Leone

Contini

Firenze, 1976

Kolonial Haus | Kronika, Poland, 2015

Kolonial Haus, Kronika, Poland, 2015
Courtesy: Leone Contini, Kronika


Holonial Haus*

Bytom town, Upper Silesia or Southern Poland, once a crossroad of three Empires: Austro-Hungary, German empire and the czarist Russia. Several communities vanished from this region during the last century, while others ended up here as a consequence of forced migrations. The traces of these ghosts are everywhere, plastering the facades of this former german city, a neglected jewel or Art  Nouveau (Jugendstl): bards, atlas, puts and mythic beasts. They observe us from above, unseen. Other traces are instead incorporated in the bodies, as food, or its simulacra: an old german recipe from a former neighbor, a lost jewish dumpling, an eastern polish (Kresovian) cabbage roll. This food, related with communities that somehow vanished, survives in the shadow, despite the disappearance of the community itself, enclosed in very specific social contexts or hidden in the family practices, or just in the reveries of single individuals.  But food is a force of the human becoming, and many other culinary habits entered the scene since the beginning of the socialist Polish People's Republic until nowadays, a time of intense food transformations due both to mobility (including migrations) and new food visions. 

The work consisted in several collective actions around these recipes, from oral food-tales to vegan food-actions in a local anarchist squat, including the experience of comfort food of vietnamese migrants in Bytom.

Recipes, tales and drawings that I collected are in the process to become an artist book. The research is ongoing in other areas in south-eastern Poland which suffered similar precesses during the XX century.

 

*The building of the residency program of Kronika was a shop of exotic products from overseas, name Kolonial Haus and belonging to a jewish family which vanished during the nazi persecutions.

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