ABOUTWORKS             















My imaginary friends. (2020) 
Tusia Dabrowska and Wiktor Podgorski with Nathan Koch, Sara Batkie, and Clara Schuhmacher, as well as Ewa Pawlik, and Ula Bielicka, Jaśmina Polak, and Joanna Halszka Sokołowska. We would like to thank Zofia Moruś and Jay Pott for their help. THIS IS A CLUMSYCOOL PRODUCTION.

FestivAlt 2020
What would a near-future Kraków in a Poland that has a Jewish population of 5 million be like?

My Imaginary Friends is an outdoor AR audio experience and a 3D sculpture that imagines an alternative history. Located in a public plaza in the Jewish District in Kraków (Poland), this intervention asks the participant to imagine an alternative near-future where millions of Jews are living in the country. This project is a commission from Kraków-based FestivAlt and it is scheduled to be released in September 2020.

This project is a collaboration between Tusia Dabrowska and Wiktor Podgorski with Nathan Koch, Sara Batkie, and Clara Schuhmacher. In addition, Ewa Pawlik did archival research into the history of Poland post the Second Transformation, and Ula Bielicka, Jaśmina Polak, and Joanna Halszka Sokołowska recorded Polish versions. We would like to thank Zofia Moruś and Jay Pott for their help.




CONCEPT

MY IMAGINARY FRIENDS is an outdoor AR audio experience that imagines an alternative history of Poland. In this near-future Poland, there is a secular calendar, Yiddish is the official second language, and we have one of the longest lifespans in Europe. Once the app is activated, the participant sees a monument and encounters (audio) a friend who guides them through a short moment on the Anniversary of the Second Transformation.   

The app relies on a familiar trope of a friend giving a tour of her city. The experience is self directed, and a participant can design their own path. It offers 7 points of interaction where we encounter daily life from an alternative Poland in which the Jewish minority is of the same proportion as it was at the beginning of the last century. How would this change the country’s relations to other minorities, its own traditions and land? Sharing just a single moment, the story provokes the participant to imagine another moment that maps out their own missing history of near-future multiethnic Poland. 



STATEMENT

“My Imaginary Friends” is an outdoor, site-specific AR audio experience that imagines an alternative history. Located in a public plaza in the Jewish District in Kraków (Poland), this intervention asks the participant to imagine an alternative near-future where millions of Jews are living in the country.

Central to our intervention into the public plaza is an acknowledgment of the fractured social histories of the site. Our project is seeking to create, as a forward-looking restorative act, a time dilution. Building on literary traditions of Ashkenazi Magical Realism, we insert speculative fiction into a historically Jewish site. The gesture is with an eye toward new bonds of solidarity.

The work uses the augmented space to map onto a physical reality a near-future Poland with a secular calendar, Yiddish as the official second language, and one of the longest lifespans in Europe. Strands of research into cultural production and economic practices of minorities in pre-WWII Eastern Europe are woven into a fictional narrative that uses the familiar trope of a friend giving a tour of her city. Sharing a single moment, the story provokes the participant to imagine another moment and invites their own missing history of near-future multiethnic Poland.  

We created a monument to a mock public holiday, The Second Transformation, to stake out in the augmented realm a space that counters “the totalizing eye” by celebrating marginalized voices and encouraging critical dialogue. Our decision to work in XR was in part a reaction to the predominant use of augmented tools as modes of unquestioned usurpation of space by market forces.







(c) tusia dabrowska