Everything is getting better: Unknown Knowns of Polish (Post)Colonialism
Editor Joanna Warsza
Design Elsa Westreicher
2017, 288 pages, with color illustrations, English
Suggested donation 5 EUR
In light of recent developments in Poland, you might have asked yourself what is in fact going on? Why have the government-fueled rhetoric of “rising up from the knees;” alienation from the EU; have an obstinate refusal of any critical self-examination and fear of the ‘other’ gone mainstream?
The exhibition Everything is Getting Better: Unknown Knowns of Polish (Post)Colonialism and the accompanying symposium propose to reverse the trope of permanent Polish exceptionalism and victimhood (always torn between Germany and Russia) by casting a light on how colonial and postcolonial forces have navigated the territories of Eastern-Europe. As a hegemon of its own history, Poland pictures its expansionary reveries both in its immediate vicinity (Ukraine and Lithuania) as well as overseas, echoes of which can be found in the current right-wing political rhetoric. The backbone of the show is the timeline/chronic of the Maritime and Colonial League performatively staged by artist-cum-traveller Janek Simon, including a selection of worksfrom his exploration of cultural geographies of the country’s colonial legacy. In fact, Liga Morska–The Maritime League, created in 1930 to implement the colonies in Cameroon or Madagascar, continues to exist in its present guise as a Maritime and River organization. The exhibition tells a story of the nurturing of the (post)colonial psyche of a neurotic country, superior and inferior both to the east and the west, where “everything today is changing for the better.”
With contributions by Stanley Bill, Federica Bueti, Ekaterina Degot, Jörg Heiser, Maria Janion, David Kinyaga-Mulindwa, Andrzej Leder, Ewa Majewska, Maciej Malicki, Ana Teixeiro Pinto, Agnieszka Polska, Michał Pospiszyl, Oleksiy Radynski, David Riff, Janek Simon, Kuba Szreder.