Fot. Alina Żemojdzin

« Back

Mikołaj Szpaczyński, I Was Here, 2022, film


subtitles: Katarzyna Bogucka

The film is composed of two parts. Part one is screened on the wall of the old Zorza cinema (point 2A on the map; 9 min), and part two on the building in the former ZNTK area (2B on the map; 5 min).

As a caver, Mikołaj Szpaczyński knows what it’s like to be stuck: the body trapped in a narrow passageway struggles, writhes, jerks, and pushes through. Overcoming a cave squeeze is a ritual of passage and a symbol of change. The liberated body is reborn in motion; it moves through spaces from which the spell has been lifted.

The artist saw his experience of struggling with his limitations, not just bodily ones, in the situation of Przeróbka – a district stuck in time. Mikołaj penetrates its landscape in his typical non-conformist fashion. He crosses boundaries and barriers to reach inaccessible, off-the-beaten-track locations. He inscribes his body into the space of Przeróbka – climbing, gliding, and fighting his way through the neighbourhood. The challenge to cross the path towards, through and from the district transforms into a ritual of passage.

In formal terms, I Was Here is also suspended somewhere between a road movie and a nature documentary, with the artist simultaneously acting as narrator and protagonist. He is the one observing and the one we observe.


Mikołaj Szpaczyński graduated in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice (2017) and is currently doing a PhD at the Faculty of Intermedia of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. He works with film, sculpture, and spatial actions. His works record the experience of landscape through motion and physical effort, often employing the motif of falling or being subject to the force of gravitation. Since 2019, he has been spending most of his free time underground, digging up a cave next to his home in Jaworzno. 

Mikołaj Szpaczyński, I Was Here, 2022, film

ściana budynku (Polifarb, dawne kino Zorza), ul. Przetoczna 1

Zobacz więcej / see more

Mikołaj Szpaczyński, I Was Here, 2022, film

ściana i rura przy budynku, Rojam, teren dawnych ZNTK, ul. Siennicka 25

Zobacz więcej / see more

Instytut Kultury Miejskiej
Długi Targ street 39/40

Contact for media:
tel. 784 594 003

Instytut Kultury Miejskiej GGM Miasto Gdańsk
Narracje #13