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CULTURESCAPES is an interdisciplinary festival in Switzerland that aims to promote intercultural dialogue. This year’s edition includes 220 events that present Polish culture and identity to Swiss crowds.
In the previous editions of the festival, the Swiss audience had the opportunity to learn about the culture of Georgia, Israel, Ukraine, and Japan, among others. This year, it is time for Poland. The 15th edition of CULTURESCAPES is unique as it is accompanied by the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Polish-Swiss diplomatic relations.
According to the curators Jurriaan Cooiman and Kateryna Botanova, Poland is primarily associated with its leading role in the democratic transition and the Solidarity movement which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. However, it remains a terra incognita for the Swiss participants of culture and CULTURESCAPES aims to change it.
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Still from the film 'Cold War', directed by Paweł Pawlikowski, 2018, depicted: Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot, photo: Łukasz Bąk / Kino Świat
CULTURESCAPES is an opportunity to learn about both classic and contemporary Polish culture, including the works of such greats as Adam Mickiewicz, Fryderyk Chopin, Czesław Miłosz, Witold Gombrowicz, Wisława Szymborska, Krzysztof Kieślowski, and Andrzej Wajda, as well as Polish culture of today.
It is key for the festival to reach beyond what is known and obvious. By highlighting often surprising and contradictory issues, CULTURESCAPES helps see the presented countries from a different perspective. This year, festival goers will rediscover Poland through Protest, History and Spirituality, the three most important areas of CULTURESCAPES’s artistic programme.
Polish national identity was formed by protests and civic initiatives. Artists not only participated in them, but also made them the subject of their work. Polish history is full of conflicts, ups and downs, disasters and traps. It is ubiquitous and impossible to avoid. One proof is the fact that in recent years more historical museums have been opened in Poland than in any other European country.
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A scene from the play 'Wyjeżdżamy' (We Are Leaving), directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, 2018, photo: Magda Hueckel / Nowy Teatr
Spirituality involves primarily the role of the Catholic Church in the struggle for Polish sovereignty and its influence on Polish political and social life. Many artists, using traditional Christian values as the basis, examine the limits of human condition in an attempt to create space for a different, more free social tissue.
During the ten weeks of the festival, visitors will have an opportunity to learn about the work of artists such as Krzysztof Warlikowski, Paweł Pawlikowski, Diana Lelonek, Joanna Piotrowska, and Alex Baczynski-Jenkins. The events will take place at nearly 50 cultural institutions in 18 cities across most of Switzerland. Among them will be Basel, the heart and headquarters of the festival.
The CULTURESCAPES programme includes ordered compositions, co-productions (We Are Leaving by Krzysztof Warlikowski), artist residencies (Diana Lelonek), guest concerts, and presentations of projects produced by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, such as Apparatum and Cricoterie.
Cricoterie: Kantor In Virtual Reality
15th CULTURESCAPES Festival Opening Programme
Wojtek Ziemilski, 'Essence of Poland', Theater Basel
Wojtek Ziemilski does not want to show us Poland, he wants us to feel it. During the performative lecture that will open the 15th CULTURESCAPES Festival, Ziemilski will prezent the Essence of Poland created in cooperation with Andreas Wilhelm.
Monika Kucia, 'All Inclusive', Theater Basel
Culinary curator Monika Kucia will introduce the audience to contemporary Poland through its cuisine. During an interactive show prepared with set designer Dominika Kulczyńska, Kucia will present various aspects of Polish cuisine.
Marta Górnicka, 'Hymn to Love', Theater Basel
Hymn to Love is a performance about Europe closing ranks. Marta Górnicka refers to current European politics and the migrant crisis, intertwining musical compositions with quotes from the Internet as well as lyrics from pop and patriotic songs.
The CULTURESCAPES theatrical programme is an overview of the diversity and international power of the Polish scene. The Swiss audience will have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to witness the full scope of the Polish theatre, from the grandiose We Are Leaving by Krzysztof Warlikowski, through the minimalist Fantasy by Anna Karasińska, to the intimate Margarete by Janek Turkowski. What is important, many of these productions go back to the roots of Polish performance studies: Stanisław Moniuszko in the case of Cezary Goes to War, and Juliusz Słowacki in the case of The Constant Prince. In addition to theatrical productions, the festival will also feature contemporary dance performances created by, among others, Paweł Sakowicz, Agata Maszkiewicz and Ola Maciejewska.
The CULTURESCAPES programme showcases a wide scope of Polish music, from the Middle Ages to the present day. The festival’s main musical event will be the premiere of the King Roger opera at the Konzert Theater Bern. Fryderyk Chopin will also be an important figure as his work will be recreated by the students and graduates of Swiss music academies as well as stars such as Yulianna Avdeeva and Ronald Brautigam.
The programme will also include Polish composers and performers with Swiss connections such as Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutosławski. The newest Polish music will be showcased at the Gare du Nord Basel. The most important event at this location will be Basel Sinfonietta’s symphonic concert, co-produced with the Warsaw Autumn Festival. Polish and foreign soloists performing at the festival include Piotr Anderszewski, Ronald Brautigam, Krzysztof Chorzelski, and Agata Zubel.
Polish contemporary art will come to Switzerland through exhibitions, retrospectives, and artist residencies. These will include Stories of Our Times: Collective and Personal Narrations with the participation of Piotr Uklański as well as Tadeusz Kantor’s exhibition titled Where the Snows of Yesteryear. Joanna Piotrowska and Artur Żmijewski will also showcase their work, while Diana Lelonek will be the artist in residence in Basel.
polish culture abroad
contemporary polish film
contemporary polish music
contemporary polish theatre
The Swiss audience will have access to the work of Oscar winner Paweł Pawlikowski. Apart from Ida and Cold War, the director’s earlier feature films and documentaries will also be screened. There will also be a screening of Krzysztof Kieślowski's Dekalog as well as films from the Guide to the Poles series, which discusses cultural and social phenomena of the socialist period.
Find the full CULTURESCAPES programme here: https://www.culturescapes.ch/