Story of a land
About a landscape, identity and us
"There should be friendship. Not only friendship towards a friend or a defined group but general friendship to the other, any other. To our surrounding, to the past and to the future". (Excerpt of ‘About a land - A Manifest’)
About 30 years ago the ruin of a church became the starting point of an ongoing journey that brought together strangers, strangers of different nationality and confession and with different languages and cultures. Strangers that once faced each-other as enemies. But strangers with one common ground. For every one of them the land the church and the town stand upon is part of their identity, their home.
My grandfather was one of the initiators of this project in his hometown in the former eastern areas of Germany that became part of Poland at the end of WWII. Two generations later with the disappearance of witnesses of the destruction of the church this project is a journey through the land and its stories. A journey inspired by reconstruction project and the friendship that this created and by the peoples commitment, attachment and passion about their lost or inherited home.
Three places in the landscape of Chojna are the beginning of this journey. A journey to meet, to tell, to rediscover, to imagine and to dream our own new perspective of ourself and the world we are part of. Three places in a landscape that is the silent witness of the past, bares its marks, that simply accepts. A landscape of innocence, but also of guilt, that serves as a collection of all our traces. But also a landscape that is free, free of all prejudice, nationality, race and preoccupations. A landscape that treats each and everyone that stands within it the same. That does not adjust or adapt to the individual, that stays itself. A landscape that bares the roots of our future.
This journey highlights, reveals and encourages the discovery of our connection to our land. Each location, in its own way, creates an experience that invites people to (re-)discover and embrace the characteristics and qualities of that specific place. Based on the historic, cultural, natural and personal layers of the land they represent new perspectives and approaches to inspire a discourse on peoples connection to their land and to each-other. Together they represent the diversity of the land and its inhabitants and create a base for a new approach towards the renegotiation and rediscovery of its and our identity.
At the end of this journey we will all go our way again. But with one impression richer. One impression that remains, that connects us to a place and to each other.
Graduation date: 8 December 2020
Graduation committee: Uri Gilad (mentor), Ira Koers, Łukasz Bąkowski
Additional members for the exam: Jo Barnett, Dingeman Deijs