STADION X - A PLACE THAT NEVER EXISTED. ON PERFORMATIVE PROJECTS WITHIN THE SPACE OF THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY STADIUM (Podroz do Azji)
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Stadion X-lecia (the 10th Anniversary Stadium) was erected in 1955 with the wartime rubble of the destroyed capital. For forty years its purpose was to protect the good name of communism, but paradoxically the best known events from that period was the tragic self-immolation of Ryszard Siwiec in 1968, the papal Mass celebrated in 1983, and the concert given by Stevie Wonder in 1989. In the mid-1980s it ceased fulfilling sports functions, slowly turned into a ruin, and became a post-communist phantom. During the 1990s it was 'enlivened' by the Vietnamese intelligentsia and Russian traders - the pioneers of capitalism, who placed on the top tier of the Stadium camp beds full of commodities. Suddenly, the 'Jarmark Europa' market proved to be the only multi-cultural place in town, a storehouse of biographies, appliances, and history, as well as one of the greatest tourist attractions. A place which theoretically did not exist could be interpreted in numerous, often contradictory, ways: as an Asian suburb, a wild forest, a kingdom of the provisional, controlled chaos and cheap shopping, a declining sports club, a ruin of socialist realistic architecture, an archaeological site suitable for field work conducted by botanists, a seat of Jehovah's Witnesses, and many others. Performative projects within the space of the Stadium and the market emerged in response to the heterogeneous character of the site, its years-long (non-) presence in the middle of a post-communist city, and the invisibility of the Vietnamese minority. A Journey to Asia - an Acoustic Walk in the Vietnamese Sector of the 10th Anniversary Stadium (2006) and six other actions in the 2007/2008 season (Boniek!, A Scene-of-crime Inspection, The Liquidation of 'Jarmark Europa', Radio Stadium Calling, Truncheoning and Schengen) were subjective expeditions made by artists, sportsmen and activists to the reality of the 'already non-existent Stadium, but also indicated its controversial existence. Participation and para-documentary projects (a stroll, a sports match, a spectacle given on a construction site, an exhibition featuring live people) considered questions of memory, degradation, the force of the imagination, ambiguity, and the future or the challenging exotic qualities of the site.
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