Kumzits is a programme of site-specific public art produced over distance and commissioned for the 30th Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow (June 25th – July 4th, 2021)
We miss being able to get together, so we created “Kumzits”, which means campfire in Hebrew. A group of us from Jerusalem, Berlin and Krakow developed eight art projects in public space. They are our proverbial campfire. Although most of us could not make it here in person, we are all around Kazimierz. Come and share a moment with us.
Kumzits is a collaborative experimental project between Berlin, Jerusalem and Krakow. It shows eight public art projects and urban interventions around Kazimierz, the historical Jewish quarter in the center of Krakow, ranging from sculpture, installations and posters to audio walks, live drawing sessions and participatory embroidery. Ten artists from Berlin and Jerusalem are invited to create site-specific artworks over distance, in close collaboration with other artists, local craftspeople, performers and mediators, and the curatorial team.
The programme takes place as part of the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, the largest presentation of contemporary Jewish culture, as well as one of the most important cultural events in Krakow and in Poland. In line with the main theme of the 30th edition of the festival in 2021 – fire – it is titled after the Hebrew term for campfire, kumzits קומזיץ. Derived from the Yiddish words קום (come) and זיץ (sit), the word was originally used to describe an outdoor communal meal or gathering around a fire.
Within this project, the term is re-contextualized as a concept for communal experience in a time when physical gathering is no longer a given.
We share our experiences, frustrations and hopes during the pandemic in the streets of Kazimierz. Our posters hold a piece of our lives in Jerusalem, Krakow and Berlin – as women, mothers and daughters but also as artists. Do you know how Covid has made a bad situation even worse?
Cooperation: Hila Lulu Lin Farah Kufer Birim, Iwona Demko, Angela Hampel, Malwina Niespodziewana, Joanna Pawlik, Tanja Seltzer, Nomi Tannhauser
The deluge is here. We are on the move from home into an uncertain future, improvising our makeshift shelter. When the waters are rising, the nomad’s raft serves as their cultural ark – a place of belonging. Come, join our journey and sit with us for a while, before we have to move on.
Cooperation: Oskar Krasoń, Adam Zduńczyk
Seven nomads from Krakow shared their personal stories with me. I am kind of a nomad myself. To hear these talented storytellers speak honestly about their relationship to home was and still is inspiring. You can listen to them too, just give them a call.
Cooperation: Izabela Gruchała, Kirill Aleksandrov, Jenet Chilgezkuliyeva, Weronika Kozłowska, Agnieszka Marecka, Ieva Matkevičiūtė, Martin Perring, Adam Zduńczyk
My great grandfather was a candle manufacturer in Poland before the war. In my temporary wax dipping workshop here, in Krakow, I am going back in time, trying to revive a daily life long gone. Bring two objects that represent two points on your personal timeline (objects that you don’t mind letting go of) and join me in reconstructing an imagined memory.
In 2018 I visited Krakow to participate in the Jewish Culture Festival. This year, I won’t be there in person. My absence is physically present. My self-portrait has been spread around Kazimierz, unprotected, and waiting to find a home. If you see me, will you invite me in?
I have never been to Krakow, I am a tourist here. Come, sit with me, and show me your favorite spot in the city, the place that means the most to you. Let’s create a souvenir together, a moment of remembrance. In return, I will send it to you in the post… for free!
The echo of Jewish life and past trauma is present everywhere in Krakow, as is the spectacle of commodification. Tourists are offered souvenirs, I offer you stones. Laying small stones on top of graves is a common Jewish tradition. As you walk through this city, lay them to rest.
Come and join me around the table. I collected symbols from gravestones around Poland. Choose one that speaks to you, and embroider it as freely as you wish. Together we reconnect the hidden layers of stories, people, beliefs and traditions gathered into one symbol, like frozen images to be revived.
Yael Sherill, Lianne Mol & Julia Kawka – Curatorial Collective for Public Art, Berlin
Meydad Eliyahu – HaMiffal, Jerusalem
Paweł Kowalewski – Jewish Culture Festival, Kraków
The Curatorial Collective for Public Art (CCPA) develops curatorial formats for the production, mediation and representation of art in public space, public art and urban interventions. As an agency for site-specific, transdisciplinary, critical and transitory public art, it approaches curatorial practice as a collective endeavor on the intersection of concept, organization and design. The collective combines the members’ collective interests and expertise in curatorial practice, exhibition and stage design, cultural mediation, research, dramaturgy and project management in the field of site-specific theater, transdisciplinary art in public space and socially engaged practices. CCPA is an independent, nomadic collective based in Berlin although without a fixed space, working across a variety of localities and collaborating with institutional partners and project spaces.
Yael Sherill (Israel) is a freelance curator, cultural manager and dramaturg working between the performing and visual arts. In her work, she explores mediation in and as art with an emphasis on art in public space. Yael also researches meta-curatorial questions relating to speculative financial models for artistic production, including decentralized networks, blockchains, cooperatives and ensemble work.
Lianne Mol (The Netherlands) is an independent curator, cultural manager and researcher. In her practice she experiments with curatorial formats and cultural mediation, with a focus on art in public space, socially engaged art and institutional critique. She also researches sustainability questions in the fashion industry.
Julia Kawka (Germany) is active as producer for art in public space and freelance set designer in the field of performing arts with an emphasis on site-specific documentary theatre and international productions
Meydad Eliyahu is a Jerusalem based artist, curator, and art educator. Eliyahu’s public, site specific art projects deal with memory and hidden layers of cultural history . Eliyahu curated ‘Sambation’ project of HaMiffal at the JCF 28th edition as well as other projects in Jerusalem and abroad.
HaMiffal (“The Factory” in Hebrew), is an artist-run culture center located in an historic compound in central Jerusalem. It provides an open platform for the meeting and exchange of ideas across multiple identities in Jerusalem and beyond.