Say Do You Remember Dancing in September

Karolina Balcer & Iwona Ogrodzka, party event, video and cake, Vienna, 2018

In 2013, on the 330th anniversary of the Viennese relief on Kahlenberg hill, the cornerstone was laid for the construction of the monument to King Jan III Sobieski. In 2017, vandals painted the cornerstone in black. In September 2018, demonstrations of Identitarian-Demo and anti fascist groups took place.

The bronze monument is supposed to depict Sobieski on horseback, with the attributes of power. The author of the project is prof. Czesław Dźwigaj, the creator of numerous monumental realizations, most often associated with the monuments of John Paul II. The opening of the mon- ument was planned for November 2018, but at the last moment, just after the end of its construction, the Mayor of Vienna and the Mayor of Cracow decided that the monument would stay in Poland.

Monuments and their settings in public space are often used as a tool in political conflicts of the day. In recent weeks, discussion has been held in the media about the statue of King Jan III Sobieski, which already had been cast but will not be placed in Austria’s capital city. What interests us is not only the Eurocentric character of the monument and its connection with right-wing political views. In our work, we try to manifest a distanced and pacifist approach to the problem, create space for discussion and show that political passiveness and ignorance may be one of the main reasons for reducing the level of public debates.