at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and
the Polish Cultural Institute in New York
THE ORANGE ALTERNATIVE'S
SUBVERSIVE STREET HAPPENINGS
in A View From the East: Documentaries of Eastern Europe
part of Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe
Tuesday, February 9, 2010, 2:30 PM
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Bruno Walter Auditorium
Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
111 Amsterdam Avenue (at 65th Street) , New York, NY
Tickets: free Tel: 212.870.1700
Since 1989, some of the most daring and innovative documentaries have come out of Central and Eastern Europe. The View From the East series (January 19 - February 23), which is part of Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe - a performing arts festival marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism in Europe - presents films made in the Festival's represented countries, including two from Poland: Miroslaw Dembicki's The Orange Alternative (1988) and The Dwarves Go to Ukraine (2005). Their screenings will be introduced by Elzbieta Matynia, Associate Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies at The New School for Social Research.
The Wroclaw-based Orange Alternative - a political performance and happening collective - first used whimsical graffiti and fairytale dwarf costumes to poke fun at Communism. After the imposition of Martial Law, walls in Poland were often painted with anti-government slogans like "There's no freedom without Solidarity." The authorities would paint over them, and suddenly all of Poland was covered with white spots. It was then that Major Frydrych had an ingenious idea to paint the walls with dwarves. Next, the dwarves climbed down from the walls and went out onto the streets to organize happenings with slogans like "There's no freedom without Dwarves." The bewildered police found themselves arresting dwarves wearing orange caps: Communism had reached the limits of absurdity. The Orange Alternative's peaceful street happenings in Poland in the 1980s went down in the annals of political opposition; but the group and its subversive spirit continue until today. When a similarly named revolution broke out in Ukraine in 2004, the Orange Alternative dwarves boarded an orange bus and drove from Warsaw to Kiev, organizing performances in support of it.
Presented by the Reserve Film and Video Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York as part of Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe, a performing arts festival marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism in Europe, presented by The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in partnership with key New York City cultural organizations and academic institutions, November 2009 - March 2010. www.performingrevolution.org.
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