Krzysztof Racoń, “Rura”

29.05, 3:30 pm, FF Gallery (3rd floor) – Opening reception and a book launch
31.05  5.00 pm Book presentation, Krzysztof Racoń, Rura, Art_Inkubator, theatre room

Rura is a story about Strzemieszyce Male, small town hidden behind the forest, not too far from the steel plant Katowice. Rura, derived from the book title, is a overground supply line that spreads across over ten kilometers and supplies the steel plant Katowice with iron ore, which is being brought to Poland from Ukraine and gets reloaded in Sławkowo.

The pipeline, running through fields and forests, resembles a Roman aqueduct, except that it shakes and clatters constantly. Its uproar makes the walls of the houses is Strzemieszyce Male crack. It wasn’t always like this. There were pristine fields and grasslands full of cattle. There were people that lived in peace. Later on, the factory came and its compulsory surrounding woods covered the land.

Then there came the waste plant, medical waste incineration facility and a slaughterhouse. Rura, or simply the pipe, with its distinctive appearance changed the landscape, identity and the mentality of the residents as well as changed the makeup of the region. Filth, racket and stench of the steel industry never ceases to remind about its presence. The peace is gone, but people still live here. They got used to it.

Yet still there is some of the history lest: trees, old houses, once-buried-there-landmine holes in the forest and a roadside shrine. These silent witnesses of the past events never stop bringing the stories back, the good ones, but also the ones that would rather be forgotten. The more you learn about Strzemieszyce Male, the less simple and clear-cut it seems. On one hand the dirt, trash scattered all over the place and the mist of foul smell, on the other – people that amidst and despite all of this still want to plant peach trees or run a little zoo with exotic animals.

You can live a good life here, as it turns out. You can have a nicely renovated house and rather a happy family. Or a steadfast kindness and goodwill. As one of the townsmen said “If only they could do something about these chimneys all around. I feel good here. I planted a little garden in my head and I feel peaceful now“. Dwelling under the pipe is a never ending story. Story about intriguing connection to a particular place and relations amongst its inhabitants.