Halka/Haiti 18°48’05”N 72°23’01”W: C.T. Jasper & Joanna Malinowska

Edited by Magdalena Moskalewicz

Design by Projects Projects
Published by Zachęta—National Gallery of Art and Inventory Press, 2015. 160×240 mm, 216 pages, hardcover
ISBN: 978-83-64714-15-3
Published by Zachęta—National Gallery of Art, 2016. 160×240 mm, 216 pages, hardcover ISBN: 978-83-64714-34-4
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Halka/Haiti awarded the 2017 Jean Goldman “Literary Lions” book prize. See here

Review in magazine Opera, January 2017. See here.

Inspired and provoked by the title character in Werner Herzog’s film Fitzcarraldo, two artists and a curator decide to revisit his mad plan of bringing opera to the tropics. In an attempt to undercut Fitzcarraldo’s colonial romanticism, they decide to confront a set of particular historical and sociopolitical realities by staging Halka, considered to be Poland’s “national opera,” in the seemingly unlikely locale of Cazale, Haiti, a village inhabited by the descendants of Polish soldiers who fought for the Haitian Revolution in the early 1800s. 

On February 7, 2015, a one-time-only performance of Halka was presented to a rapt local audience on a winding dirt road. A collaboration between Polish and Haitian performers, the event was filmed in one take to be presented later as a large-scale projected panorama in the Polish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. 

This volume provides both a multifaceted conceptual framework for the project and a detailed record of this remarkable endeavor

With an introduction by the project’s curator, Magdalena Moskalewicz, and an interview with the artists, C.T. Jasper and Joanna Malinowska, the book also features three newly commissioned essays—from literary scholar Katarzyna Czeczot, diplomat Géri Benoît, and anthropologist Kacper Pobłocki—alongside Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s seminal reflection on the global silencing of the Haitian Revolution. Also included are questionnaires completed by the project’s Haitian and Polish participants, translated selections from the opera’s libretto, extensive photographic documentation of the rehearsals, and stills from the film itself.

Download the table of contents and the introductory essay “Behind Mountains, More Mountains” here.

You can buy the book at Motto.

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