Between March and April 2018, Barbara Stelmachowska – a designer born in 1989, a graduate of the University of the Arts Poznań (UAP) – will carry out the “AERIAL RESIDENCY 2018” project in Sokołowsko. Her residency is a result of an open call organized bu the Culture Zone Wrocław and Culture-Ecological Association “Filtrator” within the framework of the competition for NGO sector, which is organized since 2015.
The central reference point of the work of Stelmachowska during the residency will certainly be the local context. What does the life of the residents of Sokołowsko look like? Who are they? What is their ecological awareness? To what extent do the history and traditions of this place affect contemporary, day-to-day life? Does everyone in Sokołowsko know everyone else or know a lot about one another, unlike anonymous residents of big cities?
Designer’s previous projects have often raised issues of functioning in the city space. The problem that usually arose was related to the lack of a sense of responsibility for a given neighbourhood, as if in accordance with the rule: "shared means belonging to nobody". Is Sokołowsko, as a village with about a thousand inhabitants, able to organise from the bottom up and act together for the benefit of its community? Preparing an educational campaign, Stelmachowska would also like to refer to signboards, created in the Sokołowsko’s metalworking plant, which used to function in sanatoriums many years ago. In the past, the patients were working in them as part of art therapy. Will the new signboards play a similar role?
Research on the causes of smog in Poland shows that the biggest threat is the so-called “low emission”. It turns out, therefore, that the source of the problem are not large corporations or factories, but the pollution produced on a daily basis by each of us – dust and gases from household stoves. In this context, shifting responsibility for the state of air to anyone else is simply a mistake.
By implementing a project related to air pollution in Sokołowsko designer wants to encourage the residents to reflect on the causes of this state of things and develop their sense of agency – the real impact of their everyday choices on the space in which they live. We are not able to solve the problem of smog in a few weeks, but it is a good excuse for a wider discussion on ecological awareness.
Stlemachowska gained her first professional experience during studies, designing interiors, scenography and taking part in numerous workshops and competitions. She’s finalist of the international makeme! competition! 2015, Young Design 2016 and Electrolux Design Lab 2016 and a laureate of the Haier Design Prize by IF. In her projects she focuses on issues related to urban space, social problems and sustainable design.