Still Standing was created as a response to the heated debates surrounding the commemoration of KL Plaszow. The site of KL Płaszów in Kraków, is a former concentration camp founded on top of two Jewish cemeteries, which today in a quickly urbanizing city, serves primarily as a public park and recreation area, with a smattering of monuments and markers of memory, which do not sufficiently inform about the site’s history and topography.
The performative piece was an attempt to raise awareness among visitors about the location, aimed at engaging them and sparking conversations about the current status and the future of the site. It was designed as a temporary but repetitive intervention into the space. So far, it has been presented six times over three years—each year twice, in autumn, around Sukkot.
The performance itself explores the body as a vehicle of memory and site-specific live sculpture. It is accompanied by an audio recording for the audience to listen to while watching movements of the performers. Based on a historical choreography of Israeli choreographer Noa Eshkol, the performance was inspired by the piece she prepared for the 10th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1953, to be performed in the Lohamei Hageta’ot (Ghetto fighters) kibbutz.
While we are faced with conflicting narratives and expectations related to how the site of KL Plaszow should be commemorated, the performance is an attempt to commemorate it in a temporary way to create a platform for discussion. Using movement, choreography, and storytelling, its purpose lies in encouraging empathy and care for the site. By placing the bodies in space—with its layers of history—the performance creates images for the observers to interpret. By exploring relationships turned into physical action it creates a constant shift from the past to the present, from the collective to the personal. By being performed annually around Sukkot, its goal is to create a temporary monument for people to gather together outside and reflect and discuss.
At the same time, Still Standing is an exceptionally capacious action, suitable for adapting to other contexts. It has already been presented in Lublin as well. And in the near future it will be shown in Warsaw and Vilnius.
Concept: Weronika Pelczyńska, Aleksandra Janus
Realization: Weronika Pelczyńska, Aleksandra Janus, Monika Szpunar
Co-operation: Omer Krieger