Interview with Katarzyna Krakowiak
I interviewed Katarzyna about hear experiences of Xpedition Caucasus so far:
‘I went on the first Xpedition so I am always looking for the differences between the two Xpeditions, between Georgia and Sweden and Norway.
I thought before I came here that Georgia would be more energetic than Sweden, more dynamic. I thought the people would be more extravert than the Swedes. But actually I find that Georgia is slower. The Georgians are calmer than the Swedish. It is like the people here are waiting or looking for something. Everywhere I see people who just seem to be waiting – on the street, in the houses, in the shops.
In Tskaltubo I saw an old woman sitting in the old post office in a dirty, untidy space. I wondered why doesn’t she clean it? But she was just sitting there. What is she waiting for? What is everyone waiting for? The people seem to be waiting for someone else to do something first. I wondered if is because when the Soviet Union stopped the culture stopped and now they are waiting for new person or a new system to give them direction. But I am not sure. I don’t think it’s because they are lazy or have no plan. The Swedish people we met on the North Xpedition showed us that they really wanted to fight for nature or for their place. But here I just get a sense of everyone waiting for something to happen. I am also interested in the Georgians’ body language – they seem indifferent to everything – but that’s not true.
And all the empty spaces, empty buildings – even the buildings are waiting, waiting for someone to use them or invest in them – the trees and everything seem to be waiting for something.
The Tskaltubo refugee camp was another place where people were waiting – they don’t want to renovate their spaces because then it becomes their home. It is no longer temporary. If they renovated the space they would be saying this is our permanent home.
I also thought that the Director’s relationship with the refugee families was very interesting. He had a huge office and yet he told us about the very limited space (10 metres square) that each family had to live in. But his office was huge. And he still called the place a sanatorium. I think he expects that the past will come back – you could see this from the way he spoke, giving us a lecture and using his stick to point at the map.
During the trip I am recording sound and I am making a transcription of sounds to draw a big map of the Xpedition. But every time I start to record, along comes a car! Cars keep coming all the time – interrupting my recordings – it’s like a highway everywhere! So I have to cut the recordings very short – to 2 or 3 seconds. So the situation in the city with all these cars is actually changing the structure of my recording. It is more like I am sketching.
Finally I am wondering what is the right art or the right medium to communicate with the people here. And I feel that we – the artists on the trip – we too are waiting for something that will explain the situation.’