II World War

branding-border

Chaos / Xaoc research project

Katyn

branding-border

1941

Introduction

International relations is a subject of deep historical dimensions. All current international conflicts have their roots in past events, sometimes many centuries ago. Our all views on international issues are the product of our past collective experiences.
Norman Davies

Katyn

The Katyn massacre happened in April 1940 during the "liberation" of the Eastern part of Poland from German occupation. A forest near Katyn was the place where Russian security service shot 22,000 Polish officers. In 1943 the German army discovered this mass grave. However the responsibility for the crime went directly to the German army. A Soviet propaganda managed to convince the allied countries about this. According to Davies the most outrageous fact is that the British government did not reveal the truth about the responsibility for this crime for another 50 years of the Cold War. “Even when President Gorbachev finally presented documents proving that Stalin had committed the crime, the British establishment wasn’t thrilled.” As Davies says this is another example of the manipulation of historical facts that is shocking for democratic countries.

Holocaust

Holocaust is another historical fact that was ignored for more than two decades (40’s - 60’s) by the so-called Western culture. However, in the 60's it had suddenly become the main point of reference. Many survivors who lived and worked in Poland at the time denied their origin and religion. It was a complicated process and the result of various reasons including the events of World War II or communist ideology. At the same time the judgment on the Nazis had been continued everywhere else. A breakthrough event was the Eichman’s trial in 1961 and introduction of the concept of "banality of evil" by political thinker Hannah Arendt. However, over the next several decades commercialization of the term “Holocaust” occured and suffering has been trivialized. It was manifested through the contemporary / institutional art, film industry and recently social media. The extreme outcome of this is the recent trend of stylization as the Holocaust victim / ghost on Tik Tok.... During the decades of this process some conspiracy theories appeared but this is not the only dramatic result. An equally frightening and difficult to grasp consequence was the relativization of war crimes and suffering. For instance, the awarness of a scale of Soviet war crimes does not actually exist in Western culture.
The numerous references to the crime of Holocaust are characteristic in particular for polish contemporary artists. What is significant in many works of the survivors or their descendants, direct references to Holocaust are usually absent. Then any accusation of cynicism and cheap journalism may be the result of willfulness, deficiency of empathy and often lacking historical knowledge of some polish contemporary artists.
The work ”Game of Tag" by Artur Zmijewski was one of these cases. ”Game of Tag" had a fairly clear reception; It was a wave of protests among both, Jewish circles and representatives of culture in Poland and Germany, where it was supposed to be shown. Ultimately, the work was removed from the exhibition about... the long history of Polish-German relations. All this fuss, however, did not negatively affect artists' careers (one of his works, for instance, is a part of Tate Modern collection). Moreover, Zmijewski is a dignified representative of art financed by the public. In the end it might be worth confronting this scandal. I think it could be another example of the ignorance and insolence of contemporary artists, when invasive interpretation of events and mindless use of human dramas to shock is confused with breaking taboos or breaking down 'barriers'. Let's hope this is not as dangerous as the ignorance of politicians as it was mentioned in the case of war in Iraq.