press release

Polski Express III: In the past few years the Polish self-understanding has radically changed. Joining the EU has altered the face of society with economic growth on the one hand, and with the beginning of the crisis on the other. Not everything that has been promised is being realised. There is now a stronger will to come to terms with recent history. Many current theatrical works focus on the years of the Second World War, the crimes, anti-Semitism on the Polish side, the collaboration with the Germans. Reflecting about one's own history does not change anything about the pursuit of happiness which after the end of communism it seems can only be found in capitalism. However capitalism as a system without an alternative has already brought forth a new critical Left which excels in making use of the media. For our third edition of the festival Polski Express we have invited works that are about Poland's current reflection on history, works that shed a critical light on the present capitalist times, works that are in search of their own language.

To start the Festival on 25 May we will show a live trailer on the third and last part of Yael Bartana's film trilogy about Polish-Jewish relations, based on "Mary Koszmary" (Nightmares) and "Mur i wieża" (Wall and Tower). "We will be strong in our weakness" will present a congress of Jewish Renaissance in Poland. Bartana uses the visual and linguistic qualities of the assembly of a new political movement in order to illustrate the universal language of political propaganda – a repertoire of gestures, rhetoric and symbols that are not linked to a particular time or ideology. Thus history can be interpreted as a form of collective psycho-therapy where national demons are being awakened and brought to the light of day.

Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta) are artists based in New Delhi, India working with a diverse repertoire of practices and curiosities. They make installations, films, curate, edit books, produce networks & situations and have a special interest in the history of twentieth century cities. Raqs respond with "The Capital of Accumulation" to an invitation from the Goethe Institute to propose a work that straddles three very different cities - Warsaw, Mumbai and Berlin. "The Capital of Accumulation" is an ambitious video diptych installation that writes an oblique narrative of the relationship between metropolises and the world in counterpoint to Rosa Luxemburg's exceptional critique of global political economy – "The Accumulation of Capital". Raqs trawls through a haunting, dream like landscape which is part natural history, part detective journal, part forensic analysis, part cosmopolitan urban investigation and part philosophical dialogue, to offer a considered and personal reflection on the remaining possibilities for radical renewal in our times.

"Polski Express III" is part of the project "The Promised City", a cultural initiative between Berlin and Warsaw with co-operations in Mumbai and Bucharest: Artists, curators, persons engaged in the cultural sector and scholars from Germany, Poland, India and Romania develop numerous new artistic productions that deal with the dreams, illusions and the promises for happiness in modern metropolises in an interdisciplinary way.

"Polski Express III" is a production by HAU, and is being sponsored by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, the Foundation for German-Polish Co-operation and the Adam-Mickiewicz Institute.

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Yael Bartana / Raqs Media Collective 
Polski Express III