Liliana Piskorska’s video art project “Public Displays of Affection” originally focused on the tremendous changes Poland has undergone in recent years. In a series of intense discussions with her mentor, video artist Bjørn Melhus, she has begun to look away from the specifics of one nation’s politics to the sheer physicality of “the moment of contact between demonstrators and body-armor-clad police units.”
“My mentor gave me time and a lot of space to rethink my initial thoughts and brainstorm possibilities,” Piskorska explains. “We discussed many of them thoroughly and decided which of them to build my project upon.” The artist has grown increasingly fascinated by the layers of metal, Kevlar, and thick plastic that conceal individual police officers. What would it look like to transfer the violence between demonstrators and officials from the streets into the intimacy of a home?
Melhus has extensive experience with reenactments, often working with elements from pop culture. Currently, Piskorska is taking the idea of reenactments further, investigating how they can be applied as a tool that harnesses powerful physical imagery to choreograph the inherent absurdity of violent demonstrations.
“Right now I’m in a process of moving from ‘idea’ stage to ‘final outcome’ stage,” reports the artist, who is in the midst of piecing together arrangements for filming locations, police uniforms, and actors. “But I don’t believe that working on an artistic project means that you ought to have some amazing breakthrough moment. I think that there are a lot of little steps and decisions you have to make—and just a lot of work.”
Photos: Liliana Piskorska