ms3 Re:action

Leszek Karczewski, 01.05.2016
Radical participatory action
ms3 Re:action was a two-month socio-artistic project closely linked with the launch of a brand new exhibition space called ms2 in the Muzeum Sztuki Lodz.

The public museum of modern and contemporary art was created in 1931 by artists forming the a.r. artistic group, for the benefit of the population of Lodz that at that time was comprised mostly of textile workers without artistic background.

The spirit of this tradition has been upheld with the launch of ms2 and for two months the museum was handed over to local people for radical participatory action.

Art was removed from the temporary exhibition space in order to offer this room to the local community; to confront their idea of museum and art and to give them the chance to curate with the vision of a member of museum staff. The whole confrontation was realised as an ongoing exhibition created by participation and without museum supervision.

Effects were broad and complex. First it was an exhibition established by visitors themselves.

Second it was a series of workshops and artistic activities for the museum's local communities, for children and seniors as well.

Third it was an exhibition of the museum’s avant-garde artworks, which did not survive WW2, displayed as archival photos in windows of ordinary shops along the main street of the museum’s neighbourhood.

Fourth it was part of the Invisible City project, which documents and promotes the individual artistic activity of city-dwellers across Poland.

The whole ms3 Re:action project and the main exhibition especially can be interpreted as an opinion poll carried out on artistic licence, resulting in a material answer to the question: “What kind of museum of what kind of art was expected by participants?”

The project was marketed and documented by the display of archives in shop windows, workshops and an eight-issue project newspaper including materials delivered by visitors, which proved to be very efficient channels of project promotion.

The ms3 Re:action project had multiple tangible and intangible outcomes. As an audience development activity it attracted about 8,000 new museum visitors, and new friendships between the public and the museum team were initiated, and a frequent leader of a group participating in the project became a member of the museum education team as a result.

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