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The Cut

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Photo: Bartosz Górka

The Cut, a public space intervention conceived by Centrala and Aslı Çavuşoğlu, aims to question a forgotten part of the history of Warsaw through excavation, exposing the different layers of the city.

After the Second World War, some architects and urban planners devised to rebuild Warsaw utilizing ruins and rubble, to establish a sense of continuity with the city’s traumatic past. Throughout the Muranów district, the construction of housing estates in 1948—a project by Bohdan Lachert—, began by levelling the rubble of the ghetto. The intention was to create a settlement-memorial set on a plateau of ruins.

Despite architectural attempts to make use of the rubble, there was leftover rubble not suitable to for recycling, which remained piled up in some locations, creating artificial hills. These anthropogenic hills, still existing in today’s Warsaw, are covered with grass and serve as features of public parks without any obvious connection to what they conceal underneath.

The Cut was realized on a hill in Karmelicka Street 2B as a temporary archaeological excavation site, September 20–25, 2015. Under the supervision of Ryszard Cędrowski, an archaeologist from the National Museum of Archaeology, the artists conducted an excavation to bring the different layers of history to the surface. Part excavation, part destruction, The Cut became a tool that opened up a discursive space by inviting local communities to explore what the grass-covered hills had concealed, to discuss the violence that shape cities, and to dissect the laws which govern the development of Warsaw.

After the weeklong excavation was concluded, the excavated part of the hill was filled with the soil extracted from the spot together with the “artefacts.” A special type of bush has been planted to mark the excavated section.

The project is implemented by POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw in a framework of the activity “Open Museum – Education in Action” program of artistic residencies carried out within the project “Jewish Cultural Heritage”, component “Faces of Diversity”. Supported from the Norway and EEA Grants by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

 

The text was edited by Merve Ünsal.

Here you can watch the documentation of the project.

 

 

[…] the excavation is a “tool rather than a target” through which they can ask some questions such as “Who owns the ruins?” and “Who has the right to change the city landscape?” to all the citizens.

Todays Zaman by Rümeysa Kiger