This year’s Malta Festival Poznań idiom focuses on the role of spectator / actor / witness, and explores the positions from which we each observe the world. We can use these roles to see our existence in the city. Sometimes, we passively travel across it and watch it from a distance. At other times, we are an incidental witness, and there are also times when we act and take on the role of urban activists. This is even more interesting if we assume that not only our perception of the city, but also all our activities within it, are determined by the place from which we are looking at it. If we regard the distance from and object of cognition as a basic parameter that locates us in relation to the object, then our eyesight becomes an invaluable tool which allows us to identify and select both the content of our cognition and our own roles (albeit, the world will from time to time impose these upon us). This year, our proposal is to take a look at the city and our presence (or non-presence) in it from the point of view of a short-sighted person.
Short-sightedness expresses the dual nature of the action of looking. On one hand, it makes us zoom in, or make our eyes work in a way to clearly see the particular elements of reality. On the other hand, it allows us to achieve a depth of focus on an image that cannot be replicated by a “healthy” person. By losing our everyday distance, we wish to reach beyond ourselves as we seek new observation habits. Consequently, we have based the Generator Malta programme on a simple binary premise: what is seen / unseen in the city and what is visible / invisible. What does this mean? We are aware that experiences of the city are not shared by all the residents. We would like to expose and reflect on the places, narratives and people who are outside the day-to-day visual field. We ask about the cause of their absence from discourse and experiences, and try to work together to give us tools that provide for unconventional explorations. In the midst of all this we position ourselves as the residents of Poznań, whose current status as a participant of urban life is often reduced to a functional role: either user or consumer.
We would like to encourage everyone to establish a relationship with the inaccessible and the unnoticed, to escape from the conventions impressed on the city by routine, traffic, business dynamics and consumerist lifestyles. We have divided our projects into several thematic fields which suggest the directions of our investigations, whilst leaving room for our own associations, tales, questions and activities.
Joanna Pańczak, Agnieszka Różyńska
Generator Malta curators in 2016