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Winter Holiday Camp, first meetup


Winter Holiday Camp is an artistic experiment in institutional democracy open to the collaboration of children and adults alike, including every worker of CCA Ujazdowski Castle and its visiting public. 

The project was cancelled by the CCA for political reasons, (though talks of a continued form are in progress 11/07/13) yet continues in an autonomous form by the working group described below. 

The Working Group of Winter Holiday Camp is a collective of artists and activists from a diverse array of countries. We don’t exist singularly, but rather form a node in a series of networks that straddles political and artistic spheres. 

 The primary goal of Winter Holiday Camp is to form a deeper understanding of the cultural institution and to transform it playfully--working with children as our guides into the future, in search of real solutions to satisfy the shifting fantasies and expectations of a society in transition. Our goals will be bolstered by two primary areas of research: firstly, to grasp the position of the CCA within the larger cultural-political context of a rapidly changing Europe and a global crisis of late-stage capitalism breached by trans-local social uprisings; and further, to understand the internal structure--hidden values and points of conflict--of this specific institution.

Originally a solo project of Pawel Althamer, Winter Holiday Camp will build from the pedagogical practice developed by Janusz Korczak, who worked with children as "little citizens" with full rights, respect and agency. Korczak’s work with children contained an ethical imperative that all people be included in horizontal decision-making processes that affect their lives and livelihoods. This visionary and functional model of democracy resonates with the democratic tools adopted and developed by the recent social movements, including general assemblies, non-hierarchical working groups and collective propositions.

 Inspired by the implementation of institutional horizontality within the Berlin Biennale 7, Pawel Althamer made the critical decision to open this project to collaborative practice. He invited Artur Zmijewski, who in turn invited Occupy Museums member Noah Fischer, leading to the formation of a "working group" of artists and activists from Poland, as well as from New York City, New Orleans, Berlin, Mexico City, Madrid, Budapest and Buenos Aires, united in Warsaw to share full authorship over the project and offer participation to CCA staff. (A first document of shared authorship between CCA and the working group, which shares all copyright with CCA workers, can be viewed at Winterholidaycamp.org). The current Working Group of Winter Holiday Camp includes members Paweł Althamer, Raquel Gomez Amborosio, Tal Beery, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Antonio Calleja-Lopez, Maureen Connor, Gabriella Csoszó, Noah Fischer, Federico Geller, Zuzanna Ratajczyk, Dorota Sajewska, Igor Stokfiszewski, Joulia Strauss, Paula Strugińska, Martyna Sztaba, Zofia Waślicka, Katarzyna Wąs and Artur Żmijewski.