Scratching the Surface

Introducing Alicja Rogalska, our artist

Alicja is an artist working internationally and living in London and Warsaw. Her work has a focus on social and economic structures and the subtext of the everyday. Alicja’s work often involves people who are underrepresented and voiceless in the public domain because of social exclusion, poverty or political beliefs. An important method of her work is listening and amplifying the voices that she thinks need to be heard. Her research always involves a lot of conversations which is drawn from her background in anthropology. A recent example of her work The Ones Who Walk Away from 2017 shows the representation of people being silenced through a video set in the future, in a world where the masses are mind-controlled, and their emotions are numbed. In the past Alicja gathered a large amount of media attention and public discussion on the issues of affective labour and commercialisation of emotions through her 2014 project Tear Dealer (realised in collaboration with Lukasz Surowiec) where she set up a temporary shop on the high street in Lublin, Poland, an area with high unemployment and socio economic exclusion, where people could produce and sell their tears.

Alicja’s Project

Alicja Rogalska visited Macduff from 8 – 12 January. She met with people and gathered stories and impressions. From her experience she developed a proposal of an installation and durational performance in one of the empty shops in Macduff.

Alicja has made the whole interior of an empty shop into a scratch card for the Macduff Revival Weekender. Local residents were invited to scratch the inside of the shop off in exchange for new ideas for Macduff’s future.

As Alicja explains: “Scratch cards epitomise scarcity of wealth, and hope to break the cycle of poverty. They are also one of the more substantial sources of arts funding in the UK (in 2016-17 £266m of arts funding came from The National Lottery): a culture tax on the poor, in a way. However most arts activities happen in big cities and are directed at the more affluent sectors of the population. Scratching The Surface is a communal exercise to reflect on and discuss the state of local economy, arts provision, and try to collectively imagine a better future, both in terms of practical solutions and more creative outputs.”