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“A Slightly Exotic Country”: Poland’s Contentious Debut at the 11th Milan Triennale, 1957

February 8, 2024 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Main 210

black and white image of a wall panel

Dear Pratt Community, You are invited to join a talk by Dr. Kasia Jezowska, “A Slightly Exotic Country”: Poland’s Contentious Debut at the 11th Milan Triennale, 1957.

Date: Thursday, February 8th, 2024

Time: 6:00pm

Location: Main 210

About the talk:

The talk will concentrate on “self-exoticizing”, as a conscious diplomatic strategy that aimed it to reintroduce post-Stalinist Poland to the international design scene. The talk will frame it as part of the ongoing interest of the communist government in material objects, which is the focus of Jezowska’s book project.

About Dr. Kasia Jezowska:

Dr. Kasia Jezowska is a cultural historian of Eastern Europe during the Cold War and a Lecturer in the Department of Arts, Design & Architecture at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She received her DPhil in History from the University of Oxford (2019);  MA in Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University & Design Museum (2010); and MA in History of Art from the University of Łódź, Polan (2008). In 2019 she joined the UNSW faculty to develop a comprehensive program in design history and theory.

She is currently completing the manuscript for her first book ‘Socialist by design: The State, Industry, and Modernity in Cold War Poland” based on her doctoral thesis (History, Oxford, 2019). The central task of this book is to uncover how modern Poland was conceptualized and visualized in the three decades between the 1940s and 1970s. It shows that more than merely developing a new iconography, the state turned to the products of industry, which allowed it to connect the search for Polishness with the national economic and social objectives. At stake was a political project, which from the start was imbued with a paradox: how to demonstrate the socialist commitment of post-war Poland while providing it with a clear distinctiveness vis-à-vis other countries, including, most

importantly, the USSR.

Her second project “Coal Nations and Carbon Cultures” continues an investigation into the political potential of material cultures, placing coal at the forefront of this enquiry. It unearths the complex relationship between natural resources, industrial products, and national identity.

In 2023 she was a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University, The Stanford Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Please RSVP by Monday, January 29 if you are interested in attending.