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Symphony of the Ursus Factory (Symfonia Fabryki Ursus)

Nominated for

Best Documentary

Directed by

Jaśmina Wójcik

60' • Poland • 2018



SYMPHONY OF THE URSUS FACTORY is a feature-length film involving former workers of Ursus Mechanical Works. The concept of the project rests on former employees of Ursus Factory reenacting their jobs and recalling their memorized actions and sounds related to their daily work, and on using this footage in the film. Recordings of single “work tracks “, composed during workshops with choreographer and composer, will be put together to create a symphony of images, movements and sounds. The film will become a tale of bygone industrial labour, in a unique way (memory of the body) reflecting the memories of the Factory crew. This will help to create an evocative image with a distinctive emotional message, providing a stimulus for reflection on the contemporary transformations of the world of labour. The film will be implemented in a participatory way and immersed in the reality of former employees of Ursus Factory and residents of the district. It will be based on biographies of employees and their personal “work memories” recalled by the reconstruction of their movements made during the production of heavy machinery, as well as their choreographic and musical elaboration accompanied by entering the world of the former factory. Participation in the artistic process will allow former employees to share their memories of working experience in the Factory. The call will be conducted to ensure the diversity of professions, types of work carried out in the factory, and places of residence.

Director's Bio: Jaśmina Wójcik works with memory and the direct experience of community being gradually expunged from social awareness. She rebuilds the sense of individual value founded in the former political system. The artist also takes responsibility for what she presents (literally) to others. Moreover – and maybe foremost – she attempts to reach the border of “social applicability of art”, which is there not to decorate, but rather to rake up the forgotten, often exposing a wound, and then apply care and empathy to commemorate and honour the protagonists of a given place. Lidia Krawczyk (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery) Artivist, visual artist, director, academic and pre-school teacher. Since 2011, author and initiator of a multidisciplinary operations on the border of art and social activism with the former workers of the Ursus tractor factory including i.a. site-specific activities in the public space, social and artistic actions, performance, happenings, independent films and the full-length creative documentary Symphony of The Ursus Factory. She invites the Ursus district residents and other people of Warsaw to the post-industrial grounds and integrated them around the district history as well as the future of this post-industrial area. She believes that art actively changes the city and it can activate the memory of place and help build its identity. She thinks it is essential that artists take responsibility for their surroundings. She is involved with including and restoring the subjectivity of communities deprived of visibility and their own voice. She is engaged in alternative education through developing original practices of artistic expression for children. In parallel, in her artistic practice she tries to be open to institutions of culture and art as well as to interactions with their visitors (as co-creators and partners in dialogue).

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