The Polish word ‘obsada’ means ‘film cast’ but can also mean ‘working party’ – it connotes the distribution of work positions , but also: placing a plant in the ground. The avant-garde project, which manifests itself in abstract art, was supposed to be universal and contribute to sweeping social change. But patriarchal privilege was invisible for avant-garde, neo-avant-garde, and even contemporary artists. This resulted in women having been erased from the collective voice of art across generations. Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s obsada, a new film production originally commissioned by Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, is a collaboration with an all-female film crew. It comes as an attempt not only to revise the history of women’s erasure from culture, but also to propose other, non-patriarchal narratives and methods of work. Involving a group of MA and PhD students as well as graduates of the Łódź Film School, the change they strive for does not consist simply in replacing men with women; rather, it occurs in an open and improvised process – sensitive to the context of the place and the polyphony of the team – of collaboration with van Oldenborgh. The women’s individual and collective experiences resonate with locations in Muzeum Sztuki (including the Neoplastic Room) and the Film School. Elements of scenery evoke the ‘Film Form Workshop’, an all-male Łódź-based experimental collective, working with structural film. In 1973, the FFW staged the ‘Workshop Action’ at Muzeum Sztuki to present their work methods and goals; the idea was to explore the inherent qualities of the film medium and to expand it with audiovisual and performative elements; also emphasized was the collective aspect of film production and authorship, and the public’s participation in the structure of the audiovisual event. However, like their male avant-garde forerunners, the FFW artists focused on analysing their chosen medium, but remained oblivious to their own privilege and the absence of women from their collective.
with: Magda Bojdo (camera, cast), Paulina Sacha (sound, cast), Monika Czajkowska (executive producer, cast), Ewa Borysiewicz (script advise, cast), Magda Kupryjanowicz (script advise, cast), Elżbieta Szurpicka (costume, cast), Aleksandra Rosset (editing advise, cast) and Joanna Sokolowska (on-set translations) filmed on location in Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi Łódź Film School, produced, directed and edited by Wendelien van Oldenborgh with Jakub Danilewicz, produced by Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi and the Virtual Narratives Lab of the Łódź Film School and supported by The Mondriaan Fund.