15 January 2012

Balcerek project

tomorrow, 16.01.2011 in Czytelnia Sztuki in Gliwice will take place a meeting summarizing documental project "Balcerek" organized by Gliwice House of Photography with help of Museum in Gliwice and Faculty of Sociology of University of Silesia in Gliwice. 

During year 2011 group of photographers (Maga Sokalska, Bartek Spyra and me) documented atmosphere of perhaps last months of existence of Balcerek bazaar, one of the last one of such in Poland.  
At the same time group of scientist and students of sociology under supervision of dr. Agata Zygmunt and Andrzej Górny performed sociological research.
Both groups were supported by Museum in Gliwice.

Bazaars like Balcerek were created in early 1990s when economical plan of prof. Leszek Balcerowicz was implemented - plan of transformation of Polish economy from real-socialistic central planned economy into free-market reality. 
Balcerek bazaars were created suddenly, almost from day to another, also in scale of few days in our cities started to appear products and goods we knew only from legends of those who travelled abroad (to the West of course).
We can openly say that thanks to those hundreds of brave and practical people who often decided to quite their jobs, change their lives and became sellers in Balcereks, Poland radically moved in other direction and made civilization leap.

Today, after 20 years Polish reality is completely different, full of fancy shopping malls, boutiques and restaurants.
Balcereks placed in very hearts of the cities, on most expensive area for urban development, with built ad hoc 20 years ago temporary, today half-destroyed structures are not fitting to this new reality.
Municipal and regional authorities tend to close and re-qualify those areas. It meets usually protests of Balcerek's workers and customers who are used to make shopping there for last 20 years.

Gliwice's Balcerek is one of the last ones, due to regional planning of building Inter-Silesian express road and plans of revitalization of this part of the city, the market supposed to be closed very soon.
Social protests delayed already this fact for few years, but it seems, we witness last months.

Balcerek project finished with the book shows the history and today's reality of the bazaar, shows the fates of people, their opinions, relations between them, their fears and hopes connected with unknown yet future of their place of work.

Czytelnia Sztuki, 16.01.2012 at 18.00h

Willa Caro
ul. Dolnych Wałów 8a
44-100 Gliwice, Poland