Transformation Station is an interdisciplinary visual arts project aiming at renewing the methodology of artistic activity on the areas being socially and economically transformed. The Station is a transmitter and a receiver of knowledge about art and simultaneously — a metaphor of a stop, a moment of reflection in the ongoing process. The project popularises the achievements of three generations of curators and confronts the attitudes and practices of art institutions. It builds connections between Polish and foreign art institutions. It creates knowledge-sharing tools and relations between the younger generation of artists and curators — both from Poland and abroad. It enables learning about innovative curatorial attitudes in areas which functions have been transformed from industrial to residential. In the project the place of activity is regarded as a laboratory for artists’ attitudes towards certain local problems.
Transformation Station is a project organized by Alternativa Foundation aiming at re-thinking again what form of artistic, curatorial and organizational action would be an up-to-date and effective answer to the transformation of post-industrial areas into residential neighbourhoods. It also asks the question how to build a network of local and international relationships which would best serve the future of such activities. It aims at creating the methodology of these activities and, at the same time, summarising what has already been done by people and cultural organizations on post-shipyard areas in Gdansk in more than a decade. This area has been reclaimed by their actions in a cultural sense, but there is still much to be done in a social sense. The Station also creates organizational basis to let the young generation of curators and artistic animators into the epicentre of important social and cultural changes, and to link them with the achievements of young artistic scene of Tricity. The project’s name relates not only to the situation of post-shipyard area but also to the current state of socioeconomic relations which are the by-product of Polish transformation. Our project will be an attempt to initiate the process of re-claiming the society for culture, as it does not participate in culture now and is the Excluded, frustrated in consumption-oriented reality. Transformation is one of the Aesopian words of gentrification, the process where artists and artistic organizations often act as idealistic dawn of the actual process: pushing the poorer and less educated community out by new vendees — customers of property developers. These processes are often connected with the self-exploitation of precariat, searching for a place to live and act. At the end they leave, too. These processes are perfectly recognised and described. The question we have to ask is how to derive new opportunities to act effectively in a field of culture, and how to strengthen its social influence and build economic field of independent culture. That is why we introduce STATION: a transmitter of succeeding processes and inevitable social reaction to both physical locations of a particular activity, and a broader, European scale of the observation of this phenomenon.
The project is designed by people who are committed to cultural activity in post-shipyard area for many years, trying to restore the significance of this place given the major turn in a status of the space (European Solidarity Centre opening, plenty of construction spaces, new streets and roads) and planned office and housing projects. The change in context changes the directions of possible activities.