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Unnatural environment – seen through the lens of the young

“(…) everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”

– One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

This project concentrates on young people in the midst of the global pandemic.

Together with the photographer Karolina Wilusz we strive to define what young people register as natural or unnatural in the reality that surrounds them. What is full of promise and what are the ominous signs? Which irreversible processes are they aware of, and which ones slip under their radars? Does an otherwise complex world of an adolescent become even more difficult to handle within the Net’s overbearing frame?
Their photographs have rendered these burning issues real and open to interpretation.

The prop used in the situations our heroine has to deal with is a large-scale scenery made up of upcycled PET bottles. As problems vary, so does the meaning of the prop – it is a background, lens, reflector, mirror, obstacle or conduit. It complements the image, makes it blurred, helps or obstructs the character. One instant its structure is in tune with the main character, next it creates a striking contrast. They are in harmony, then in mutual denial.
Interpretational aspect set aside, it is the contrasts that make for the main stylistic technique used in these photographs and scenery.

The presented works link analogue and digital photography, natural elements with plastic ones, they counterpoint artificiality with youth and uninhibited girlhood.

“I’m delighted to see that mental issues brought about by the latest pandemic are tackled through art. Doubly so as I have a chance to participate in such endeavours. I haven’t been spared its negative effects either and it suffices to dive within myself to find inspiration.

Social alienation is a serious problem that needs to be addressed as often as possible to make people aware it is not our natural condition. Absence of nature and authentic humans from our lives, lack of time for everyday reflection, that is not the life we want. Also, equally important is the question what part technology plays in present times. Quite often lately, my friends have been speaking of a strong aversion towards smartphones and computers. Being forced to sit long hours in front of a screen requires a safety valve.

I can share what mine is … dance, of course!”

About the authors
Karolina Wilusz – a photographer, an alumna of the Kraków Academy of Photography. Fell in love with photography at high school when she was given her first SLR camera. Enchanted, she spent hours taking photos and then developing them in the dark room. She is still absorbed by it, although it is a digital camera she is using now to photograph mostly local artists – dancers and musicians. For years now, she has been documenting performances and workshops of the Art Color Ballet, a contemporary dance ensemble. She has photographed Joanna Słowinska and the musicians from Wataha Drums, Vinylowa Kontrabanda, Baśnie Zebrane or Strojone bands.
Agata Kamykowska and Marta Mietelska-Topór, a.k.a. Crush on Trash
(choreography, set design)

The project was commissioned by the Kraków Art Forum, realized within the Commissioning Programme (2nd edition), a part of the Cultural Resistance Programme run by the City of Kraków.