Warsaw afterimages: Of walls and memories

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Abstract

This essay examines the wall plaques Pawel Pawlikowski recalls as still informing imaginaries of the film 'Ida'. The 1948 commemorative project indexed the city with a constellation of stone tablets inscribed with nameless laconic statistics of war-time killings. With its officially commissioned design, it replaced earlier acts of local remembrance, giving a standard form to the memory of national trauma. Executed over two decades by the local sculptor Karol Tchorek, this fragmentary monument marks discrete places scattered across Warsaw, designating walls as places of trauma – scores micro-histories of individual locations and inscribed surfaces. Charting the city’s “spatial violence” it outlines its persistent aphasia . As a popular photo and film location, continually threatened by the encroaching development, the Tchorek-Bentall Studio assembles and reveals complex histories and uncertain futures of Warsaw walls and local (architectural) memories. While Pawlikowski’s filmic essay stills the imaginaries, this fragile place preserved in a fractured building by the sculptor’s family, still persists in sheltering this devastated city.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Walls
Subtitle of host publicationPolitical and Cultural Meanings of Vertical Structures and Surfaces
EditorsAndrea Mubi Brighenti, Mattias Kärrholm
Place of PublicationAbingdon; New York
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter6
Pages119-143
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9780203730225
ISBN (Print)9781138304338
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018

Publication series

NameClassical and Contemporary Social Theory
PublisherRoutledge

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