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Lyyying Community


The genesis of Lyyying Community (WSPOLNOTA LEEEZEC) can be traced to the surrealistic/political happenings of the ORANGE ALTERNATIVE group that existed in one of the major cities of Poland, called Lodz. Orange was an alternative both to the Communists' red and the Catholics' black. In the late eighties the political situation was changing in Poland (and all over Eastern Europe), and the communist goverment was already in the stages of a slow disintegration. Orange Alternative tried to accelerate this decomposition.

After the transition of the nineties, Lyyying Community transformed the original political happenings of Orange Alternative into more "artistic" (atmospheric) actions. Today, it has become impossible to perceive a clear, single enemy to fight against, as was the case when the Communists were in power. Politics may change behind the wheel of time, but there always remain old or new common matters of daily social life. Lyyying Community, through actions on the city streets, tried to affect people's feelings about generaly existing problems--not just political issues, but philosophical and existential ones as well. In Poland nobody was used to "artistic actions" happening on the street. People were usually confused by the fact that Lyyying Community happenings were not directly political. For Polish audiences the actions of Lyyying Community were perceived as irritating, but the irritation provoked them into thinking differently about the problems of their daily existence which usually went unnoticed.

Lyyying Community always expected the audience or the bypassers to produce their own meanings and ways of understanding the concrete actions they saw, in the same way that meaning is determined while watching a performance on the stage, a painting in a gallery, or reading a book ...

(Zuzanna Amoroso)

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The early Lyyying Community (WSPOLNOTA LEEEZEC) happenings were very traditional and even classical. The "LYYYING DEAD OR TESTING THE MIRACLE THEORY" (1990, Piotrkowska street, Lodz, Poland) took place on a busy city street. A group of happeners, covered with white sheets lay down on a sidewalk, like the victims of some horrible tragedy. The covered performers didn't move at all; it was the bypassers who made the action. They stared and they observed, stunned, that the happeners were breathing. It was unacceptable for most of the onlookers, that the people lyyying on the street were not really dead! It makes you think, doesn't it?

Other events were more "optimistic"-- for example, lyyying and gorging in public during the students' strike against military classes at the University of Lodz in 1989.

Some early actions were more active and also unexpected. In "BETTER KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED" (1990, Piotrkowska street, Lodz, Poland), two guys, in the middle of a busy district in the city, started digging the ground and dug out a strange size coffin. People started gathering. What could that be? The object turned out to be a TV set, which got sacrificed and burned in the end.

From the very beginning, the members of Lyyying Community were also active as graffiti "artists." They organized one of the first "graffiti galleries" in many points throughout the city. After some time, Lyyying Community could be seen indoors, too -- in galleries and clubs. At first with the absurd, anti--music band EGON FIETKE VENTILATOR, then with paper-mache installations and actions like "A SHOW OF THE ZMECHANISTOTICO WOMAN" (1991, Pstrag Theatre, Lodz, Poland).

"KASZANA" was a very classic exhibition (1990, Manhattan Gallery, Lodz, Poland) that took place exactly in Lodz - Manhattan, the downtown of the city, obviously named after N.Y.C. Kaszana was the name of a special kind of Polish kielbasa made from meat, blood and groats. It was exposed in the cabinets, sliced, and hung on the walls behind some glass. The visitors were allowed to eat it, if they liked. The visitors could also encounter a jar with yellowish liquid (the real urine of Lyyying Community members) and a piece of "Kaszana" stuck in it.

Lyyying Community has made appearances in other unexpected spaces and times. The cycle called "THE WORK OF THE ARTIST WITH BRAIN CANCER" was organized in a hallway of the Museum of History in Lodz, and appeared under an alternative title "TERRA REPROMISSIONIS" (1993). On the museum floor, there was a cross-shaped wooden platform, with 8-inch long nails sticking out of it, upward. In the center of the platform, a real and bloody head of a dead pig was placed with a dead fish in its snout.

The other parts of "THE WORK OF THE ARTIST WITH BRAIN CANCER" cycle were presented during Lyyying Community's New York visit in ABC No Rio gallery, in 1993. Originally the installation with dead fish hanging on a rusted barbed wire was displayed in a theatre restroom (1993, Studyjny Theatre, Lodz, Poland), which produced a real bad smell. When this event was repeated later in New York, it was not so rude.

(Marek Jahoda)

 

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