• signs of the times – collecting biological traces and memories

    2021 - ongoing

    The medical and textile masks symbolize the complicated pandemic reality, filled with uncertainty and fear. Photos of people whose faces are obscured by masks will surely be a historical document of the Covid-19 pandemic. The masks are supposed to protect us from infection by the virus, but when worn for too long (without being replaced with new ones), they do not serve our health well. Wearing the same mask for hours, we breathe in whatever our body has expelled. Microorganisms and fungi can grow on wet masks.
    The masks survive not only in photographs but also as waste, which can still be found in large numbers on the streets, in parks, and forests. They are anonymous, and we do not know who carried them. Perhaps it was a person who was a carrier of the virus or became ill because of it. Maybe the person was sick with other diseases without even knowing it. In the spring of 2021, I collected masks from the streets of Berlin to subject them to biological analysis in the future to discover traces of life left on them. These masks have a story behind them that I can't hear, so I decided to change tactics and collect masks from specific people who leave biological traces on them while talking about their pandemic memories. The project is dedicated to collecting Covid-19 pandemic memories, and biological traces left on protective masks, understood as material memories. Presentation of the entire collections created during the project is planned in 2/3 years when it will be possible to look at them retrospectively. The collected biological traces will be subjected to laboratory analysis to see what was left on the surface of the masks. Gathering masks and memories is always a kind of collective ritual. So far, it has taken place in the following:
    Episode 1: Liebig19, Berlin (August 2021)
    Episode 2: Łaźnia, Gdańsk (October 2021)
    Episode 3: TOP (Transdisciplinary Project Space), Berlin (November 2021)
    Episode 4: FishTankPamora, Malmo (January 2022)
    Episode 5: Art Laboratory Berlin (January-February 2022)
    Episode 6: ArtSciSalon Toronto (April 2022)
    Episode 7: Zbąszyń Ethnographic Museum (September 2022)
    Episode 8: FEMeeting, Evora, Portugal (September 2022)
    Episode 9: Faculty of Polish Studies, Jagiellonian University (November 2022)
    Episode 10: Gallery XX1, Warsaw (April 2023)
    Episode 11: Studio Gallery, Warsaw (September 2023)
    Episode 12: Center for the Arts, University of Buffalo (February 2024)