Maryna Tomaszewska

The Cleaning

The Cleaning, 2012
Curator: Piotr Bujas
Culburb Festival, Ursus, Warsaw

The aim of Culburb Festival was to reinvigorate the debate around the problems and potential of the suburban Warsaw district of Ursus through the use of micro-interventions, so-called “urban acupuncture.” Implemented with minimal resources, the projects, which occurred in public space, were intended to indicate the direction of change and to activate residents in becoming “crystallization points” for large-scale transformation. The Culburb Festival project, initiated by the Center for Central European Architecture based in Prague, was implemented across the suburbs of Warsaw, Budapest, Ljubljana, Vienna, Prague and Bratislava.

In this work, Tomaszewska’s topic of interest was the social utility of art. Not wanting to create just another installation in public space but something that would actually change the aesthetic reality of the residents of Ursus, the artist proposed cleaning up the train station. And the action was dependent upon the participation of the local community. Posters were put up on the streets of the district informing residents that on Saturday, September 8, the artist would be cleaning the SKM Warsaw Ursus train station, and there was an open invitation to all those willing to help. More than 30 people responded to the appeal and showed up to sweep and wash the platforms and repaint the benches, together. The experience of working collectively and the achievement of a concrete goal which resulted in a clean train station released extraordinary energy in everyone and brought great satisfaction and joy. The action was aimed at drawing attention to the institutions responsible for the state of the station, which clearly had not adequately fulfilled their duties.