A brief cultural overview from the lead editor – Agata Napiórska recommends what to read, what to watch and where to visit in the first quarter of 2024.
“Robot Dreams” is a Spanish-French animated film, written and directed by Pablo Berger, based on Sara Varon's comic book of the same name. I had the pleasure of seeing this film at the Tri-City Octopus festival back in the summer of 2023 and it was my number one cinematic choice last year. It’s set in New York, from Manhattan to Coney Island, in the 1980s (lots of cultural references here – The Shining, Nosferatu, The Wizard of Oz). Not a single word is spoken in the film – words are unnecessary, music plays a more important role. We meet two friends – an anthropomorphised dog and a robot – and we get a beautiful, artistic story about friendship, love, loss and caring for relationships.
Gdynia: For just two more weeks (until 11 February), the Museum of the City of Gdynia is hosting an exhibition from the series Polish Projects Polish Designers. This time, Jakub Szczęsny, architect and installation artist, has been invited to participate. Szczęsny became well known after he designed the Keret House, which he installed in 2012 on the corner of Chłodna and Żelazna streets in Warsaw. At the exhibition in Gdynia, he continues the theme of space, exploring how architecture interacts with design and what interesting things can be created as they intersect. Do we really, as a society, need more and more space? Or is it worth saying "no" to over-consumption for the sake of the common good?
Warsaw: If you’ve never been to the Museum of Caricature (Warsaw, ul. Kozia 11), this March is the perfect time to pay it a visit. The exhibition "Free Jokes. Good humour of the 1990s" is an opportunity to recall what we laughed about in the last decade of the 20th century in the press, radio and television. Explore the landscape of humour of the Third Republic of Poland. The exhibition will be curated by Olga Drenda, and the creators of Podcastex: Mateusz Witkowski and Bartek Przybyszewski. Graphic designer and illustrator Dominik Cymer is doing the graphic design. The exhibition runs from March to August 2024. No more is known at the moment, but given the excellent team of people working on it, the exhibition is sure to be a hit.
“Ducks. Two Years in the Oil Sands” is an autobiographical graphic novel by Canadian author Kate Beaton (translated by Aga Zano – Polish title: “Kaczki. Dwa lata na piaskach”). It’s a powerful story that takes place in the oil sands of Canada, where the main character leaves after her humanities studies for a well-paid job. She works in a tool shop, in a very masculine environment. It's a story about how strong the patriarchy is (whether it's Poland or Canada), it's a story about crossing borders, about what we do for money and whether it's worth it. But it's also, or perhaps most importantly, a story about a planet-destroying industry. A great comic reportage. In Poland published by Kultura Gniewu.