure, so I’ll ask you about your…
IV: Life.
I: Which is clichéd your life story, it’s serious, we had short kind of interlap so far life experience, experience in this workshop, so I want to make it important for your own life story. But I think if I would be more precise with the questions, then it will be less of maybe mention about why people have the idea, those people who participated. It’s better to rather have a longer boring kind of story of a person’s life. Then there’s some elements there which wouldn’t be there if I said what to do and think about the workshop and things like that.
IV: Okay.
I: That’s how I am thinking and I am not sure if it will be really helpful but I appreciate that everybody has yes to it and I think it’s great.
IV: I think it’s good idea, because for example I am studying anthropology and we had this year, this biographical interview so it’s quite interesting. Yeah.
I: So, what I will do I will just take some notes while you’re talking and what is special, so I will ask you formally ask you in a second, for your life story and tell me what that is and what is important as well. But I will not interrupt you at all.
IV: Okay.
I: Some people think it’s like some kind of free association but it’s really…
IV: So, no questions or something.
I: No which is weird because we’re not used to this format on the socialise I think too much. So, it will be strange but it’s okay to take a break if you, need a break we’ll just take a break and nothing to be, it’s totally okay.
IV: Okay.
I: One minute, two minutes, it doesn’t matter, if feeling strange it’s not so strange I’m used to it. And I will still not interrupt you.
IV: Okay.
I: So, that’s going to be easier maybe in the beginning but after some time if you feel, just take your time and it can be plenty for, you shouldn’t be stressed.
IV: Okay. And I have to talk about some, I don’t know, concrete time or it’s just I don’t know one hour or half an hour.
I: No, we have three hours all in all, so you can talk. I think it’s better to talk more than half hour, you finish, we finish.
IV: So, I don’t know give more details and so on.
I: What I will do is I will take notes, because I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and will be trying to figure out, she said this and not so much, so I would like to go back and ask you about that. So, when I’m asking questions later on which is almost every time the case, that I start from the beginning of my notes, so I’ll follow also like your story long hand, which is also part of the technique. So, I can explain later if you’re curious like.
IV: Okay.
I: But what is interesting more, (?? 00.05.39) say it later, what can happen with the material and so on.
IV: Okay, no problem.
I: So, so if you could tell your story, you can start where you like, tell it anyway you want, include the important things for you, or not. No rules. And it’s all ready to hear all about it.
IV: Okay great. So, I think that my story was started, I don’t know maybe when my grandparents met because two pairs of my grandparents are really important in my life. And (thinking) so (2) first of all my grandparents from the side of my mother, they met when they were really young, they were something like 16, and they fell in love and after a few years they get married, got married. And they were together and they had two children. My mother and also her brother. It was younger brother. And everything was fine but unfortunately when Yatzeck. So, it was my mother’s brother, he had cancer, so he died, and it was really important moment in life of whole family because my grandparents decided to get divorced. And I think it could have some influence also on me. I think today. Because my, my parents are also they divorced. And so, but they live until now my grandparents. And my grandfather had second wife but they also divorced. So, so I can say that my grandmother and grandfather they, now they live alone but also, they have now really (2) really good contact and it’s okay now but they aren’t together of course. So, that’s one story. One part of the story.
And the second one is the story of my, of my grandparents from the side of my father. And they are living until now, they are together until now, and they also get married when they were really young, especially my, my grandmother, and it was really romantic because they met at some, some I don’t know, it was cafeteria or something like that. And after that, after the wedding and so on they lived in the centre of Warsaw but after two years when my father, when my father was born, they moved to some village, it’s near to Warsaw, (?? 10.29). And they live there until now. (thinking) They also have second child, my aunt. And they are together but they are really (thinking) how to say, I can say that they don’t have really good contact because it’s all the times (3), I don’t remember this word, but it’s some like hurricane at home all the time. All the time. So, my, my grandmother is not really happy because and now she drinks a lot unfortunately. And the situation is not really good. And that’s also really important thing which I think has some influence on me, especially now. And so yeah.
And after that my parents met at university. They were studying together. It was architecture, and they also get married when they were really young, but it’s true that it was, they were a little bit older than my grandparents for example. So, I can, I can see this, I don’t know this shift in some, in the generations. And, and so I was born after two years, after two years, after marriage. And, and I have also younger sister, she’s now 20, I’m 23. And so, I was really happy child I can say. I didn’t have any, I don’t know problems, or I don’t know I had some really happy childhood and my parents gave me a lot of time. And we were really happy and I don’t know we spent a lot of time together and even now we spend a lot of time together and my parents are even maybe the most important people in my life. Also, my sister. And (3) So I don’t know I think that the (thinking) the place where I was born is really, is really important for me until now, because it’s Warsaw. And I live here also today. So, we spent, I don’t know. We spent occasions really often at the seaside. It was Wladyslowowo in Poland. And also in the capital of our mountains, so Zakopane.
And (thinking) (3) I was going to (thinking) kindergarten. And it was some special kindergarten because I don’t know it was something like kindergarten with this special method of… for example we didn’t have normal toys from plastic for example. But some natural toys from wood or some rocks or something like that it was. And I don’t know we were, we were doing bread for example. So, that was our, I don’t know our exercise or something like that in kindergarten. And (thinking) (3) So yeah. But I also remember that before this kindergarten, I was going on some other kindergarten and it was normal. More normal I can say. And but I think it’s (thinking) some, I don’t know one of the first views which I can remember, something like that. It was kindergarten really near to my house and I had some friends but I can’t remember their names or something, so I had to be really young, like three or something. And okay so after kindergarten I went to a primary school and my mum wanted to, wanted me to go to some also special primary school because she was afraid that I’m too sensitive to go to normal school but I don’t know why, but I didn’t, I didn’t get to some special, some special school. So, I just go to some school near to my house. And my mum was really afraid but after some, I don’t know, a few weeks she realised that it was good decision and it doesn’t matter if its special school or normal. And I think it was interesting because my mum told me a few years ago that when she asked some, some I don’t know lady from my kindergarten, some person who, who was taking care about me and other children, and she asked if, if I’m not too sensitive to go to normal school and this lady said that it’s okay because I’m sensitive but on the other hand I can (thinking) I can something which I would like but on my own way. So, on the other way from the other people. I don’t know how to say it more simple but something like this. So. (thinking) So I went to primary school and I had first friends which I, which I remember until now even a few on Facebook for example. But we don’t have, I don’t know, some really, we are not really close but, but we know each other. And, and I think it was some, I don’t know happy time because I had my first, my first hobbies and I was, I was something like scout or something like this. So, we have some meetings together one time per week. And first camps and it was fun. And also, I started to dance and it was important, I don’t know, important moment in my life. I don’t know, for I think six years.
And I didn’t have problems at school, for me it was okay and after that yeah, so when I was on five class, I started to run, to train running. And (2) it’s really important part of my life until now. So, me and my parents, we decide to sign up me on some club. To start to train more serious than I don’t know, to run in some competitions at school. And we enter me and my father, we went to some, I don’t know, some place where we could get information about clubs in Warsaw. And we decided to sign me up on one of the clubs, Polonia Warsashba and I started to run. And I had a coach and so on, so it was really serious and it was really important for me from the beginning. And I had my first competitions at the stadium and I had my first medals, so it was really, it was fun for me. And I finished primary school and me and my mother we decided that I could go to sports school, sports school. And I went to secondary school, sport secondary school. And it was sports class with people who were running, so I met more people who were interested in sport, and it was for me, really important and I liked it. But also (2) it was really stupid time for girls and boys and boys are really mean for us, for girls. And I remember that, I was a little bit nervous at school. It was okay, I really liked it but I preferred to spend time with, with other people from another, from another class, more than spend time with my friends from my class for example. (2) But also, I, I could feel that I have, I don’t have to separate my life because I had training, so club, and also school and it was something like, I don’t know, it was together.
So, I had one the most important thing in my life and it was sport because after secondary school I went to college and yeah and it was when I finished secondary school. And here I had some first problems with, I (thinking) I felt in love a few times and it was really sad for me. And in the meantime, my parents also got divorced, so I was, I was really sad. And (2) after that me and my mum we decided that I should go to some, some normal college, not sports. And I went to some really good college in Warsaw. And I continued to train running but also, I spent a lot of time on, on studying and I had to study more than other people from my class because it’s true that this sport second school it was good school but we had a lot of competitions and trainings and I didn’t have enough time to study. (laughing) But at college it was good time for me but also, I didn’t like people from my class also. I didn’t have like, my class was from, maybe on primary school also, I don’t know why, but I didn’t have luck. So, I had friends from another classes. But I had a few really nice teachers who prepared me to pass the exams after college, before university.
So, I passed quite good, quite well and I wanted to go to university, and when I was (thinking) it was second year at high school, I decided, so I met my boyfriend and after my high school, I, we decided to go move out to Krakow because he wanted to play basketball there. And I wanted to change something and to try something new, to separate maybe from, from my family also. And I knew that I will really miss them but, but I wanted to (2) to be more (thinking) brave maybe in my life, so I decided to move out. And we lived together in Krakow. I went to, to anthropology at the Jagiellonian University and I felt that it’s, that anthropology is something which I really like and it’s my piece of cake. And I, so when I, it was first year at university, I met another, another guy and I broke up with this first boyfriend and, and it was really (thinking) (3) difficult time for me because I met another, another man but another boy but I realised after one month that he has really bad influence on me, and I was crying a lot and I had big problems. And but fortunately it was the end of the academic year so I just came back to Warsaw for vacations, and, and in Krakow met some, I had some my friend, and he helped me to, I don’t know, to leave this really difficult situation for me with these two boys. And after all I, I went to Warsaw, I spent holidays here and (2) and after holidays I came back to Krakow. And I lived then with, with this boy who helped me when I was really sad. And we are together until now, so it’s three years. And so, I was also two years in Krakow. I was studying anthropology all the time. And after, it was during third year, I thought about (thinking) returning to Warsaw to this second part of study, so in Poland’s it’s three years and after and we have some exams and then after that two years.
And I decided to come back Warsaw and my boyfriend decided to go with me. But he had to stay in Krakow also half of year because he had longer studies then me. And so, after three years in Krakow I came back to Warsaw, and I started to study in Warsaw anthropology at university of Warsaw, and (2) now I’m first year of this studies. So, it’s more like fourth, but first year of the second part of the studies.
And now I live in Warsaw with my boyfriend at some apartment and I’m really happy because, I am close to my parents who I missed really in Krakow and I can feel it’s everything okay because I also have my sister who is really important person in my life. Especially I think until, from I don’t know, because she’s younger, so I think she started to understand me and be more friendly for me when she gets older, so now we are, I don’t know something like the best friends. And (2) what else. So now I have (2) I can feel that I am on crossroads because next year I will have finished my studies and I think I have to go to find out, to find some job. And also with my boyfriend three years, so I think it’s good time to think about something more serious. But on the other and I can feel that I’m, I’m really young and my grandparents and my parents they told me that I’m really young and I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to, I don’t know, get married now or something because I can, I don’t know, I can (3) I don’t know to travel if I want or something. I have enough time to, to have a husband and the children. But also, I can feel that it’s something because my grandparents and my parents got married when they were really young, I can feel that it’s for me really natural to, to do it. So not, I don’t know now, and what else. (thinking) (4) So now I, I also I run a lot, it’s really important, really important thing in my life, a part of my studies. And, and also (8). I think that’s all I can say. Yeah. (laughing)
I: Okay. So, do you want to add something maybe or stop it for a while.
IV: I think that’s all I can stop here.
I: Okay so let’s make a short break and I just want to look a bit over the notes.
IV: Okay.
I: And maybe see if I find some good questions.
IV: Okay no problem. So, I don’t know I have to.
I: If you want to stretch or walk.
IV: I don’t have to, I don’t know to, so I don’t know… (laughing).
I: It will maybe take few minutes.
IV: Okay no problem.
[Break 00.39.52 – 00.45.43]
I: Okay so I have a few questions.
IV: Okay.
I: So, you said that you had a happy childhood, no problems, a lot of time from parents together. Do you remember any particular example which?
IV: A time when we spent together yeah.
I: Typical.
IV: Okay, so for example, we spent (thinking) a lot of time (2) on going to, for example to museums. I think that now I really like to go to museums because my parents they took me to a lot of museums when I was a child. And it was something like typical Sunday when we went together to some museum in Warsaw, one in another city. So, this is the example. But also, we really liked to (4) just spend talking together on I don’t know, every topic. Because I can feel that I can say everything to my parents and I can talk with them about anything, and about everything. And so, I think that I don’t have any problems with talking to people now because when I was a child I was talking with my parents a lot. And it’s, it was, because I can sometimes I, I can hear that I don’t know, that I have some friends who, who have parents and, and my friends told me that their parents don’t have time and didn’t have time after, after come back from, from work or something and as a child they spent time, they spent a lot of time alone but I don’t have impression like this so yeah.
I: I’ll just continue. You said that in kindergarten was special kindergarten, special activities, making bread experience, special (?? 49.07) and you mentioned some wooden toys and some rocks or something like that. Do you remember anything more about the situation with the wooden toys or those rocks?
IV: Yeah, so I think this kindergarten had and also now, because I think it exists now. They have special programme for children but also for parents, because for example I remember that, not every, but I don’t know one per month, it was for example, for example Saturday and all parents were spending time in this kindergarten and they were making for example, dolls for us, for children, from some natural, I don’t know, materials for example. And also for example, (4) we made for example, this special type of plant for Easter. In Warsaw, it’s called (teshuva) I don’t know how to say in English, but it’s special plant for Easter, and for example we made it in the kindergarten. Also, we had when some child had a birthday, the ladies from kindergarten, they prepared some (2) entertainments for children and the child who had birthday, she or he, received some special, some special type of present. And for example, I remember that I received special little bag with really soft rocks, a little really soft rock. And so, I can remember that for example, we spent time together with me and other children on I don’t know counting these rocks, or (2) what else. We had special, we didn’t have for example Lego or something. I had Lego, I can remember I had Lego but at home. So, I could (4) I could, I don’t know, use Lego at home but in kindergarten we had some special wooden, wooden toys. And more activities. (2) For example, we had some really beautiful garden and I remember that sometimes we even did something in this garden to put plants inside the, the soil or something. And yeah, I think that’s all.
I: So, because you said you were at other kindergartens before. You had some kind of, you said that the first views you can remember of some kind of, when you were three, some kind of friends, something like that?
IV: So, I have now a friend, who yeah, I met. I met her, I remember it. I met her at first day in this kindergarten. And we, we were like the best friends in this kindergarten. We did everything together and, and after kindergarten we went together to primary school and we were on the same class, at the same class, and I remember that my mum and Agnieszka’s mum, they, they really tried to, they wrote some, some letter to director that, they want me and Agnieszka to be together in one class. So, we were at the same class. But after I don’t know three years at school we met other people and we just separate. And now it’s funny because we are living in the same building but we are together on Facebook and so on, but we just hello and go, so we don’t have really close, we aren’t really close and we don’t have contact but yeah but it was I think my first friend.
I: A question about you said that your mother told you a few years ago, that she had asked kindergarten lady or a person working in the kindergarten about your kind of sensitivity and other things, and she answered something like she’s active but she can also be making sure she gets what she wants, or something like that. Do you know or if you have any idea what kind of things she was referring to?
IV: So, I think that my mum thought about something like that. I (5) how to say it. (4) Sometimes I have problems with (2) with saying what I want but also I, because I, I think I can talk to other people and I’m, I don’t know, quite nice person, so sometimes I can, I can do something round in, I don’t know, on the longer way than normal people for example, but I can get it. And it’s, yeah, I think it depends on being nice and talk to people with on really nice way of being, something like that.
I: Great nice. (4) So, you said that at some point, you were getting hobbies, you started in the scouts, meeting weekly and you went to camps but you also started to dance, which was an important moment. Do you remember the discovery of dance or what?
IV: So, my friend, about who I told you a few minutes ago, she started to participate in dance, dance, some group at our primary school. And (2) I saw that and I wanted to do it also, because my friend did it. So, I just wanted to do it as well. And I started to dance. I wasn’t the best in the group, we had, we had better, better people than me but I, after, it was type of sport for me, so type of exercise of my body, and also, I could relax during, during this (2) I don’t know, course or something like this. And sometimes I think that (3) if I, I don’t know, if I hadn’t finished, if hadn’t, if I hadn’t started to, to train running, maybe I, I don’t know, I would have danced until now. But it was the decision in that time, so I don’t have, I don’t know, now, I can’t change it, but what else about dancing. It was really important because for example, we had special shows at theatres for example. So, it was first time when I could be at the stage and to feel, to feel self-confident and to feel important, because my parents went to every show that we had and I felt really strong and it was I think really important dancing. It was important part in my life, yeah. But I, I finished because I started to run, so it was something like this.
I: So, I’m curious, you said that in the fifth grade you started to train running and it became more and more important, and you started enjoying the more professional kind of club with the first competitions and (?? 01.02.01). So, I’m just curious again how was this, I know you didn’t say anything with that but you became more serious and more interested in this professional sport and running at the sport, kind of building up. Is it possible to tell which would describe this feeling…?
IV: Feeling about running.
I: And you’d given priority to something and other things.
IV: Okay. So (thinking) (3) I think that I always, I always need some kind of exercise with my body. I really need to be on, to move to be sometimes on the rush also. And on the other hand, it’s running became some (3) also like dancing, the thing which was relaxing for me. And because now I don’t train professional it’s only, I don’t know, on my free time, because I trained eight years. And finished when I move out to Krakow. But (2) I think that it was for me important because I had some hobby which was (2) the other thing than school. I had something more than only one place and the only people at school. And it was for me important because also my parents went to my competitions and also, they treated it really serious like me. And I felt that I do something really important and something serious, and it’s, and (7) what else. (3) I think that also maybe it was for me important because maybe I wanted that people see me as a person who has some hobby, and do something because I can say that in, in my life I, I met a lot of people who appreciate, people who do sport. So, I can say that at school I had a lot of friends who appreciated that I do sport. And maybe it was also some but I run with my dad a long time before start, before I started to train professionally because for example, I have some photos when I was a little child and I’m in sports clothes and I run with my dad, and I can’t remember this moment but I had this photo so I think that it was, I don’t know, something in my blood. And I had to do this to feel better, yeah.
I: I have some more questions.
IV: Yeah, of course.
I: You said that you were spending time with older school mates, not the people in your class, and yeah, so I think you said actually it was two times that you had but this is the question that maybe you answered a little bit. That spending time with the older school matters, because you said already that you spent time with parents talking, and also later more articulate or if you want to say something more about the school and the school mates.
IV: It depended on… because I had, because my secondary school was linked with my club, and in my sports club, I had friends who were older, so when we went to the same school, I preferred to spend time with these people because they were more mature and also, they were (3) I don’t know, I preferred them because they were more nice than people from my class, especially boys. But also, girls. They, I don’t know they felt they behave in sometimes in stupid and I preferred to spend time with older, with my older friends from club and also from school because it was together, connected. (2)
I: So (16). Yes, you said that really like anthropology. Is there anything particular you remember which made you discover anthropology?
IV: Yes, I can say that now I, I’m interested in anthropology of contemporary world. So, I can say that for example, in my, how to say it, in my research which I do now to write this text at the end of the studies. So, my research are about runners, and their bodies. And it’s about how they feel in their bodies after, after some transformations in their bodies, after a lot of trainings in their lives. And so, it’s for example, one thing anthropology of the body, but also I like some I don’t know topics of, I don’t know, ethnicity or something like this, but I can feel that there are a lot of, I don’t know, more (3) because I don’t have enough knowledge about some, some I don’t know things about ethnicity or something. And I think that the other people have more knowledge and I prefer to, to do my research about the other things. More contemporary for example, as I said the body, are also I don’t know literature, anthropology of literature. And what else, for example anthropology of music. I had some really nice course at last semester, and so I think that the topics in anthropology which are interested for me are connected with my hobbies. Because I didn’t say but I’m interested also in music. And it’s also very, I don’t play any instrument but I really like the other aspects of music and it’s interesting for me and I can use it also on my research in anthropology so, think.
I: I’m just curious, you interview people, you talk to people for your study, is this in Poland?
IV: I focus on runners in Poland, and it has to be runners who are, who are young and who are partly or professional sportsmen, runners. And so, who spent a lot of time on training and I yeah, I do some interviews with them and also, I need some observations, so I go to competitions or I would like to go to some sports camp to observe. And I also have my own experience which I can, I can use in research, in whole research, so I think it’s useful sometimes to be inside. Yeah.
I: Great. So, I’ll jump in one question because it was something about you found a few times in this kind of experience or something I wonder if its connected. So, next question is related to what you said in Krakow friends helped me through some difficult time with these two boys. And in the end, he became your boyfriend.
IV: Yeah.
I: You had this like triangular…
IV: Yes, possibly yes.
I: So, I’m not sure exactly, I don’t know if I want to think (2) maybe what is interesting in this relations is that it was connected to first, you said like you decided to move to Krakow and it was some kind of independent decision and you felt quite brave.
I: Yeah.
IV: But you did sort out the question based on.
I: Yeah maybe. Maybe you are right because (2) I think that maybe I felt that I (thinking) I want to, how to say, break this, break this part of my life so school and during school, first boyfriend and go to Krakow and it was, I changed. I can feel I changed and maybe I (2) I didn’t realise in that moment but maybe I, I had some problems with this first boyfriend and I need something really new, so it was I moved from Warsaw to Krakow. I changed boyfriends, and maybe it was some kind of (3) to become more mature and it was really, really important moment. This one year in Krakow. And after that I felt stronger than in the past. So yeah.
I: So, I have maybe two more questions. You said that you’re now on a crossroads, when next year is finishing and you have to think about job and there’s also this relationship. So, you said crossroads, if you would describe like how is the crossroad?
IV: I think that it’s a place or moment when I have, I have a few ways and I have to take decision about which way I choose. And I think something about, because as I said it’s a moment when I can get married to have my own family, but also, I can start something new and to travel to, or to get a new job. I can of course be connected everything but I can say that… I have a lot of friends who, who have this, also this problem like me. Not a problem but some kind of decision to make and, (3) yeah so, I feel it’s important moment when I have to choose something. What I want to do in my life, who I want to be and I think it was important for me to live three years in Krakow and to, to felt some kind of freedom. And now I as I said, I feel that I have to be closer to my family because I missed them, but also, I’m quite self-sufficient and I can feel stronger, but also, I need their help and I can say that my parents and my sister are, have influence on my decisions. So, it’s also connected to these crossroads, I think this crossroad I think.
I: Okay so last question. You said your grandparents encourage to think twice or to do what you want. So, I’m just curious if you can add some examples how they come in this decision making process. What kind of influence they have or give me some examples how they are the experience voiced maybe or…?
IV: So, on the one hand my for example, my mum, because I think she is now the most important person, she, she tells me all the time that I have to make my decision, make decisions on my own way. And by myself. But on the other hand, I can feel that I can make any decision without her because in, she was important in every, on every part of my life. And I can say that I also helped her when, when she, when she divorced with my father. But some examples. (4) Sometimes when I asked her what do you think, what should I do, she said to me that you have to make decision by yourself and what do you want. You have to. Because she told me a few days ago, that I all the time, I think about other people not about myself. So she told me that I have to know what I want to do and, I don’t have any pressure from family but because I have problems with my, with my grandmother from the side of my father, and I can feel this kind of pressure to… she’s really weird person, I think, and sometimes she tells me, you have to get married and have family now but, and sometimes she says something like you have a lot of time and you don’t have to have boyfriend and so on. So, it’s I don’t know, I don’t, I don’t know what to do when she says something like this, when she says something like this. But, some examples (thinking) for example, when I decided to move on to Krakow it was really important decision and I didn’t, I wasn’t really convinced but she asked me if I want to do it, and I said yes. And she didn’t, she didn’t try to convince me do this or do another thing but she said okay, that’s okay it’s your decision and I will help you, but also, she’s really happy that I’m here now, so. I don’t know if it’s answer for you…
I: (?? 01.25.25)
IV: Okay.
I: So, that’s basically, I’m just curious because we didn’t talk anything about that at all, it’s interesting that we never talked about the volunteer, are you working (?? 01.25.43) like information to the museum, if you want to say a few words.
IV: Of course.
I: How you got in touch with the museum and (?? 01.2.54).
IV: So, I decided to, to do some, to become volunteer in the museum here. When I had holidays after third year of my studies, so I was in Warsaw and I knew that I will stay in Warsaw at university. And I wanted to because I had some course at university about museums, contemporary museums, and I wanted to try to become volunteer in some museum and I heard that it’s really nice and interesting institution. And, and I saw an information, information on internet about, about (2) some opportunity to become a volunteer at the exhibition about photography of Sofia Reddit and I found out about Sofia Reddit, also another course at university about photography, and, and I (thinking) (3) wrote some CV and so on. And I received an email that I’m in. And it was great because I had, we had a few meetings with curators and we could find out more about exhibitions, which had place from, from September I think until, until winter, January, January.
And we had to, we had to do some guide tours on the exhibition. So, I prepared some plan of it and also I, I had some workshops with, with Agnieszka and Benkosfka and it was about photography of Sofia Reddit. And I made twice workshops for adults, and it was, I was really nervous but also it was great experience for me and I can say that it was really important, yeah it was really important. And after that I in January I had some, Hania wrote to me that I can help in the new exhibition and I decided to do it. It was quite difficult because this woman who made this exhibition was (thinking) (2) I don’t know how to say it but it was really difficult to help her because we only wrote emails and it was very strange.
But it was also interesting, quite interesting and also but on February I received a propose of a working at front desk here and I was really happy because I could, (2) receive some, some money and work in really nice place. And I worked here at the front desk two months. And it was three times a week, four hours or something and sometimes at the weekends. And sometimes it was difficult work but sometimes quite, quite boring because it’s, especially at the weekends, it’s only sitting and be here but on the other hand it’s nice place, so I enjoyed it, and the building of Amelia is finished so I finished my work here, and now I’m, I’m all like this, all the time the volunteer but now I can say that I don’t have enough time to be here all the time and also we only have this one exhibition and I think museum don’t have a lot of people to, to get involved here.
And now I don’t know I want to be here but also, I need some, I also need that I want to have some another experience in another institution, so maybe I will try something, maybe another museum or some I don’t know, something with maybe books or stuff, yeah.
I: Great, thanks a lot for (?? 01.33.18). Do you know by chance, Arne Steiner, I think he’s anthropologist, he works with anthropology and contemporary art, and he’s at Oslo University.
IV: Great. Okay
I: I’ve been reading, he has a book where he comments anthropology (?? 01.33.32).
IV: Great.
I: So, thanks a lot.
IV: Thank you.
I: Do you want to say something before I go.
IV: I think it’s okay.

Warsaw Interview 9 and 9b

I: So, what’s the proposal from my side with this interview, can you hear me?
IV: Is this interview, what do you mean, what are you asking for?
I: I propose for me to interview, and so, I’m trying out a special way, a special technique of making the interview, which we someone thought maybe could be a part of the workshop, but we didn’t have time to work on this biography part, and biography, it means how life and lived experience is described in a certain narrative, how you tell me about something you have experienced, right? – so that’s basically a life story. Even if it’s not a life story, then it sounds weird, but that’s interesting, and a focus to use as a point of departure, the life story, and then I will ask you just this one question about your life story, then you decide whether you want the story, how you want to tell it, the story, and because I heard a life stories, sometimes overlap at some point for a brief period of time, so that’s not the main topic, but maybe we’ll get there, but who knows? So it’s up to you, and what is unusual is that I’ll just ask you, then I’ll just listen. I will not interrupt you. I will not have any questions. I will not answer, so it’s a bit weird, because then there is you, there is somehow talking to me, so I’m listening and I’m taking notes, and then when you’ve finished, I will look at my notes, and I will see if it’s possible, maybe I’ll have some questions, and then if we have more time, if I ask questions, you answer, then it looks more, I think I need to base my questions on the way you start, so that’s how I (?? 2:22), so that’s the proposal. In principle, you can say yeah, I want to start with, when I came here to the Museum, but it could be in the last ten minutes, or in the last ten years, or when your grandparents were born. Everybody has a different concept of how they feel, like they are talking. So if you accept this point of departure, then my experience is that it’s quite easy, for the first twenty minutes, or half-an-hour maybe, then you realise that, okay, this way of talking lasts very short, so you have to consider if you should open a different layer or something like that, so often people need the time to think, so I just want to say that it’s okay, that you don’t speak for a while. I don’t care, so it’s not like the recording will be used to (?? 3:26) represent you. It’s just, and you will listen to it, and I’ll maybe listen to it, and kind of compare it to the others, and maybe I’ll understand something which I didn’t understand, from the workshop, or about the volunteer aspect in this particular museum. It will somehow be protected, so you should feel that you can say things which, I’m not looking for your motives. You should feel free to, nobody else is going to listen to it but me. You can talk about it a bit later. So if you’re ready, do you think, as ready as you can be?
IV: Yes (slowly, uncertainly).
I: So, are you ready? – so I will ask you if you could tell your biography, your life story, and it is not very warm to start, it is no good, it’s important, it’s less important to you, and I will, as I said, not interrupt you, so I’m ready to listen to your story.
IV: Okay. So I was born in Poland, 2nd May 1993, and it was a Sunday, and there is a saying in Poland, that if someone is born on a Sunday, they are lazy, and I like that (she laughs), because it’s half true, or something like this, or maybe 100% true.
The town in which I was born was, is quite small, because it has only 10,000 citizens, which is not a very big city in Poland, and we’ve got only one primary school, where I was a pupil, and I liked books very much, so I knew much things, so when I was going to primary school, I wasn’t learning at all, because it was like, I knew the things that other pupils were learning, and then, when I go to the gymnasium, it’s like, between thirteen and fifteen years old, I was taught not to learn, because I knew things, and then, and my grades, and at this time was so bad, because at primary school, I didn’t learn, so I actually couldn’t do it. Also, then I went to quite a good (?? 7:25), which is a high school, something like this, and my grades were also not very well, because once again, I actually couldn’t force myself to learn, but my tutor was like, I’d be taught or something like this, this closing exam, went quite well, but I didn’t go to Scandinavian studies, which I desperately wanted to do, but I did learn, so it wasn’t possible, because people that went to the studies got much, much higher grades, something like this.
Then I spent one year in Gdansk, where I supposed, I thought that I will go to the University of Gdansk to do Scandinavian studies, but I didn’t pass the, my grades for the studies were too low, so I go to the German studies, but I couldn’t stand it, and also I got a boyfriend in Warsaw, so it was just two reasons to move to Warsaw, and after the first year, I moved to Warsaw, to completely different studies, which is the history of art, and I’m still at the studies.
In the meantime, I broke with that boy, and then that’s something like, one-and-a-half of a year, that I was like … (she laughs self-deprecatingly) I got Lindsay Lohan’s lifestyle! – if you know what I’m saying, but actually, it taught me how to learn actually, and now I’m at the third year of my studies, and because of the problems that I made for myself by this lifestyle, by discarding lifestyle, I was on the edge, and I needed to decide what to denounce, so I was like, in a situation that I actually needed to learn myself how to learn, something like this, how to just force yourself to remember information, that are not for getting good grades, but getting wisdom actually. It was funny, like when people were saying to me, something like, “You’re intelligent and stuff, so why do you have so low grades, and why are you so lazy?”, it was like, “ I don’t know.”
So now, I’m on the third year, and it’s the last year of the first stage of studies, something like this, and, at this third year, I wanted to do something with modern art, because at these studies, I realised that baroque art and renaissance art, and all the iconography that are based on the Catholic beliefs, I was like, oh my God! (with emphasis) It’s unbelievable, why did people like it and believe it? So I’m quite a fan of modernism, something like this, and at the day that the reputation for volunteers to the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, it was the very last day of adding to your cv, your curriculum vitae, so do it like this, and it was like, it’s now or never, and I did this, and it helped me to decide that I would like to study, like critical history of art, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, just to, not to be forced on focusing on like baroque iconography, I mean, it’s totally important to hold European history, but it is something which annoys me, it really annoys me, and those, like, everything what happened after Impressionism is like, wow! – for me, and I would like to do things connected with this, more than with the classical art, and stuff. So I’m very glad that volunteering in the Museum helped me to make a decision, and also I’m glad that I made this decision and stuff. Because I wasn’t really good at it, I couldn’t make a decision of many times, and in many situations, I couldn’t make decisions, so I did nothing, and then I regret it so much, but I was like yeah, it didn’t interest me anyway, yeah, no, for sure, it didn’t, but it was because I couldn’t force myself to decide for something that matters.
Now I’m here, studying hard, because I need to pass everything on the first term, because if I didn’t pass something now, I will, I need to wait till September, and this will be too late for the Academy of Fine Arts, and I would like to do this.
Also, when I, after this parting episode, I met my actual now, this time boyfriend, because he was in a similar time, and now we are like, we actually don’t need it, but we do party like, for three or two days continually, from time to time, but it’s not like it’s our life, it’s not like our escape from having a decision, or something like this. Also, I didn’t mention that I worked with children, what also helped me a lot to get the criticism for life, for other people, for me, and because I am something like, I am organising the parties, birthday parties for kids that are younger than ten years old. It’s like, their parents just go to the kids’ club, they left them for two hours, and we are making something like kindergarten for two hours, but it’s better, because it’s their first day, and I couldn’t react properly when, for example, these kids wanted to hug me or something like this, or they had the flu inside their noses, and I was like, holy shit! – what to do? I didn’t know what to react, because kids actually are open, but they taught me how to actually don’t bother, like … and this taught me that I prefer kids and animals than mature people, in semi-colon, mature people, because kids are not doing such dramas, that mature people do, because you need to do something, or because you need to behave like this, and not like that. I think it’s all. (10)
Is it enough time, okay?
I: We have plenty of time, if you want to add something?
IV: Oh, I don’t want to. I don’t think it out.
I: Okay, so if you give me a minute … (59)
IV: Oh, there is one thing, but I don’t know, if it isn’t too … can I?
I: Yeah, go ahead.
IV: When I was in the small town, I thought that I am conservative, only because it was, like going to church and stuff was a quite normal thing, and everything that wasn’t like this was a big danger, something like this, and now, and also this Catholic school, the middle school and stuff, and now I’m like, oh my God, what was I thinking? – and what makes people so … why are there still such idiots in Poland, I think, that there’s some danger from everywhere, that would like to destroy them? When something is different that you’re used to, it’s not like it’s a danger for you, I mean, just, why bother? It’s something like this.
And, when I’m going back to my parents, for example, or when I talk to people that I used to go to the middle school or high school, I’m shocked sometimes, and it makes me sad and angry, because they say such things like, they should do something, like the marriage, the staff, they do a good job, and having a car, and I’m like, oh my God! – who cares? Or, for example, their parents did something, so their neighbours, that they don’t like them, are gossiping about it. It’s like, I don’t like it so much. I mean, I don’t bother, but on the other hand, it make me sad, because I know how does it affect people’s decision? They don’t do what they want to, but what they think that others would like to, that it’s recommended, what is recommended, I mean, (?? 22:16) is recommended, and this is what actually being on studies taught me also. I forgot about it. (173)
I: Okay, can I ask some questions? Okay, so you said, I’ll just start where you started, so you said that you were “born lazy”, and I’m not sure if that’s true, but you like that kind of aspect of laziness.
IV: It’s not like I like that, but I think, on the like, 50 or more percent, quite accurate, and it’s funny, a bit.
I: So to give an example, how this laziness is expressing itself? – like some experience you have, that it is showing now already, laziness is (?? 25:57)
IV: For example, in the school, when we were having a big exam, it was like, putting in an afford to have an A grade, it was for me, much worse for me, worse than just sitting and getting a B or C grade, but it’s okay also, because it was something like this, for example, or putting some duties that you have to do, for example, at your home, and you have a whole day for it, but you just want to sit and gaze at your head, or on the computer, or play the Sims, because it is the 21st century, and I play, the brink of the 21st century, so I play the Sims a lot, and stuff like this, and doing these things very bad, but in the last one hour of this time that it was given to having the studies, for example, having something like this.
I: What is the Sims, what’s that?
IV: The Sims? – the game, like, you create your people, and you build the house for them. You don’t know the Sims, really?? You’re from Europe! But, like, real-life simulation.
I: Is it online?
IV: No.
I: At your home?
IV: At your computer, you’ve just got a CD, and at first, you just decide, would you like to do that family, or something like this. You even dress them, and then you need to build their house, and it’s like a real-life simulation. That sounds so (?? 28:12) actually, because a real-life simulation? I spend seven of eight hours giving to my …. but that was what I was like.
I: What kind of simulation did you produce?
IV: The thing that every girl was doing in the middle school was creating themselves, creating the boy, that, for example, that you were in love, or something like this, and making them, for example, getting together or something like this, or the thing that boys like to do was, for example, to build a swimming pool, to put the whole Sims, these people, to the swimming pool, and then remove the entrance from the swimming pool. I found that so sad, I never did something like this, but I was on this girlish side, that likes to create, for example, two teenagers, and then play with them, and in two days of this playing, they became mature people, and for example, having a kid, and something like this. The funny thing was that literally almost everyone that I knew played with the codes, like when you typed some signs or typed some words that didn’t have sense, it just gave, for example, $1,000 bucks extra, so you could buy the house of your dreams, and that’s by sending your people to work, for example.
I: (?? 30:06) games?
IV: I wanted, I played it some months ago, because there are newer and newer versions of it. Now it’s like the fourth version, and it’s in full 3D, because the first game I was playing has only an isometric view, and the people were like this, and now they’re in full 3D, but I don’t know. I prefer wasting my time on Tumblr than on Sims more. No, it’s not like that, no, I don’t. I try to, but it bored me quickly, quicker than several years ago, when I was a teenager.
I: Can I ask one more question? You said, at the time when you were (?? 31:13) primary school, that you liked it, that you knew lots of things?
IV: Yes, lots of things from primary school.
I: So what books did you already learn at that time, can you remember?
IV: Yes. I liked something like the brochure that was in a kiosk every week, and it was called something “World of Knowledge”, or something like this, and it was, you can gain them, and then put them in a file, and you had something like an encyclopaedia about everything, with pictures, and I did like physics and astronomy a lot, and then, when I went to middle school, my mathematics and physics, like I couldn’t bear it, but I knew quite a lot, for primary school, about astrophysics and stuff, and also I read a lot of books like Harry Potter, and all this teenager stuff, so I was good at the Polish language, so I always had nice handwriting, and had no failures at autographing, (?? 32:49) and stuff, Polish and astrophysics, and also drawing.
I: So you said that in high school, that you had bad grades, and were a pretty poor (?? 33:13) to learn, so somehow you got some kind of blowback from knowing too much, and then you had (?? 33:21) experiences. Can you give an example, like how you tried maybe? – because you forced yourself to learn, what kind of examples?
IV: For example, mathematics, I was quite slow at it, and at the class, there are 30 kids, and some of them are good at it, and if the teacher says, is that clear, like no, but they are like yes, so the teacher is like, okay – for those who don’t know, just do it at home, and then I went to home, and it was like, I don’t know. It frustrated me, so I just closed the book and threw it away. Also, I was watching a TV series, for example, in English, like Skins, do you know? – just, it’s a TV series about rebelling teenagers in Great Britain, and I understood them, but when we needed to remember stuff like past perfect continuous, or stuff like this, I didn’t like it. It was like, I just couldn’t force myself to remember the names of weird stuff that was in the exams, something like this, and my grade was like C, for example, because I know some things, but it wasn’t like expected to, and the exam, it was something like this. Now, I’m in the history of art, but in this school, I get quite bad grades at history, because the questions were like, for example, like, something about the French revolution or the dates, and I was like, why bother? – and then, I got an F grade or something. It wasn’t wise, I mean, I wasn’t wise enough to still cross myself, and just learn what expected from me, something like this.
I: Yeah, I’ll continue with another question? So you said that you were not accepted to Scandinavian studies, which you desperately wanted, so I was quite surprised to hear about this desperation, and that you can remember something about this period?
IV: Yeah, sure.
I: This desperation?
IV: Maybe it’s too big a word, but it was like, for example, at my 18th birthday, which is my major birthday in Poland, I got from my friend CDs and an exercise book for Swedish, and I was doing that, because it wasn’t necessary, the things that were necessary to get to the studies were English and Geography, and that was what I wasn’t doing, and I also was reading the interesting facts about Norway, for example, and stuff. I was really curious about how the map of Sweden or Norway looks like, or stuff like this, so it was something like, interested me, but those things didn’t matter if I wanted to go with the studies. It was something like this.
I: You remember still the impact? (?? 38:06) anyway?
IV: Like these very narrow roads, that are like this and that. I was passionate about using Google Maps, and … just learning. Also, Iceland, I’m still a bit fascinated by Iceland, but I know it’s, I do not want to judge, because I’m not from there, but I think that is, Scandinavia, like, I don’t know, can I say something like this? – I’m sorry, it’s like, because it’s an island, but it interested me so much, and this empty space at the very epicentre, and the fact that Norway’s so big, and it has like four million people, and yes … and also … it doesn’t matter, sorry. But because Poland had another shape (? 39:22) before the Second World War, so my grandfathers were in the German army, so they were in (?? 39:32) and they were shooting to (?? 39:34) and I always wanted to go to (?? 39:35). I was passionate about searching on Google Maps, the routes through Norway or Sweden.
I: But they returned from (?? 39:58), your grandparents?
IV: Yes.
I: So I have another question. You said, I don’t know if you quoted a name, but you said something like, Lindsey Lohan lifestyle?
IV: Yeah, you don’t know Lindsey Lohan?
I: No.
IV: Oh, wow!
I: So (?? 40:39), so Lindsey Lohan?
IV: Yes, Linsey Lohan. Of course you know her! I’m sorry for saying stuff like this. She’s an American singer that is well known for partying with, for example, Paris Hilton, and doing drugs and partying for five days continuously, it’s like that. So I just didn’t want to literally say how my life was looking, so I just said, Lindsey Lohan lifestyle …. because it was like all these gossiping websites, were taking the photos of her, so I thought that maybe you could hear about this American singer, or something like that.
I: I’m a bit disconnected.
IV: So you’re the lucky one!
I: Maybe. (?? 42:07) the Sims, the game?
IV: Oh yeah, the Sims.
I: Not Lindsey Lohan?
IV: Okay!
I: Okay, so can I continue with a question? So, with (?? 42:30) studies, you said, you were learning, or how to learn, learn more (?? 42:39). Do you have any memory in particular? – kind of change which happened, which would describe the different way of taking in or living, (?? 43:01)?
IV: Yes, because at first, I didn’t pass an important exam twice, so the third take was the take that you need to pay for, and if you don’t pass the third time, you’re rejected from the studies, or you can start it once again, so that was at the first year. The second, I got the situation that I didn’t pass the very very big exam at the first time, and it totally, completely didn’t … I wasn’t interested in it, in this, but it was like, I need to do this, I mean, I need to stop pretending that I’m learning just by gazing at the letters and information, and scrolling my, for example, my notes, and the pictures, because the history of art is a lot of pictures, so I just need to see it, and then we can make a mini-exam for myself, just to see how much did I remember, and then, if I don’t remember something, just try to remember it, like, this is how learning looks probably, but I didn’t do it, really. I didn’t learn until my second year of the studies, like this. I was just gazing, and I knew something, I knew half, and it was enough to have the C grade, so I just passed, and that was … and also that was the time when I was with my boyfriend, so I didn’t have a chance to just say, okay, fuck it, I go to the club, because I was in a relationship, and also, it wasn’t like, oh, I can’t do this, oh fuck it, let’s go outside! I have (?? 45:52), but it was like, I used to force myself. Okay, I’m not interested in it, but this is how life looks. You’re not always interested in things that you need to know, sometimes just to pass something. It was something like that.
I: You said something, you said, I’m a fan of modernism. Everything after Impressionism is wow!
IV: Yes, I said something like this.
I: So, (?? 46:50) I was curious if you could remember some time where you had seen something, after Impressionism, in what way it became, wow! – what happened, how good, in what form, how was that possible?
IV: We got subjects like iconography, the Middle Ages iconography, and then, after Middle, like, I don’t know how to say that – between modernism and Middle Age?
I: The Renaissance, baroque?
IV: Yeah, the Renaissance, baroque, and it’s like a new age, but this, between the Middle Ages and the modern ages, there are just …
I: Early modernism?
IV: After Gutenberg.
I: (?? 48:06), the light movement?
IV: Yes, something like this, so we get iconography of this time, and also in a sense in baroque, and I realised that everything is based on beliefs, and these beliefs, and these obvious things are obvious only because of the religion that those people were used to, and this religion was an assumption of some political decisions, and, for example, academic art, the idea of like, naked women that are from ancient Greek mythology are more important than, for example, a portrait of someone. It was obvious for those people, and I don’t like it, because it pisses me off a bit, and it pisses me off how people today are like, some things are obvious and some things are normal. I like when artists became not only craftsmen that were pleasing the tastes of their sponsorships, something like this, all this bible and mythology, and naked women, or the saints, and historical painting that will raise our faith in our region or our nations. It’s like, I just realised, it is all an assumption of some political decision, and people believe it so much, and after that, for example, French realists started to draw workers, but it was still academic. They were not, for example, sweaty or something like this, but it was sharp, and how workers can be on a painting.
In modernism, I like how artists are engaged in making life better. It’s utopia very often, but I like how artists are questioning the obviousness, something like this, and how they want, these avant-garde movements, they’re utopian, but I like the idea of making life better, the idea of like, manifestos or something like this. The only reason bothers me a bit, because it was about violence, but I understand that it was, were cars, for example, became popular, so it was like, yeah, the city, the cars, it’s fantastic. I think explained it a bit.
I: And do you remember, or do you have any particular work in mind?
IV: Maybe the work, (?? 53:02), it’s funny, because before I was 16, I thought the local floods or something like this, or just buildings that were built it was Communism in Poland, and then, I learned about, for example, Bauhaus, and about like, the modern point of view, and about Corbusier, and about seeing a house not like your home, like your house, but a machine for living, and I also like …. that’s not bad, and I also read “Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo”, do you know this book?
I: Which one?
IV: “Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo”? – I mean, Kids from the Zoo Station?
I: I don’t know.
IV: Okay, it’s about (?? 54:01), but the main character, it’s an autobiography about a 13-year-old that was addicted to heroin in the Seventies, because you know, in the Seventies, they were taking (?? 54:15) and heroin and stuff, and she describes this modernism buildings a lot, and that, just because of the architecture and modernism, and the idea of a “machine for living”, and stuff like this. That’s a bit, my point of view.
I: And so what happens in this book, this protagonist, this (?? 54:48), she has some kind of relationship with architecture?
IV: Yes, but (?? 54:53) to this, because they were in 24-floor high buildings, and for example, they were only concrete buildings, and kids weren’t allowed to play football between these blocks of flats, and for example, when they want to piss, and they lived on the 18th floor, they just put the button to make the lift, and for example, they pissed in their pants on the 10th floor, something like this. Also, a lot of these kids from these books were from these modernist, after the Second World War flats, and they started to do drugs, because they were somehow bored, like between these blocks of flats, and I know that this is a disadvantage of how modernism can affect like modernists building, or buildings built in a bad way can affect your life, but I still have a belief that it could work, and something like this. (8)
I: Okay, can I ask you more? You said, the volunteering at the museum helped you decide? You said, in many situations, you did nothing, so you kind of didn’t, you didn’t decide, so you kind of gave up what you wanted to decide, (?? 56:53) somehow? But you said that, so maybe I’m curious, if you could say something about how this decision-making, that you decided in that situation, an example of one situation really, that you now, you decide, and you probably didn’t decide (?? 57:25).
IV: Yeah, it’s like, I was just wondering about, oh yeah, I could do this, yeah, I could do this, that would be nice. That will be really nice, if I did something, something, something, for example, I don’t know, go to choir, or be an employee of some store, or something like this. But … something like this, actually … (6) I was so frightened about taking this path or this path, that I gave up to taking any, but even an example, something like this, yes?
I: If you want to, if you remember some example? It’s interesting, in two different insights, (?? 58:46).
IV: Ah, okay. Actually, I remember small things, like not big decisions, but something like, I should register myself, for example, to the doctor, or I should go to the City Hall to do something. I was like, oh, two hours left, and I was so stressed about it, like, phoning to the reception of the doctor, or something like this, that actually I gave up, and then when it occurred that, for example, I’m ill, but I didn’t register or something like this, I was like, ah, that’s nothing – I actually didn’t care about it, something like this, or maybe it’s not only about making … it’s also giving up because of laziness, or somewhere in town is a lecture in Warsaw, about something that interests me, and I don’t go, I don’t even know how, and then, when it starts, and I’m still at home, I’m like, aah, I wanted to go there! Why actually, I didn’t step outside of my home? But someone that I was talking to, I wanted to go there, it’s like, oh, you’re still home? And I was like, yeah. I wasn’t actually interested in that, and I was like, why not making, why are you staying at home, when you could do something that actually interests you? – something like this.
I: (?? 1:00:51) You said something about, after your partying episode, (?? 1:01:09) nightclubs, this partying, and now it’s maybe less, period of less heavy partying, and more moderate?
IV: Yeah.
I: (?? 1:01:32) How did it happen, that it was on and on, for example? That’s the kind of way of culture, that there is a kind of security there?
IV: It was like, going back to reality was so harmful. I mean, it was like, I had some like bad thoughts about my life, and about, what am I doing? Should I live, or something like this? Then, when you just go to the club, and the drugs, and you go there at midnight, and you are like, ten or twelve hours there, it’s like you’re out of the world, and there are always some people that would like to have an after party, and it’s okay, because you go to the house of some people that also wouldn’t like to go to reality, and if you have money, there’s always some money to get this party continued. The next day, you feel so bad about everything, but it was like, I knew I had something to do on a Sunday, but I went on Friday, midnight somewhere, and then going back to home on Sunday, eleven am, and I knew, ah, why did I do this? – oh fuck! I had to do something on Sunday and Saturday, and it would be good to sleep, but it’s too early to sleep, and something like this. But the perspective of having your life, of forgetting about your everyday struggles for like twenty hours, it’s like tempting more than the perspective of having your duties fulfilled, something like this.
I: Yeah, I know, that you are, up to a certain point, you start to borrow time from the next day.
IV: Yes.
I: So especially if you were there early, took your drink, and you know that if you drink after four o’clock, or (?? 1:04:36), then you already start to, or at least (?? 1:04:41). When I was younger, it was a little bit less, but now I realise that it’s impossible to do anything with the quality, in the morning, or in the evening, even.
IV: I’ll do it tomorrow, yeah, sure.
I: Yeah, it’s like borrowing from tomorrow, but I can’t really (?? 1:04:57). Okay, so that’s the (?? 1:04:59)
IV: Yes, something like this, the stimulants, not cocaine, because it’s … ah, something’s happened. Should we do something? This is a park where stuff like this happens. Sorry(rustling, they are moving) I think like, we move, and I can call the police, or something like this? – because I wouldn’t like to be bitten because of being … (sounds anxious) …
I: Take this. (recorder goes quiet 1:06:19 – 1:10:36)
IV: You know, like rising … I should know this a little more, something like this. It should be the day of love and equality, but I think that it is recommended to stay home in Warsaw. It’s (?? 1:11:03), it’s okay.
(lot of background noise, traffic)
I: It’s some kind of, Pride parade?
IV: Yes, a bit, something like this.
I: But (?? 1:11:20) Pride, to the common, I’ve been several times this year.
IV: But what, Pride, or … ?
I: This kind of, (?? 1:11:28) physical kind of violence, reaction, in Chechnya, or something like that.
IV: Ah, yes, let me think.
I: (?? 1:11:41) varies quite a lot?
IV: Have you seen? – I’m sorry, because I was in a wood, the city, in Poland, the very centre, because, like the biggest modern art museum, and there is one installation, there are two screens that are close to each other, and at the end is a Pride parade from Belgrade, from 2002, and the second screening is the dancers, you’ve seen them?
I: I know the work, yes.
IV: So, you’ve seen it?
I: Yeah, I think it’s a video?
IV: Yeah, so it’s like, there is something like central post, Soviet country, or something like this.
I: Like East Side Story?
IV: Okay, I know, but I haven’t seen it.
I: You haven’t seen it?
IV: No.
I: But you just know about it?
IV: I think I know it, but maybe not, the East Side Story.
I: That’s the name of this video collection.
IV: Ah okay, because there is, some movie or something like this, it’s cold now, it’s a cold (? 1:13:26) website, I’m sorry.
I: And there’s a Pride parade, and then a home video, all the time happening, stuff like this, and then there’s dancers.
IV: I think it’s, oh no, whatever, but it’s not about this.
I: It doesn’t matter.
IV: Okay. The colonial countries has another attitude to equality, that the countries that were never colonialists, but were colonised, and it’s like for example, Belgium or France, so open, maybe because of the lessons that they had in the history, but at this time such countries like Poland or Serbia weren’t even on the maps, like other countries wanted to colonise them. It wasn’t that colonialism, like slavery, like for example, the Congo, build a strong relationship, but like Poland, like Poles doesn’t like, for example, Russians and Germans, because it’s like, this is a country between this country, and the whole history of Poland is about defending from Russia, or from Germany. So I think that the freedom is defined in totally another way, by some Poles, and this is another definition of equality, or of freedom, then you can have, for example, Belgium, or in France, so I think it makes conflicts. (10)
I: Again, I have more questions? (10) You said that kids taught you how not to bother, that kids and animals are better than most people? – so about, like, it’s taught you not to bother? Do you remember any incident, where this would be described?
IV: It wasn’t an accident, it was more like a process, like … like this, at some time, I just realised that I have, that I care less about how something should be described, or how problems should be solved, and that I have no problem when, for example, kids want to go on my shoulders, or something like this. It was more like a process, but I can’t even tell this. I remember that, at the first two or three months of this job, I was quiet, because two girls are always at this party, and one of these girls, and one of us is saying always, things by microphone to these kids, and the second one is, like helping, it’s just giving things, and it wasn’t this one that was saying things to the microphone, but it was like, one day there were no girls, like these more experienced girls that were conducting this party, so I was like, I needed to do all this. I needed to do, yeah, happy birthday! – like, I needed to speak to them. I started to be that girl that speaks to kids by the microphone.
I: But they taught you not to bother, that’s why you (?? 1:19:10)?
IV: Not to bother, because … (6) not being obsessed with such things, like for example, that they need to stand in a line, because if they don’t stand in a line, we won’t play, because it won’t be like proper play. Actually, who cares? (firmly) – they can stand, they should stand in line, like there’s the queue for something like, I don’t know, like having the darts, or something like this. They can’t run in front of the target, so it’s obvious, but this is a small thing. But also, I don’t know … maybe it’s more, like I said, the process, or …
I: Like they accept, because they accept whatever you do? – because they are little kids in a position to mature people? They’re not judgemental in that sense?
IV: Yes, yes (positively) – something like this, and I also see how kids are, how they act, and I see, when they act like their parents, and when, for example, they are boasting about how many money they have, I mean, seriously? – this is a seven-year-old boy! (she laughs) I immediately don’t like their parents, because probably in their house, they’re talking about money, and how much better are they than other people. When I spend these two hours with kids, it turns out, quite often, that the kids aren’t like that, but they forgot that the parents exist actually. They’re like, yeah, fun, games, play and stuff! – and also, when I see, for example, boys that are sitting like that, and that are, for example, that are rude to girls and something like this, I immediately don’t like his father, because there is, I mean, it’s not like that, I’m joking a bit, but there is a possibility that, if there is something like, he taught it from somewhere, and if he taught it from his father, then I don’t like mature people, because their behaviour affects the behaviour of their kids, and the kids can’t even defend themselves from some bad habits.
I: Okay, a few more questions. So you said, “I thought I was conservative”, in relation to going back (?? 1:23:12). You mentioned that this secondary school or primary school was like appalling to you.
IV: Yeah, yeah, but I hated it from the start actually, like, I wanted to say that I have never seen so much hypocrisy, but I see it every day. It was like, just some people that have a mission, and they’re like, they literally look like the American Gothic painting, you know this painting? – American Gothic, the man with the fork?
I: Er, fork? – like in his hand?
IV: Yes.
I: Like poor farmers?
IV: Something like this, but they look like …
I: And they’re standing on top of their kind of little farmland, and (?? 1:24:39).
IV: Yes.
I: Yeah, I think I know which one.
IV: Yes, yes, so the headmasters were like this, and the worst thing was that they weren’t even, they truly believed it, that they had a mission. I would understand it if they would like to, I don’t know, gather money or something like this, but they truly believed that this middle school is for the, you know … it will make good kids, because non-religious middle schools are crap – something like this. I feel pity for people that truly believe it. I don’t feel the pity for people that would like to have a business at it, that knows these whole religion things. I’m sorry, if you’re religious, I’m sorry. Oh, okay, no – if you are, so I’m totally rude.
I: No, no – go ahead.
IV: So I felt pity for people that truly believed all this, and I also … there weren’t many foreigners, for example, in my town – actually, no foreigners … maybe people from Germany, because that, for example, married to women from Poland, because people from my region have much, they get families in Germany, because this region was German before the Second World War, and it happens that … but never mind. So it was like, you don’t see that these dangers, are not dangers actually. I mean, it’s like, you could, for example, ask people from a Polish village, how does gay look like? – and if a gay appears, they probably couldn’t tell if he is, but this is the danger for, I don’t know for what, and it’s actually so sad. I feel pity, because I was there, I was on that … I worked there, or something like this. But of course, it was like, I participated, for example, in something like scouts, because my father is passionate about history, and he reconstructs Middle Ages Europe. He’s from Deutsche (?? 1:28:36), I mean, this Black Cross.
I: Say again, in Polish, what they are called?
IV: (?? 1:28:51). In German, it’s Deutsche Offnung (? 1:28:54). It’s like, they got, they were just knights, like German knights, something like this, and my father just reconstructs it, and he also reconstructs the Polish after-war soldiers that were hiding in forests and fighting against communism. I don’t know if it can be heard. It’s like, from ’45 to ’56, something like this, afterwards, and I was into it, and I said, yeah, history and stuff, and yeah, I love Poland, I mean, I still love Poland, but this is another, now I’ve got another point of view. I learned that, to this historical reconstruction movement, that this gains, so much people that are like natives or something like this. My father actually ended with this this year, because he said that the people that he was playing with, they were like totally obsessed with after, with, I mean, it was a reconstruction. It was meant to be the reconstruction of fighting against communist soldiers in the forests, but it turns out to be, some of these people, for example, are blocking the Pride parades, and are baiting police, and it’s like, hey, it’s not what Polish soldiers were meant to do! (with emphasis) – like, you know, so I liked it. I mean, I liked it before I got to know these people, that treat it so seriously. There is still something like, there is a nation to defend, still, and there is always some danger somewhere, something different.
I: Something so real for them?
IV: Yes, something like this, something like the European communities, and the new communism, and something like this, and stuff, but this is what I said before, that this is another definition of freedom, I guess, because that was like, the First World War, the Second World War, then communism, then twenty years of capitalism in Poland, and then the European Union. Some people think that there’s always something that makes, Poland is in danger, but I’m out of the main topic, sorry.
So, I thought that I’m like, in a centre or quite right wing, or something like this, and I thought, and it was what was being said by many in Poland, and still is being said, that the left wing is, I don’t know, those are bad people who like to have an orgy, and like …
I: (?? 1:32:44)
IV: Yeah, and stuff, and then I actually learned about it, and thought, like, I’m totally not conservative. I’m actually, I actually agree with all these like, let’s say social purpose, social manifestos and stuff like this, and it’s not like, if you care about other people, it’s communism, like, who the fuck said that? (angrily) Maybe some businessmen in Poland, in the Nineties, said something like this, so yeah, so many things I like. I learnt many things when I left my small city, that it is not like it is said. (19)
I: (?? 1:34:05) Do you want to add something?
IV: I’m sorry, that’s not what I wanted to say. Actually … (5), you’re very brave just to sit on a bench, and listening how people talk. I mean, it doesn’t happen very often, that you just sit on a bench, and someone listens to you! Actually, I started to read … maybe on the second year, when I had this crazy time in my life, and I don’t know whether they passed actually. I just needed to get my shit together, if I wanted to continue my studies.
There was one lecturer, one like extra lecturer, that were in demand. It was a globalisation process, and I’m like, oh, it would be fun, if I go there, and that was, they weren’t strict English (? 1:35:39) of students, and it was like extra lectures, but every time I went there, because I really wanted to, I was like, oh my God, this is the real world! – oh my God! (with emphasis) I need to stop drinking Coca-Cola, something like this! I started searching about, how many trees were left on the earth, actually, what does it mean? Is development really something cool? It was the same time when, maybe a bit earlier, that I started to volunteer in the museum, and I realised that these bread and roses, and making news, those exhibitions are actually about things that I was thinking about, very intensively for like two months, like these class divides, and hacking the reality and stuff, and actually I’m frightened! – because I thought that there will be some day that I will go to work, and then have a kid, and then now I’m not so sure about it. I mean, when I realised such things, I don’t feel safe, and it’s not like, I don’t feel safe, like older nationalist boys, because “they don’t feel safe because Russia are going to kill us”, or “the gays are going to rule the world” – it’s not like this. I feel, I don’t feel safe because, for example, there’s a real problem that, for example, the coal, in fifteen years, is going to, we are going to run out of coal, for example, and what next? I don’t know. I wouldn’t even like to imagine the situation where, for example, I’m giving birth in a hospital, and suddenly there is no electricity, like, I think this is a real problem, because we’re in a deficit of things, and all of this stuff, like everybody wants to be an economist, and work in the corporation, and they think that 1,000 euro is a really nice salary in Poland. That’s the thing, you need to be a boss to have 1,000 euros.
Then I think that you have something like just 1% of daily income, of the people that actually run this corporation, something like this, and I just, I realise, because I work in a corporation, and I don’t even have the job, how to say that, not agreement –
I: The contract.
IV: The contract. It’s like, I mean, I have, I’m a worker, and I have this special contract that for example, in Poland, when you say someone, they do something for me, and for example, to artists or some builder, or something like this, and you will sign this contract, and this is just for this job, and you don’t pay so much tax for this one, on this contract.
I: Freelance?
IV: Yes, something like this, and it’s cool, but it’s like, it’s a nice way to like omit the minimum salary, and it’s a nice thing to don’t give me, like all the social package, and stuff like this. Everybody works like that, and when people, and when someone, for example, I mean … no-one in Poland, except for people from Warsaw, actually finds it a problem. I mean, precarious work, it’s not a problem in Poland. Actually, it’s something good, because you get to pick your salary, you don’t need to pay the taxes – yeah, you don’t need to pay the taxes, but when you, for example, will be 60 years old, you don’t have money, because you’re old and something like that, and from like one year, or from several months, I feel frightened about, something like this, and I find it quite interesting, the opening of this exhibition, where actually those things that I was thinking so intensively about.
I: How did you get in touch with the museum? (?? 1:41:52) put some, the last day?
IV: It was a Facebook event, that they were gathering volunteers, something like this, and I also go to something like a club – it’s not a club, it’s more like a pub, in front of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, and many people that are connected with the museum, is also connected with that pub, and there are also experimental music concerts and stuff, and I know some of them, and I recognised Hannah before, and her boyfriend, because her boyfriend runs a little label with experimental music, and I was, when there were some experimental music markets, I was going there and buying some cassettes and some vinyl from them, so it’s like, just friends of friends, and something like this, and this even just suddenly happened on my wall, something like this.
Actually, there’s a (?? 1:43:06) call for me.
I: About time we are finished, so maybe we’ll just stop the recording.
File 9b
I: Because if you hold it like this, something like that, then we could speak, and we can walk slowly.
IV: Okay. So you have some questions that I should answer?
I: You just said that, you have something you could say about the workshop? – I’m curious what that would be.
IV: I like the idea that we didn’t know what will happen next. I remember that someone said that, I think, it doesn’t matter who she was (she laughs), but she said that she wanted to rebel against you, because she didn’t wonder (? 0:52) what happened next, and what are you doing with us, but I actually liked it (firmly). I mean, I signed for it. I wanted to participate in something like that, really, and I was curious, and even if we would, I don’t know … I would protest, if we should cut ourselves, or something like this! (she laughs) But unless … er, unless it’s a super-heavy performance, yeah, I accept it. I also was taken aback, when some people said that they were embarrassed, about, for example, their poems or something like this, because … I don’t know. I didn’t find it embarrassing. I mean, it was a nice exercise, like stretching your imagination, and we weren’t in a theatre, and we weren’t supposed to act, we weren’t acting, or something like this, and I liked that your face was almost always the same. You laughed sometimes, when something was really funny, unless it wasn’t really funny, you didn’t show any emotions! (she laughs) – like, er, like when some people, for example, speak not about the topic, not about the subject, like me, for example, you weren’t like, okay, stop. I mean, you were like this, but very (she laughs), very delicate, and I think that no-one, I hope that no-one felt offended or judged. I mean, it was, proceeded quite professional, because there were no judging faces of you, something like this. Yes, that’s it.
I: That’s it, yeah?
IV: Yes.

Warsaw Interview 10

I: So, what I am trying to do because we were some point discussing this with the components of this work shop and at point there was also written somewhere or proposed that one part could be more about the biographical narrative and we didn’t do it in the end. I’ve been working on other projects and I’ve been most interviewing elder people with a method which I am testing out which is called biographical narrative interpretation method, which has a certain very simply structure of doing an interview, but it’s an interview biographical. So, I’m saying this just to convince everyone to accept this. So, because somehow during the work shop it was not very much about who are you and maybe I didn’t even learn everyone’s name and it was also kind of a general focus and not so much about what you, where you’re from what you know or don’t know. It was just everybody kind of flattened out in a certain set of exercises. And I think my experience of asking so what about workshop would did you think and what worked and so on, I think we already did partly with some feedback, revelations.
So maybe now I think for this last part which is kind of not summing up the experience in the workshop but it’s adding an appendix which is who actually were all these people, of course they were there because they are connected to the museum and they are volunteers maybe or working with education, or they used to be volunteers or the educators who I think for some reasons came parts of this shared experience. So, my kind of biography was overlapping for a few moments with all this other and your biography can take this out of the imaginary context or this kind of forum of things to a certain experience, some left, some stayed, it may be important, may be not it doesn’t matter. So, what I’ve been trying to do with everyone is to just ask about biography. So of course, a different way of asking about life biography, how lived experience is described in your person. Actually, it’s asking what’s your life story. You cannot just ask your life story because life story has a certain cliché attached to it somehow. So, that’s why I’m saying to somehow build an acceptance that it’s possible to ask this question without being too intrusive or being guided. The idea is not to create some kind of psychological anything like that but just to maybe listen to these different ways, articulations of well, because a lot of people are very young. And so, when I was working with elders of course they are 70 years old, they look back and they kind of swallowed a lot, they accepted a lot and they stop producing this bitterness because they’d rather enjoy what’s left of life somehow, if they were bitter, but a lot of people I found to work with have this kind of unbelievable life experience, of certain specialisation, they didn’t follow up and so and on. So, I didn’t think so much that lots of people really in the mid, early 20s. Because the way this interview works a biographical, say well Ill limit it since I woke up this morning or since they left the museum. So, I am sure you can expand that a lot more to be three-hour explanation of your experience right.
So, it’s important that you choose when I ask you choose what is interesting for you to build up and then as many people naturally come, because after some time it kind of official CV, I went this to this school, that school and that or some people start with grandparents because they are already interested interviews and they know this biographical starts in generation. I mean it’s very open and should be interesting as well. It’s very open, we’re getting into topics which are a big surprise. So, this is also part that I don’t know, I don’t have any, what I’m looking for and I’m not coming with a kind of institutional critique. I’m more interested in why this maybe some things that we didn’t do in discovery that later I can tell more. I’m saying all this just to be able to ask you to accept this kind of format, and I’m recording it just for me so you won’t think that it will be representative or someone else will listen to it. And if some parts will be used then I will check with you and we will somehow be, I don’t think so, I’m talking about something that topic is actually at the end, can be worked through indirectly, so don’t really want people be quoted. So, that said, I’m many other things but maybe we could return because so the structure works the way that I’ll ask you the question, tell me your story. So, it’s a question which is kind of a narrative induced way of asking, so tell me your story. Tell me the life story so that’s how it works. So, for me it’s a form of storytelling, this narrative and then second to me and that so I’ll take some notes. What is odd with this format is that I will just be quiet. I’m not going to interrupt you which makes it weird.
IV: Yeah.
I: But it’s just like you’re in yourself and I’m just listening. So, there’s not so much room for you to say you want this is good, this is not good or you want to hear more about that or do you want to talk about this, so you just have to decide.
IV: Okay.
I: Your decision which for some people is they’re used to talking about themselves, other people are stressed because they feel they should say something interesting and then if they don’t think about something it’s like silent and maybe it’s stressful. The point is talking fine even to say ten minutes without saying something, so that’s part of that interview and I can explain more if you wish but if you say to much then you come against it but there’s more things to be saying why it’s like that. And then when you’re finished…
IV: But there going to be a few questions, right?
I: Yes, because I will take notes all the time so I really have to play an active part. Just pretend that I’m not interrupting the logic of how you put things out. If there’s no logic for you if there’s a mistake, maybe emotional, if there’s, if you decide you’re only going to talk about that that also is going to influence what you’re going to talk about so it sometimes tricky, very interesting because you know I did it myself also and it’s very, it’s very similar to what we’ve been doing in the exercises in a way but now it’s not so much about, it’s like the opposite a little bit. Now it’s real. And it’s quite… it makes what happens with this material normal research and what kind of this interview…Well first I listen to you and then you say okay I’m finished. And then I say okay do you want to add something and then you say yeah, very often there is some kind of addition or you say no it’s finished. Then I say okay I’ll look at my notes and then I will look through and then I will have some questions likely and I will go back to the first note and follow your chronology in the interview and then I’ll ask you to complete, you said this what do you mean and how was it, stuff like that.
So it’s very schematic and it’s very fixed and then after we can discuss and I can give you some examples how it’s interesting in terms of how you interpret this material because it’s biographical interpretation, has some very simple tools which makes this interesting for also that’s why it couldn’t be in the workshop because it’s interesting to work with interpretation as a group because very often you put up a blind panel, that’s what I like most about this and let’s say you make a transcript and we’d take the first part which might be my life story but that’s maybe all we hear, or see. Then imagine there are six people in the group I can get this text and say this is new to me six versions, what can we think the person experienced in this, what the person being interviewed was experiencing. So, then I will read it and you would say the person sounds really flattered, this person not used to talking about his life, nobody wants to hear that, some experience shyness, and somebody say I think she’s really nervous because things like that and so on. So, you can look for experiential type for this. And then we say okay you said shy, what do you think the person would say next or do next. Well maybe she would confirm should I start with this or that, she would hesitate because and so on. Then we have that and then we do that for hours. So, these people get really invested to this narrative with the person and at some point, you get lost so much in the narrative so is there any patterns, what’s going on and it’s like what you said and now we see it developing like you said. So, you speculate all the time and you repeat this and you get more and you speculate and you get more and you speculate. You say yes, she’s not really mentioned you know maybe she talked about her grandmother and mother but she never mentioned grandfather and father. So, absence of male in the narrative is very clear. So, it’s really interesting because what is happening is you get a change of ownership from that person because you invested so much in many people and the person is often just a worker, or not like an intellectual or poet, so you see that there are many negations and there’s many contradictions and then we also form this is our social imaginary capacities to see this person because we are often stereotypical. So, it becomes very interesting for the group to do this. So, while you have a person doesn’t answer much because the narrative is what we share and in most cases, I feel the narrative is very easy to adopt and claim that we know this person and we know what’s going on because it’s so similar, because the language has a certain kind of compressed … you can only talk about these things but not that or your idea or something. That is what I want to say in the end but just explaining a bit now. So, because I think it works even if you know a lot about this it doesn’t matter. So, if you if you’re ready to start.
IV: Okay.
I: I’ll just formally pose the question and then I will… if you say you can’t do it, we don’t do it. There’s not like more to it, than we try out this method. And yes, so as you know I’m interested in the biographies of the people who took part in the workshop and since you also took part in the workshop I’d like to also hear your biography, your story. So, you can start where you want and include events or things that are important to you and I will not, as I say will not interrupt you. So please tell me your story and tell me all about it.
IV: (laughing) Okay so (4) I was born in Skierniewice, but I spent my childhood in Ciechanow (?) near Warsaw. It’s a small, a small town about 40,000 people and 40 kilometres from Warsaw. I used to live with, with my mother and grandmother and my grandfather, so, my mother and my grandparents, and my brother, and we also had dogs and cats. (laughing). So, I used to go to school, to primary school in Ciechanow and I chose a high school in Puszcza Marianska. It was really a nice place in the woods like in a kind of a national park, let’s say, maybe it’s not national but in kind of a big park, and forest. And then I started, and then I went to study (laughing) to the university. I studied English. It was funny because I wanted to study something else. I wanted to study culture. I wanted to go to Slavic Studies as well. Yeah but I was not very organised, so like it happened that I went to study English because I used to learn English throughout all my life so it wasn’t very difficult to go to this studies. I studied in Warka, it’s also not a big town but it’s a part of the Warsaw University but the part that is not in Warsaw but in Warka. So, I spent like three years commuting to Warka from Ciechanow. It was like an hour away to go to Warka.
And then when I was 13 I started having my first jobs. So, first I gave English to school children. It was like, not very formal, so without an agreement and so on, I just went to their houses and told them a few things. And I also started working in the food business. So, like being a waitress or a bar tender and so on. So, like my first job in like restaurant it was like, in a kind of a restaurant, bistro maybe or bar, with soups. And yeah, I was working during the winter and summer holidays, just to have like some kind of money that I could have and I was still living with my mother and (2) my grandmother. So yeah and I was studying English and teaching English and working in this, in this restaurant. I was partying a lot then (laughing). Yeah and after that when I finished English unfortunately many of my friends, didn’t but yeah. I finished English, I got like this diploma, this like a Bachelor or something it would be in English, from English like the University of Warsaw. And then I didn’t much know what to do next. And I decided that I’m very into music and I heard that there’s are studies in Wroclaw but they are called music journalism and that’s the first experimental year.
So, then I decided to go to Wroclaw to move there. Wroclaw is really beautiful city. I really liked Wroclaw. (2) Yeah, I had some not very nice experiences of my first flat in Wroclaw with the people I didn’t like very much but apart from that the city was really beautiful. I started my studies in the music journalism and it was like a big shock for me because these were like private studies, not public studies. So, the studies you had to pay for. (2) And I had a kind of an impression that I couldn’t learn that much from those, from those studies. So, I expected that when I go to music journalism that maybe I will learn a lot about writing, about music and I will meet a lot of people who are also very fond of, of it, so that I will meet people who are really into music. They listen to a lot of music, they have big knowledge. And yeah, I was like a bit disappointed because I couldn’t learn that much. The, the like the subject, the course was like very, how to say that, I would say like elementary level or something. It was like the things I already knew and things that didn’t bring much to my life. There was not a lot of subjects devoted to music, most they were like subjects devoted to communication, to writing and so on. I like the parts with the communication, they were really useful, so that’s the only part of the studies I really liked. Yeah but the things with writing I thought that my group doesn’t write really well (laughing) but yeah. We didn’t do much done, I thought it was like, you know the kind of studies where you just pay to have this diploma and I wasn’t much interested in it because I was looking for a place where I could learn something and not a place to just you know get some paper to have it. And it was really, really boring. I was also disappointed with, with the students because like I met a lot of really nice people who were into music but there was also a lot of people who are like really closed in like small world, like worlds of music. So, they were listening, for example, to one genre and I thought you know when you decided to go to study school to music journalism you know it’s very difficult to be a person who listens to only one kind of music. So, that didn’t make sense to me. I just couldn’t see, like understand it, what happened there.
I liked Wroclaw very much. At first I was like only (2) only studying. I started working in the students’ radio, I like it. I liked it, liked working in a radio was really fun and cool. And then I decided I need to find a job because I thought that I didn’t have a lot of money to, to spend, so I started one of the most horrible jobs I had. I worked as a waitress in a club that played house music. Yeah and I spent like a month or two there. It was like a really difficult job. I was spending nights there. I didn’t like the music. The people were drunk and not really nice (laughing) so that was one of the most awful jobs I had. Yeah but it was kind of a funny experience so I think I like, yeah, I’m glad that I, I worked there because this is like some part of the world that I just could know and remember. And so, in the middle of the first year of the music journalism I decided that yeah that this studying leads me to nothing, that there is not pretty much sense. I like lots of it and so on, but I didn’t see much sense in like continuing it because it was like paying for nothing. I thought like for like saying in Wroclaw and so on. So, I decided to quit studies.
And to come back to Ciechanow. So, I came back to Ciechanow for half a year. I was living with my mum, and my brother. And I came back to the work in the restaurant with the soups, that I had. This restaurant I didn’t mention it was in Warsaw, so I worked in Warsaw. So, I lived in Ciechanow, I was like commuting to Warsaw for work. I kind of liked this job. It was very nice. I really liked the people I was working with. We very often went somewhere in the evenings, so spent some time together and so on, so it was quite nice job. And then so it was like half a year, when I was like working in Warsaw, living in Ciechanow and like spending also sometime in the Warsaw in the concerts and so on.
I decided to go to another study because I wanted to have my Master’s Degree. I already knew that I didn’t want to like study English because I thought that if I have like this Master’s thesis in just English it will like only lead to teaching English, and I thought that I would like to have some maybe more options and to study something else, because studying language is really nice but there was also a lot of focus about teaching and I thought that maybe I would like to study something else. I was at the time I also think I was also working in some, yeah, I didn’t only work in this restaurant but I think I was also working in some language schools. So, I was like also a teacher in some private school. So, I was going to business people for example, to their companies and teaching them English one on one. I was doing this conversation and so on, because yeah. So, I was mostly teaching like, single, single students mostly adults all the time and working in the restaurant.
So, I was looking for studies that I thought would be really nice. So, I was looking for something I could study just after (2) just after studying English because you cannot for example go to astronomy after studying English. And I just wanted two year studies to have this Master’s Degree. So, I decided to go to Lodz I was always wanted to live in Lodz in the city of Lodz. I thought it’s a nice opportunity. And I decided to study, it was called (thinking) American Studies and Mass Media. Yeah, American Studies and Mass Media. It was in the department of international relations. So, I thought that yeah, that it’s like also a bit something I knew about so studying American culture and history it was probably more like studying English culture and so on. But I also know there were going to be a lot of different subjects that would be a challenge for me. So, like macroeconomy, politics and things like that. Yeah and so, and I moved to Lodz because I thought that it would be very difficult and expensive to commute. So, I decided to move to Lodz. (2) The studies, I was doing this because the first studies I did were like during the week so they were like, there were studies and these were weekend studies, because I already knew that I had to pay for it from my own money. So, these were like weekend studies. (2) Yeah and I started these studies. I love the studies very much. They were really, really nice and I thought that I really learned a lot. I think these were like the first studies I’ve taken that I thought I was like treated as an adult not like as some kind of a student but it was like up to me to learn and things like that. And I was studying really well, I have like good degrees, because it was all interesting, because yeah, we studied like politics, economy, there was one course devoted to the philosophy of American film, a course devoted to like some specific topics connected with work and culture and so on. So, a lot of very, very different things, so I wasn’t bored after a day because we had very different classes devoted to many different ideas.
I moved to Lodz, I started living with a few of my friends. And I found it was very, very difficult to find a job in Lodz. And Lodz is quite famous for its unemployment I would say. It’s also like, it’s like very similar to Ciechanow so my home town but a lot bigger, so a city, a place where there used to be some industry and then it all disappeared and people started being unemployed. So, it was very difficult to find a job and I was really, really trying to search for one. I tried looking as a teacher, in the cafes, in the restaurants, in many, many places. I went to a few talks in the café, they didn’t want me, because I remember someone told me that my CV looks like I don’t really know what I’m going to do in the future, so they were like afraid that I will start working in the café and after two months I will find something else and that’s why they didn’t want me. I didn’t get any response from the English schools when I wanted to teach English. (2)
And I think my first job, yes, my first job in Lodz was in an English school but not as a teacher but as a secretary, and I remember the job interview because my friend told me about it and she, she told that she has a nice friend that would like to apply and so on, so I applied. She was working as an English teacher and she studied with me in Lodz. I went to the school and it was very funny because they didn’t want me as a teacher because I sent a CV but now they wanted me as a secretary. So, I had to say, well I imagined that I need to say that well I don’t really like teaching that much, I’m not interested in that I would like to see some other side of this business and so on. So, they hired me. I was working there for three months. I didn’t like the atmosphere in this job at all. There was like some, some very strange things going on for example, my boss was like very often standing next to the doors and listen to what me and my colleagues are talking about. And yeah, the atmosphere was really, really bad. I also thought that my colleagues working as secretaries that one of them was just afraid that I’m going to take her job and I thought that I cannot stand this atmosphere any more so I decided to leave that.
And then I was working in a kind of a bar when you, where I was making and selling this, I don’t know how it’s called in English, it’s like waffles. Some kind of like hot waffles, you put like jam and cream on it. So, I was doing this like for three months I think or four maybe. Yeah it was, they didn’t sign an agreement with me so it was like a funny job. I used to work for 12 hours a day. It was really, really tiring. It was in a supermarket and really a strange job (laughing). Also, I knew about it from my friend but yeah it was so, so strange. It was very hard, queues all day and yeah. Very, very strange job.
So, I didn’t finish my studies in Lodz. I kind of finished because I finished all courses, but I didn’t finish writing my MA thesis. I had half of it and I had some problems with my supervisor of this, of my thesis, we didn’t work well together. Also, just (3) I think that the first year, because it was like two years of the studies. The first year I was living in Lodz, and the second year I moved to Warsaw, because in Lodz I was living with my then boyfriend who left to Ireland for the holidays and we quarrelled very much. And the next year of my studies I decided to, because for the holidays I moved to Ciechanow and then met my next boyfriend and we decided to (2) to live in Warsaw, because I thought that it would be quite easy to, he was living in Krakow at the time. I was living in Ciechanow and studying in Lodz and we decided that Warsaw would be best because it’s easiest to find a job, and I could easily commute by train to Lodz for my studies. So, it would be quite okay.
So yeah, so yeah, I was studying then I was living in Warsaw, and I started working in a language school as a teacher. I worked in a lot of language schools, I was changing them. So mostly teaching at the companies and then I found also a school where I was teaching with current methods, current methods is quite funny, because you ask the students to, to repeat everything you say like mostly. It’s mostly about repeating and they believe it’s like, you have to learn to be able to answer questions recently, that you just remember many different questions and you have this like, feeling that you’d like answer in a second or so. I was teaching with current method because they offered a lot of classes to do so I had a lot of work and I could earn a lot of money because it’s not very easy to earn a lot of money when you teach like you know in business because you have classes in the morning and in the evening and during the day there’s nothing going on. But when I was teaching with this current method I was also teaching in two other language schools. I had a lot of work and I could earn quite a nice money for my studies and living in Warsaw. Yeah.
So, at the time I didn’t finish my MA thesis, I stared having like some problems with finishing it. I started feeling not very well and I had some like, let’s say health problems. And I didn’t know what I was like, where I was heading and that was the difficult time when I thought that one has to have somewhere and I’m not having anywhere and I don’t know what to do. So, I didn’t finish the studies. I just left it. I thought that maybe I would come back to it but I never came back to it. So, I just finished the courses but didn’t finish the thesis so it was like, I didn’t have anything from this studies and this course, but generally I think that I learned very much. So, I don’t, so I don’t regret it.
Yeah, this was also the time where I was like getting 26 years old. When you’re 26, till you’re 26 in Poland you have this kind of a status when you’re studying that it’s easy because your employee doesn’t have to pay taxes for you. You also have this kind of security by your parents and so on. So I was getting 26 or 27 and it started becoming a bit difficult working at the private language schools because they wanted to either change an agreement that I wouldn’t have like my social security, although they just wanted me to have like the company and work as a company with them but then I thought that well if I work as a company then it would be better to have my own students not work with a private school because it wouldn’t make sense, I wouldn’t earn enough just to live in Warsaw. And then I found a job, it was not like finding a job, like I had a friend who was like a head hunter, not really like someone who works in, yeah it was like not really like because they are like agencies and companies that do this talks and so on, but she was like really looking for employees from the internet and so on. And she thought I was really good for one job that she has. And it was a job in, in a private hospital in Grojec were I was to be a kind of a co-ordinator for patients. It was a private hospital that did, this (3) this procedure connected with, I don’t know the name of the disease in English I think, I just forgot it. But it’s this really kind of rough illness that has no cure for it. That many things can happen. So, for example you can lose power in your legs, you can lose eyesight. You can lose the possible to talk and your body gets weaker and weaker through the ages. And this private hospital, I worked in for like two weeks I think but I it was a kind of a big memory for me. It offered some procedures that could ease the pain and could help half of the patients with this disease. It was very difficult to work there and I also thought I was getting more and more ill at that time.
So, I had these problems with health. Yes, so I decided to not to work there because it was like very emotional with these people who are like coming for some miracle and so on. And it was like a very, it was very shocking for me. It was like so, such a big experience that I thought that I’m not the right person to do it, because I thought I would be like crying all days and like I don’t know it was really difficult.
And I started to have like my health problems and then I didn’t, I didn’t work and study for half a year. I was mostly staying at home being ill. And then in 2011, after this half year, at my house, (2) I was searching through my Facebook and I this was the time I mostly spent in the internet, sometimes going out from my house when I was started getting better and better because I was taking some medication and trying to get better at the time. I found an announcement on my Facebook because I was following this nice museum that was just next to my flat. The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. I went to like three or four maybe exhibitions there and I found on their website the Facebook, that they are looking for volunteers. They were looking for volunteers in many different departments. (2) Yeah and I was like coming back to health at this time and was like looking for a job but I was really afraid of finding a job because I wasn’t sure if I’m healthy enough to start a job. So, I thought that being a volunteer it could be like something very nice to like start. I thought that well this is very near from my house. That was the first thing. Then I thought well I always loved art and I really liked this museum, so this is some kind of a really nice opportunity to work with something I could never have like an opportunity to work with, because I have never searched for work in a museum or in museums and galleries, because I thought that well I didn’t study art and so on, so it would be difficult. I also felt that well I always wanted to study culture and something like that and I thought that yeah it would be really cool to work in such a place but I cannot because I have never studied and so on. I thought it be very difficult but when I heard about this being about a volunteer, I thought well this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something I can, I maybe will really like and it will be also easy because if I don’t feel healthy enough to work there, it’s like okay I’m a volunteer, so I’m not an employee so I can you know end this at any time I wish. Yeah so, I just wrote an email to the museum at the time that I’m interested in being a volunteer. There were like five possibilities, and all of them I thought that most of them were like I would need some more knowledge, some more experience so they needed volunteers to the programme department, the communication department and in many other places. And I thought that wasn’t for me. That I couldn’t do it that it was too difficult. So, I chose the easiest I thought. So being a volunteer at the front desk. I thought that well, this shouldn’t be very difficult. I can manage somehow. I wrote an email in like a day I got a response, that thank you for your email. Maybe you would like to come for an interview tomorrow.
So, I came for the interview. I met Tomasz who would then be my boss. He worked as the head of administration department. We talked, he asked me about my job experiences and I talked about being the secretary in the school, so I thought that yeah I have some kind of an experience that could be helpful here. I also said that I studied English so it would be easy for me to communicate in English. And he said yes it looks very fine. He asked me about my situation at the moment. I didn’t talk about my health. I thought it wasn’t that important (laughing) but I said that I’m kind of looking for a job and I remember that in the announcement there was some part that it is, that maybe it would be possible to continue as a worker. I remember that later in the museum we never wrote such a statement because well this is not what volunteering is about. But then there was some kind of a sentence that maybe it would be possible to continue as a worker. He said that yeah but this is just you know maybe it would be possible, maybe it wouldn’t. and I said okay, so I will be looking for a job for a permanent job during this being volunteer but yeah, but anyway I would like to try it. So, he said, yeah. So, you will have to come five days a week for eight hours to the front desk. So now Katya is working there, Katya will be becoming an assistant of the main director of the museum so it would be best if you could like come downstairs with me and talk to Katya. She will tell you what it’s all about, so maybe you could start tomorrow. So, I remember went downstairs. I talked to Katya for an hour. She told me about the telephones, how to like work with it.
I forget that yeah, I used to be a receptionist at front desk worker also when I was like 14. My aunt had (thinking) an advertising agency and I was doing some kind of a practice for two weeks as a receptionist, a front desk worker. It was a nice experience because I was like 14 and I was basically a child but the people I think, really liked me and I was kind of you know very optimistic towards the work, I tried to do my best. So, I also thought that while this is something I know, so being a front desk and like working with the telephone and the emails it will be quite okay.
So, it was February 2011. I started becoming a volunteer for the museum and I started feeling better with my health as well. So, I thought that this is something that yeah, it is kind of good for me. I started liking the museum very much because the funny thing was when I started this being a volunteer the museum didn’t have any exhibitions. So, I was like sitting in an empty space with the café and the book shop and only talking to people who were asking about the future programme, but not many of those. They were rather people who had some businesses with the museum. (2) I was, the plan was that I will be a volunteer for two months but after a month I decided to talk to my boss that yeah, I like being a volunteer and it’s really cool, because while this is the time that my boyfriend provided for me somehow because well I didn’t earn. And (2) that, yeah, being a volunteer was very cool but still I didn’t have my, this, this security things done so I couldn’t go to a doctor, etc. and I said well look I like this being a volunteer thing but it’s very difficult because I don’t earn at all, and so I can’t afford a private doctor. So maybe there is a way that you could just pay for the insurance so I could get to a public doctor. So, they decided to, to do it in a way that they would offer me a kind of internship. So, they decided that this volunteer thing will change to an internship. I was earning a very little money so it was like the smallest amount of money I earned during my life (laughing). It was something that you know, I, for the month’s salary I wouldn’t be able to rent a room. I could maybe earn a place, rent a place in a room with other people. And that would be all. But yeah, I had this internship thing. But I could go to doctor, to public doctor and so on. It took me like three months and after this three months, I just was offered employment at the museum as the front desk worker. Yeah and I worked at the museum as a front desk worker as a receptionist for four years.
So, till 2015 during this years, after like one or two years, I became the front desk co-ordinator, and I started doing a lot of things that weren’t really the things connected to the front desk. So, I was helping with the education, I started writing (3) the booklets for kids, so this, I don’t remember the name but you know the small booklets for kids to see the exhibition, like guided tours written with some, so descriptions, yeah, descriptions of works for kids. So, I started writing that. I did a few guided tours. I was writing all the descriptions for the visually impaired of the exhibitions, so I was going to a few workshops of the education department, and doing things with education. I was given a task to take care of the volunteers of the museum, not all of them but only those who weren’t in the education department. And of the interns because we used to have interns but this weren’t really internship, it was like students practice mostly. So, I was also to take care of the documents and so on. For some time, I was also doing the office of the museum, the main office with all the documents and so on. But then there came a secretary who took office the stuff. Yeah and I well during the four years at the front desk I was really doing a lot of things like very, like many things in the exhibition, so, so I started like turning on and off the exhibitions, doing some small like conversation things of the things. I was helping curators, the communication department, because of at the beginning of the museum, during the first year of the museum, not a lot of people came to the museum so there were like maybe 40 people a day at the exhibition, so I was getting bored, so I was coming to all the employees and asking if I can help them in anything, work with them. So, I was given a lot of different jobs, so I knew about a lot of projects and worked on many, many different things.
In 2012, we get Emilia Pavilion and there started to be a lot of people at the museum. So, then the situation changed. We started to have two front desks. And I was like the head of those. First of all, I was still working at the front desk at the main quarters of the museum at Panska Street but I also had a year in Emilia and it was quite difficult for me because it was like yeah. I was like moved away from everything I knew and I was like left alone with the visitors for a year. Yeah and in 2015 I decided I have to change something. That I can’t live in the front desk any more. I like the challenges and things that I had an opportunity to do many different things but I have problem with the fact that I’m still treated as a front desk worker. That I’m still a front desk worker, and that while I’m like over, getting over 30 and I’m still working at the front desk because you always imagine that working at the front desk is for young people. So, I started feeling like insecure with that, and I thought that I have to do something else. That maybe I have to change my job, because well I really loved the museum and I had also a lot of problems with working in this institution that I didn’t like many things, let’s say. And I thought I could, that I would have to change my job, or maybe think if there is something at the museum else that I could do. And I talked to my friend, Marta from the education department and I said that I’m going to quit the job as a front desk worker and there’s nothing much I can do at the museum because I think that after working four years at the front desk, they wouldn’t like take me to some other project, that it would be very difficult. I had this kind of a feeling.
So, I asked if her she thinks if for example I came back to teaching English and so on and things like that and have some time left that if she would imagine me as a tour guide for the museum. For doing guided tours in Polish and English to adults. And maybe sometimes helping with the descriptions for kids and this audio descriptions and so on. And she said yes. She said yes, she thinks that would be possible and she’d enjoyed working with me. She said maybe you can talk and maybe something else can happen, and I said well yeah, I don’t think so because probably it wouldn’t be possible. And she also said that apart from being a tour guide, she could ask me because she would (thinking) she needed. Oh, because I half a year earlier, half a year earlier I started becoming the head of like all the volunteers, also the educational volunteers, so I started working very close with the education department. But still working with the agreement I had for the front desk coordinator. So, it wasn’t even in my agreement. And I liked it very much, I thought it was really, really a great job and really, really liked it. But it was very difficult to work at the front desk till 5 pm and then to meet with the volunteers after 5 pm. So, I found out I was spending like 11, 12 hours a day at the museum and, and that I didn’t like that. I was staying there all the time. It was like left in this front desk and then I, sometimes I tried to meet the volunteers during my front desk hours, but it was difficult because we talked and then the telephone rang, there were people coming. So, I didn’t know how to, how to like make it work because I had like 40 hours a week at the front desk and then I had to meet the volunteers, and there were like many of them. So, it was really, really like tiring. And I talked to Marta and she said maybe she could get like some small agreement for me like, a few hours a week so I could take care of the volunteer thing. So, I thought that yeah, I would have some small agreement, I would take care of the volunteers, maybe I could do the guided tours, and maybe I could teach some English, so taking all the jobs into account, I could like live in Warsaw.
But at the time I moved because yeah, during this time at the museum I was moving a lot into different apartments in Warsaw. So, moved out of my then boyfriend because we broke up. I was living with some nice goth people. Yeah it was very, very nice. We moved flats a few times and then I started living with my now boyfriend. We also moved flats a few times but then at that time last year, we were living in Moranov already, because the time I am talking about when I wanted to leave my job and work with the education it was like 2015.
Let’s say it was like April, March something like that. I talked to one of the directors and I told him that yeah, I have to change my job. Of course, he told me that yeah, maybe I have to go for vacation and have like two weeks to think about, and I said yeah this is something that I did very often, during the years working here, and yeah of course, I come back from the vacation and I said, yeah, I like the museum and so on. But now this time, there is no option I will work at the front desk. So of course, I can stay for one month, I can even stay for three months but not very eagerly but of course I will do everything to help you like pass everything I did to the other people. I see there are two possible people who could like, yeah work instead of me. And so on. And this is the time I became (2) yeah and they said that maybe it is not possible and they understand that I’m leaving my job so for a few days I thought I was leaving my job. But then the other director came and he said that it would be good if I could stay at the museum and work in the education department and take care of some parts of education and also of the volunteers as well. And then I said yes because I thought it’s yeah. This is the challenge I wanted, and I never imagine it is possible because in the past, it wasn’t possible because a few people tried and I thought it wasn’t possible, but they said yeah, we can transfer you to another department. Yeah. So, I’m talking a lot (laughing). Yeah but this is basically how I ended the education department of the museum. So, I’ve been working there for a year. I’ve been doing things for education for many years but yeah for a year I have like, I’m not working next to the front door of the museum, and I take care of volunteers. I take care, I work also on the programme for the audiences with the disabilities, which is also very, very nice. It is difficult because we had a lot of problems with our building but it something I feel is very important. Working with the volunteers of course as well. And I also work with like the normal functioning of the museum. So, guided tours, museum lessons and, and things like that. Yeah. (2) and yeah.
And then, then the only thing I could add is that yeah in, in December 2015, Sebastian Cichocki now my boss, in the programme department, programming department, he told me there will be some kind of a project connected with their exhibition that maybe I could like work with, because it may be connected to volunteers but he didn’t say much. He said that he’s co-curator Koba will come and he will tell me more about it. So, I remember that in December I think, I talked to Koba a lot and I didn’t know really what the project would be all about and it changed over time of course. But this is the time that they asked me to take care of this project and I thought that yeah it would be nice to work on something new. I also liked the part that yeah, I don’t pretty much know what it will all be about. And this is kind of exciting that I will work on some kind of a project, I don’t know what it is but I knew that it was connected to the exhibition and to the public programme. So, I thought that yeah, this is something with which I would feel like more important after this, you know front desk a long period and so on. And I thought yeah, let’s try it. And yeah this is how I started working on the stretching the imagination project. Yeah, more or less. (4)
So, I think I talked quite a lot, yes so, I think those are the main points in my life. This is how I feel that the main points connected with education and with employment, yes so, I focused on that, not on I don’t know, it probably would be difficult to focus on the health, on love (laughing) yeah but this kind of CV I have, let’s say.
I: Great, thank you. That’s really good. So yeah you already added something. So, you don’t… you’ve said everything you want to say.
IV: Yeah, I think so.
I: Okay. I will just change batteries and then I will also spend a few minutes at looking at the notes to see if I have some more follow up questions. It will take a few minutes. So.
IV: Okay. I’m just waiting here. Yes, and not taking it off. Maybe I can just you know like take it off, I smoke a cigarette. Yeah. (laughing), and check my emails maybe that should be something I should do.

Warsaw Interview 10 b

IV: It’s like for three hours, more or less, right? – so I can …
I: Yeah, I mean, you don’t have to do it, but I think it’s just good to have, so some people are a bit more short, but I think it’s good to, (?? 0:21), but it’s also good to have a break, and I think normally we would do once a day, if we need to do a lot, because it’s also not fair if you are the third person, but it’s quite, I think I lose sensibility after … you do the second, it’s a little bit less, and the third even, but it works actually quite okay in this. We’ve kind of met, or we know each other, so I don’t know, it worked quite okay. Normally people would say that you do one, but also, normally you would also be more targeted, if you research, for example, changes in relationship after the second child, and you’re doing that, then you really go into this, so I think in this case it’s more open, it’s more sequential, and sometimes it’s quite interesting, because it has this, we did a lot of focus on the imagination, but then, when you spend lots of, I’m not saying that our biographies are imaginary, but it’s a way of writing your life, and produce a meaning, that if you spend lots of time with it, and it’s just a narrative. There’s so many things which you … so that’s interesting, because it becomes almost imaginary. If you subscribe to (?? 2:03), my life, so it’s interesting in a totally different way.
IV: No, I have, it was really great, I had a chance to participate in something that was really great. Unfortunately, I lost a part connected to it, but when I was in Lodz (? 2:22), I had a room mate who was studying technology, and she was having a project where she had to make an interview with a person about the childhood, and most of her friends were doing like interviews with elderly people, or with adults, people after 40 or something, and she was to have an interview with some lady, but the lady, like I said, at the last moment, she’s not going to do that, so this friend asked me if I can do that, so I can have this interview, and I said, yeah – no problem. You need that, if it’s okay for you, because she thought, I’m quite talkative, and I don’t really have problems with talking about my life, and also very intimate things that maybe for some people are difficult, about my difficult problems, like the situation with my family and things like that, so she did an interview with me, and it was considered, during her classes, the best interview. It was 64 pages, like A4, so I talked and talked and talked, and she was like, come on, because she thought that her friends, if they are doing interviews with elderly people, they will have like a lot of material, because it’s like, something does, but of course it occurs that I’m younger, and I have a better memory of what happened, because not so much time happened, and then, when I was reading it, it was like, I was reading about not me really! (she laughs)
It was really, really strange, and it was like, and I thought, yeah, it’s kind of well-written! (she laughs) It’s kind of interesting, well-written and so on, so it’s like, it was so strange to read about it, but I was like, reading it, like about my life in some part, but also, in some part I felt like I was reading a book that I could like, you know, somehow be close, but it was like so unreal. It was like a bit imaginary. It was very strange, but she was asking me a lot of questions during the time, so I was talking about all the childhood stories I was listening to, and so on.
So this is like, really interesting, because now I was talking about totally different things, and I had this interview written, but I lost it somewhere, and I’m really sad, because I think that now it would be really interesting. It would be totally like reading, not about myself. (17) Oh, I forgot a lighter! Okay, so if you need some time, I can go to a shop, I will buy myself a lighter, maybe some roll to eat or something. Do you want anything from the shop?
I: No, I think for the moment, I’m good.
IV: So maybe I’ll leave it with you, five minutes.
I: Okay. [5.50 – 19:03 – pause while IV goes to the shop]
I: So you said, talking a bit about your childhood, that you lived with your mother and the grandparents, plus dogs and cats. I’m just curious about these dogs and cats, if you remember anything more about, how many?
IV: Yeah. I don’t remember all of them. I remember that my first dog was Poonan (? 19:35), that was her name. She was a small dog, brown and white. It was like a mixed breed. She looked very funny, I used to have somewhere a picture of her. She was, I remember she was like a very calm dog, but that’s the only thing I remember. That was my first dog.
My grandmother used to have dogs, and I always felt that they were more her dogs than my dogs, so she used to have these boxer dogs, and it was a bit, even creepy for me, because she had this first dog, I think her name was Figar, like Fig, and when she died, my grandmother went to Warsaw, and searched, she even said she searched for a dog that would look completely identical, and that time, I don’t remember how old I was, but it was like, it sounded a bit scary that she wanted to replace one dog with the same-looking dog.
I was always more into cats, and I still have a cat, and I remember that my first cat was like grey and black, with stripes. Her name was, in English, it would be Bandit! (she laughs) – and I remember my mother used to call her Bandit. I remember that she had some children, and we also used to have these children, and some of them were given away, and then some of them stayed with us, and they also had children, and they just like continued and continued. My first cat that I thought was really really my cat, it was when I was, I think I was like eight years old, or something like that, and I came back home, and my grandmother, because I spent more time with my grandmother than my mother, because she was working a lot, told me that there is a gift for me. It was like, I think, my birthday maybe or something, and I was looking everywhere. They said that I will see it, like when I come into the house. I was looking and looking, and then I found a really small and beautiful ginger kitten. I remember that I was like seven or eight, because that was the time, when I was seven, I started learning English, and I remember my first dictionary – it was yellow and small. I don’t remember the company that did it. It was a Polish-English, English-Polish dictionary, that I used for my classes, and I remember that my grandfather wanted to call the cat Roder (? 22:41), which is like ginger in Polish, but I thought it would be really nice to call it in English, because I was learning English, and I thought English is really cool, and I was looking in the dictionary, and unfortunately the dictionary didn’t give me the name Ginger, so we called him Rusty, because this is what I found in the dictionary! (she laughs) So he was called Rusty, and then I remember that we sometimes changed it to made it sound like more Polish, because I was the only English-speaking person in my family. It was Rustorsch (? 23:16), so it’s changed. I really liked Rusty. He was like, a very independent cat. He was going for very long walks. Very often, it happened that he was absent for like, two or three days. He was coming back with some small warmth, but we always felt that he was the winning cat! (she laughs) – because he was like the king of the neighbourhood. He was like, very big and ginger. There was a house in front of our house where there was a lot of yellowish grass in the summer, and the cat was like lying in the middle of this yellow grass meadow, and he was looking like a lion! (she laughs) – so the king of the neighbourhood, so I really liked Rusty.
Then we had like also a few other cats. I remember a cat who was named Ozzy. It was when, also my brother learnt English, so we used to name our cats in English – I don’t know why, probably like after films, and Ozzy just came to us. It was like a small kitten that just happened to be in our house. We had it like for three months maybe, or something, and then I remember it disappeared. We were really crying about it, and then, while we were going for walks, we found that it is living in some of our neighbours’ house, so it was a cat that changed places! (she laughs) He was like, trying different hotels! – so that’s what I remember.
I remember also my grandmother brought one little kitten she found, that was like probably, I don’t know, some people, maybe children, put it on fire and it was like burnt, and it was very, very weak. My grandmother tried to take care of it, and was like giving it water and so on, but he didn’t manage, and I remember that was like a very sad experience, that I still remember it. I don’t remember if this cat had a name, but I was really sorry that people did such kinds of things.
Then we had, my mother wanted a Persian cat, and she had friends who had Persian cats, and they had small kittens, and she was promised one of the kittens, and she took a kitten that wasn’t Persian at all! (she laughs) Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. It was black-and-white, like a cow pattern, and I remember that we, with my brother, agreed that, if it’s a girl, I will call it, and if it’s a boy, he will call it, and we found out that it was a boy, so my brother called it Sango, after an animated Japanese series, but then Sango went pregnant! (she laughs) and it happened that she’s a girl! She had a few kids that were like given away, and there was also one cat that was like more Persian than others, so there were like some genes with long hair, at that stage with the cat, and I remember that Sango was like a very angry cat. She was like, coming to pet her, and when you pet her, she was like, going mad and crazy, and she started scratching you and running away, so she was really some tempered cat, and her child was, his name was Futzsha (? 26:51), so like “furry one”, something like that, and he was a very slow cat. He couldn’t even miaow. He was doing some strange sound, and he was moving very, very slowly, and he was very slow with everything. When we were giving the cats away to other people, he was the most beautiful cat, but people didn’t want him because he had some problems with his foot, and he always had some problems with everything, because he was very slow, and he didn’t notice anything that was going on, so it was very easy to do him harm, so we had to like really take care of how we were moving through the house.
But I remember that all the cats and dogs we had were like, going outside, so many things happened to them, and I remember this Futzsha (? 27:41) was, it was when I was adult, because he lived quite old, I remember, and he was like, killed by a car, and when I had my first and only cat that I still have, that I had my cat in Warsaw, whose name is Corky, and I lived with him, he’s not a cat that is like going outside, because he’s visually impaired. He’s blind, and he’s allergic to almost everything, so probably, if he went outside, he couldn’t manage, so he stays at my house, and I feel that’s the first cat I have a real connection with, because the cats I lived with in my childhood, I was really, I remember when I was a child, I always wanted a cat that would spend a lot of time with me, but they never wanted. They just went outside to have fun, and they came back for sleeping and eating, so they weren’t really interested in the people they were living with. Maybe Rusty was a bit interested. He sometimes slept with me. He very often slept with the dog, they were really pals. He was sleeping on the dog’s head! (she laughs) Yeah, they liked each other.
I: So, you said you started having your first jobs, my first jobs, giving English lessons and being a home teacher, it was not very formal? Do you remember episodes which you would describe as informal-ness? – like a typical informal situation?
IV: Like a formal?
I: Informal.
IV: Informal. Could you, like … ?
I: You said that you were starting having jobs, and giving English lessons, and operated as a home teacher. You said that it was not very formal, so if you remember any, a typical example of how that happened, not the reason, but how it was experienced as informal?
IV: Yes, because it was like, it was not with an agreement. It was like, I remember I made, I just printed like an announcement, and put it in some posts in Gerardov (? 30:03), on some lanterns and so on, with the numbers that you can like tear from the announcement, and also I was having a few friend who were from Gerardov (? 30:15), and studying with me, and they also had some jobs, so if they knew about someone they cannot teach because they wanted some time when they were busy or something, they told me about it.
I remember it was informal, because it was always like, you come to someone’s place, or someone’s coming to you. I always preferred coming to someone’s place, because I think I had a bit, problems with my family understanding that, well, this is a job, and I always had to have some room that was closed, but my brother sometimes was like laughing in the other room, and I thought it was like not really professional, even though they were kids, so they just didn’t mind, but they were like, with kids, it’s difficult for them to focus on something, so when someone was telling jokes in the other room, they were like, they suddenly started to listen to those jokes! (she laughs) – and so on.
There was like, you always like had money, just after the lesson, and so on. It was like, I didn’t feel very much at work, because sometimes it happened that I was like, oh no, I’m tired, I don’t want to see those kids, and I was just like, calling the parents and saying that I’m ill, or something, that I cannot have the lesson, and I just couldn’t do it, so it wasn’t like, I felt it was really a job, because I could just move it, postpone it. Also, they had the same situation, so it happened very often that I was just called last minute, and they called me that they will not be coming.
Once, I remember I was like, waiting for someone and they didn’t come, and once I remember that I was waiting for two girls, and they were late for an hour, so I was like having an appointment for later on, and I was late for this appointment.
I also remember that those two girls, because I didn’t decide to teach them for a longer period of time, because I tried to speak with the parents. I was quite shy at that moment, and I was afraid of this whole job situation, etcetera, because it involved payments, so I felt I should be professional, and I was just a young student, and I remember that it was very difficult for me to just manage to talk to the parents, and say what I think about those lessons, and even when I did it, they were not like very eager to listen to me, because I remember I had two girls, and one of them was a really good student. They were like, of the same age, or maybe one was like one year older or something. This was very typical, that parents like each other, and so on, they just want to not pay a lot of money, so they don’t get their children to language school, but they just find a student, and they collect their kids, so it’s like, not a lot of money, because it’s always like a bit cheaper when you have a bigger group, so I remember those two girls. They were on completely different levels of English, so it was very difficult to teach them. I even said that I imagined that it will be better to just see them like one at a time. They didn’t decide on that, they decided that they will come once a week, and I could help with the homework and different things, and just teach them something, that they would come for an hour, and I would teach one of them for one hour, and the other for one hour, and it was difficult for me, because what to do with this kid, for half-an-hour? It was one hour, and every girl has half-an-hour, and she was like, a bit bored. I gave them something to like work on, so then I also started preparing some other handouts, so one was working with me, and the other was doing some kind of an exercise or homework, but one of them was really lazy and not willing to work at all, and she had real problems with English, because she couldn’t read, she couldn’t write, and the other one was sort of like, really good, and it was difficult.
I remember that we were working, I was working with those girls in my mother’s house, and everyone was passing, and I felt like uncomfortable. It was also, when I was going to the kids’ homes, that sometimes there were like some girls, and the child knew there were some girls, and some fun going on in the other room, so they were not so eager to learn, and so on.
When you work, when you’re like self-employed, I was very young, and I had a feeling that, I’m not sure if I’m doing everything all right, because no-one controlled me. When you’re at a language school, you have to have some exams and things like that, and here I only had my feelings, if it is going somewhere or not really, and it was difficult for me.
I also had the impression the kids, there were some kids that really liked me, and we talked a lot about different things, that they were trying to, not learn English, but tell me about their friends at school, etcetera, and they had real problems to just like, get out of this situation, so yeah. That’s it, I think.
I: Good. I have a few more questions. I’m just wondering, because I didn’t have any, my skin is not so good for the sun, and I see there, maybe we could sit in the part in the shadow? – is that okay?
IV: Yeah, sure. Yeah, I think it will be better. I got used to the sun in Berlin, but now, the shadow is very comforting! The smell is very funny, it’s like of the seaside. I didn’t notice it. Only when they are cleaning, it’s like … the smell of water is like a bit, yeah, I like the smell. It’s not very nice, but I kind of like it.
I: Maybe here?
IV: Yeah, okay. (speaks Polish) There’s the friend from my office, he was like, “Yeah, yeah, so that’s how you’re working, ha ha ha!” (she laughs)
I: Are you using his office?
IV: Yeah, exactly, so you could meet him. Madjek (? 37:19) is really nice. He’s kind of a funny guy.
I: Okay, so it’s …
IV: Yeah, one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four.
I: Okay, so I have some more questions. You said, you worked in a restaurant, a bistro bar with soups? Do you remember any particular soup?
IV: Yeah, I remember a lot of them, do you want to hear about?
I: Just one, if you can pick one, just to give a sense of …
IV: Okay, so there was one soup, it was called Thai soup. It was with carrots, with leek, with green curry paste, with coconut milk, and with chicken, and we used to put like cut coriander on it. It was smelling very well. I still, from time to time, do this soup with tofu, apart from chicken, so in place of chicken. (she laughs)
I: So you were talking about studying, and finishing studying, and you said, unfortunately many of your friends didn’t finish their studies? Do you remember anything particular about this division of finishing and not finishing?
IV: Yeah, I do remember, because when we were studying English, I used to be a party person, let’s say, so I did a lot of partying, and we were very often missing classes during our studies, and I remembered that, from all our group who were missing classes, only me and my friend finished it on time, and the rest of our group that was going for a beer, and were going to meadow to just lay on the grass, like finished it one year later. It was also because the school I went was like, a part of the University of Lodz (? 40:01) in the past, and during my last year of studies, the main quarter changed to the University of Warsaw, so the programme changed, and now we were in a very bad situation, because we were like reading a lot of books for the literature classes, and then, for example, it occurs that, well, we read Billy Barr (? 40:23), and it’s okay for the University of Lodz, but for the University of Warsaw, you should read, for example, Moby Dick, and everything’s changed, so it was very difficult to pass the exam, because we had like a different curriculum for the two years, and the last year was trying to finish all the courses, and to somehow like work with the material that was necessary for the Warsaw University, so it was a bit difficult, and I also found it difficult, but I managed to finish it, and I just, at the last year, I just managed to have like good grades, and to write my Bachelor thesis very, very quickly. I think I wrote it in like two weeks, but it was quite good, and I got the best grade for it. My teachers were really really okay with what I wrote, and many of my friends, they finished their thesis, but they had problems with the exams, so they had to repeat the year.
I think that was a bit difficult for our group, because we were like, those who managed were like feeling not very okay, because yeah, we spent time together, and now it went very bad for them, and we just managed. They were feeling not very good, because yeah, we were in this together, but then they didn’t finish, so I think that somehow our relations were, like they got worse, and we didn’t continue with these relations after studying, because we were doing different things in different cities. It was a bit strange, and I felt a bit guilty about the fact that I managed and they didn’t, but I don’t know. But yeah, I shouldn’t feel guilty, because I probably spent some more time on preparing, but yeah, it was kind of a strange situation, and then I knew that yeah, probably when you go to study, you shouldn’t miss so many classes! – because many things could happen. It was like a wake-up call for me, for the next studies, I think, because I never repeated that action. Then, when I studies, I always studied what I wanted to study, or I tried to go to studies that I wanted to go to, and I tried not to miss classes, because I thought, well, I’m doing this for myself, so why should I miss classes? I think I was not very … I was a bit childish probably, during my first studies, so I just wanted to meet people, parties, and some nice time and so on.
I: You said you heard about studies in (?? 43:20), and the use of journalism, and it was a beautiful city? You loved (?? 43:26), but you had a not so nice experience in the first flat? Was there anything in particular?
IV: Yeah, I was, it is very often difficult to find a flat in (?? 43:41), and I tried, during the summer holidays, but didn’t manage, so the day before the first day of my studies, or just two days before, I found an announcement on Gumtree, some portal with the announcement, and I called and I said, please – I like the price, I like the location, I just don’t want to see it. Can I just come in today? I will pay you like, in front, because I need this flat, I need to live somewhere, and they said yes, so I didn’t know where I was going, and I came with my mum, who was like with my things and so on, because she like drove the car – I don’t have a driving licence, so she drove me to (?? 44:18), and the guy who opened, occurred to be my room mate, he had a bruise under his eye, because he was in a fight the day before, and it was a flat with three rooms. Officially nine people lived there, but unofficially there were like 12 or 15 people in the flat, so when I wanted to take a shower in the evening, it was usually at two o’clock, and they didn’t like me that much, because they liked partying. They listened to some other music and so on, so it was difficult for us to become friends, because they were drinking a lot of alcohol, and I was not really into that, drinking with them and so on, so I had to just, I didn’t spend time in the flat at all. It was even difficult to wash my clothes, because when you have fifteen people, it was always difficult to find some time, so I washed clothes at (?? 45:21). I was taking all the clothes in a free six-hour ride by a train, or I was going to my friend for washing clothes, and we were watching films at the time, and it was difficult. They had only cold water. They were always drunk and partying. It was like, I didn’t really feel very okay with them, because I knew they were also doing like things I don’t like and so on, and I was never sure what I will find when I come back home. Sometimes my room was occupied, and it was someone in my bed, so I was just, okay, so then I go to some café for three hours, and come back at three, four am, and see if something changed, if my bed is like empty, and I can sleep in that, so it was like a very crazy situation. It was like for three months, I think, like during Christmas time, I just found some other flat with my friends, and I ran away, because I couldn’t stand them.
They were always like, also commenting on everything I did, that I’m not looking the way they do, and so on, but they are normal, and I’m a bit like, different, and so on, so it was like, not very comfortable.
I: I have some more questions. You said that you were disappointed in your club, about studies, that you met a lot of really great people. What kind of people? Do you remember one particular person?
IV: Yes, I remember, for example, my friend Piet (? 47:17). We sometimes see each other, like once a year during some music festivals. When I got to the studies, these were like studies, like of the first step studies, so I was older than most of the people, and he was older than me, so I think that’s why I liked him. He listened to a lot of music, a lot of genres. He had a really big knowledge, and we were exchanging cities and music, and I knew a lot of great music after meeting him, so he was always like showing me great people, great places, great concerts, so I met a lot of nice people because of him. I went to nice concerts, and I think that my idea of what is music, was widened because of meeting him, so yeah, that was kind of important, and now he’s still like doing some things connected to music, which is very nice. He’s not a music journalist, but he works with the festivals and so on. I started listening to some like “heavier” music, I think, at the time, and so things like noise rock, and like that. It was very nice. We talked about music a lot and went to a lot of concerts. A lot of different places, I didn’t know that existed, like to squats and so on, so it was like, yeah, really cool.
I: So, in the general description, you said that people had a very narrow interest, some of your peers, and they were kind of only interested in, for example, one genre. Do you remember any particular genre, you were surprised that people are only focused on that?
IV: Yeah, it’s even more than a genre, because I remember there was one girl, I don’t remember her name, and I was shocked when she said that, they were like having this question from the teacher, like, why did you decide on these studies and so on, what do you listen to? – and she stood up, she was very young, and she said that her favourite band is Nickelback – I don’t know if you know it? It’s like, a very, I hate this band! (she laughs) It’s like this pop/rock thing, and they had like one hit single that was very popular some time before, but they were like doing things that many other bands do. It was not something very mind-blowing and so on, so there is a lot of bands like that, and she stood up, and she said that she’s a great fan of this band, of Nickelback, and she wants to become a music journalist to help this band become famous in Poland, and I was like, wow, this band is like famous enough in Poland, I think, and what kind of reason is that? We tried to talk to her, and she was like, listen to this band only, and I thought that, well, it is difficult to be like a journalist, and write about music when you listen to one band, one band only.
There were like also people who listened only to club music, and at the time, I was like really, how can you write about music when you listen only to club music, and you know nothing about any music that has guitars, so no knowledge about rock noise, punk music, or classical music and so on, but now I wouldn’t be so, like, yeah, that maybe having quite a focus on club music isn’t that bad, but I still don’t think you can write well about club music when you don’t know the other genres, because club music very often samples other genres, and you have to know, like what it’s all about, what they are referring to, so it would be difficult. So I was a bit disappointed, because I thought there would be like, people who are very open-minded, and want to listen to a lot of things, and I found those people just didn’t want to like, open more. They were like, no, I don’t want to listen to that, I don’t want to listen to other things and so on, and when I was talking about different things, they said that no, I’m not interested in such music, so it was like, yeah.
When I was talking about this Nickelback with this girl, I already knew Nickelback, so I knew what I was talking about. At least she didn’t know about the other things, and it made me disappointed, because I thought that maybe the studies would be not very good, but I would meet a lot of people with whom we can change the world, so talk about everything, and we can exchange CDs and so on, but I only met a few of such people. Most of them were like really focused on some pieces of the music world, and this Piet (? 52:35) that I remember was really open, and he was always eager to try something new, which I thought is something you need in this business. It’s not possible, when you just close yourself, to what is new.
I: You said, you always wanted to live in Lodz, for your possible studies, and then you decided to move there, and you will stop the study, so I’m curious, like, this recognition of that, there was again something, as a desire you wanted some time, and then you decided to move, so there’s that kind of, maybe two sides of something similar? I’m just curious, to this discovery (?? 53:35), that it’s possible to study, to continue studying, and then this support that you always would observe, and then there is that, okay, I’m going to move, so I’m just curious about if it’s possible to describe this as a process, or how this experience was actually.
IV: Okay, so I don’t know if I remember it that well, how it was. I remember that it was this half a year that I was spending in Geradov (? 54:05), commuting to Warsaw, to work with the soups! (she laughs)
I: The second time, yeah?
IV: Yeah, the second time, yeah, because I used to come back to the soups for my winter and summer holidays, and they liked me a lot, so they wanted to work with me, and they also wanted to go for holidays, so it’s good that someone came for the holidays to work. So I was like, thinking about, I don’t remember how it was. I think I just checked the options of different study, so I checked the websites of different universities, and tried to check them, and I think there was also something that, in the fact that Geradov (? 54:48) is very near Warsaw. It’s like 40 kilometres, and I used to come to Warsaw like very often, for different things, and all my friends wanted to live in Warsaw, if not live, maybe live in Geradov (? 55:50) and commute to Warsaw, and I never wanted that. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I always wanted something different than my friends, so I said, okay, they want this, I want something else, and that’s why I was very eager to move to Vratzwav (? 55:20), but I always felt that Lodz (? 55:24) is like a place for me, because Lodz is as big as Geradov. It’s considered a very sad city. I watched a documentary made by an artists about Lodz once, when I was very young, and the thesis of the film was that Lodz is not a place to live, and there was a guy who was asking many different people on the street, do you think it’s possible to live in Lodz, and when do you think one should move out of Lodz? And people were saying, yeah, just after school for studies, or yeah, after studies, they should move out of Lodz, or yeah, just after they are born, they should get away off this town, because it’s like so depressing, and most of my favourite music bands were from Lodz, and I thought this city is like, very sad, depressing, grey, but also inspiring, so I thought that it would be a really nice place for me. I really liked these post-industrial places and so on, and I thought yeah, those people weren’t sad, but they have like so much emotion to put into everything, so I thought that would be nice. When I saw that there are like nice studies in Lodz, I think I just thought, yeah, okay – maybe that’s a good idea. Maybe I can check this city eventually. I already knew a few people from Lodz, so I knew that I would meet some of my friends, because to Vratswav (? 56:55), I was going with a feeling that, well, I have just one friend in Vratswav, so I don’t know anyone, and I was really really scared, but then I met a lot of people, and in Lodz, I know a lot of people in Lodz, but when I moved to Lodz, I actually didn’t meet a lot of new people. There were only the people I knew before, and I thought yeah, this city is like, made of a lot of really great people that I will get to know, but I didn’t get to know a lot of them, so it was a bit strange. I also remember that the course I took was really important, because I knew that I would like to do something, so I could get to the second grade studies, like the Master studies, because I didn’t want to like have another four, five years of studying, but at that time it was difficult to find studies where you could just go after English, so usually there were some like linguistics or English again, or something, and I remember that I checked the different topics that would be undertaken there, and I was really curious, because there was a lot of things about culture, but also a lot of things about the world in general, and I just wanted to learn something else, to just focus on something completely else, and this macro economy and international relations, it sounded so exotic to me, because I have never focused on such things before. I also knew they had some gender cathedral (? 58:38) over there, so I thought this is also some kind of direction that would be nice for me, and I was writing for my thesis about gender roles and stereotypes at that time. I don’t know if I can say anything more, because I knew I wanted to study. I knew I didn’t want to like, stay with the soups forever, because I knew that, if I stayed longer, I would just be this soup girl! (she laughs) – for the rest of my life, and I knew that I didn’t want to be a teacher as well. I like giving private lessons from time to time. It’s very nice to work with a group, to be a teacher, but I knew that I wanted something else, and I just wanted to …. I didn’t know what I wanted, I never knew what I wanted, so I just wanted to check it, and this Lodz sounded promising, because I knew a few people, and I thought that I would be creative there, and also the studies sounded like, something new, something that would change my life.
I: A few more questions. You were talking about, looking for a job in Lodz, and there came a friend, came with employment, and he just really disappeared, and you had a few talks in cafes, like you said, (?? 1:00:18) café, and somebody told you that your cv looks like you don’t know what you want to do in the future, or something like this. Is that based on a particular episode, like you remember exactly, like you said it, or under what circumstances? Was it like a general … ?
IV: No, well I remember a few people told me that, because also this is something I also heard in this place that employed me as a secretary. This is what my boss said, that I looked like a person who likes to change employment, and is not really tying some bonds with their employer, and I was like, woah! – yeah, maybe that’s it. I remember I was a bit, I started being a bit conscious about that, that well, maybe yeah, it’s good to have some kind of a job that you know, that you will have for a longer period of time, because I remember that I was writing many different things, and at that time I was putting everything, every place I really worked in, on my cv, because I knew it was really difficult to find a job even in the cafes in Lodz, so I was like putting everything, so they know that, yeah, I can be a bartender, I can be a waitress, I can be a waitress in a café, I can be a waitress in a restaurant, in a club and so on, so to have it more versatile, that I know all this stuff, but yeah, I remember it was in a café in which I really wanted to work, and they were like, I remember this interview. I didn’t feel really nice. I was like, job interviews are really stressful for me, and I remember that then, I really felt I will not get this job, and I remember the girls who talked to me, I think it was called Afogata (? 1:02:14) Café, or something like that. It was on the main street of Lodz. It was like a new place that had just been opened, and they wanted to have a lot of concerts, so I knew that it was a place that will have concerts, so I wanted always to work in a club where you have concerts and so on, because it’s nice, you meet musicians and so on, but they didn’t take me, because I remember that I was, I had a feeling that I wasn’t professional enough for them, I don’t know. It was something like that, that they wanted, like, to have a very professional and self-conscious waitress, and I was kind of a messy person, so they just, they said that they are not sure, because they are looking for people who will stay for a longer amount of time, and they see that, well, I worked in a café, and I also was a teacher, so they tried to ask me whether I preferred to teach or work in a café, so it was difficult for me to say, yeah, I love being a waitress, and being a teacher is not really cool, because it was true, and I’m not good at lying, so I was like, well, I’m gaining some experience. I’m checking options, which was basically it, and they didn’t want a person who was checking options. They just wanted a person who will stay will them for at least a year, and yeah, probably I wouldn’t stay. I told them, probably I would, but I think I wouldn’t stay there for a year. Also, I remember, when we talked about payment, they wanted to pay so little that I just couldn’t imagine working there, so maybe it was good that it happened that way, but it was difficult.
Then I remember that I was only on one concert there, and then they just didn’t have a lot of concerts, or maybe concerts I didn’t like, so probably it wouldn’t be a place for me, so it’s good that it happened, but also in this, when I was secretary, they also told me that I looked like a person who likes to like, hop from one place to the other, and that doesn’t look well, because it doesn’t like bring some kind of … so I look like a person who is undecided and cannot stay for a longer period of time, that maybe I’m easily bored, or something like that. Probably I was at that time, but I didn’t have any really nice jobs, so that was why I was like quitting them. Also, from this school, I didn’t like it, because I thought that yeah, I really prefer to work at the café where there’s a nice atmosphere, than work when people think that I’m taking their jobs away, that someone isn’t listening to what I say, and so on. It was really really bad, and I remember that there were some, in this company, there were some like problems with the teacher, because I knew, my best contact was with the teachers, not with the workers of this administration, and I remember that there were many many problems, because, for example, the teachers didn’t get the money on time, and so on, and I didn’t have such problems, but I thought, this is not a good place to be, that I don’t want to work with people who treat other people badly. So they were right – I hopped to some other place.
I: You said that you started to work as a secretary in the school, and there was this like strange boss spying, or this kind of bad atmosphere, and also about this kind of rivalry between the other secretaries. You said, she was afraid she would lose her job, or something like that, so it became complicated, and you were leaving, but do you remember any particular incident where she was kind of confronting you, or making it clear that there’s an issue?
IV: No, I don’t think it was like, she never stated it very clearly, because if she stated that, and said, Hania, I think I’m going to lose my job, and I’m really afraid of that, and so on, then I would like, I think I would quit, like the next day, because I never wanted to take something from someone, etcetera. It was like very strange, because there were three of us. I was first working in some other building, and then in the other, where I worked for the most time, and there were three of us. There was one girl who was head of this like front desk, secretary thing. She was after art history, and she was like the boss, and there was this other girl who was like, only after high school, and not like this general school, but some like lower school, etcetera. She didn’t speak English, almost at all, so it was very difficult for her, for example, to talk to the native speakers. I was like, well, still after the first studies and so on, and they didn’t like to talk to me that much. They always went for lunch together, so I was sitting alone, and I remember them talking, like to each other, there was something that I heard that someone said, that there’s going to be only two secretaries in this place, and I was like, new, so I had a feeling that these, one of these girls, that she just doesn’t like me, because she’s afraid that, if there are going to be two people, then it’s the boss and me maybe, because I’m new, and like I’m learning everything from her, because they asked her to teach me everything she knows, not the other girl, the boss, but this one, to teach me all the things she takes care of, and I think this was it, that she was giving all her knowledge to me, and you know, it’s like, when you are asked to give all your assignments to someone, it’s like, yeah, they are getting rid of me, and I also felt that way, that it’s something like that. Then it occurred that probably it wouldn’t happen, because they were opening some other school, and they wanted to get me there, so maybe I would be kind of a boss of some front desk, but I hated this atmosphere, the thing with the teachers, that they didn’t get payment on time. The directors, yeah, they were really not nice people. They were like, kind of, I don’t know, I just couldn’t talk to them, and my boss, who was like, I think he was very ambitious, but it was very strange, because it really happened that we were talking privately with the girls about something, and after half-an-hour, he just came and he knew what we were talking about, so were were like having this paranoia that we are like watched, listened to, etcetera. He always said that he looks at our emails, so he checked what we write back to people, and it was like, because we had this main mailbox, and he was looking at it, and he was coming, for example, and said, okay, you wrote back to some person, but you didn’t offer some other course that you could offer, and it was like, “Man! Okay, yeah!” (she laughs) Maybe once, and he was like, very strict about simple things, and I just didn’t like the fact that he was checking that. He didn’t even say that he will be checking, but he was just like, coming back out of nowhere, and every time something happened, he was just like, coming back, and saying that, hmm, maybe we should talk about something, that we like talked, like half-an-hour ago, so it was so crazy, full of paranoia, that I didn’t want to work there. (23)
I: Are you okay, with a few more questions? You said that you worked with this friend, you got this place in this hospital, private hospital, and you said, it was a challenge to meet these kind of emotional touch applications, that were really too much, and also maybe wasn’t 100%, so I’m just curious, if there was any particular person, patient, which helped you, which really (?? 1:11:59) kind of, this transfer of emotional responsibility, or these incurable, ill people. I don’t know if you would like to say something?
IV: I don’t remember, I think, anyone in particular. I remember there was like some guy on a wheelchair, and I don’t remember if he had problems with speaking, or with sight, but I remember, I don’t remember the name of the disease. It’s like very common, but okay … so the disease is measured on levels, so you can have this disease on point one, and it’s up to point ten, and I remember that we were instructed that, because were to contact people who wanted to get this procedure, and up to points five or six, they could get this procedure; after six, it was very dangerous, so they couldn’t. This was one of the procedures was not for this illness, but for an illness that very often comes with that illness, and for some patients it worked, for some not, but they were like coming from, I remember this guy, he was coming, I think, from Canada maybe? So I remember he was travelling a lot of times, and he was, I don’t know, maybe with his mother and so on. He was an adult, like maybe 30 or something, I don’t remember, and he was travelling with his mother, who was much older, and he was like, so full of hope and so happy. He was such a nice person. He was laughing a lot, I remember. I remember only those emotions, so happiness and hope, and like, feeling yeah (positively), something will change, and I was so better with the feeling, that yeah, this is like, we are selling the dream, and you never know what will happen, because this operation, it helped for, like, let’s say, half of the people only. For some of the people, it just stopped for new symptoms to come. For some people, it could like, take one symptom, for example, away. You never knew, but it was like 50:50, so you just didn’t know. It was so emotional, because I was like, we were going, the hospital was in Grojisk (? 1:14:50), so like, 30, 20 kilometres from Warsaw, so I had to commute from Warsaw, and we were coming in an ambulance, so it made it feel like, because I was responsible for taking the patients from the airport – this was my job, and this was what I was mainly doing during the days, because I was working very shortly. I didn’t have the contacts with the patients. I only looked through their emails, and I looked at the emails that said, I’m sorry but this procedure cannot be done on you, because you’re in an advanced state and so on, so this was like really hard for me, but I remember we were going with an ambulance from Grojisk (? 1:15:37) to Warsaw Airport, and I think that just sitting in this ambulance, with the people, and they were just asking about Warsaw, they were sometimes asking about … they were very rarely asking about the procedure or the hospital – they were just asking about Warsaw. It was like, going on a trip, and I was like, feeling that, I have to tell them a few things, and yeah, they are looking, they see the Palace of Culture and Science in the distance, but I have to say that, okay, there are some rules you need to follow, so maybe I’ll start with those, because when we are at the hospital, there won’t be time, because it would be best if you just went to your room, etcetera, and it was really difficult for me to start with the rules. Usually, at the first day, I was like accompanied by girls who worked on the same job, but were working like, for a month or two, so I was just listening to them. But yeah, they were also so full of energy, and so like, saying, yeah, you need to see that, you need to go there, and so on. They were like, speaking about Warsaw, etcetera, and it was really really difficult for me to just be so happy, etcetera, to get rid of the fact that it’s such a difficult situation, that it’s such a difficult procedure, that it also cost a lot of money, because the procedure was very very expensive, because you needed a few doctors, it was very, very difficult. Also they had to commute to Poland from, for example, Canada, etcetera, so I was also aware of the fact that this is something only for the chosen ones, for the people who have the money, and they pay a lot of money, and they don’t even know if this will bring any results, so it’s such a difficult situation, that some people, for example, are wealthy enough to have this operation, this procedure, and some just took all their life savings, and borrowed probably money from other people to just have a chance for this miracle, and if it will happen, we don’t know so it was like, I was like thinking about it all the time, and I also had some health problems at the time, and I was not feeling well. I was feeling very sad, and my health problems started to begin, so it was very difficult for me to think about myself and my own problems, and to bear this situation. Maybe I’m just fragile and demotivated. Probably it was something not for me, and it was, for me, it was really difficult, all this situation that I had to take part in.
I: Okay, it’s almost the end now!
IV: Okay. Maybe I will talk less! (she laughs)
I: Yes, because next, you’re moving into this more, volunteer … because then you were home for some period of half a year. You mentioned that there were some, looking for another way back to work, for a way back to work, and being a volunteer, you thought could appear, it could be a good balance, because it will have you for a certain kind of involvement. You could decide the temperature yourself. So, I’m just curious if it’s possible to … because a lot of people were talking at some point about like, mostly volunteering, a deal for them in their kind of biographical context, and I think this is really also another good example of, like an unexpected motivation, or you can slide into it or not. So I don’t know if you want to say something more about these first steps, because you also mentioned there’s a museum. Is it also different, like a new area? – but yeah, how that is, how to say, threshold, passing into the threshold of this volunteering, which is maybe not (?? 1:20:03), but it allows for a different kind of connection which is not just pure employment.
IV: Yeah, I remember that I just didn’t know what to do with myself at the time, so this volunteering thing was something good. I have never ever been a volunteer in my life, and I thought that, yeah, maybe that would be … also, the word volunteer, at the time for me was like, yeah, that maybe I will be doing something good for other people, so this is what I thought that, maybe because I’m not doing anything, I can do some good to someone, and it was also some kind of, preparing for having a job, so this situation that I felt quite comfortable in. I was not really feeling comfortable. I was really afraid, because I didn’t know what this being a volunteer was really about, because there was nothing on the website, so I knew I would be working on the front desk, but I didn’t know what I would do, and I think I would never expect that I would be alone there, that I would be the only person at the front desk. I thought I would maybe be, I don’t know, working in some team, etcetera, that maybe I would meet some new people, and we will have like, some kind of a team, and it would be such an experience, but yeah, it was, I remember that at the beginning, the state of something that is between unemployment and employment was very strange for me, because when I started working at this front desk as a volunteer, also this friend who I was changing, who became the assistant of the director, told me that I should take a book for reading, because there is nothing much to do, and I found myself in a situation where I was like, eight hours a day, and I didn’t really have much to do, so at the beginning, it was like exciting, because I could read through all the emails that were coming, read through the website, of everything the museum did, look for the books at the bookshop, so I thought that this being a volunteer is like, it’s okay, because I’m not really needed there, because there are not many things going on. There are like a few telephones today, a few emails, but if I don’t know how to do it, I can always pass it to this girl who used to do it previously. If someone comes, I can also call her, or I can deal with it myself, so I thought this was something very good to start, because sometimes I could say, okay, I will try to do it myself, so act as someone who is employed here, and sometimes, when I didn’t feel ready enough, I could call someone, so it was okay because I could choose, and it was very very convenient, but at the beginning, I thought I had a really great opportunity to read through the museum’s website, to read all the newsletters coming from the gallery, so I knew what was going on in the world, from all the world, because there was nothing much to do, so I read that, oh, nice, in Vienna they have a nice exhibition of something. I Googled the artists and so on. I read through the books in the bookshop, and I thought that yeah, I’m doing something for myself. This is all interesting, it’s a great world. I have never thought, when coming to the exhibitions, that this world was so complex, that so much was going on, and it was really exciting, but at some time I thought that I’m sitting there, and I this is, I think, a big problem with being a volunteer, that it’s good when you have jobs for the volunteers, and they really know what to do, because I didn’t much know what to do from time to time, and that’s why I just started to go to the offices, and becoming a real volunteer, so say, “Hi, I’m a volunteer, you know”, because I knew already the names of all the people, so “Sir, you know, I’m a volunteer, but there’s nothing much to do downstairs, so maybe you have something you cannot do, and I can help it, rewrite something, transcribe something. I can translate, and so on”, and some people started giving me some, like extra things they didn’t have time for, so once I was very proud of myself, that after a month in the museum, I was doing some presentation, a PowerPoint presentation of the documentation of a performance that was just played in the exhibition space, and I thought, well, this is something I did with my hands, and it’s in the exhibition space, so it was like, real magic for me. I thought, yeah, this is some wonderful world.
I thought that, I don’t know, because I have not been a volunteer for a very long time, but this internship was also like volunteers, with some extra money, because it was like, one couldn’t live with it – it would be impossible. I thought it was like a nice period of time, because I had a lot of options. I felt that everything is up to me, and it was like very okay. I didn’t feel false, that I have like a job and so on, because I knew I was, this was my decision to do it, and that I can just come back home, because I’m not earning money, so I don’t have to do it, and it was like, really relaxing, something like that happened.
I: Just take your time.
IV: Yeah, I’m talking a lot.
I: No, no. I think I’m planning (? 1:26:10) at five, or something.
IV: Yeah, because you know, I’m always like between, okay, so it’s like two, because I’m always like between, am I saying too much, is it boring? – and, am I saying too little, and you will not have your research done! (she laughs)
I: I think it’s really fascinating. It’s easy to follow, and it’s a wide range, and it’s connected to your sources, so I have maybe just a few more, getting to the end. (15) I wanted to ask you about … that you said, being a volunteer is okay, but there’s no security and things. Without the earnings, you cannot afford the private doctor, so you need some kind of, to be in the system to go to a public doctor, and there’s some kind of responsibility there, which at some point you, before you were offered the internship, you were addressing this issue, which is quite important, I guess, because I wanted to ask about this interview with (?? 1:27:52), but maybe it’s more interesting is, if you remember this moment of addressing this issue, and trying to explain that this was actually important, and it was going to cost you a lot or something like that?
IV: Yeah, I was thinking about it, because at this time, I was still going to the doctor’s and taking some medicaments, but I also just wanted to go to a doctor when I was feeling ill, and so on. I thought that it’s difficult, because it’s very expensive. My boyfriend provides for me, and that’s not really okay for me, and I just remembered that I talked to my boyfriend, that I will try to do, maybe that I will try to ask, because I told him that I don’t know what to do, and he said, maybe just talk and ask, maybe it’s possible. I didn’t feel really maybe … because I was just a volunteer, so I didn’t feel like very, comfortable enough just to say, okay, yeah, I would need something, and pay for it, so I had to talk to my boyfriend, who said, yeah, you can just ask, and if they say no, you can say okay, so it’s okay, I will think of something else.
I remember once, that I went to Tomacz, who was my boss. He was sitting with the main accountant of the museum, in his office, because they were usually working too, and I just came there after, it was maybe after work, but in between, I was just like, maybe giving paper mail or something, I don’t remember, or maybe I just told him, I just want to talk to him. I remember it was really difficult for me to just say, you know, I know that I decided, because I felt, well, that I decided to be a volunteer, and so on, so I felt that maybe that’s too much to ask, but I just thought I’d say it to him. So I said, you know that I like being a volunteer, and I can, it’s like, it’s been a month, and it’s very nice for me to be a volunteer for a month. I can also be a volunteer for more time, because I like it. It’s very nice for me, but it’s very, very difficult for me if I cannot even go to a doctor when I’m not feeling well, because I don’t have money etcetera, so I just told him. I remembered that, at the museum at the time, not a lot of people were working. It was a very small institution. It was more like some NGO or a foundation, so everyone was saying hi to everyone, and the atmosphere was really really good, and I liked that very much. This is what really drew me into the museum for so long, and I just remember, I talked to him, and he said that, well yes, I understand it, but I’m not sure if it’s something that we can do, but I’ll check that, and I will tell you about it later on, so I just remember, he told me that he will check that. We didn’t talk much, I just said what I wanted to say, and he said that he will check into that, and then they said that it’s very difficult to pay for this insurance for a volunteer, and actually they can, if I want to stay, they can give me some small internship, so I was feeling really okay with that, because well, I had some like, pocket money, because I was feeling really really bad that my boyfriend provides for me. It was like, a very strange situation. I was feeling really well, because I was like, I didn’t have anything for myself, so the time when they offered this internship was really a nice moment, because apart from the insurance that was really important for me, I remember that I just, when I got it, I just went to a doctor straight away, because I didn’t have any examinations for many, many years, and I felt it was like, it was so important for me, that I felt it is really great. I didn’t expect that, then I would be employed, so I lived on this, it was like, I don’t know how to … it was a very small amount of money. It’s like for a room, even more so, not a room, like half a room, something between half a room and a room, so actually I was still a volunteer.
I: I have two or three questions. You said it was not possible to work on the front desk any more. You were returned to … and maybe you have to change your job? Some things you don’t like to do any more? – which is some kind of obvious thing, and then somehow you again went into negotiations, what’s the options, are there any options? Maybe it’s obvious, but maybe it could be interesting to hear, because you gave a lot of details about what happened, and that you look also, like (?? 1:33:24) institutions, to see if there could be any possibilities? But that actually equated, and you came to a point that you somehow said, okay, so I’m stepping out, and I will do it in a very kind way, so you have time to … I’ll do it. You’re still understanding that you need time, and like, you worked a little bit more, but just to let you know, so I’m just curious again, because this is also a time when there seemed to be a turning of the page, also, like another kind of negotiation with the institution? – if there’s nothing more to say, to be said about that, or if you remember any, how you actually made the decision to stop, because you were forced by some inner … that you need to continue some development? I don’t know, I’m putting words.
IV: Yeah, well, I was feeling that I’m not developing at all, that I’m like doing the same thing, and that it’s not, being a front desk worker is like, yes, something for young people, and so when I say that, I remember that I had some points when someone said, well, you’re not working, you’re not going to work here for the rest of your life, are you? – and I was like, man! – yeah, well, I have to think about it, because it’s like, already four years, and that’s like, nothing’s coming, nothing’s changing in my position at this museum. I think at the time, I felt like, because I was thinking about it for some longer time, but I felt really connected to the museum. I felt that it will be very difficult for me to just quit, because I know so much about this museum, so much about the people I work with, that it’s kind of, something that, we are building something, that it’s very important, and I just cannot quit like this. It’s something very important, and I will never have a job in which I will be so engaged, because it’s so difficult to do anything, basically like anything, it’s very, very difficult, but you feel that you are doing something very important for the people. This was the reason why it was very difficult for me to quit, but at the same time, I felt that, yeah, that I’m like, that my time is like slipping away from my fingers and so on. People are having careers, they are doing something, and I’m like 30, and I’m sitting at the front desk, and this is something I also told my boss, the director, and I said that I’m 30, and after four years of working at the museum, I’m still answering the question, where the toilet is, and I just couldn’t do this any more. It was like, there’s many nice things, but I said that I cannot be the first person and take all these emotions of the people who come here, that it’s very stressful, because this job is very stressful, and that it’s very stressful. I remember the director saying that, yeah, but it’s a very responsible job, you know? We know that this is something that is very, very important, and it’s a very responsible job, a very difficult one, and you’re a great person for it. I said, yes, maybe that’s it, but still, when I’m talking to people, when they ask me what I do, I say that I work at the front desk, and I just couldn’t stand with it. I think that there are some valid value of being from the (?? 1:37:18), a receptionist, while being an adult person, was something that I couldn’t stand at all, so that was, I think, the main factor when I decided to change my job, because I knew I was doing a lot of things, but still, my friends came to the museum, and I said, “The toilet is there”, and I was feeling like inferior, I think, so it was very difficult.
I also thought that, I remember that during the talk, because I don’t want to talk maybe a lot about this, because I think it was a bit difficult, this talk, because I was like, I think that I reached some kind of a wall, and there was no option of coming out of it, and I remember this first talk, it was after this talk that I was sure that I’m quitting, that nothing will happen, because that was the reaction I got from the director, because he didn’t offer any options, and when he asked me about what I feel I could do here, and I told him about different things, I felt from him that he thought that I wouldn’t be able to do such things, so I mentioned some other parts of the museum, and I felt that yeah, I’m so important, such a responsible job for four years, and then you think, I would not be able to learn some things that I’m sure I could learn after some time, so I felt really bad after that, and I was like, 100% sure that I was quitting, but then the other director came, and said that, he didn’t say that he wants to talk. I was just smoking a cigarette, and I was thinking, I’m just quitting, and I said, so you’ve already heard what’s happening? – and he said, yeah, yeah, but you know, but no, no, you’re not quitting – I have some other ideas for you, and I said, well okay. So we didn’t even have, like a talk about my new options, what I will do. I only heard that, yeah, I will move out from the front desk. I will still be like, checking what’s going on with the front desk, but from the other room, so I will be in contact with the girls, which was okay for me, and I will have some office and work with Martin, but I didn’t know what I will do, and it was all, like messy, so it was, I felt a little bad that it was not like we just sat, and discussed what I would do, but in the meantime, of course, it happened that, what was nice was that I was working with my colleague from the Education Department, and we kind of negotiated, so there were things that she was very good at, and that were difficult for me to do, and I knew that it was not of my greatest interest. There were things I was good at, so I took them away, and every time that she was like, going somewhere, I took her job, and when I was going somewhere, she took my job, and it’s like, I felt it was okay, that we can always negotiate. It is a bit of a pity, because what my job is about, that every day I have some new challenge, some new project, etcetera, and we never know, so we just negotiate. We say that, well, maybe you will be more important, more responsible for that, because I know that you’re more interested in that, and you’re better at working with this person, etcetera, so it’s like, so it’s still the same as at the front desk, so you never know what tomorrow will bring, but I feel better. I know that now I’m doing things that are … yeah, I’m not ashamed to say, where I work, I don’t feel bad, when I say that I work in an education department. This is exactly what I will do, and I think that maybe there will be some other chapter in the future, like, I don’t know, but I’m not going to be a curator, so I don’t know what happens after education, when I just want to change it, but I think education is a nice place.
I: No, I think this is interesting. I’ll just see if I have … basically, there’s just technical kind of rolling up questions, or technical, but it’s kind of personality also, directed, but maybe if you remember, and this is more about, because you, when we met, you talked slightly, a bit about the workshop, and the people, that it was somehow, the relation between those people who actually were like joining this, and now you were like, waiting for a new chapter, so you were working at the museum, because of the building, along with many other things, so maybe I’m just curious, (?? 1:42:31) if there’s something to say, which we didn’t say about this, maybe we talked about (?? 1:42:40), and some people said about the workshop, different things in particular, all this experience in relation to relationships in general, or … I don’t know. For me, it was important not to know much about who is who, and what they normally do in the museum, or for me, everyone was just, that person, at some level, engaged, and there was, due to the way it was put together, everybody equally had to distribute, or it was kind of, not being shorter or longer, but it was like, everyone’s doing the same things all the time. So it was something that was (?? 1:43:30), just giving some example of what might be things, because I don’t see the before, and I don’t see the after, I just see the time like, in the air, now, individually when I hear something. If there’s nothing else to be interesting around this kind of experience we had, in terms of, for me it’s the interesting things, that it what was already said, I think, a big part of the exhibition, but somehow, (?? 1:43:58) more operative in the institution, which is not the exhibition, somehow, but it’s there as a part, which is interesting, that it’s a report as well, that it’s an unwritten report, stuff like that.
IV: Well, first of all what I said is that, all the volunteers that took part in the workshop, they are very active in the co-operation with the museum, so they actually became the people who did the most activities at the museum. They very often come to the evening talks, when we ask for some help with another project. They are always the first to answer the email, so they became very active, and actually all of the volunteers who were engaged in the group decided to continue being volunteers in the summer, even though we still don’t know what will happen. Some of the people will probably work with us in (?? 1:45:04). We have some new ideas for working in (?? 1:45:08), so I think it will be quite nice, and there’s also going to be another exhibition, which is still a bit of a mystery, so yeah, they decided they want to stay.
What I noticed is also something that, with the volunteers, we very rarely have, like an experience of working with the same small group from time to time, that we usually have a lot of people who meet in some chaotic groups, smaller groups sometimes, but it’s usually either a bigger group or individually, and I notice that the group, they really like each other. They didn’t know each other when we started, but now I see that they are really friends very often, because I see them in the café together, talking in pairs. Very often when I meet someone, for example Monica, she says, “Yeah, yeah, I know, because Zuza was now going somewhere, and now Gosha (? 1:46:10) was going somewhere else”, so they even know where someone is going for vacation and so on, so they are like, they became friends, and what is also interesting, maybe it occurred in some of the jobs, that during the workshop, the stages of some of the volunteers changed, because some of them became this, like exhibition guards, so they were taking care of the exhibition, like during our workshop, and except for Marta and Martin and Daniel, who used to work previously with us, it just happened naturally, that when we were looking for the people who would help us with taking care of the exhibition, it just happened that the people from our workshop group were the first people who decided to do that. They were also most active with doing, for example, guided tours and workshops, maybe like except for the two people who didn’t like engage in such activities, but they said they still wanted to be in contact with the museum and participate in different things, so I think that’s … we kind of built a group, and I feel that this is like a kind of specific group that I’m in, and this is really, really good, and this is also a good idea, I think, for the future, for working with the volunteers, so have like smaller groups, and this is what we actually already decided for the next, working with the volunteers, that for a particular task, we will have not more than ten people, that this is okay, because we can meet them in one room, and we can meet from time to time, so everyone will eventually know each other, and this is what I also remember as a nice thing from my own volunteer experience, that I really liked the fact that, when I went to the museum, that there wasn’t an exhibition, but I met a lot of nice people. I met Sebastian Kibansky (? 1:48:20) and all the curators and so on. I liked the fact that I met so creative, great, nice people, and I think that we didn’t put so much effort on this group process, of being a group with the volunteers, that everyone really worked individually, and when you work individually, I think it’s much more difficult to have this bond with the institution and with all the people, because I remember there were people who, for example, only knew Marta and they worked only with Marta, and in the past there were people who knew only me, Marta and maybe two more people, and it’s so great that we can have like a workgroup, that we work together, and this is something I will for sure use, because I see that it worked really fine, and it’s then easy to create this bond for some later time, because I talked to some of the people, and they have very different plans, because I know there are some people who will stay for a longer amount of time. For example, one person who is a bit in this situation, like I was, that she wants to come back to work, but maybe not now, so is being a volunteer, and now it’s okay for her, because she can decide for herself, because I trust her now 100%, and when she has an idea, we always talk, and very often we do very crazy things together, so this is very cool.
I think also the group felt really like, much more, I think that now they are more open, and they are more willing to not only do something that I ask them if they can do, but they are more willing to propose something, so very often they have some ideas, and they say, Hania, okay, so maybe you have some time, because I thought of something, and maybe we can do this, and this is really great, because this is something we talk about during the interviews at the beginning, that when we talk to people, we say that we have a few tasks that you can engage in, but generally this is something we treat as an experience of meeting some people who are just somehow in between. They become in between, because they are kind of our audience, and they are kind of our workers, so they can like mediate between the groups, and they have so much of the specific knowledge, that we cannot have this perspective that we don’t have, that for us it’s very very important and exciting, and that we always say that there are a few options, but if you have any ideas, if you want to do something, if you see that something is not working well, if you just have like a glimpse of an idea, and would like to have people to work with on this idea, always say, because we are always interested and we can do some other projects that is not typical for us, because we always treat the group of volunteers from the education as somehow people with whom we can a bit experiment. This is a place for experiment, where we can negotiate meanings, where we can check, how what we do is perceived by people who, after some time, very often can tell us that, you know, this first workshop, it wasn’t really good because I’m interested in art, and for example, the language was so difficult that I think that someone who is like, from the street, will not understand it at all, so this is this kind of a perspective that we can get from the volunteers, and this is really exciting, because this is like, it really was working with the public, so this is more or less like having the discussion with the people from the front desk, and this is what I liked, when they said that, what they think is nice or not nice about this institution, but the volunteers are like a group who are like, having a bit of this perspective from the inside, and a bit of this perspective from the outside, so this is really always very interesting to talk to them, and I spent really a lot of time just having talks, because it’s something that gives me a lot of ideas for planning many different things, and I think that this group that we worked in is like, really, a group that is very conscious of how the museum works, of how different parts of the museum work, and not only me, but also Marta, who’s like my first boss now, so she always treats this group, because she knows who participated. She knows that this is a group with whom we can, for example, discuss something. When we have an idea, this is also what I did. I’m doing a kind of like a picnic activity this Saturday on Brodna (? 1:53:27), and I thought it would be, because I had some ideas, I knew that in the museum there is no-one who has enough time to do it with me, or even discuss it with me, and they know it’s very bad to do a big event like being a single person, because you never know if it’s a good reason, so I just asked Suzanne and Monica to help me. I met with them, I talked to them. We discussed many different things. They had a lot of nice ideas. We added them to the programme, and then I felt okay, because I know that they have like these other perspectives, and it’s so good to discuss with them. It’s difficult to discuss with the public and say, okay, so on Thursday morning Hania will be, and she’s going to do an event in Brodna (? 1:54:15). If someone is interested, you can come, but this is a group that is, that knows a lot about being an audience, knows a lot about working at the museum, and they are also the people who care about the programme. This is something great, that we have those people that are really, they really want to come and discuss these things, because this is what I ask them to discuss the programme, and be like the curators of the programme, because I’m really open for what they want to do. Monica is going to do the contemplation of the park, and Suzanne is going to do like family workshops for the kids, so they are going to do great stuff. In there, we have already been together to Brodna (? 1:55:04) and I think it’s going to work well.
I don’t know if something else to say about the club.
I: And also, (?? 1:55:22) interruption, and return to some things.
IV: Yeah, if you have any questions. As you see, I talk a lot! I have a lot, to talk. Everyone’s like, laughing, because when I write emails to volunteers, they are very long, because I always remember to include every possible information. As you know, when you send an email to 50 people, and half of them wants to ask you about details, it’s better to write everything in one email, and be like, that’s it.
I: But also, all the organisation and all this collaboration in facilitating has been just without any misunderstandings, and everything working very well, so I think you’re really talented in this …
IV: Yeah, I’m not sure! (she laughs)
I: I’m not saying, from my experience.
IV: I thought it was typical museum improvising.
I: Also we can, with all these interviews …
IV: Yeah, what I didn’t say, and what is a bit funny, this is something I thought at the end of our workshop, during the last meetings, because at the beginning I was a bit stressed that I should like pay attention to different things, and take care, because I’m like, from the museum, so I organise and so on, and going further into the meetings, I felt more like, just part of the group, and I knew that when it finishes, I knew that someone for sure will ask me, well, if I need help with anything, and usually one or two people said to help me with everything, so I became like really relaxed with that, so I became more like, from the, the shift from the organiser to just part of the group, like a normal, typical person, it was really really cool. I like that very much. It was like, I was afraid that it would involve a lot of stress or something, but it involved less and less stress, so I was feeling that, yeah, we are a group, like together, even with you, that we are just like, working, doing something together, so I don’t have to be stressed, because if there’s a problem, if the place is booked, after a few meetings I knew that the responsibility was not only on me, that I could just say like, what do you think we should do? – and that everyone would take some kind of responsibility, and maybe we could come with ideas, and that was very relaxing, because this is not something I have the possibility to have very often at the museum, because usually I have to look if everything is correct, and no-one is shouting and so on, so that was a nice experience.
I notice that I think, many days later, after we finished, that it was like, yeah.