daniel kotowski

Monument to the Victims of Biopower

performance, object (plasticine, plywood, MFP board, acrylic, wheels, handle)

“The Monument to the Victims of Biopower” is a mobile and universal object that commemorates forgotten and often invisible individuals who experienced violence in a normalised society. Anyone can fall victim to biopower – in the political, social and capitalist context. What the monument commemorates is not only the distant past, but also the close past, and even the present.
The project refers to the planned monumental projects, the concepts of which were created in the context of the Wrocław ‘70 Art Symposium – works such as “Art Centre (pillory)” by Anastazy Wiśniewski or “Self-sufficient pedestal” by Andrzej Wojciechowski. The “Monument to the Victims of Biopower”, however, mainly refers to the topics related to the forced sterilisation of people who were considered by the Third Reich to be “undesirable”, “unwanted”.
The symbolic unveiling of the monument – carried out as an on-camera performative action, the record of which was presented in the ZŁOTY KIOSK – took place on October 18th, 2020 next to the building of the former hospital at Poniatowski street in Wrocław. Established in the 19th century under the name of the Hospital of the Women’s Patriotic Union Foundation (also known as the Augusta Hospital) and functioning after the war until 2006 as the Public Clinical Hospital No 3, it was one of the places where fertility treatments were performed under the law introduced in the Third Reich (Law of 14th July 1933 for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases).
The date of this one-person event is also not accidental – it was on that day in 1935 that the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases of the German Nation was passed. According to its provisions, the rights in the choice of the spouse were limited, forbidding marriage to a person suffering from hereditary or mental illness, as well as to people previously sterilised.
The project begins in Wrocław and is going to be continued – I plan to travel with a mobile monument dedicated to the victims of biopower to places where similar practices took place.

film: Yuriy Biley
editing: Daniel Kotowski
assistance in performative action: Magdalena Kreis

creating object: Daniel Kotowski, Yuriy Biley, Magdalena Kreis

Implemented as part of the “Złoty kiosk 70/20” project organised by the Wrocław Culture Zone and the ZŁOTY KIOSK group with the support of the Ministry and National Heritage.

photo credit Marta Sobala