On a Saturday, we completed the first cycle of art workshops at the Warsaw Gas Plant Museum. Thank the Gas Plant team and especially Teresa Klochowicz for inviting us to collaborate and for the trust she placed in us to realise the project. Thank everyone who came to participate in our activities! We are delighted that often, despite the cold, runny nose and hectic Holidays period, you found the time to have fun with us 🙂
We launched the workshops in mid-November. From the beginning, they were available in a „family” version, i.e. weekend meetings, and a „school” version, i.e. for organised groups from kindergarten to second/third grade of primary school. We had a great time working with all the groups. It has been a while since the celebratory premiere, so I will remind you of the individual themes: „Gasworks”, „Night – Day. The mechanical garden of electricity”, „The machine started”, „In the rhythm of machines”, and the last one: „Something smells here”.
The idea for the workshop in the museum came from our personal experience. One day, with our daughters (aged 2 and 4), we visited an institution that cares for and displays a collection of artefacts. We quickly noticed that this type of space isn’t for kids. I have written more about it here.
Usually, a museum is designed for viewing and reading. Children can look at the exhibits for a while, a little longer if we entertain them with a funny story. The youngest prefer to touch, tap, smell and jump around the objects collected there. Pure anarchism 😉
The idea of holding something to view rather than use it was born out of the need to flaunt one’s wealth or to boast about one’s wartime acquisitions. On the other hand, isn’t it also the case that an object placed in a museum ends its real and practical life?
In any case, we decided to hack a museum. Looking for work, we came across the Museum of the Warsaw Gasworks. Here we proposed a series of artistic workshops. The main idea was to design the activities based on sensory and creative discovery. In a word, they were to encourage what usually you not to allowed to do in a museum.
At the workshop „Gasscreature”, we dressed up as colourful gasometers and danced along with the elephant we met in the ammonia scrubber. On the meeting „Night – Day. Mechanical Electric Garden”, we played with old cans, wires, caps and other small scrap metal. Next, we developed aliens on photographic paper and created magical slides using coloured film, sand, dried flowers and oil. At the meeting „In the rhythm of machines”, on the other hand, we played out the lives of machines and workers with our bodies, practised yoga on the kerosene-smelling boards of the gas plant, and later performed a dance performance: „We are the robots” to a Kraftwerk song. „The machine has moved” was a musical adventure and playing anything that came along. We closed the series with the workshop „Something smells here”, where we experienced the museum space as a sensory garden and discovered synesthetic abilities in ourselves. Finally, everyone created their unique fragrance: „Soire de Gaz plant”. There were also haiku, futuristic poems by Czyżewski and a pantomime. Whoever was there knows 🙂
The next edition of our art workshops is planned for late January/early February. We will keep you informed. In the meantime, we recommend a visit to the Warsaw Gasworks Museum and a guided tour. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the chance to hear the hits of yesteryear live.
And if you like what we are doing and want to invite us to join in, please write to us: bebegu.knicha(at)gmail.com. We are open to suggestions. See you!