Self-portrait of Płaza. Report on the inauguration of the project ‘Words on the Net’

‘Words on the Net’ will be one of these projects. The idea originated in the local library (Branch no.6 of the Public Library in Chrzanów). The project is coordinated by Małgorzata Zbroszczyk, employee of the library and resident in Płaza.
On 2 June 2010 the first information meeting was held for the residents interested in the project. It was attended by participants who showed their interest in the project rather than those who declared their active contribution.
But soon, on 17 June we all met at a workshop during which the participants formulated the thematic fields on which they will focus in their work on the website – an expected outcome of the project. A preliminary plan was drafted of who will talk to whom in Płaza and what documents, objects and motifs of residents’ personal stories will form a part of the image of the village and its people. It will be a collage.

Apart from academic works, tourist guidebooks and records that preserve the eldest residents’ memories, there will be portraits of the community composed of various narratives, texts and documents, including some non-obvious ones, like everyday objects, dried plants or recorded sounds.
The project in Płaza is methodologically the closest to Księga uwolnionych tekstów [The Book of Liberated Texts] (Malopolska Institute of Culture, 2006), which gives particular pleasure to the authors of the book, especially to its editor, Łucja Piekarska-Duraj, who has also written a handbook that helps to do projects like ‘The Book…’ titled ‘Uwalnianie tekstów w weekend’ [‘Liberating Texts at the Weekend’].

The starting point for the project in Płaza is conversation, just like in the project in Nowa Huta. It is more a friends’ chat than an interview. It results in a relation different from that between a journalist and an interviewee. The documentalist (the one who asks) and the respondent (the one who answers, tells the story, takes the interlocutor to the places that are important to him/her, shows the contents of his/her desk drawers etc.) enter into a unique, though time-bound, contact. The outcome is the portrait of the place. That is why those who prepare to take the role of documentalists devote a lot of time to it, for example by participating in workshops and meetings of the documentalists’ team.
In Plaza they are local residents: adults, older youth, and even a lower secondary school student. The respondents are both distinguished citizens and residents of the local nursing home for senior citizens or holidaymakers.
The form of the self-portrait also looks promising as it will be a website with the useful tool of hypertext. The reader will have the possibility to follow tales of Płaza in many different ways: according to writers’ names, keywords, pictures or sounds.

Such complex and multi-layered narrative is well exemplified by the project ‘Witnesses of History’, carried out by the ‘Artefakty’ Association and the National Centre for Culture, the portrait of Warsaw’s Siekierki recorded by the ‘Dorożkarnia’ Culture Centre, and the recording of spoken wartime history of Krakow’s ‘Podgórze’  made by the Podgórze.pl association.
An interesting example is also the project of the Society for the Development of the Village Krzywa titled ‘My Grandfather’s Shorts’ – a book about recording transient, fragile traces.
The project ‘At Our Place’, carried out in Alwernia by the Malopolska Institute of Culture, is a record of today. The only carrier of image and sound are films shot with mobile phones by several young residents of the town and their direct ‘live’ narrative.

The picture features the team of ‘Words on the Net’, albeit incomplete.
We support the implementation of the project under ‘Do It For Yourself’ programme.


mail   Anna Miodyńska
tel. +48 (012) 422 18 84 ext. 17