Culture.pl presents: Where is Poland?
default, where_is_poland_plansza-.jpg, Where is Poland?, photo: press materials, center
Culture.pl’s newest multimedia guide is a journey through a country that wasn’t on the map.
Imagine a country in the very heart of Europe...
...where every trip abroad requires permission from the authorities
...where government censors closely examine even cookery books
...where people are not allowed to speak their native tongue in public
...where workers have no rights
...where women are not entitled to vote
...where there are, in fact, no elections at all
Emigrants from this country take Paris by storm, and fill the decks of ships bound for America... Is this Black Mirror? Or Orwell’s 1984?
Where Is Poland? –Trailer
No! It's 1885! And we're in Poland. But you won’t find it on any map. So where is Poland?
‘…in Poland, that is to say Nowhere’ – that is where Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi is set. The first version of the play was written in 1888.
Some three years earlier, the Danish critic Georg Brandes set out on a journey to the capital of a non-existent country, Warsaw. There, he discovered that despite Poland being torn apart under the Partitions, Poles and Polish culture were still thriving.
Brandes returned to Poland a number of times and, other than Warsaw, visited Kraków and Lviv. He became a staunch advocate of the Polish cause on the international arena. His journey resulted in the book Impressions from Poland (Indtryk fra Polen, 1888), which was later translated into German, Swedish and English.
Over 130 years later, we set out in his footsteps – Culture.pl’s newest multimedia guide follows Brandes’ Impressions from Poland. We tell his story of exploring Poland through archival materials such as postcards, photographs, videos and sounds of the era, as well as interactive elements: minigames and applications.
The narrator of guide is not Polish – Brandes’ perspective is that of an outsider, full of empathy and kindness but, sometimes, also critical. It helps us take a look at a crucial period of Polish history through a different lense: it was a time when the country’s borders were in flux and its independence was in no way a sure thing.
The guide leads us through the last three decades of the Partitions. It’s a time full of paradoxes: on one hand, the brutal policies of Russification and Germanisation intensify, while on the other, it’s a time of extraordinary prosperity for Polish culture. Finally, it’s a time of rapid changes: modernisation, industrialisation and the birth of modern Polish society.
Looking at this complex period in history, we refer to universal problems, which remain relevant for the contemporary reader: authoritarianism, social inequalities, ethnic conflicts and the experience of emigration.
The guide consists of nine chapters in chronological order. It can be read as a whole, but each chapter is also an independent entity, revealing another key aspect of Polish culture. ‘Where is Poland?’ is a recurring question. Join Brandes in looking for the answer!
Check out the guide: https://whereispoland.com/
Where is Poland?
Join us on a journey through a country that wasn’t on the map!
The design and development of the project: studio Huncwot.
The project is organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute operating under the Culture.pl brand as part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme accompanying the centenary of Poland regaining independence.
Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017-2022.
partitions of Poland
history of Poland
multimedia guides to polish culture
Source: press materials, compiled by NR, Jan 2019