Zuzanna Bartoszek: Guided Meditations I-II-III
Do you see this window?
Let’s move closer to it
There is a man down there
He is waving at you
I know you love him
Don’t wave back
Let’s move to another room
For A Strange Encounter/ Hey you Zuzanna Bartoszek will present three of her Guided Meditations. The Guided Meditations are a series of expanded poetry performances that employ intimate confession and self-exposure, modelled on the structure of spa-like relaxation meditations, to give an account of the poet’s intimate reflections, desires, fears and fetishes of finitude.
In these performances, Bartoszek’s pre-recorded voice delivers her own poems, while the she stages gestures, actions and stillness in the space. Her soothing voice and deceptively casual tone, guides the audience as witnesses through a psychic topology of her internal dimensions. The visitors are caught between being voyeurs to an internal monologue and implicated customers of a service, in which they are seduced to evoke and experience subtly violent images of anxiety and alienation. The shifting registers of addressee and addressed, attempt to trouble the interior and exterior and split the subject. Witnessing her voice separated from her body, the performer is at once alienated from and saturated with her own words.
Through subtle costumes and minimal props, Bartoszek stages herself as a character who is a clown, a baroque poet and spa worker or client - a surface of desire leaking with anxieties of finitude. Her words and actions quietly and seamlessly move along the structures of fetish, as an erotics of lack, disavowal and death. Here, the spa-like guided meditation is a substitute: "The substitute also functions as a mask, covering over and disavowing the traumatic sight of nothing... It represents a memorial, marking the point of lack... This fragile carapace shares the phantasmic space of the fetish itself, masking the site of the wound, covering the lack with beauty.”
The measured voice and the subtly seductive aesthetics are latent with the mechanics of anxiety and alienation. The soft sexuality of the guide, the voice and the textures of the staging, displace this anxiety and alienation, which nevertheless return as made manifest in the elisions and condensations of her playful language and gestures.
Zuzanna Bartoszek (born 1993 in Poznań, Poland) lives and works in Warsaw and has an expanded poetry practice, comprising various forms of text, drawing and performance. Her work employs intimate confessions and reflections infused with an erotics of consumption, social mediation, illness and death. Her Guided Meditations are series of poetic performances, that Bartoszek has been developing since 2016. They consist of simple ritual gestures accompanied by recordings of her reading her own poems tracing fears and fetishes of finitude of self.
The previous Meditations took place at Kem, Warsaw; Lava Festival, Kraków and Cell Project Space, London.
Her poems were published in such magazines as Lampa, Czas Kultury, Fabularie, Zwykłe Życie. Publishing published her debut poetry collection Niebieski Dwór/Blue Court. Her recent projects include the group shows “Ministry of Internal Affairs” at Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, “Perverts” at Cell Project Space in London, and the performance “Meditation no.3” at Lava Festival in Kra