The city, just like any other corporal entity, consists of autonomous, self-governing elements that perceive. In the city everything is based on perception. All possible elements that amount to the urban tissue create a set of completely independent, infinitely complex substances, randomly having impact on each other, and building a kind of neural network. Each and every component of the network is an active entity by itself, connected to the nervous system of the integral whole. The city is permanently permeated by entities, which never are at rest: the entities that constantly notice (and are noticed), perceive (and are perceived), contest (and are contested). City is a conglomeration of bodies and their organs, which bear witness to the process of concentration the multitude of micro-perceptions in one perception. City expresses what is already present in each of its parts. The whole urban tissue, despite being in the state of flux, remains the unity. The never-ending process of mutual interplay between the elements unites everything into one urban, living organism. The whole city, a small universe, is reflected in each monad: the same content, but under different modes of presentation. Each monad is, in fact, an elusive city-monad in the micro-scale. Each monad is full of different configurations of clear and vague perceptions, present in autonomous, genetic elements, which form a neural network. Each monad that is at bottom a fragmentary, yet unique tissue of one big city-monad, feels the micro-motions occurring at every end of the city. In the course of ongoing and never-ending perceptive processes that take place into each individual monad with a different level of intensity, independent yet at the same time coherent urban monologues are created… Aleksandra Hirszfeld
Monadology. A treatise on relationality is a live stage installation based on Monadology written by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in 1714. His famous work seems to gain new actuality in the context of mutual interplay of human body and city. Since 1714 cognitive and biological sciences had undergone huge evolution, not to say revolution, in exploring human body and its relation to the rest of the world. It has not been a long time since Deleuze noticed that the idea presented in Leibniz’s Monadology is astoundingly up to date. By means of performance, the architectural design, light design, Augmented Reality Installation and audio installation the life stage installation is going to refer to the current knowledge from the field of biological sciences, and tell a metaphorical story about a city construed as a corporal being. A particularly important point of reference is the network paradigm as a way of thinking about city. The dialogue which takes place among the cells of our body, our organs, between the bodies, as well as the body and the city, resembles and determined, conditioned monologue of each part alone. The interaction is possible thanks to the network relations, which make flows and impulses possible. What is present at a micro level is also present on the large scale in the urban space – the neural network combines everything into one monadic organism. The life stage installation is constructed as a crystal-labyrinth. In 2014 there will be the 300th anniversary of Monadology.
The installation in its structure corresponds to chosen concepts of Leibniz world. All elements that build the life stage installation, like the architectural design, the audio installation or even the graphic elements that are used on the costumes correspond to five chosen issues that organize the structure of Leibniz’s world but at the same time we can find them in the contemporary world. These are: perspective, perception, networking, monologue and repetition. On the narrative level this metaphorical treatise about the world – about its construction and the way it functions – is a suggestive reinterpretation of the nature of the multiple relations that hold between “Me” and the contemporary world. It is the very essence of Leibnitz’s monads – the prior substances, or the building blocks of the world – that they do not have windows or doors. This lack in their constitution has a significant consequence, which is lack of access to the world outside them. The treatise on relationality is composed of five parts/spaces organized around monologues that are constantly and feverishly practiced in collision with ourselves, with Other, with society, with city and with matter. These monologues are both verbal and corporeal. Their scene is the urban environment in all its speaking diversity.
Important: To be able to fully experience the installation you should have with yourself smartphone or tablet with an application that reads Augmented Reality, for example: www.metaio.com
Concept and director: Aleksandra Hirszfeld
Production designer: Małgorzata Kuciewicz / centrala
Choreography and text director: Marta Ziółek
Costumes and AR: Krzysztof Syruć
Performers: Agnieszka Kryst, Anna Nowicka, Katarzyna Sitarz, Paweł Sakowicz
Music: Maria Kozłowska, Wojtek Urbański
Light installation: Architecture for Society of Knowledge / Wydział Architektury Politechniki Warszawskiej, Marcin Strzała, Jacek Markusiewicz
Production: Ela Petruk, Ewa Paradowska
Graphic design: Olek Modzelewski
Thanks to: Liwia Bargiel, Mateusz Falkowski, Elżbieta Grzelczak, Joanna Klimczyk, Urszula Stępień, Sebastian Szymański, Ernest Wińczyk
Photos in the slideshow:
1. Anna Nowicka, Ja-Materia, photo: Bartosz Górka
2. Paweł Sakowicz, Ja-Inny, photo: Bartosz Górka
3. Photo: Agata Kawecka
The project was developed in 2014 by Bęc Zmiana Foundation. It was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.