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Still standing is a site-specific live sculpture. It’s an outdoor performance that explores the body as a memory time-machine, existing within the space of a city. Its main aim is to encourage empathy and care as possible attitudes towards the remains of history. Using movement, choreography and storytelling. Still standing invites the audience to observe and experience their surroundings through the lens of the body. Our heritage directs us not only towards the past, but also towards the present and the future. In Still standing we think of the body as a living museum. We play with the meaning that the space already has. Through the relationship with the site of memory, individual bodies that carry
their own social, gender and political qualities, become the medium for universal storytelling. The body is both a source of memory and history, an archive. Through that it becomes a city in a microscale: a sculpture, a living monument, full of images in motion. By exploring relationships turned into physical action we move in a constant shift from the past to the present, from the collective to the personal. Still Standing is not a fixed choreography, but a live choreographic score in which the audience as well as random passers-by also takes part. Parts of the work recall the historical choreography of an Israeli choreographer Noa Eshkol and the piece she prepared for the 10th anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1953 to be performed in the Lohamei Hageta’ot (Ghetto fighters) kibbutz. The aim of our physical actions is to highlight the dense network of the city of Vilnius charged with various tensions - knitted with both visible and invisible threads. We aspire to draw attention to multiculturalism, multigenerationality and multinationality of the space where we plan to perform. The aim of our performance is to draw attention to places which carry the history of mankind, places that once witnessed human suffering due to violence caused by other people. So far, the performance has been performed in Cracow, near the site of the former concentration camp KL Plaszow and in Lublin, at Po Farze Square in front of The Former Jewish Orphanage.
An important part of Still Standing is an audio recording that accompanies the piece, available to the public online. It is being adapted and modified by our team member - the researcher Aleksandra Janus, each time we perform in a new place. The recording includes stories and facts about the exact place where the performance takes place as well as our reflections on how to care for the past. This allows our work to be both global and local, and also becomes a richer kind of archive of contexts.
In 2023, a hitherto intimate action, performed by two performers, turned into a collective performative action. 70 years after it was presented for the first time, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, FestivALT, Mazowiecki Instytut Kultury and PERFORM are preparing them in a new version as part of the celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. To participate 80 people were invited: inhabitants of Muranów and others people interested in restoring memory as part of the celebrations. In this reveal "Still Standing" was conceived as a commemoration of the destruction of the Great Synagogue, which took place on May 16, 1943, and thus as a gesture of denial of intentions of the Nazi torturers that accompanied its destruction.
2023-07, Vilnius, Jewish Cemetary
2023-06, Warsaw, Muranów
2022-08, Lublin, Po Farze Square in front of The Former Jewish
2020-09, Cracow. Performed near the site of the former concentration camp KL Plaszow
Authors: Maciek Jaźwiecki, Marta Ankiersztejn, Klaudyna Schubert, Maciej Rukasz, Andrej Vasilenko
Short video extracted from this performance: