Flow - Walls and the Imagination

Walls and the Imagination FLOW 11th June 2016

Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture, 2016 / Chris Baldwin


Last year I visited Israel. I have never been in a country with so many walls, gates and barriers. So many guns. I knew Northern Ireland, with the walls which separated Catholics from Protestants. And I know only how well the wall in Berlin separated one half of a family from the other half. I remember waiting for hours to pass from France to Spain. And last year I had the opportunity to remember how life was across the whole Europe only a couple of decades ago - when I wanted to cross from Poland to Ukraine by car.

Equally, Israel struck me for the huge amount of effervescent energy people were dedicating to exploring what it meant to knock down walls. Walls between peoples. Walls between genders. Walls between religions. The walls inside of ourselves. I witnessed painful, urgent conversations. They were everywhere. In the streets. In the theatres. In the schools. And it was happening through dance! Yes, dance.

I am delighted to announce "Flow" – a whole day of free events in the middle of Wroclaw which touch upon the theme of diasporas, travel and movement of people. Three of the best, turbo charged, contemporary dance companies from Israel will be performing in the centre of Wroclaw on June 11th. With the help of artists and performers from Germany, Ukraine, Poland and Czech Republic and Holland, we are proud to announce an energising, inspiring and delightful day for everyone who wishes to take part. All events are free while some have a restricted number for audiences.

In its essence culture is a utopian activity. Even Shakespeare's "King Lear" encourages us to ask “what if” and “only if” questions…even if we live in a world of fear and walls, of traitors and internecine strife, in terror of our neighbours, our instincts and imaginations crave the space to conjure up alternatives.

Culture is the space to which we turn to quench our human need to inhabit communal utopian spaces – even when such spaces are ephemeral. The morning of "Flow" consists of four zones around the River Odra linked together by a wardrobe project, "Knock, Knock, Who's There?". Come and leave your own written or photo messages in the 21 wardrobes which will be found linking four zones together in the centre of the city. By doing so help us tell the world where your family came from – and where it might
be going!

In each of the four zones you will find extraordinary events happening between 11am to 8pm – all for free. From contemporary dance on Wyspa Piasek (Sand Island), to a beautiful and enigmatic project involving eating Grandma's Jam in the Botanical Gardens. Audacious stories of surprise and risk can be encountered in University Square. The next zone consists of Nowy Targ Square, Hala Targowa, the blocks near Frycza Modrzewskeigo Street, the square in front of Academy of Fine Arts, Purkynieg Street between Radisson Hotel, The National Museum and Slowackiego Park. Come and see a story unfolding over 60 years in front of your very eyes. And there is more. Much more. Exhibitions, workshops... for precise details and schedules of all the Flow events please see below.

At 10pm "Flow" culminates with an international musical and light performance on the Odra for a city audience. An orchestra and choir from four countries will perform a new work written from a deep collaboration between four young composers from Czech Republic, Israel, Germany and Poland within a musical frame written by Wroclaw composer, Pawel Romanczuk.

The walls which Pawel Romanczuk constructed for this piece of music are the kinds of walls which don´t close down dialogue – but instead help an otherwise unstructured one to find form. As the evening performance unfolds you will have the chance to see the buildings and river as rarely seen before. You should not miss this free event where ever you are. It is for you... and your imagination…

Download the full text from here.