I am interested in climate-related issues and interspecies relationships. Currently, I am working on a project concerning the appropriation of animal space and the construction of traps in forests by poachers and hunters. I am a student of the Organisation of Film Art Department at the Film School in Łódź and Photography Department at the University of Arts in Poznań.

In my work on the Water Report, I looked at the phenomenon of water drying out in the Gniezno Lake District. I was wondering how big an impact it actually has on the lives of the locals – on their earnings, on the space they surround themselves with and on their family life. For a year, my work consisted mainly of research and interviews with Lakeland residents – farmers, a miner, children, environmental activists. I described the whole process in one notebook.

I have analysed many maps and began to notice how the topography of the region was changing. Ostrowskie Lake in Przyjezierz used to be a popular resort, but due to the formation of depression funnels its water level started to decrease. Eventually, central part of the lake dried out and two smaller bodies of water were created. I decided to manifest this problem by making a flag with the divided Ostrowskie Lake. This work did not make it into the final project, but I made flags and masks with slogans opposing the exploitation of the Gniezno Lake District, which were used during the demonstration in Kleczew.

Maciej, a miner: As a miner, I feel terrible knowing this. It's a burden a man has to shoulder. When it comes to coal, at the moment we have an unbalanced amount of it. But so what? Are we going to die watching the coal burn?

Zofia, a saleswoman: I run my own ecological shop in Konin. Let me tell you, my family... my niece and her husband complain a lot, they are farmers and have very large agricultural areas that are getting drier and drier – there's no water in the deep wells any more!

After completing the Water Report, I became more aware of what I consider responsible art. Responsible art has an educational mission and familiarises people with difficult subjects. Responsible art is about the process of carrying out a project and the tools you use to tell a story. It is also worth returning to the process later on and thinking about what could have been done differently.

The idea of responsible art makes us realise that even though it is commonly believed that humans are higher in the hierarchy than other beings, this is actually not the case. At the same time, we are the ones responsible for their survival, for they care about our survival, too. Responsible art can also help us find the answers to the questions that have not yet been answered.

︎︎︎ @martynanitkowska

Rita Müller