Sunday, 20 November 2011

Tuesday, 15 November 2011



1. A piece of dough, sometimes filled, that is cooked in liquid such as water or soup.

2. Sweetened dough wrapped around fruit, such as an apple, baked and served as a dessert.
3. Informal A short, chubby creature.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Ptasie Radio

My favourite cafe here in Poznan is called Ptasie Radio. It is covered in birds, with a roof made to look like a bird cage, birds all over the walls, candles in jars, the smell of chocolate brownies and rich dark coffee in chipped cups. It is named after this poem by Julian Tuwim and it makes me happy. Very happy. 

Bird Radio
by Julian Tuwim

Hello! Hello!
This is Bird Radio from Birch Grove Station,
Broadcasting out to the birdly nation,
Please, can all adjust their sets,
The birds have flown in,
For an important tête-à-tête:
First—we would just like to ask,
What squeaks at dawn in the grass?
And, second—if we kindly could,
Where does the echo hide inside the woods?
Thirdly—what is the consensus view,
On who bathes first in morning’s dew?
Fourth—do we simply take the word,
Of each who claims to be a bird?
Claims not to be a bird?
And in positions fifth through tenth
We’ll hear the warbling, chirping, singing,
Tweeting, rolling and tah-rilling,
Of the following birds:

Oriole, lark, kingfisher, owl,
Bunting, goose, stork, waterfowl,
Woodpecker, waxwing, hen,
Cardinal, sparrow, goldfinch, wren,
Swallow, blackcap, turtle dove, tomtit,
Crested hen, wood-pigeon, scale-throated hermit,
Nightingale, thrush, rooster, mallard,
As well as every other bird.

First—the nightingale
Started thus:
“Hulloh! Oh, hulloh oh oh oh oh!
Here ere ere ere ere ere
Bird radio, ray-dee-oh, dee-oh, dee-oh,
Tee-oh, tree-oh, true loo loo loo loo
Pio pio pee-oh low low low low low
Ploh ploh ploh ploh hello!”

To which the lark retweeted:
“Now what the deuce is going on?
Glad I brought my dictionary along,
How else to understand the nightingale’s song?
Chirp chirp shh-wurp!
Chirrup chirrup shh-rup!
This isn’t theater,
Or the Big Top!
Look at him, his feathers bristling!
Screeches like a Northern Lapwing!
End these arias, end these lyrics!
A-chirp a-chirp a-chyric,
Chirrup chirrup chirryric!”

Thus he started chirping, peeping,
Warbling, shrieking, chirp-a-cheeping,
So that the rooster, too,
Crowed in anger: “cock-a-doodle-doo!”

When the cuckoo hears this noise,
He’ll scream: “What? A partnership, boys?
A-doodle-doo? A-doodle-doo?
I simply cannot allow this to continue.

Take what you want, I don’t pinch pennies,
But of my a-doodles you can’t have any.
Doo—squawk it till the morning!
But a-doodle—that’s my thing!"
He a-doodled: a-doodle! a-doodle!
To which woodpecker: stock-oh! knock-oh!
And waxwing calls: Whose-there? Who’s?
Were where? Drinking what? Drank, so choose!
Partridge: Come here! Go here!
Have what? Give me! Throw here! Toss here!

And right away all the birds
Chirp-squawk-shriek—in the following words:
“Give here! Toss here! Have what? A thing?
Feather? Grain? Bottle cap? A string?
Go here, throw here! I worm, you worm!
I’m pasting a nest, glue this, please confirm!
See it! I won’t let you! Mine! Whose?
I’m making your nest, dues, dues, dues!
You won’t let me? What a!—shame on you, you!
And so a birdly brawl ensued.

Then the avian police descended,
And that’s how the forest broadcast ended.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

                                       medallion made of bread by a Fort VII camp prisoner.

Fort VII

Went to Fort VII today. I don't really want to talk much about it as I don't think my words could do justice to what I saw and what happened there. However, from this I have been reading about the Holocaust all day. My reading led me onto what happened to collaborators after the war and the linked article struck me as interesting. The shaving of women's heads is such a strong symbol which brought to mind many of the questions that were asked today when I was at Fort VII:

How do we deal with the people who manufactured such pain during the war?
More importantly, how do we remember, and why was this a subject that was hushed after the war?
Moreover, is it anti- German feeling to visit these places and to remember such devastation?
Why should Poles feel guilty for visiting these places and talking about this subject?

I don't have any answers but I do know that these places need to be seen and remembered. The sooner we stop asking why this happened, the sooner we start to forget why it should never happen again.
I do think that this phrase- 'never again'- is problematic. We see this as the ultimate and only Holocaust. Holocaust with a capital H. But ethnic cleansing is still happening right now. So we need to remember, but also use this experience and transfer this knowledge to contemporary culture.


Back to the markets! This time my good friend bought me this picture. I love how she is strutting up and down on top of some tables with people watching nonchalantly. What a girl.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Gender and the Ideal

looking at the posters

a 'feminine stance'

a 'masculine stance'

Tangles and knots

a 'masculine stance'

a 'feminine stance'

expressing the word 'power' visually

So I had my workshop in the National museum of Poznań today. I thought it went well, there were some brilliant people there who really got passionate about the idea of women in culture and how femininity is represented in the media. At first we looked at a selection of Soviet propaganda posters found in the Poster Department in the museum. We talked about how these posters may be seen and what image and representation they were trying to convey. We then went on to talk about Iris Marion Young and Augusto Boal, using their theories and exercises to explore the capacities and capabilities of our bodies. After the actions there was some fascinating debate- this subject is so board and conflicting that it is impossible not to disagree- but I think that this makes it more exciting. I was hearing all about the lives of women of a similar age to myself, and how they grew up as women in Polish culture. I was really inspired by one woman who talked about how she felt respected by the people surrounding her. She didn't feel as if she need to conform to any idea that they may have of her as a woman. However she did go on to say that she would be wary of calling herself a feminist as the word is quite a risky one to use in Poland. (As well as most other countries due to the connection with 'bra burning, and man hating') She went on to say however that if you describe your (feminist) opinions to people without using the dreaded word, then generally many people would agree. Using the word incites an instant dismissal of the valid point and expressed belief. I hope that the women in my workshop got something out of today, even if it was just the feeling of solidarity and a positive outlook on sometimes quite a bleak and difficult subject. 

Thankyou to Museum Nadorowe w Poznaniu, and everyone at MPRA
Pictures by Milena Pawlak 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Iris Marion Young

I have been interested in Iris Marion Young's work for a few years now. She was born in 1949 and died recently in 2006. Her writing is interested in feminist social theory and one piece in particular stuck with me. It is called ‘On Female Body Experience: Throwing like a Girl’ and it was written in 1980. In it she described women as being overly aware and self- conscious of their bodies, leading to a feeling of incapability. Even though this text is generally concerned with Western women, and was written in 1980 I feel as though it is an interesting one to look at in order to investigate how we feel about our bodies today.

“An essential part of the situation of being a woman is that of living the ever-present possibility that one will be gazed upon as a mere body, as shape and flesh that presents itself as the potential object of another subject’s intentions and manipulations, rather than as a living manifestation of action and intention. The source of this objectified bodily existence is in the attitude of others regarding her, but the woman herself often actively takes up her body as a mere thing. She gazes at it in the mirror, worries about how it looks to others, prunes it, shapes it, moulds and decorates it.” 
Iris Marion Young, 'On Female Body Experience: Throwing like a girl and other essays'

Augusto Boal

When I was thinking about ideas for my own workshop I remembered another workshop that I had once taken part in during which we explored the work and theories of a man named Augusto Boal. Augusto Boal was a theatre director from Brazil who wrote a book named ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’. In it he talked about breaking down the barriers of the theatre. He would get actors to act out a play then invite the audience to make up the ending. To me he is interesting because of his workshops using the body in space.

The Theatre of the Oppressed’s goal was to deal with political and social problems through theatre. I think that his ideas are a very interesting way of looking at the nature of the audience theatre, which can be utilised in order to engage with oppression within daily life. 


I am doing a tasty workshop in the National Museum of Poznan tomorrow. I am using the theories expressed by Iris Marion Young to question gender and the ideal body in Soviet propaganda posters and how this is relevant in modern culture. It's going to be really exciting, I have a list of women all signed up and ready to move...