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Excursion Warsaw, Poland
24-30 May 2024

From May 24 to May 30, 2024, we traveled to Warsaw with a group of students from FH Dortmund and Nürberg University of Applied Sciences. In our luggage, we carried flags we had designed, inspired by the work of the organization “River Sisters” to protect Poland’s river landscapes, particularly the Vistula.

When we arrived, we were first invited to attend the lecture by the designer and typographer Marian Misiak. This took place at the Academy of Arts in the Letterpress Workshop.

On the next morning we displayed our flags along the riverside promenade. A day later even on the river itself (big love and thanks to Marta Kowalska for making the ride possible). The flags will later be used to promote environmental protection on other European rivers.

Our friend Grzegorz Laszuk from KOMUNA WARSZAWA invited us to join a vegan cooking school. Komuna Warszawa (formerly Komuna Otwock) is one of the best-known Polish independent avant-garde theatre companies. Based on original texts, it addresses political and social topics, constantly seeking new forms and means of expression, open to incorporating video installations, dance and live music. A little paradise in city centre!

The Vistula flows through Kraków, Sandomierz, Warsaw, and Toruń, emptying into the Baltic Sea. Known as Europe’s last wild river due to its largely unregulated riverbed, it faces threats from polluting industries and government actions. Activists are working to save the river from these harms. While Europe has made significant strides in addressing environmental issues, activists are increasingly frustrated, feeling that more collective, global action is necessary. In early March, two young female activists doused the landmark Warsaw Mermaid monument in orange paint to protest climate change and violations of women’s rights. In recent years, activists have even swum in the Vistula’s frigid eight-degree waters near a planned construction site in Siarzewo. The proposed dam there would severely impact Europe’s last major free-flowing river, destroying the continent’s largest wetland wilderness.

During a workshop at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, we discussed the upcoming European elections. We experimented with letterpress (for some of us for the first time), silkscreen, painting, and collage. Thanks to Ola Kot and team for making this possible!

The following day, Rene Wawrzkiewicz and Marta Kowalska organized a small design conference. We had the pleasure of listening to inspiring talks by Kaja Kusztra, who showcased her work for the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Alicia Kobza, who discussed @polish.female.designers, and Pola Małaczewska, who presented the upcoming book SUPPORT INDEPENDENT TYPE II at Przystań Warszawa.

On our last day, we visited the Neon Museum and an exhibition at the temporary Museum of Modern Art showcasing Maria Prymachenko (1909-1997), one of the most important Ukrainian artists of the 20th century. Her work exemplifies how folk art can transcend folklore to become a part of national heritage. She created over 1,200 works, with 89 displayed here. Maria Prymachenko was born in the village of Bolotnya in the Polesia region, between Kyiv and Chornobyl. Childhood polio left her unable to perform physical labor, allowing her to devote more time to art. After the Chornobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, Prymachenko created an impressive series of works, some of which were included in this exhibition. Her village was within the 30-kilometer exclusion zone.

Excursion led by Prof. Lars Harmsen and Prof. Markus Lange

Lecture by Marian Misiak

Parade along the Vistula river banks and on the brand new pedestrian bridge.

Vegan cooking school at Komuna Warszawa

Foto Session at Komuna Warszawa

Boat Parade on the River

Workshop at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw

Design conference with Kaja Kusztra, Alicia Kobza and Pola Małaczewska

Neon Museum

Students from Nürnberg with Prof. Markus Lange

Maria Prymachenko

And a few more impressions from Warsaw, photographed by Markus Lange.

We will hopefully come back soon.

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