residency: MarchMay 2007

Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkacova (Czech Republic/Slovakia)

Giving History to a Situation

While gossip forms one of the oldest and the most common means of spreading and sharing facts and views, it might well have played an instrumental role in the evolution of language. Gossip presents a way of social grooming (like many other uses of language), intimate in style, giving the comfort of validation within the complexity of social relationships. It can serve to undermine entrenched systems of power and domination as a form of political resistance, build structures of social accountability, retail and develop various types of story - anecdotes, narratives and even legends, foster and build a sense of community.

Anetta Mona Chisa and Lucia Tkacova understand this phenomenon as essential "technology of cooperation", playing a role in returning some degree of social bonding to a world characterized by fragmentation and alienation. The recent virtualization of relationships inspires people to create their own worlds while at the same time encouraging the need for more physical interpersonal interaction. Based on the transforming structure of labor, familial social groupings are replaced by professional hierarchical tribes. Even as they feign objective professional functioning, these enclaves depend upon connections, sympathies, advantages, and alliances. It is this particular dual character of the personal and the professional in communities that is the basis and inspiration for several our projects.

As artists, they are primarily interested in life, its relationship to art and the possibility of trespassing, merging and mutual influence of these two. By exploring and working with different principles of functioning of the society they are trying to transcend life into art and vice versa. Entering any new social group they are vividly interested in all kinds of informal contexts and their implementation into their artistic experience. As new comers into a functioning urban network, deprived of any kind of inside information they intend to use gossip as a tool in order to (re)construct what preceded the given events, to give history to situations. Thus, the main focus of their Warsaw stay is to process the various local stimuli, re-create the backstage of reality and find an adequate aesthetic output. Similarly to their previous projects, they try to reflect upon inter-subjectivity and human interaction, but also to formulate and cause this interaction. The transgression of their activities into life, transformation of attitudes and relations of the involved people is essential parts of the project.

Their deep interest is in the relationship of gossip to both overt and implicit power structures, which to them is a political as well as aesthetic question, grounded in lived experience. They want to challenge the relationships between an individual and the different faces of power in order to understand and familiarize this framework and to suggest new ways how to deal with it. By subversively entering and therefore challenging these issues they are trying to point out that in the contemporary world of individualism and personalism, political always means personal.


  • Curator
    • Marianna Dobkowska
This residency was organised in cooperation with Visegrad Artists Residency Programme (VARP) and Futura, Center for Contemporary Art (Prague).