The publication entitled Acting Together was born out of a need to bring together different community-forming initiatives present in our immediate milieu. It is therefore a selection of different undertakings where the main criterion was intellectual and geographical proximity. We assume that processes always take place in particular contexts, though not always in the unity of space and time. Their future implications can later be seen in conversations, texts, photos, and memories. Such condensations create the collective features of communities. Without persons who co-create and participate in Poznań’s cultural life, there would be no process-based exhibitions at the Municipal Gallery Arsenał, DOMIE would not emerge as an experiment in collective care, and there would be no project engaging people with multiple sclerosis at Zamek Cultural Centre. The field of art is built upon a complex network of relations and is dependent on a number of contexts: climatic, economic, political, and institutional; in those frames, permanent and temporary assemblages are created—sometimes by the force of attraction, sometimes out of necessity. While institutions solidify various ongoing processes, ephemeral collectives, such as Sandra Art Gallery, or local Solstice/Equinox rituals, introduce ferment and invite change. What they have in common is acting together, which we understand as moving beyond the individual experience, where it becomes crucial to recognize interdependencies, and acknowledge their importance. Action is not always art. It might be if it takes place within an institution where it is legitimized by the performative power of the word, the figure of the artist, and a signed contract. But sometimes it’s just life, meeting others, and being together. Following several decades of collective experience, during which the practice and methodology of participatory art has developed, we now attempt to indicate our positions, talk about privilege (or lack thereof), and comment upon mechanisms related to the distribution of symbolic capital. We attempt to learn and unlearn each other, seek comfort and then move outside our comfort zone. We believe that knowledge is forged in action, in a specific, material condition, in the process of establishing relationships that breed conflicts, give rise to emotions, and resist; but also—provide a sense of agency. We wish that with the help of this publication this sense of collective agency in acting together would be maintained.
[Preface] Zofia nierodzińska & Jacek Zwierzyński
DOMIE p. 5
A Journey to the Dark Side of the Moon p. 23
An Activist in the Institution p. 31
Under Sandra’s Umbrella p. 49
Solstice/Equinox p. 61
Przychodnia Gallery p. 77