Karolina Ptaszkowska : Micro Commisson : Interactive Horror Story

For the past few months, delighted to be awarded a Bricks micro commission, I have been focusing on bringing to light my long standing ideas about storytelling in relation to visual art. I proposed to explore a different domain to my usual forms of expression and worked predominantly with concept design and experimental text, which is in dialogue with my recent paintings and drawings.

The text I have been working on is based on: my personal and artistic journal from 2020’s lockdown; dreams; lyrics of tunes I’ve been thinking of; and borrowed texts/notes derived from my research into feminist and psychoanalytic theory to explorations of language, identity and contemporary painting. I layered different modes of speach and content, and composed it as a horror story, told from the perspectives of two characters – Me and Eye. Their narrations overlap and have few meeting points.

I wanted to find a visual and interactive way of presenting the tale, so it could bridge a gap between literary and pictorial, as well as make it accessible and engaging for a viewer. After consulting with Bricks’s team, I have now been put in touch with the UWE Design Enterprise Studio, and I am working with one of the students Ollie Ley on the final stage of the project. We want to deliver my designs in an innovative and creative way, in a form of a website.

CENTRAL THEME: What forces make someone driven to do things & coping with a pressure.

The story is built around a poem, To Be of Use by Marge Piercy, primarily through a series of drawings and a poetic prose where I explore my relationship with work, creation and artistic practice.

I compose the narrators as witches: a collective image that resonates with me as an unapologetic representation of a female anti-hero that is both good, bad, and also indifferent. If she were a mirror, I would probably see reflected artisan that can fly and affect the story, and at the lowest — a desperate workaholic with insecurities and self-doubt.

1. HAUNTED HOUSE – “My body is a haunted house that I am lost in. There are no doors, but there are knifes and a hundred windows” (Jacqui Germain)
2. ACID TRIP DIMENSION – An ‘another’ dimension
“Breathe the Fire; Walk the Air; Drink the Earth; Warm your hands at the Water.” (A greeting in Planescape’s Limbo)
3. ANACHRONISM STEW & ATEMPORALITY – a mixture of fairytale, aesthetics, and philosophy. Victorian era (Charlotte Perkins Gilman; H. P. Lovecraft), late XX c., the now, and the imagined future