Over 50 artists from five continents, some of whom are coming to Poland for the first time. Performance activities, sound productions, installations, interventions in public spaces, open stage for young creators, film projections and exhibitions. All of that is included in the 8th edition of Contexts festival, whose theme is “Foreign object”. Artists participating in the festival will attempt to answer the following question: “is art a foreign object in society or is it its’ integral element?”. The first ones to face the main theme of the festival will be performers invited by the curators of the festival to Sokołowsko – an Italian and German duo VestAndPage; an Austrian duo Zweintopf, who love absurd; a laureate of the Swiss Performance Award – Gisela Hochuli; the most prolific performance artist from Asia – Gim Gwang Cheol; a Chilean performer from Par de Patos collective – Alvaro Pedro Roa and Márcio Carvalho – a visual artist, performer and co-curator of the first biennale live art in Africa. We will also see a video installation by one of the most prominent contemporary sculptors – Mirosław Bałka, a sound production of a multidisciplinary duo from Łódź – Przepraszam and a voice performance by Josef Spinzak from Israel. The programme of Contexts also includes a meeting with writer Dorota Masłowska presenting her video clips, and multilevel activities of a five-person artistic group from Australia – Bloom Collective.



a.w. (Polska)

performance: Art or non-art?

First division
What decides whether we perceive one thing as „art” and other thing as “non-art” ?

Second division
The notion of „art” is often colloquially divided into “good art” and “bad art”.
We make a choice, decide, describe, sometimes define.
One hundred reproductions – works of art coming from various aspects of its existence, ranging from old to modern ones.
There will be space for deciding, rejecting or classifying the works based on the proposed categories
Fun? Is it only fun?


Alastair MacLennan (Scotland/Northern Ireland)

performance: WAVE BY WAIVE

“Art as a demonstrated wish and will ‘towards’ resolving inner and outer conflict, be it spiritual, religious, political, personal, social, cultural…or any interfusion of these”.


ALPERoA (Chile)

performance: M.T. III (Minutos de Tension III / Minutes of Tensions)

If you want to support others you have to stay upright yourself |
Fall seven times, stand up eight. (Peter Høeg | Japanese proverb)

M.T.III is an exercise and corporal conversation action between two performers intimately linked to the nature and the land, which are suffering physical changes that directly or indirectly affect our life evolution. The performance is also inspired by real events: the dramatic earthquake that struck Chile and the city of Concepción in particular in 2010. It is based on endurance, effort, exhaustion and reciprocal support. For this reason, it is also a metaphor of human relationships, a call to be care and generous towards each other, regardless of the peculiar social, political, racial, religious and gender traits of each human being and that are the cause of separation among people.  Art is a tool to reduce the distance, for it allows us to not be foreign to one another but grow spiritually strong through mutual sharing, sustaining and aid.


Anna Clare Hauf (Austria)

the performer of AMA (performance by Tanja Brüggemann)


Christian Blandhoel (Norway)

sound performance: IJIN 

The Performance is Performed under the name IJIN, using a custom built instrument called a feedbacker, built especially for the occasion. IJIN is a project started in 2010 in Oslo as a recording and performance project creating  Noise or Post-Noise music, a soundtrack to accompany mundane experiences from a western perspective but with willful Alienation, it ois in the nature and the meta comment of noise music to counter pop-cultural cultivated expectations and to expand or challenge comfort zones.


Ewa Zarzycka (Poland)

spoken performance: Wobec (Towards)


Gim Gwang Cheol & Park Kyeong Hwa

Gim Gwang Cheol | Feel the Paper

performance: Gim Gwang Cheol | Feel the Paper  

The theme of the performance focuses around the ideologies of the 20th century. Socialism, nationalism and capitalism have been often the causes of brutal violence, so then from which perspective we should face the violence of today. Is violence just what it is? There is a kind of cynicism that permeates our civilization, because of the selfishness of knowledge.

performance: Park Kyeong Hwa | Fishbowl  

Small fishes, fragile creatures— their life and existence placed in a tense situation. We realize that we love to live while inhaling and exhaling anger, sympathy, and sadness at the edge in between life and death. All the beings are as precious as it is the beauty of our values.

performance: Gim Gwang Cheol and Park Kyeong Hwa Duet PerformanceLogic Alchemy #4, #5, #6

For the alchemist the one primarily in need of redemption is not man, But the deity who is lost and sleeping in matter. (Carl Gustav Jung)

The subject matter of ‘Logic Alchemy’ is about the relationship of coexistence between heterogeneous beings. The performance is conceived to portray the sometimes harmonious and other times hateful conditions that exist within a constructed society of people, which inevitably diverge in ideas and opinions of all kinds. It provides an extreme metaphor of the individual differences between ‘Male and Female.’ It’s a call for relationships to coexist, healing and understanding what follows from such co-existence. Logical Alchemy is a series planned up to #9. The first three chapters have been created in preparation the artist duo’s 2017 European tour. On May 26, Logic Alchemy # 4, # 5, # 6 premiered in Gwangju (SK) and will have its European debut at Konteksty 2018. | Park Kyeong Hwa


Gisela Hochuli (Switzerland)

performance: Das Rote Tuch (The Red cloth) 

All is symbols and analogies. The wind on the move, the night that will freeze are something other than night and a wind. Everything we see is something besides. (Fernando Pessoa)

The performer interacts with a red flag creating a composition of live images she creates a transformative flowing dialogue based on an equal relationship— the performer doesn’t impose her intention, her will onto the object, but finds ways to float together with it. The Red Flag is the oldest symbol of socialism (and by extension communism), thus Red is also the colour that in its universal acceptation symbolises the extremes— passionate love and violence, seduction and danger. Our prehistoric ancestors saw red as the colour of fire and blood – energy and primal life forces – and most of red’s symbolism today arises from its powerful associations in the past.


Igor Stahniv (Ukraine)

performance: Untitled


Josef Sprinzak (Israel)

sound performance: What my grandmother said to Franz Josef

The work is a poetic exploration of the relationship between voice and memory. The vocal work breaks up language to sounds, creates multiple vocal personas and detaches between the body and the voice. The voice in the performance is always in search of a body that is non-present, while the body that is present is a foreign one. The games of covering and dis-covering the voice and the body attached to it attempt to conjure forgotten memories and missing histories. The starting point is an attempt to vocally animate a lacuna in my family’s history: the childhood of my mother’s parents in a small town in South Poland (former Galicia) before WW1. My grandparents left Poland during their youth, lived in Germany, moved to Israel, always talked German between themselves, and never told us any stories about their birthplace and childhood. Any imagery or experiences related to this chapter of family history could only be fantasized.

The performance consists of 3 text compositions:

  1. “His Highness the Caeser” – My grandmother addresses Emperor Franz Josef who undertakes the role of a divine witness. She tells him about her family and their daily life in her town in a remote part of his Empire. The monologue is in Polish.
  2. “A Passacaglia for Moustaches and Jews” – “Big” history is told from under big (and small) moustaches of powerful men.
  3. “Josephine, or the mouse folk” – Franz Kafka’s last story, about the diva of the mice, reflects upon the nature of the artist’s voice and his relationship to his society.


Małgorzata Markiewicz (Poland)

action: Combustion

It was very common to visit Sokołowsko (Goerbersdorf) when tuberculosis treatment was necessary. It was the first such sanatorium in the world where a climate and dietetic therapy was applied. Sokołowsko was even a model for famous Davos in which Thomas Mann set the action of the Magic Mountain. Tuberculosis, which is a mysterious disease of sensitive people, is widely described by Susan Sontag in the book Illness as Metaphor. Where we can read that it was believed that sadness and melancholy were conducive to the development of tuberculosis, this hypersensitivity and affectionate delicacy was characteristic of people who were artistically talented. At the same time, a patient suffering from tuberculosis had to leave his hometown to cure his illness, often was leading the life of a traveller, unrelated to mundane matters. Somehow the disease justified him or her. Tuberculosis makes people unique, aristocracy among the sick, outsiders of society. Being in a sanatorium exempted them from responsibility for the cares of everyday life. Similarly with artists, they dwell somewhere in between, having an alibi for their entire life because of their profession.

Currently, Sokołowsko serves artists and people connected with culture (sensitive ones) as a place of realizing their passions. A few days stay in Sokołowsko can be considered as a therapy through art when healing the body and senses. In Sokołowsko-SPA I am going to offer therapeutic sessions with the fire and resins, incense and herbs, every day after dusk. The event will be accompanied by fire. Just like Hans Castrop, when he was realxig according to a rigid therapeutic scheme we will do a bit the same.


Márcio Carvalho (Portugal)

performance: Demythologize That History and Put it to Rest

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and
obliterate their own understanding of their history. (George Orwell)

History is a narrative introduced “from the outside” made up by memory makers and meaning makers of societies in such a way to be assumed and embodied by people in an uncritical way— thus history itself is a foreign body, one version of the past that largely distracts us and sets us afar from considering the bigger picture of all that has been “over and done.” Carvalho’s new performance is centred on the notions of ‘Hostipitality’ (a term coined by Jacques Derrida to show how closely hospitality is intertwined with hostility), and ’Guesthostility’, that is when colonizing powers (guests) uses ethnography and history (hostility) to claim a deep, fundamental understanding of colonized populations and invasively fit into the history of their colonies. Eventually, it’ s a work that aims to demythologizes History (with a capital H) and its influence on the various aspects of public remembering and forgetfulness, and to counter the ways it has shaped our present thinking, experience and imagination.


Mariya Hoyin (Ukraine)

performance: Untitled

Work based on fragments of recollections from memory… here and now… everything is the most important… in a moment what is now will become the past… place, time, body, memories, feelings, emotions.


Mykhajlo Barabash (Ukraine)

performance: Way of knowing

Performance touches the issue of silence and sound, obstacles and efforts, quietness and loudness, lightness and difficulty …


Nikola Benčová (Czech Republic)

performance: a forest that became all eyes: Abuela. Boka. Xibalba.

Is a book that I read becoming a part of my body? Is it someone foreign stepping into me? Shall education be based on books and written text? And what is the real connection between books and grandmothers? How can we work with the physicality that lies beyond text? Has text have the same quality when the writer’s body still breathes? Or does some hidden materiality of it change when she dies?


Based on the text from a human author whose body already vanished Ursula K. Le Guin, an 1 improvised collective performance “a forest that became all eyes or Abuela. Boka. Xibalba.” becomes a place for words in darkness where the memories of grandmothers turn into something other than human. Songs and whispers, or long silences that are essential for the materiality of such encounters, from a body of the performer to other present bodies even the invisible ones. Each participant is asked to bring his/her own blanket, ideally one which was a gift from a grandmother.


Oleksandr Maksymov  (Ukraine)

performance: Untitled

Pursuit of dialogue between a man and a woman. Reflections on human emotions. Manic desire to get to know oneself. Memory that looks for proper river bed.


Petro Ryaska (Ukraine)

performance: Untitled

Time refraction, time thawing, absence of time. Area refraction, reality refraction, worlds refraction. The performance is inspired especially with the works of Olga Tokarczuk.


PRZEPRASZAM (Poland) Ola Kozioł i Suavas Lewy

sound performance: Untitled

A sound performance, possibly with the  participation of the audience. Chosen fragments of manifestos and texts by Józef Robakowski will be sung during the concert.


Sofi Żezmer (Germany/Poland)

action: Word Portraits

“This project consists of several parts.

  1. In the city space of Sokolowsko I shall set up daily a small coffee table with two chairs on a rather busy street and ask passers by to joint me for a short conversation lasting ca. 10-15 minutes. I will be asking specific questions and directing the course of the conversation. While doing so I will be gathering words, which seem to be essential or that are often repeated and generate a ‘Word-Portrait’ of the person. Together with that person I will draw connecting lines between the words and make a ‘Thought-Map’.Afterwards I will invite the person to expand on the semantic meaning of some chosen words.
  1. Next I install these ‘Word-Portraits’ on the wall of an exhibition space. Next to the individual ‘Word-Portraits’ I install a large sheet of paper and transfer with stamps and colored ink individual words ‘hunted’ and ‘gathered’ on the streets of Sokolowsko.
  2. I invite the audience and participants of Konteksty festival to expand on the semantic fields of these chosen words. This is done as follows: to each letter an additional word (or many words) are added, which relate to the content of the original word. In this way an interactive ‘Word-Portrait’ is generated of the specific place and time”.


Susanne Weins (Germany)

performance: Melancholic Body

We were those who knew but did not understand, who grasped but could not imagine, filled with information but devoid of insight, crammed with knowledge but scant of experience. So we went, no longer detained by ourselves.  

(Roger Willemsen)

Seemingly, melancholy is a state of stagnation, a feeling of pensive sadness with no apparent obvious cause. Inasmuch as the postmodern promise, the freedom from fear, now lies in ruins, post-truth politics have largely framed cultural debates by appeals to baseness emotions, which are causing greater division among people. The repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored, runs parallel to the compulsive hustle to consumption, caused by a capitalistically motivated addiction and mediatic manipulation. Within this scenario, where what seems to count is just the ability to prevaricate the other with any means for the sake of personal survival and affirmation, there is also a need for holding-up the Self, for a melancholic résumé, for a pupation of mankind in the melancholic space, to contrast the nowadays craving selfishness and spurious logic which are detrimental to our existence.

lecture: Free performance lecture about Voice: the invisible foreign body


Tanja Brüggemann (Austria)

performance: AMA

One of the lesser-known but fascinating parts of Japanese culture is that of the Ama pearl divers. Ama (海女 in Japanese), literally means ‘woman of the sea’ and is recorded as early as 750 in the oldest Japanese anthology of poetry, the Man’yoshu. These women specialised in freediving some 30 feet down into cold water wearing nothing more than a loincloth. Utilising special techniques to hold their breath for up to 2 minutes at a time, they would work for up to 4 hours a day in order to gather abalone, seaweed and other shellfish.
Michael Gakuran

AMA – a woman`s transition in 7 scenes
followed by scattered poems of the composer Tanja Brueggemann, the female singer dives down to her own existence in total loneliness and the darkness of the sea, followed by some sort of premonition evocating the human future to come.


Taras Pastushchuk (Ukraine)

performance: Untitled


Volodymyr Topiy (Ukraine)

performance: Повітря, воздух, powietrze (Air)

Sketches for the future execution of performance about air in a wider meaning of the word – philosophic, visual and poetic…


Wykwitex (Poland)

action: Untitled

Our activities are inspired by and based on the outstandingly rich output of the artist Jozef Robakowski, whose works we reference and critique. The Wykwitx workshop specializes in the newest technologies in the art world. By employing these, including VR, the group aims to familiarize the audience with its productions to date, and to collaborate directly with the artist. The result of the collaboration becomes a new production which will have its premiere at the festival. |


Zbigniew Szumski (Poland)

action: Kuszenie świętego ciała (The Temptation of the holy body)

Video projection and interior arrangement. Theme: Addictions and temptation.


Zweintopf, Künstlerkollektiv graz 2014

Zweintopf (Austria)

activity: Untitled (Bez tytułu)

In Sokolowsko, zweintopf will play with the expectations of the public and with pop-up tents. Their simple, lightweight construction and low price means that no one is surprised that these temporary shelters appear at festivals like mushrooms after the rain. Often used once and then thrown away, they also represent the influx of low quality goods ‘made in China’ and the result of global mass production. What will happen here? Or has it already happened? And more importantly, did I miss something?

zweintopf is aware too of the sculptural value of these frail constructions with no outer layer. Their white contours appear unexpectedly in the landscape, just like

thin spatial drawings, delicate architectural constructions which frame the surrounding views, marking out a poetry of imperfection and then disappearing as quickly as they appeared.