Toruń, Poland 2017
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THE DECLARATION OF OBJECTION
Man or woman must be able to defend himself / herself, but for some reason he / she will not be able to do it until the time he / she should make it’s difficult but simple decision himself / herself, because it is the only way it may happen. Through this act, he manages to overcome injustice and humiliation and re-feel human dignity.
(the fragment of a letter from one of the Yemeni participants in the hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay published by his lawyer David Remes)
When political power exceeds the limits of oppression, the place of attempts to establish dialogue is replaced by radicalism. I decided to face the situation. I felt that there is no other way out of the currently injustice that made the monologue a faulty communication subsystem. I needed to enter into a permanent protest, I had to testify myself and my body. Relying on the experiences of Cesar Chávez, an activist fighting for Latin American minority rights, I used suffering as a fighting tool; through the prism of my suffering, I wanted to show you the suffering of others.
I started a hunger strike as an act of disagreement with the political, social and most importantly, extremely close to me situation as an artist – cultural situation.
My postulate was to start a dialogue. The space that I created was the space of suffering, my and other people from the world of culture, the lack of agreement on the current situation. I wanted to draw the attention of the public to the unacceptable state of purposeful antagonism of society, lack of respect for the elementary rules of co-existence: human rights, workers’ rights, freedom of speech and development rights. This problem was and still is connected not only with Toruń, it occurs all over Poland. The crisis, which is constituted by structural economic and ideological violence, it was driven by the Polish government.
In the face of the injustice, The Declaration of Objection was created. The postulates included in it are the ones that are the closest to me. I wrote and published them with my friends in 2018. After this act, we started individual artistic statements that were our actions against the pathological situation. The Declaration of Objection was an artistic and activist document written by a group of artists / artists and activists / activists who wanted to act and publicized their opposition to the current situation. The full text of the Declaration of Objection can be found on the website: Deklaracja Sprzeciwu it was also available in the form of a paper leaflet.
I was striking in front of the institutions connected with the culture in Toruń (the city I come from). The hunger strike was 24/7 and I wanted to continue it until it was about to seriously threaten my health. For its needs, I constructed a mobile platform where I was protesting lying down or sitting, in order to save energy and also sleeping at night. Information about places where hunger strike was taking place and current documentation was posted on my website: www.parasite.pl and through my profiles on social networks: facebook (www.facebook.com/parasitepasozyt) and instagram (www.instagram.com/parasiteinsta) and on Facebook profile of the Declaration of Objection (www.facebook.com/deklarcjasprzeciwu).
The times were / and still are difficult, the political situation in the country does not provide much hope. Every now and then you hear new protests or demonstrations in Poland. Some of them were also hunger strikes, as in the case of the KOD people in front of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister or the inhabitants of Dobrzeń Wielki; although the striking people lasted for many days and were not one-person, they did not achieve the expected results. Still, I decided on the only possible step in the face of helplessness. I was going into a hunger strike to appear in the public space, not as an egocentric artist, but as a citizen aware of its rights. My hunger strike was apparently doomed to failure, but it remained as an expression of disagreement with the present reality, which was its strength.
I encouraged you … to what? To join? Although it was difficult for me to believe in you joining my hunger strike, I invited you, because I still believed that there was some strength in unity. Of course, I was also aware that everyone had their own classes, work, life … Despite this, I encouraged you to talk, discuss, go beyond your information bubble; each such interaction was extremely important to me. I also invited you to talk about the postulates of the Declaration of Objection and to make my hunger public.