European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Part C: Olawski Bridge


         Bridge project being prepared in ECoC office of Wroclaw 2016

Official text:

Oławski bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges of Wroclaw, with a long history. It is one of several river crossings Oława in Wroclaw, located just off the mouth of the Oder Oławy. Currently connects Square Wroblewski of the alley on the Causeway. Originally this place was located footbridge, which served primarily the Walloon weavers. Crossing this, leading initially to pasture, has been known since the mid-thirteenth century (1241 years). The bridge was built in its present form between 1882 and 1883 and was originally named Maurice Bridge. This name was associated with the temple lying nearby, whose patron saint was just Maurice. Architect involved in the work on the bridge was A. Kaumann, and decorated with the combined forces of P. Heisler (who made sculptural elements), R. Toberentza and H. Heisler.

Constructions was designed as a vaulted building with three bays, the external cladding is sandstone and granite and the main building blocks - bricks. The supports of the bridge are built of stone wall, which have a decorative veneer. Above the bridge piers can also admire the decor - from the city there are reliefs depicting putti, known decorative element, which refers to an ancient culture, and spread during the Renaissance. Putti placed on the bridge Oława are surrounded by water plants. In other decorative elements of the bridge are mythological figures, referring to the element of water. The artist also left some of his signatures, which today are barely noticeable. The bridge also has a Neo-Baroque balustrade.

Most Oławski is one of the most beautiful Wroclaw river crossings, referring to its architecture bridges are in Paris or Rome. Despite this, today rarely becomes a destination for both of Wroclaw and tourists visiting our city. The bridge is also beautifully situated among the greenery, what will establish the photographic part of the project.

Bridge in addition to aesthetic also has an interesting history. Then in 1893 have driven your first electric tram; today, moreover, you can find before and after the bridge preserved fragments of the then tram tracks (after the war has already started the route by bridge Oławski). Over the years Rakowiec, a former district forming part of the Suburbs Oława, was a place of recreation of Wroclaw, here also housed the open-air theater. Transformation lying today on the sidelines of the bridge in place of the cultural event will be a reminder of the tradition of the building.

In 1999, the building has been nominated in the competition Seven Wonders of Wroclaw, organized by the portal Our City of Wrocław.

Most Oławski although one of the most beautiful in Wroclaw is one of the least known. Staying in direct walking distance of one of the most important bridges in the city - Bridge Grunwald did not become part of the route of old vehicular traffic or pedestrian or bicycle. This is in complete opposition to its historical nature, already in the Middle Ages, this tract was part of an important trade route, with such income, which caused constant conflict between the clergy of the parish of St. Maurice and private owners. Important seem to be the fate of overflow of the Oder and Oławy that changed their trough, were flooded several villages in the area (Strzemlino, Przecinowo and Koczotów), pushing the river bed from one of the main routes (current street Traugutt) German planners shed in the area immediately the bridge Oława most popular recreational areas of pre-war Wroclaw. Within the suburbs have their seat theater, art school, here formed one of the first theaters of the city, including the famous theater in the Garden, Theatre Lobego whether the building designed by one of the most famous architects of Breslau Langhans. Recreational areas Rakowca was an amusement park, cafes, bloomed social and cultural life in a natural setting. It seems like water nymphs, whose sculptural images are made ​​present on the bridge Oława magically guarded this world. Today Suburb Oławskie, the infamous "Bermuda Triangle" albeit slowly takes off from each other "mouth" area of ​​pathology seems to have forgotten about that particular character. Art Nouveau buildings, especially with the bas-reliefs seem to remind you of this relationship, the nature / culture present in this area of ​​the city, the German name of the street "Weingasse" is the name of our project, the bridge is "avenue guilty" way to recover the lost character of the district.

Cultural event will be the culmination of animation activities carried out in the suburbs Oława by young people living in these areas. The workshop will be held in the dimension 10 times after 1.5 hours and will have to recreate the participants space settlements, which is most important to them in some way significant. The workshop will be conducted by means of ceramic classes, conducted by the Staff under the direction of art historian. There will miniatures of buildings that will be burned and prepared in such a way that they can then be placed on the bridge Oława in a particular configuration, reproducing space Suburbs Oława and illuminated by candles - heaters.

Second workshop to prepare for the cultural event will be poetry classes, taught by Hatto Fischer (poet, maker culture, advisor of the European Capitals of Culture, originating from Berlin, working in an NGO in Athens). These would involve foreign students staying in Poland as part of the Erasmus student mobility program +. The workshop will be held in May, and the result will be shown during the final design in June. Poems will refer to the discourse of the nature / culture made ​​present in the symbolism of the bridge and the missing character Oława residential micro city garden, vineyard. The songs will be created in English, German, Polish. 4 Selected works will be displayed at the plafonach of pleksji (illuminated by leds) issued on rails leading from the bridge Grunwald to Oława of photography.

Some photographic project is a series of large-format photographic diptychs in conjunction with poetry placed on the bank of the route leading from the bridge to Oława Grunwald. Most Oławski, away from the main route, often remains undetected. However, it is a node connecting the city with nature, may gateway to nature, which is so lacking in us. Photography becomes a tool to explore the world of nature and culture, the worlds on both sides of the bridge. In theory, the opposition often used nature - culture (chaos-ordering, unpredictability-organizing, stability-variability, instinct-mind) seems to be insufficient. Seeing the need for a dialogue between nature and culture, as well as to bring together those parts of the city - which is considered dangerous "Triangle" and the coastal oasis of peace, visually look for places conversation, dialogue or discussion between two worlds. How to interact, how to influence each other. Is the social reality on the other side of the river is a reflection of zieleni.Samo event will include the restoration of the area Bridge Oława (using a mini ceramic sculptures of buildings lit by candles) chosen by the young people Suburb Oława. Using the light will be presented fragments of the city that are identified as important by residents of suburbs Oława involved in ceramic workshops. This will create some restoration by the sentimental, presented the inhabitants of Wroclaw. The use of light and fire to illuminate the space bridge will refer to its past, when it was illuminated by gas lamps. The project will be consistent with the idea of ​​art as public space, which has been described by M.Kwona as "art as public space. This approach puts [...] emphasis on the selection of the place where the work is to be situated [...], we can speak of site-specific works, works suited to the social and historical context of space. The artist [...] take the dialogue with the socio-historical and cultural dimensions of memory space "[Dziamski 2010, 2nd 291-292]

Invited two artists / animators: Hatto Fischer, who is an advisor / consultant to the European Capitals of Culture and keeps an archive of these for over 10 years. He has extensive experience in animation culture, especially youth groups. Germany's Berlin years living in Athens, poet, playwright and sage. Conduct workshops poetic, consult the project merits, supports young people who will carry it out.

The activities will be accompanied by the artist photographer, animator: Maria Sturm. Together with Polish young novice in the art of photography (Agnieszka Bułacik, who had just returned from Nairobi, where he pursued art project - under the aegis of social PAH-u and is co-author of the concept of Vineyard Avenue mostu- create spectacular photographs showing relationship of nature and culture makes present in the Bridge Oława and forgotten in the course of the history of the character of this part of the city.

The aim of the project is to identify the important places in the suburbs Oława that are relevant to young people living in them there. During the workshops will also be created narratives of these spaces, which will then be presented at the final event of the project. Thanks to the people of Wroclaw and tourists who decide to take part in the cultural event sentimental learn history and geography Suburb Oława, which today is considered to be stereotypically district very attractive (so-called. "Triangle").

Purpose of workshop poetry - including international students in the European Capital of Culture and the creation of material available for foreign tourists and participants of the event. In addition, strengthening the positive image of this part of the city, yet laden as the infamous "Bermuda Triangle".

Hi photographic project is mounted on a pair of opposition culture-nature and we believe it will be valuable to the ongoing housing last issue of urban policy, the involvement of residents and civic participation, which also relate to the issue of green areas in Wroclaw.

In addition, the project aims to "recall" of Wrocław and the fact that in this area there is a building with such interesting architecture and state of preservation. Most, traditionally leading to popular recreation areas of the city becomes a gate, the avenue connecting entourage guilty of nature and culture

Young people from the suburbs Oława participating in ceramic workshops (20 people).


Students staying in Wrocław under the Erasmus exchange student participating in the workshop of poetic

residents of Wroclaw (12 people).


Suburb Residents, tourists

The project will be promoted on several levels. The first of these will be social media, with particular emphasis on promotional activities carried out by Fabebooka. Another way to reach the audience of the project, will operate in the local media - especially on the radio and in the press. We will also promote our project by placing placing photographs and slogans encouraging to go towards the Bridge Oława the entire length between him and the Grunwald Bridge. They will be issued one week before the event crowning the project.

Given the social dimension of the project, strongly reinforcing the positive identity of the residents of the district will conduct activities to promote him in the district. We expect the cooperation with schools, kindergartens, parish, police on Rakowiec pug Library Teachers in the street Worcella, churches minority having their temples in this area of the city (4 religion), ngosami, community common and Ethnographic Museum.

Wprojekt will be heavily involved students from the academic circle Critical Education of the University, especially from the nearby Institute of Education.


stari most


If poems are to be written about the Olawski Bridge, and this as part of a project which will transform the bridge into a cultural site for one day come June 2015 and that together with 39 other bridges, then a first project idea which comes to mind is "Stari Most".


Teilnahme am Mostar Projekt 'Unique Sign - Unique Location' 2000

The bridge had been desroyed during the Kosovo war. After reconstruction, Max Aufischer from Graz asked poets to contribute to a path of poetry connecting one community over the bridge with other community. It became a path of poetry.


Standing on the bridge and thinking


about politics and life


                      as a reminder, there is the poem Madiba by Azam Abidov

Did you see the moon trembled?
A leaf fell down the tree.
I believed you could become a bridge
Between me and the universe.
I’m not colourful
And I know
I have bright rights written on the leaf.
But let me ask:
What would you discuss
Under the moonlight
On the bridge
On a peaceful day
With a dictator,


Contemplation in reality


A first aspect to consider is if poetry means dialogue of the imagination with reality, then it follows that different texts can and should be created about the Olawski bridge i.e. technical, economic, literal one etc. And out of these different texts, there should be created just text in an attempt to create a cultural synthesis. Different views, stories, but also happenings shape the surrounding of the bridge and give meaning over time to an edifice spanning a small waterway. Most important is to come back to the introduction: departing the city and stepping out into nature, into a valley of vinetrees, makes this bridge into a unique location in terms of experiences in the city in comparison to experiences if not entirely in nature due to developments, then at least outside the city. To take up the dialogue means on that bridge to contemplte about politics and life. They are two separate entities and yet the one deeply influences the other and vice versa. Without a bridge over all differences, there would not be possible such a dialogue of the imagination with reality. The latter is not merely a physical, something exterior and existing independent from man himself, but as well the lived human reality of all people, including their worries, fears, pains and happiness.



Altering transport routes: the bridge

replacing the ferryboat man


What happens once a bridge exists? One departure point can be what happens when the bridge replaces other jobs like the Ferryboat man who used to take people over to the other side of the river, or from there back to this side? It is beautifully captured in one poem.


On a northern peak among white clouds
You have found your hermitage of peace;
And now, as I climb this mountain to see you,
High with the wild geese flies my heart.
The quiet dusk might seem a little sad
If this autumn weather were not so brisk and clear;
I look down at the river bank, with homeward-bound villagers
Resting on the sand till the ferry returns;
There are trees at the horizon like a row of grasses
And against the river's rim an island like the moon
I hope that you will come and meet me, bringing a basket of wine --
And we'll celebrate together the Mountain Holiday.

Meng Hao-jan

Poetry has a lot to do with casual observations like those "homeward-bound villagers resting on the sand till the ferry returns". It captures lingering times, times which exist in between modes of activities. Once one has arrived at the shore and the ferry happens to be on the other side, there is no other choice possible but to wait. Due to this time in between there have sprung up all kinds of eating places. Usually transport routes mean economic activities of all kinds.

Indeed once the bridge replaces the ferryman, and a toll has to be paid if one wants to cross via this bridge the river, the bridge stands for an interesting economic combination. There are also other conflicts in store. Where before Ferrymen earned a living by bringing people, vehicles and even animals over to the other side, a bridge not only replaces all that but sets another tone. There is no more waiting, no lingering until the ferry arrives. As to the times before the bridge was built, the poem by Meng Hao-jan cited above reminds of what a bridge displaces.


The Olawski bridge: a cultural

synthesis in the making


 Olawski Bridge pillar


Three aspects may be combined in a first effort to create a synthesis of past, present and future:



Making use of the bridge



                                              Location of Olawski Bridge in Wroclaw

In addition to its aesthetic background, the Olawski Bridge also has an interesting history. For intance, in 1893 the first electric tram were driven; today, moreover, it is possible to find before and after the bridge preserved fragments of the then tram tracks.

Over the years Rakowiec, a former district forming part of the Suburbs Oława, was a place of recreation of Wroclaw, here also housed the open-air theater. Transformation lying today on the sidelines of the bridge in place of the cultural event will be a reminder of the tradition of the building.


The Parmenides experience:


the "being"


The Parmenides experience relates to what happen when a person steps out of the city and into nature. Of interest is that Parmenides talks in the fragment of a poem called 'being' about the need to turn the key of fate. This key has to be turned before it is possible to leave the city. Implied is by turning the key, all the previous experiences made in the city are forgotten. By stepping out into nature, nature itself unifies what the senses perceive in trust of nature. It amounts to quite another 'unity of apperception' (Kant), and gives an outline what differences there exist between the urbanized human being and the one still living in nature. The latter requires the activization of all senses wherea life in the city depends upon a power of abstraction and therefore a concept which allows the perception of reality, provided there is an "Anschauung" (Kant) - way of perceiving things - already prevailing 'a priori'.


     Poem in nature, in snow

Thus any poem decribing walking out of the city by taking the Olawski Bridge will need to trace this transition to the point of forgetting all previous experiences made in the city. For only then can nature be perceived and experienced.


               Vineyards - man's cultivation - cultural landscapes


Creation of a cultural synthesis


between man and nature



Samples of experiences which can be evoked by association


Philosophically and poetically speaking, this amounts to considering poetry and the senses to be a source of truth, and therefore counters Hegel's argument who would deny both the senses and poetry to be a source of truth.



Something unusual happens


on the bridge


To write a poem about the bridge Olawski, the imagination can include also other possibilities as to what can happen on such a bridge. For example, there is the new novel by Milan Kundera called "The Apologizer". The story starts with a man pondering why he always apologizes when in fact the other bumbed into him and would be in need to apologize? While being puzzles, he observes a woman getting out of her car and since in a haste does not close the door fully. She then walks fast onto the bridge, and when at the middle, takes off her shoes and before he can say anything sees her jump into the river below. The woman tries to drown herself but her body responds differently since she is a good swimmer. A young man on the other side shouts:"wait, wait". He leaps into the water to rescue her. Once he gets to her, she grabs him and drags him down with her. Milan describes this scene as if she puts her body on his in order to give birth to a dead child. The man drowns and this frees her to return to the surface. She climbs out of the river completely wet and suddenly realizes how is she going to get back since she finds no keys to the car in her pocket. She returns to the car and luckily she had not shut the door completely. When she opens the door, she sees the keys still there. She climbs in and drives off. When she gets out she rushes home and in so doing bumbs into that man. He apologizes. She replies only with 'you asshole'.

Anything can happen but acts of suicide poses the question why is a bridge chosen of all other places? It is like jumping off a heigh building? For someone wishing to commit suicide, that is like becoming so desparate over all kinds of shortcomings in life, that no more window of opportunity seems to exist in order to continue living. Naturally Durkheim had thought a long time ago it is connected with complete loneliness.

Poetically interpreted, the 'anything can happen' may be a puzzle in need to be figured out.

bone riddled puzzles of history
much has been said about throwing
off the bridge potato sacks filled with manure
but if dead corpses they make the river into a graveyard
which covers with silence what took place on that bridge

The start of a poem may be just a puzzle, just as life is an unresolved riddle. The complexity of a poem is created out of linking what the senses can perceive with the 'unknown'. It follows the advise of the philosopher Adorno who stated "one should write down everything which one does not understand." That can and does include the 'self' with self-understanding very different once a poem is not only egocentric, but reaches out to general life streams and complicated situations created by different people interacting with others but also with a bridge and its pecularities like the Olawski one.


Struggling to survive




Survival can be thwarted if the others do not respond in a way thought to be needed if to go on, and therefore only exasperation remains as outcome.

When speaking about the bridge being used as metaphor, reference was made to the Greek crisis and the growing need to bridge the gap to such negotiations which can include rather than exclude the other. In that context, Greece is heading towards a difficult month of June 2015 with more often the 'Grexit' being evoked as negative outcome as if this debt trap is to be converted into a death trap which leaves no survivors. Such a sinister thought is accompanied by a lot of 'exaperation'. For instance, 

"European Parliament President Martin Schulz, who has been supportive of Greece's cause, also voiced exasperation, telling the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper: "The stubbornness of the Greek government is infuriating."


EU's Juncker snubs Greek PM after 'absurd' debt deal rebuff

By Jan Strupczewski and Lefteris Papadimas Reuters 7.6.2015

Stubborness may not be the proper explanation. It is an ontological stance which reflects the need for absolute convictions by someone who is not easily convinced by anything which may offer a solution. For the stubborn attitude may well reflect the refusal to look at reality as a patchwork of many different kinds of compromises - in life you cannot take or fulfill all. It amounts to a complete negation of a liveable reality in which human beings can find their way i.e. solutions. 

When looking at various poets as bridge makers, including at what Jael Uribe says as survivors of cancer, there was this soft rebuttal by Glen Calleja who answered her use of 'survival' with a further going reflective mood:

„What you say about being 'survivors of life' is a bit of a challenging concept to me. I don't think I have a position about that statement but to me the word 'survivors' suggests that we are here when really we shouldn't be...which I find a little difficult to digest and accept...  Such words are also problematic in that they allow some organisations to exploit the fear they suggest for commercial, political and private reasons...but that is another argument altogether.“

What then is a 'solution', if not dipping into the continuity of life and not considering oneself to be a hero who rises above normal life by doing an extraordinary deed. A normal life can be best expressed by a Cretan woman saying, nowadays a lot of people live with some kind of illness, some of them with some very serious ones, but they live a good life.

In other words, it is the degree of suffrage which underlines the opposite to life itself, and yet the notion of having but one life and that time pushes on, means continuity is at the same time an art of living.

Any false proposition can be shed off by walking over an enchanted bridge like the Olawski to discover on the other side, there where nature begins, a 'natural living self.' Such a self is free to breathe fresh air and to think of oneself as being an integral part of life itself. Out of that follows 'love of life'. Such a life requires an affirmation difficult to attain as Adorno would warn since acceptance of something negative would trap the thoughts in a dismal situation and this most often unconscious of the consequences of having affirmed the current state of affairs as the only liveable reality. That is why he engaged himself in the 'Negative Dialectic'.


Questioning the 'Weltanschauung'


Philosophy is based since Socrates on the art of posing good questions. They are questions aiming to realize while claiming to know something, that in reality one doe not know anything. Still, Adorno was of the opinion it is not a matter of an opposing knowing and not knowing, just as being and not being became a familiar premise from Heidegger to Sartre, but rather that being is connected always to actions through something. That alters the premise and helps to avoid any form of Nihilism which usually ends up in 'nothingness'.

Already it was mentioned the famous statement by Kant, "Begriffe ohne Anschauung sind blind" - concepts without perception are blind - and out of which Hegel made "people without myth are blind", there comes a need to be able to take the bridge to the other side, so to speak, in order to learn the art of questioning the value premises of the other side since that seems to prevent the bridge from being open from both sides.





Writing poems about


the Olawski Bridge


One thing is how to obtain the inspiration and with it the images to convey a meaning of the Olawski bridge, another is to perceive poems as a subjective reflection of another world inhabited by people who can be equally startled by crows sitting everywhere, or else seek to understand why at certain times and locations they remember something specific.

“The practice of poetry is bigger than the ‘content’ it explores. This also applies to the most lyrical of poets. Writing and composing poetry is not about the words one uses but about how one composes them... so it is all about metre, rhythm, musicality, assonance, dissonance… along with a good deal of experimentation, risk, accident and magic.”

„It was more of an ‘image-harvesting’ exercise than an adaptation of stories. Once I found images I could use I would decontextualise them, mix them up with dissonant associations, test them in other scenarios, change subject’s gender, introduce fictional dialogues and take it from there.„

Glen Calleja, Malta


Bridging silence


or just listening to the


water flowing underneath


the bridge



               A garden bridge 

Writing poetry by Germain Droogenbrodt

To find the fragile balance
between silence and word
between the road
and the deviation
between the nameless
and the nameable
to bridge
the deep abyss
between paper and pen.

Some poets have indeed to cross that field of silence before they can put their feelings and thoughts into words. It takes some courage, for often it happens that some teacher or even as was the case with Carmel Cassar in Malta that a nun chided him at an early age for writing poems as if this does not suit a young man growing up. He gave up and regrets it till today that he has lost that art of expressing himself.

If anything, then poetry means entering a dialogue of intuition with reality. For that to happen, be disposed to






Poetry for the June event 2015


when the Olawski bridge shall


be a cultural site for one day


it should be remembered
what was forgotten
but a glance back
risks to destroy what has been created
if only no one would plunge of the bridge
into the depth of the water below
since afterall man has but one life
a time during which many bridges
in need to be crossed but only few are realized




Friends pass by
with swift eyes, or a mere twinkle,
we greet them as they pass by
on ships, trains,
or just on clouds we imagine
to be full of raindrops
ready to fall upon
this scorched earth, dry and old,
worn thin from the many feet
which have crossed over
many times before and still remain
magic bridges to cross over in peace

Hatto Fischer 14.5.2015



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