Agata Szkopińska distributes building blocks of raw wood. The participants of Word Workshop sit at the big table, sheets of paper in front of them, and paint. All together, children, adults and teenagers. They are to find the sign which they associate with the bridge. Their own sign and hieroglyphic. They will paint it then on the blocks using red, black, green and brown paint. These are colours of nature and emotion.
Agata reminds them that the bridge has only two towers connected by a deck. Important is the thing below or above it. She asks: Can a tree be a bridge between heaven and earth?
According to her, word is a set of characters that positioned appropriately become meaningful. Rearranged, they lose their meaning. You have to know their secrets to build something.
Expressed on the walls of blocks – assigned to a place, growing out of it, and at the same time, out of individual experiences of participants – they will be used to construct the bridge. Here, during workshops, concrete images are created: two figures holding hands. Or: there are more figures. Some match, some diverge from others.
– We’ll build a new common sign out of the blocks, a spatial installation – says Agata. – People of different cultures, religions and languages express the word bridge differently and understand it differently, too. Together, they will create a new symbol appropriate for this place and this group.
The process of creation is overseen by artist painters from Vilnius: Ricardas Zdanavicius and Loreta Zdanaviciene. They are very experienced in workshop work, another time they work with Polish youngsters.
The Word Workshop is one of ten workshops here. There are also: Tale Workshop, Deep Song Studio, Mysteries of Childhood Workshop, Sound and Picture Studio, Weaving Workshop, Krasnogruda Pantry, Nature Workshop, Music of the Place Studio and Mask Workshop.
Each builder of the Invisible Bridge will at least once join one of the workshops. It is a principle. The Great Finale is slated for August 22. The workshops will combine their experiences and create…
Well, what? We, participants, still don’t know.
Agata: Organizers don’t know either. It is difficult to predict the product of a joint creation.
Associations with the word bridge can vary considerably.
A passage from one end of the world to the other.
Oksana from Belarus says: – A bridge to a bomb. In my country, they bombed all bridges leading to Poland during the war and nobody ever rebuilt them.
I change the group, I join Bożena Szroeder and the Mysteries of Childhood Workshop. We meet on the lake, under the roof of a tent, we take off our shoes. The search for ourselves from the past will be conducted through body and word. We express closeness, a sense of security, fear and loss. We express with gestures various stages of humane life. From our birth to the grave. Literally, because Krystian lies down on the grass and Asia grieves for him. Exercise theme: parting.
Bożena: – The young never appreciate their youth, they wish to grow up fast. They have no idea how much this period shapes them. The bridge I wish to build has two towers: childhood and old age.
At the back of the manor house, sit the combined forces of as many as three workshops: of Weaving (Urszula Wasilewska), Mask (Wieslaw Szumiński) and Krasnogruda Pantry (Mariola Mitros). All of them make pots from clay, there must be plenty of them. They will be baked for a few days – until the climax day. Then they will give off the fragrance of herbs.
Wiesław Szumiński smoothes out the soft clay pots with his hand. We ask what the Invisible Bridge means for him. He says the answer is quite near: – It is sometimes easier to find a way to another person than to yourself.
Basement of the manor house, candlelight warms the interior of the brick vaults of the “Song of Porcelain” Café . Tales of the Invisible Bridge: Evening One.
Each of them – says Krzysztof Czyżewski who wishes to familiarize us with the idea – is to touch the mystery that already ancient Greeks were afraid of. Gephyrophobia – that’s what they called it to tame the fear of crossing the border between the known and unknown, of the moment when Native meets Alien. You can bar the entrance to him, or yield to him, or otherwise: hospitably open the door. The thing Czyżewski is talking about is his tale of the invisible bridge he has been trying to build for two years in the Village of Bridge Builders. During the first two editions of the programme, unlike the usual activities of Borderland, they did not leave the land they operated on or asked it to supply the tale, but tried instead to address to it a universal narrative: the myth of Medea and the Argonauts and its incarnations: ancient, modern, musical, pictorial and literary. The Argonauts embarked on a quest for the Golden Fleece, the greatest treasure of Colchis, the land situated at the foot of the Caucasus, the borderland of the known to them world. They invaded the land as Aliens, Medea was to help them with her hospitality. By marrying the leader of the party, Jason, she established the first agreement, bridge and symbol – observes Czyżewski – that since then has been explored, even infantilized, in our culture. – It is easy to play with a symbol itself, much more difficult to look at it more closely, to look deeper, to tear off the outer surface. And yet – he adds – we encounter the crossing of the limes of our civilization every day, because we live in a time in history when more frequently and more intensely than ever we encounter the Alien: a different culture, religion, view or social status. And hospitality? What does this holy to the Greeks law mean to us today? – asks Czyżewski. A sign of weakness, stupidity of those admitting – as may be inferred from the discussion about the “problem of immigrants in Europe” – or an ideal to which we should return? And then he reminded the audience that a bridge always means restoration, creation on a foundation, assembling of individual components, exploiting the potential of where we begin, the construction material of both banks we are to connect. Following the words of Derek Walcott, Caribbean poet, he quoted concluding his speech: “Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.”