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Objects: Methods of documenting social change

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The aim of this article is to show how photography evidenced social changes in Polish history between 1959 and 2016. It focuses on the problem of documenting average items instead of photo reportage. It presents the pictures created in a variety of political realities: including the communist period in Poland and the years after 1989. By presenting projects of artists Władysław Hasior and Zbigniew Dłubak two different photographic practitioners work are shown. They both were able to see and document changes in the political reality of their time. After the fall of Communism the photographers draw attention to the documentation of ‘neutral’ objects once again. Polish New Documentarists continued earlier actions, but also created their work in the changed realities of the period. They practice what Edouard Pontremoli called ‘the aesthetic of dullness’(Pontremoli: 2006, 162). This article discusses how seemingly objective photographs become a part of the evidence of historical events.
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Keywords: Eastern Bloc; Poland; communists; new documentarists; objects; real

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Art Institute of Polish Academy of Sciences (Instytut Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk) MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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  • Scene is dedicated to a critical examination of space and scenic production. The journal provides an opportunity for dynamic debate, reflection and criticism. With a strong interdisciplinary focus, we welcome articles, interviews, visual essays, reports from conferences and festivals. We want to explore new critical frameworks for the scholarship of creating a scene.
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