Presentation & Talk on the occasion of the exhibition Stocznia/Shipyard (Documents of Loss - Michał Szlaga until November 21st at the Polish Institute Berlin) with photographs by Michał Szlaga (Polish Institute in Berlin) at the ZK/U Centre for Art and Urbanistics.
In the context of European Month of Photography (16.10.2014-16.11.2014).
Derelict urban structures and buildings attract many photographers. Their visual essays become particularly striking when their architectural subjects attest to historical changes in society, bearing witness to utopias gone awry and collective memory eroding with their decay. In Germany, photographer Margret Hoppe dedicated many years to photographing buildings in the former German Democratic Republic, compiling an Archive of Abandoned Buildings. In another obsessive archival project, Polish photographer Michał Szlaga documented the vanishing of the Gdańsk Shipyard, once the cradle of the Solidarność labor union and a significant site for the commemoration of the rise of democracy in Eastern Europe. At the ZK/U Centre for Art and Urbanistics, a venue located in a former railway depot, works from both artists will be presented. Jacek Dominiczak, an architect and theorist working in the borderland of art and architecture, as well as editor of the album Rethinking The City. Perspectives from Gdańsk with photographs by Michał Szlaga, will join the artists to discuss how photography preserves and rethinks urban space, architecture and their social and political implications. What dynamics arise between architecture in decay as traces of past utopias and contemporary urban developments? How do the aesthetic and narrative strategies of photographing such structures inform the debate around issues related to architecture, politics and collective memory?