Patriotic Maneuvers were an artistic activity in the public space, a happening attended by the users of the space. The aim was to restore the spontaneous, euphoric, and completely peaceful manifestation of patriotism, expressed through celebrating and collective experiencing of texts, ideas, and heroes that are part of our national heritage.
The project’s assumption was to organize in Łódź cyclical events focused on collective interpretation of selected fragments of Polish literature in the public space, in various significant places of the city. The main idea of the project is the openness and mass participation of the citizens.
The culminating point of each event is a collective shout. We shout a fragment of a commonly known, previously chosen text which becomes an axis of the street action, echoes in the evening concert, or appears in the presented theatre play. Selected events are broadcasted over the Internet. The shouted text is heard within a couple of streets, as well as in flats, shops, restaurants, and other city spaces.
"These whole Maneuvers stem from ‘Kordian’. I staged it in the Polish Theatre in Warsaw. It turned out that everybody is quite excited by the texts, they are like cocaine! And now - what is this all about? Why are we into it and why isn’t it exciting in a theatre? There is something in it that Gombrowicz would describe as a mechanism of feeling embarrassed. And everybody feels embarrassed, but if we adapt it anew, it turns out that people love these texts because they have them in their heads. I have come up with a notion of a cultural DNA, something we are made of and which is in our sub consciousness and it is called a collective sub consciousness and now, whether you want it or not, it concerns you, it shapes you.
The impulse for our activity within the Patriotic Maneuvers was the search for common meeting ground for artists and their audience during the creative process. It is very rare. Investigating the sphere of national pathos and shifting it towards the space of chaos, disorder, and creative anarchy results in awakening of both parties. And both hemispheres.
The crisis of the notion of ‘patriotism’ stems from shame. It is a direct effect of the way we look at one another in the street, on a train, and in the waiting room at an international airport. It is a tormenting fear of being funny, of being kitschy, of embarrassment, and a fear of loneliness. It is intensified by the aggression omnipresent in public life, which is supposed to make it more attractive and artificially increase the hunger of its receivers. Instead, it deprives them of dignity and readiness to be open towards other people. And, most of all, it stupefies unbearably. The sudden, radical appearance of performances in public space restores the awareness/feeling of it belonging to us all."
"If we think about it in a broader context, reading fairy tales is a patriotic activity. Patriotism is not only about spilled blood and national tragedies, but also about the things we grew up in together. The question of patriotism in a free country is difficult, but narrowing it to textbook education and nationalistic clichés is a mistake. Patriotism is an identity which is being determined since our childhood to death. Thus, using fairy tales makes sense."
Script and direction: Paweł Passini
Stage Design: Paweł Korbus
Coordination: Katarzyna Tadeusz
25 March - Patriotic Maneuvers I: "I am enclosed in a crystal ball" / Słowacki / Małysz
22 April - Patriotic Maneuvers II: "Keep your hands off my fairy tales!!!" / Tuwim / Brzechwa
20 May - Patriotic Maneuvers III: "Chopin’s Piano" / Chopin / Norwid
4 May - Patriotic Maneuvers IV: "Constituting, that’s what we do!" / Kołłątaj / Rejtan / Constitution
28-29 June - Patriotic Maneuvers V: "Us, Wyspianski’s kids" / Wyspiański / street event / "Requiem" / performance, dir. Paweł Passini
21 September - Patriotic Maneuvers VI: Herbert / "Playing Mr Cogito Games" / performance, dir. Tomasz Rodowicz / "The other room" / performance, dir. Paweł Passini
5 October - Patriotic Maneuvers VII: "Is ThisCatMusic?" / Lutosławski / performance - concert - installation
11 November - Patriotic Maneuvers VIII: "In_dependence - November Fall"
1 September - "Non-secret education - class, (un)interrupted" / action organized by Paweł Passini in Warsaw with the participation of Tomasz Rodowicz and Maria Porzyc
13 September - Patriotic Maneuvers IX: "American dream" / Niemcewicz / Norwid / Gombrowicz
4 October - Patriotic Maneuvers X: "Polish dummy" / Schulz / Brzechwa / Lem / Kantor / happening - Installation
22 November - Patriotic Maneuvers XI: "All my life" / Reymont receives the Noble Prize / happening - installation - concert