directors lounge monthly screening
video works and selected films
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Anna Okrasko confronts modern Dutch urban environments with ephemeral everyday stories. In Sobota/Saturday/Zaterdag, the artist worked with a group of young Polish immigrants in Rotterdam, making them act for the camera instead of interviewing them. Interviewing them, according to Okrasko, would just have made them respond to the bad public image Polish workers have in the eyes of Dutch people. Rather, she wanted to show the way they live and the urban environment they live in. Using Polish documentary films from the late 50's as an inspiration, she has them explore the city, playing games, just killing time and finally gathering at their home. As these early post-war documentaries are the artist's favorite films, we will present two of them, concerning young people, who are defined as a social problem. Some scenes of Sobota/Saturday/Zaterdag are even quotes from those films, making it even more interesting to present them together. The third part of the program will be a glimpse into Untitled (Ik kijk naar de film) a work-in-progress about a quarter in Utrecht, "Kanaleneiland". This quarter was part of a massive urban expansion plan of the city of Utrecht in the 60's but soon after became almost exclusively occupied by emigrants, it used to be seen as a no-go area for people of Dutch origin, however nowadays it is under rapid change, hosting many students, artists and an artist residency program. Though not finished, Anna Okrasko shows stunning images from that area and the beginning of a story of "a tramp" looking for a place to stay.
Anna Okrasko, polish artist who lives in Rotterdam, Netherlands currently works as an artist in residence at Programme ABA (Air Berlin Alexanderplatz) with Mondriaan Fonds grant. Since she came to Holland, she became more and more interested in the issue of contemporary Polish immigration in the Netherlands. Her work is concerned with contemporary urban changes, and the effects it has on (often young) people, and it incorporates collaborations on an astonishing level; with other artist, with social researchers, filmmakers, and Polish worker immigrants. According to her, there are two main groups of Polish immigrants in the Netherlands, the first are low-educated people from the countryside, similar to emigration from other countries who still suffer from a rural exodus, people for whom the wages in cities like Rotterdam are much better than at home, or better than not having any job at all. However, according to the artist, there is a second group, much younger people between 24 and 30 years old, who completed education and faced the saturation of labor market in Poland. Some of them still want to earn money to complete their studies. They often plan their stay in the Netherlands for only couple of months. It seems, many of them stay much longer, not able to reach their goals, depending on the income in the Netherlands, and just keep joining the work force.
Especially with the combination of some films from the past, Anna Okrasko not only addresses the issue of contemporary labor migration inside the EU, but the question how the contemporary society on one hand sells the dream of freedom via consumer products, and on the other seems to limit growth by xenophobia and the costs for education. It may be interesting to take Okrasko's ideas further and compare the limits, chances and goals for young Europeans in the societies of the 50's and today.
Anna Okrasko will be available for Q&A.
Curated by Klaus W. Eisenlohr