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Zrost | 2022

Nine photographs (70 x 100 cm), two videos (Full HD 15 m) and object

In his book Modernity and the Holocaust, Zygmunt Bauman described modern bureaucratic culture, which spawned the Holocaust, as "gardening culture". He saw its sources in the Enlightenment's change of approach to nature, and the special role that had since been attributed to science which was used to study and classify people, as well as animals, and plants. The way of describing nature implemented into the study of the human world equated society with a garden, and an unploughed fallow land, the cultivation of which must be planned and brought into a specific shape. From the very beginning, this path was marked by discrimination and oppression, which is also reflected in the nomenclature used: weeding, thinning, greening, or segregation. Although it reached its apogee during World War II, it is behind every genocide or public condoning of violent language, or gesture. The work focuses on the latter, showing the artificiality of situations of subordination and evaluation in photographs inspired by
anthropometric measurements. They are accompanied by videos showing the landscape of Rajsko, a small village next to Oświęcim. From 1941 to 1945, a sub-camp with a farm was located there. Prisoners, and above all, women prisoners, did gardening and plant breeding, including the experimental cultivation of the rubber-growing Taraxacum kok-saghyz. Plants were subjected to daily observations and measurements, recorded, labelled, and segregated. Specimens considered valuable were separated from the rest with "kastens" - a type of small glasshouse. Rajsko is a place where people and plants were subjected to the same oppressive gestures.

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