The State – Playing with archive. Piktogram BLA 2013“

Curated by Michał Woliński, Krzysztof Gutfrański, Michał Slezkin

The State” can be divided into four meaningful parts. In the first phase, a game of nonexistent countries (we can call it “the founding phase”) revolved around a couple of teenagers playing it in the period of 1946/47. This also marked a beginning of the form that later evolved into a highly complex social relationship. Despite many participants being missing, the game went on in the 1960s with varying degrees of intensity. The third stage of the game had its beginnings in the early 1970s, where State survivors Bohdan Slezkin and Jurek Siewierski activated it on a new level, engaging their sons – Wojtek Siewierski and myself – Michał Slezkin – in it. They transferred the legacy of the game as it was played in the earliest years, to ourselves. In time, they gave away whole countries to us, while still participating in the game themselves, standing above as animators.

On one level, the contents of the exhibition consist of many archive materials, made in the early phase of the game by Bohdan Slezkin and his colleagues, and with my own help in the later stages. On another, the contemporary section includes an attempt at staging of an archive: there are numerous objects/artefacts/comments that I made at present for the purpose of the exhibition. Finally, the fourth phase, the current phase, where the game of fictitious countries became the basis for “The State”, sui generis archive game and, at the same time, a time travel vehicle for myself and invited creators, authors, as well as a rich source of research material for curators.