Decembers – a round table conversation, 2012
HD video (65 min.)
The film Decembers – a round table conversation was developed in collaboration with a group of women who participated in literary workshops at the University of the Third Age in Gdańsk. The project revolves around themes of memory, stigmatisation, and the construction of history. The film focuses on the personal narratives of the women and their memories of times when they had no voice in the public realm.
The work also addresses the group’s views on Poland’s two December strikes of 1970 and 1981: events where the women’s narrative is absent from any official accounts of the period. The first of these strikes was brutally put down by the Polish People’s Army and the Citizen’s Militia—at least 42 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded. The 1981 event marked the beginning of a period of martial law.
Both incidents have become familiar through their documentation in thousands of photographs, which reveal the ensuing street fights. In Decembers, the women recall forgotten stories and fragmentary memories of everyday life during this period. These narratives are sometimes funny and sometimes dramatic, and—as they are told from a female and therefore largely missing perspective—they offer a retelling of a particular element within the historical narrative.
The project was commissioned by Agnieszka Kulasinska for Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdańsk, and supported by the Danish Arts Council, Danish Cultural Institute in Warsaw, and Danish Consulate in Gdańsk.
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