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LITERARY PROGRAM: The Force of the River. The Reading of Water: Vistula (PL/ EN)

30.06.2022 - 20:00 / JCF Tent, ul. Józefa 36 | Live: | Live: Facebook, KBF

The river – an organic being that has the power to stimulate imagination. The current seems to carry not only water, but also history. The mixing of waters of accompanying rivers or river waters with sea waters becomes a symbol and a metaphor. The river as a story and the river as an organism. Małgorzata Lebda and Rafał Siderski spent almost a month beside its body.

The idea seems to be an extreme one: to run over 1,100 km around the longest of Polish rivers – from the source to the outlet. Poet, scientist and ultra-marathon runner Małgorzata Lebda decided to take up this challenge over 20 months ago. She accomplished it successfully in September 2021. During 28 days, she covered the distance of 26 marathons.

She invited visual artist Rafał Siderski to participate in this adventure; his task was to tell a story of this project by means of pictures. He was also her support, masseur and cook. In one word – a partner.

In this adventure, two narratives created by two individualists – the visual one and the poetic one – accompanied each other. The end result was a story that complements and develops itself.

This specific kind of (poetic and visual) artistic activism was aimed at drawing attention to how we treat rivers – both big and smaller ones. The point of origin for the poetess was information about plans to build the E40 waterway that would connect the Baltic with the Black Sea by water. This idea will have a devastating effect on nature. Thus, it was also a run against the oppression of creatures that have no voice and are not heard or seen.

Poetic reports from the Vistula route were published along with visual works by Rafał in the online Pismo Magazine (under the title ‘The Reading of Water: Vistula’). The project was organised with the Pismo Foundation.

Małgorzata Lebda (born 1985) – a poet who grew up in the Beskid village of Żeleźnikowa Wielka. The author of six poetry volumes, including award-winning Matecznik [Rootstock] and Sny uckermärkerów [Uckermärkers Dreams] (Gdynia Literary Award 2019). The latest volume is entitled Mer de Glace (Wydawnictwo Warstwy 2021). A doctor of human sciences and audiovisual arts. A scientist. An ultra-marathon runner. She is working on her prose debut. She lives in – and increasingly often outside – Krakow.

Rafał Siderski (born 1984) – an visual artist specialising mainly in photography. He graduated with a MA degree from the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava, where he is preparing a PhD dissertation. He takes part in – an initiative consisting in the digitalisation and elaboration of photo archives and the founder of Rava.Stories – an association established to promote photography. In 2019, he published a book Wyjedź Zostań [Leave Stay]. In his spare time, he goes or is “somewhere”.