Obieg is a bilingual, Polish-English, online magazine published by the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art. In our forthcoming quarterly issues, we will create a meeting venue where diverse formulas can be used to talk about art – combining critique, in-depth theoretical texts, non-academic research, essays, images, and input taken from social media.
Today, when borders seem to be closing rather than opening, and we are experiencing an obsession with security and the language of art is becoming standardized, we would like all the more to make an impact by probing deeper into the themes that are part of the discourse. We would also like to bring into Polish reflection contemporary art phenomena that until now have only been present on its periphery.
Although Poland, and Central Europe in general, have for quite a while enjoyed apparently uncurtailed access to information, there has still been no significant attempt to take up a dialogue with issues that do not fit into the conventional, imitative Euro-Atlantic core versus a periphery relationship, which has been built up since the 1990s. Turning our attention to other regions of the globe and comparing respective viewpoints, we would like to provide a fresh perspective on the Polish artistic community, economic transformation and our understanding of the future in the face of the global worsening crises. This is why, in its present format oriented towards exploring the most recent phenomena in contemporary art, Obieg has expanded its vision to include regions outside the Euro-Atlantic core. In our frame of reference, we want to include “delinking,” a term coined by Samir Amin, an Egyptian economist from Dakar. What can delinking – understood as an opportunity for non-core countries to detach themselves from the logics of the global system dominated by the chief players – mean in the context of Poland? Essential for the new formula Obieg is the imperative to upgrade the art map of Central and Eastern Europe, explore the artistic geography and create new networks of links between Europe and the countries of the “Global South” – not so much in order to simply enhance the periphery’s value or attraction but rather to make it visible, to legitimize it and bring it into both Polish and global discourse about art.
We believe that such a reconfiguration of the artistic map will provide not only an impulse for an alternative view of art created both here and “over there,” but also that it will open up space for critical reflection – and venture beyond stymied multiculturalism and the confines of postcolonial theory to ask what role contemporary art has in the transformations of social reality.