Summer master workshops programme for 24 young generation artists and art school students from around the world at the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle Warsaw.

Dates: 25 August – 7 September 2013, Warsaw / Application deadline: July 7, 2013

(please see application process, requirements and practical details below)

Programme author: Grzegorz Kowalski

Workshop leaders: Grzegorz Kowalski, Artur Żmijewski

Assistants: Julia Bui-Ngoc, Tomas Rafa

CREATING THROUGH COLLABORATION. Space. Body. Camera. is a unique art workshop conducted by Grzegorz Kowalski. The CCA Ujazdowski Castle for the third time now has the honour of hosting this event designed to enable artists from around the world to work together and broaden the horizons of their own artistic practices applying the genuine method developed by Kowalski. Since 1985 Grzegorz Kowalski has been the head of the most important art studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, currently known as the Atelier of Audiovisual Space. Its graduates are among the world’s and Poland’s top artists, including such personalities as, e.g. Artur Żmijewski, Paweł Althamer, Katarzyna Kozyra. Kowalski’s method exploits the participants’ co-presence in the creative process in time and space by experimenting with the body, the relationship between the bodies and images, and film recording and editing – negotiating what is individual and mutual. This year’s edition will be attended by the artists who, after graduating from Kowalski’s studio, have created their own strong language of artistic expression. The creative process employed by the Kowalski’s workshop evolves in a closed space generated by a group of participants; in the next stage – under the direction of Artur Żmijewski – this space is confronted with an external space that is shared with other people and activities. The programme also includes evening lectures to be conducted by visiting specialists.

Grzegorz Kowalski about Creating through Collaboration: Our workshop is aimed at those who draw joy and inspiration from working with others. Our focus is not on creating a masterpiece, rather on active participation in the process of communicating through visual forms and sound. We believe that jointly improvised activities will induce the participants’ creative potential, that on the emotional level we will overcome the imperfections of verbal communication.
We will act in real time and in real space, our activities will be videoed. Viewing the recordings we can then critique and discuss our actions.
In the course of our activities we will try to avoid verbal communication. Instead, we propose that the participants mutually experience a new system of languages:
The first language is that of visual forms and sound. This category comprises body language, colour, movement, and sound.
The second language encompasses universal signs and gestures that pass across simple messages. These include the commonly comprehensible forms of communication.
The third one is verbal language – Basic English – as the most popular form of communication. This will be used for the sake of discussions.
Our key medium will be visual forms, movement, and sound, as well as – as mentioned in the first place – the expression of the body. We intend to conduct the workshops in several classes.
The class dedicated to body language and movement will be conducted by Julia Bui-Ngoc, dancer and choreographer.
The class concerning the various aspects of communication, video camera operation as an observation and recording tool, and film edition as a tool for creation and synthesis will be conducted by Mai Bui-Ngoc, architect and filmmaker, and Tomas Rafa – visual artist and filmmaker.
The sessions of joint improvised activities will involve all the participants, instructors, and Grzegorz Kowalski.
The experiences of creation through cooperation in the Laboratory situation, i.e. within a space detached from everyday reality will then be confronted with the surrounding reality in the second part of the programme to be conducted by Artur Żmijewski.
The programme also includes a theoretical element – evening lectures by outstanding researchers in the field of art history, anthropology, or culture studies.
The participants, one half of which are Poles and the other half are foreigners, should find it easier to integrate for sharing their living space – the dormitories, the kitchen and dining room, all located next to the studio where they will exercise, improvise, and perform together.

Artur Żmijewski on working with workshop participants: Grzegorz Kowalski intends to conduct at the CCA a workshop involving a group of people communicating without words – exclusively using the visual language – through actions, marks, and sounds. For workshop participants this is also a way of experiencing togetherness and a lesson in collective cooperation. From my perspective the workshop is also an opportunity to discover the local reality – the environment of the material and social microworlds of the other participants.
After a few days workshop participants acquire a certain tool which they use in the course of the activities with Grzegorz Kowalski so as to actively be together [even though they do not talk with one another], to discover, or scan the modest material reality that surrounds them in the closed space of the workshop. They learn how to keep up their small community without words over time, how to create “from nothing” a language for comprehensible communication, and how to keep it up with their own bodies and objects they may use. One can say that they learn how to manipulate the reality and understand its material and social dimension as a stream of information, a perception and communication channel. But without using “conventional” languages.
This skill acquired by workshop participants may be applied in another space, e.g. in a large shop [e.g. IKEA, Saturn, or the Arkadia shopping centre], or in an urban space saturated with the presence of random people [e.g. the entrances to the Centrum underground station and the underground passages linked to them]. This may be an “intimate” space, closed but still filled with people and their activities [e.g. a theatre auditorium during the performance]. It may also be an “empty” space, lifeless, but symbolically meaningful [e.g. the Powązki Cemetery, or a church where a mass is not held at the moment]. These spaces could be chosen together with workshop participants – and the transition to such spaces would be a sort of extension of Grzegorz Kowalski’s workshop through the use of the tools he has given to participants. The same cognition and communication tool would be used in different circumstances. And it would be possible to assess whether it comes in useful under such changed circumstances, whether in terms of cognition and communication it is still efficient and effective.

– No application fee
– No fee for participation in the workshop
– Travel, food, and personal expenses will not be reimbursed
– Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle will provide accommodation in shared rooms on the CCA’s premises and in a hostel. Accomodation fee is 100 EUR for the whole stay.
– The results of the selection of participants will be announced by July 12, 2013

* Structure of the workshop:
The workshop with prof. Kowalski will consist of seven eight hours-long daily meetings (from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.) taking place over a period of seven consecutive days (from August 26 to September 1, 2013). Workshops at this part will be held at the Laboratory building of the CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw. Then, during four consecutive days participants will work with Artur Żmijewski, mostly in the public space of Warsaw.

We accept applications only from students and graduates of artistic schools.
1.    basic knowledge of film editing software: Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple FinalCut Pro
2.    previous experience with operating a photo and video camera is very welcome
3.    English speaker (basic level)
4.    submitting a filled application form along with all the required documents by email to: until July 7, 2013.
Own photo or video camera, computer with film editing software is welcome but not necessary

The workshop will include 24 participants selected by prof. Kowalski from candidates applying to open enrolment. 12 participants will be selected from international applications and 12 from Polish applications. Candidates will be informed about the results of the selection process via email. Results will also be available on our website
It will be considered as valid and official communication of results to the candidates.

Please submit a filled application form along with all the required documents by e-mail: until July 7, 2013.
Applications received after this date will not be accepted.

Application form can be downloaded from our website:

Please submit the following documents with your application:

1. Artistic statement – please describe your most recent areas of interest (max 200 words)

2. Curriculum Vitae – including information about education, professional training (not more than three most important certificates), publications (not more than three most important publications)

3. Portfolio in the pdf format containing documentation (photos, screenshots) of three works along with a comment describing the aims and essential elements of their concept. As well as a link to view or download relevant video works or a separate DVD sent by post.

Additional materials such as DVDs with videos can be sent to:

A-I-R Laboratory / Kowalski’s Workshop
CCA Ujazdowski Castle
ul. Jazdów 2, 00-467 Warsaw, Poland

All materials have to reach the address by July 7, 2013.
Submitted materials will not be returned.