ISSN 2451-2966


Antoni Michnik

Golgota Picnic and the Framework of Public Discourse: Performing Democracy and Managing Social Indignation


The article analyses the conflict concerning the performance of Rodrigo García’s play Golgota Picnic during the 2014 Malta Festival in Poznań as evidence of deeper social problems with the shape of public discourse in Poland. The author analyses the framework of public discourse with reference to the cultural disputes that frequently accompany specific cultural texts (exhibitions, plays, concerts). He makes use of the concepts of Chantal Mouffe to explore the ways in which Poles mobilise and clash over topics associated with cultural divisions, and how they use these disputes to perform democracy. The author argues that searching for new forms of articulation and performance of cultural disputes and social conflicts offers an opportunity to cultural institutions, which can not only use them to defend their independence, but can also enter the role of curators of social emotions and provide a framework for the emergence of a dispute.


agon; agonism; censorship; democracy; freedom of creative expression; performative democracy; public space

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Antoni Michnik

(1987), writer and performer, historian of culture. Co-founder of Grupa ETC, a group of avant-garde researchers and performers, and of the Practices of Late Modernity Research Group. Editor of the journal Glissando, associate of the organization Stowarzyszenie im. Stanisława Brzozowskiego. Graduated in the History of Arts at the Warsaw University (2013). Publishes in various journals (including Kwartalnik Filmowy, Konteksty. Polska Sztuka Ludowa, Przegląd Humanistyczny, Rocznik Historii Sztuki, Kultura Popularna), exhibition catalogues and conference publications. Co-editor of the first Polish book on Fluxus, Narracje - Estetyki - Geografie. Fluxus w trzech aktach, published by Grupa ETC (Warsaw 2014). Notable English-language publications: ‘Forerunners of a Broadened Understanding of Art: John Cage, Cageism and Polish Visual Arts of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s’, in ed. K. Székely, The Freedom of Sound. John Cage Behind the Iron Courtain, Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest 2013; ‘Policies of Memory - at the Intersection of Collective Memory and Historical Policy’, in ed. Anna Walewska, Komentatorki / Women Commentators, the catalogue of the exhibition at the Centre of Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Katarzyna Kozyra Foundation, 2013; ‘Story of a Performer, Story of an Object: Willem De Ridder’s Cassette Experiments’, Glissando 23, June 2014; ‘Analyzing and Visualizing the Sound: Pre-phonographic Analysis and Reproduction of Sound’, Glissando 24, September 2014.