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Song of Myself: Wojciech Bąkowski’s Films and Videos


I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul, / The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me, / The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue. —Walt Whitman

In the work of Polish poet, musician, and installation artist Wojciech Bąkowski, the self is the catalyst for transcendental expression. By directly drawing and using his own saliva on 35mm film stock, or making computerized, abstract animations, Bąkowski dives into his inner reality to convey a word-view that takes inspiration in the grotesque, the absurd, and the surreal. In conjunction with Anthology Film Archives, Museum of the Moving Image presents the most comprehensive film retrospective of Bąkowski’s films and videos in North America, and the first one in New York City. Program duration: 65 mins.

Worsening of Eyesight (2013, 6 mins. Digital projection.) Bąkowski reflects on the distortions of perception, focusing on what occurs in our lives at each and every second.

Spoken Movie 5 (2010, 6 mins. Digital projection.) In this camera-less animation, drawn directly on 35mm stock, the nonsense that surrounds us is made evident through drawings, cutouts, stencil graphics, the filmmaker’s voice, and music by Dawid Szczesny.

Sound of My Soul (2014, 13 mins. Digital projection.) Referring to Marcel Proust, Bąkowski positions himself as an outsider within his own mind.

Spoken Movie 6 (2011, 6 mins. Digital projection.) Employing animated puppets to impersonate himself, Bąkowski expresses a kind of existential boredom, mixed with a pessimistic accounting of his daily life.

Dry Standpipe (2012, 13 mins. Digital projection. New York premiere.) In this video collage, remembering becomes the way to try and understand the mundane aspects of life.

Construction of The Day (2013, 9 mins. Digital projection.) As with other works by Bąkowski, this film expresses discontent and defiance.

Prospects’ Overview (2013, 9 mins. Digital projection. New York premiere.) Filmmaker and viewer walk through virtual distances in a computer-generated world. 

Free with museum admission

Guest curator: Mónica Savirón

Organized in partnership with the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and Anthology Film Archives. Special thanks to the Polish Cultural Institute New York and the Audio Visual Arts (AVA), and Bureau.