Culture Lab

June, 2020
More info +
The Participatory
Action Research

More info +

23rd February 2021No Comments

How to make new creations and experience community together?

In recent years, a unique flow of creative work has emerged in work of the community gathered around the Association of Theater Pedagogues. Combining the experience of meeting: being with each other, exchanging personal experiences and accompanying each other in a circle, with the act of joint creation of a work to which viewers can be invited.
The process itself is life-giving. It helps its participants to live better, face difficulties more easily, experience support and closeness of others who are in somewhat similar and slightly different situations. Creators, artists, craftsmen and freelancers often lack such stable environments in which they can experience development.
On the other hand, the creation - a show, performance or podcast - allows you to process the dense material of real life in order to gain a new perspective, strengthen the sense of agency and influence on the course of your life (especially when in a pandemic everything flows around even more acutely than before).
The Boys Performative Group has been meeting in the circle for over a year in order to start creating a performance about masculinity together. During the Divers and Astronauts Festival, 2 creative moderated circles took place. For a group of Makers, craftsmen who often work and face the big challenges of their workshop alone. And a creative circle for creators ‘Without significance’ aimed at capturing what is live in the group, stimulating exchange and deeper inspiration.
We feel that the creative circle is a highly valuable method of work in which we respond to the hot challenges of XXI Century. To the experience of alienation and loneliness during the pandemic in a postmodern network society where we are separated by millions of screens from each other. But it’s a response also also for the challenge of creating something that has meaning together under these conditions. And how to communicate between our micro-bubbles in which we live.
Photos below come from rehearsals during which The Boys Performative Group created a performance based on its work in a circle on masculinity and shared experience.
Photos and text created by: Paweł Ogrodzki

23rd February 2021No Comments

Experience of creative circles ind the spectacle on sensitive masculinity

Before our performance came to be, before The Boys Performative Group was formed, a bunch of men started meeting every week for a couple of hours. They would sit on the floor, in a circle and talk about manhood and its hardships. They shared their experiences of being socialized as boys. They talked about toxic masculinity. They wondered what it means to be a man in a semi-peripheral country. And soon... they would talk just about everything: their parents, sex, spirituality, relationships, work, and how much each of them earned. And it wasn't just talking – the men cried together, embraced each other, sat in silence, played basketball, improvised, sang, danced, lay on the floor, and ate, together.
And that is how the performance We wanted to talk about manhood, and we became friends was created.
I was one of those boys who had difficulties with their male identity. For a long time I’d rather speak of myself as “a person” rather than “a guy”. The identity of a guy didn’t sit well with me. This was changed by group therapy and by our guys' support group. Our empathetic men’s circle was full of emotional stories about repressed, cursed, stigmatized masculinity. These stories were also told through improvisations – with speaking, with movement, solo, and in groups. It was a months-long process of seeing one’s reflection in other guys and their lives. Of receiving and giving back.
The performance was built from our stories, our feelings, our beating hearts, and the tears we shed. We employed improvisation, free flow of ideas, and, finally, conversations where we shared how each of us felt about these artistic challenges. Three of us expressed a desire to be a director, but everyone was involved in the creative process. I remember these moments during rehearsals when the room was simply teeming with our collective creative energy. Everyone threw in ideas, comments, inspirations, solutions, and then all of a sudden we’d have created another scene. Nothing compares to my excitement and joy from this process. Here we were, a group of very different men who teamed up to create – often through heated debates – emotionally impactful scenes, joined in some sort of a frenetic dance. There was a fire burning inside of us that warmed the audience during the shows.
We didn’t expect the audience to react the way they did. Moments when we touched and embraced each other caused anxiety, even among seemingly “progressive” people. Somehow, radical leftists couldn’t bear this man-to-man tenderness, this tender masculinity, intimacy going beyond patriarchal norms. Each show ended with an hour-long conversation with the audience who finally had an opportunity – despite there being two interactive segments in the show – to share their feelings, opinions, and confessions about their male friends, fathers, and brothers.
We hang on what people say, and what they write in the chat – the performance takes place on Zoom, so everyone can share their admiration or disappointment about what's going on in real time. The last audience member says something to the camera and we say goodbye. But it isn’t over.
Our performance comes to life and brings hope.
It isn’t over, because there are two messages in our inbox: one person calls our performance vulgar, the other is outraged that nobody warned them about homosexual themes. We’re in this together. We support a queer person who is in our group and whose monologue about an unsupportive father was part of the show. We feel strong.
Joy. We feel joy. Satisfaction. Relief.
It’s time to rest. To dance. To lie down. Breathe. Robert. Tomek. Kamil. Paweł. Mateusz. Marcel. Grzesiek. Wojtek. Julian. Przemek. Mak.
Your names are those of feelings.
Text author: Tomasz Gromadka

5th January 2021No Comments



The story of Care Day #5
[35:47 min, raw]
#12grapes #runthroughsnow #slowmotionsociety #mentalchallenges #timeispolitical #firstday2021 #goodaimslist

12th December 2020No Comments

The unbearable softness of wellbeing


My friends and I of the CLE group Ecology of Care have started something together.
A project. A research. An experiment. An intimate practice. 
You can call it in many ways and you can read about it here.

We believe that solidarity and care are deeply connected with each other.
But what does it mean “to care”?
How do i take care of myself?
How of others?
I don’t have clear answers, but I’m curious to dig into the topic.

I will use this space as pages of a visual, poetic diary.
A personal recording of this journey. 
[ As a group we have a collective one: an informal, unedited podcast that you’ll find in this blog]

My Care Day number 1 was filled with silence while taking a walk on the wild side.
An unknown path, full of colours of a cold, early December day.
Time dilates when you go offline and thoughts get sharper.
Self-care begins with small gestures and soft rituals…