Close Up

27 March 2012: Józef Robakowski: The Energy Manifesto!

Close-Up is delighted to present a FREE screening of artist and filmmaker Józef Robakowski's The Energy Manifesto! series. Robakowski will join us via Skype for a video Q&A from Poland!

"Józef Robakowski is one of the most famous Polish artists and filmmakers associated with the neo-avant-garde movement of the 1960s and 1970s. As founder and initiator of various independent film groups and art associations, Robakowski was extremely active in developing a strong independent film scene in Poland. His works are characterized by a marked tendency to transgress various genres and media. Robakowski has been and continues to be reviewed in a fine arts context, as well as within the classical film genre (film festivals and program cinema). His multifarious use of diverse media – photography, video, film, paper works, mechanical picture production, Expanded Cinema, TV broadcast, installation, performance, etc. – contains, on the one hand, a meta-discourse about the guidelines of "reality," and on the other, a subjective perspective, which is included as "pure" reality appropriation in his (short) films. Robakowski has also contributed to this discourse in various theoretical texts." read more

The Energy Manifesto!
Józef Robakowski
2003 | 2 min | Colour | Digital

A highly expressive cry from the author of the manifesto, uttered while his head emerges from the water: I should like to tell you all that art is energy!

Test 1
Józef Robakowski
1971 | 5'13 min | B/W | Digital

This film was made without a camera. The holes cut out of the film at various distances determine the rhythm of the flow of light that emanates from the cinema projector and is projected on the screen, creating an afterimage effect. The intensity of the light energy is enhanced by the sound points scratched in the film.

An Attempt (Test 2)
Józef Robakowski
1971 | 2 min | Colour | Digital

A classical organ composition by the Johann Sebastian Bach can "stretch" a transport red strip in time. An exploration of musical memory.

Video Kisses
Józef Robakowski
1992 | 3 min | Colour | Digital

The equation of organically generated soundtrack with the video image.

Józef Robakowski
1998 | 3 min | Colour | Digital

A work from the cycle Impulsators, which was begun in 1971 with the film Test I. A fluctuating light image was accompanied by music by Lezek Knaflewski. The resulting synchronous and asynchronous audiovisual effects cannot be completely controlled by the filmmaker.

Attention: Light!
Józef Robakowski, Wiesław Michalak
2004 | 5 min | Colour | Digital

This video is a reworking of a film made by Paul Sharits in Robakowski's apartment in 1981 which was lost without being developed. A few years after this event, Sharits sent detailed instructions on how to execute this work, which Robakowski only realized in 2004, in digital format, eleven years after Shartis's death.

I Am Going...
Józef Robakowski
1973 | 3 min | Colour | Digital

A film-performance realized on the parachute training tower in Lodź. An assemblage of cold, objective images with the hot (biological) sound. A work made with a single shot, something which is a characteristic feature of many of Robakowski's works.

Nearer - Further
Józef Robakowski
1985 | 4 min | Colour | DV

A video in which the experiences gleaned in the Film Form Workshop in Lodź are continued. An exposure of the mediatic nature of a video camera, the exploitation of its powerlessness during the creation and recording of light phenomena.

La - Lu
Józef Robakowski
1985 | 2 min | Colour | Digital

A swing imposes its rhythm, independent of the commentator; it forms the rhythmic score for the filmmaker's singing.

About My Fingers
Józef Robakowski
1982 | 4 min | B/W | Digital

A sort of mini biography of Robakowski. The absurd scene staged for the camera becomes a mini-theatre piece, a video performance. This is one of Robakowski's favourite forms, and is used in many of his works, including Josephs Will, Acoustic Apple, My Videomasochisms II.

Acoustic Apple
Józef Robakowski
1994 | 4 min | Colour | Digital

A "performance to the camera", one of Józef Robakowski's favourite forms of intimate artistic expression. This simple video performance exposes the power of the specially prepared soundtrack, which accompanies a simple, striking image: the auteur peeling an apple.

My Videomasochisms II
Józef Robakowski, Tadeus Junak, Ryszard Meissner
1990 | 4 min | Colour | Digital

A Simple video performance mocking the so-called "butchers of art", some Polish performers (Zbigniew Warpechowski, Pawel Kwasniewski, Jerzy Truszkowski), that used to devastate their bodies during the performances. It is merely an appearance of the actual experience of an artist. I suffer a terrible pain on the TV screen in sound and vision. In front of the camera I "operate" on my face with various tools.

The Market
Józef Robakowski, Tadeusz Junak, Ryszard Meissner
1970 | 5 min | B/W | Digital

An animation of reality in the public space and at the same time the first film made as part of the Film Form Workshop. Using a camera satiated in the so-called "Red Marketplace" in Lodź, the auteur took two pictures every five seconds from 7am to 4pm. In this way, he achieved a cinematic compression of real time using mechanical means. The film served as inspiration for Zbigniew Rybcznski's Tango.

From My Window
Józef Robakowski
2000 | 19 min | B/W | Digital

"I have been working on this film since 1978, when I started living in a flat situated in the so-called Manhattan centre of Lodź. From time to time I would "look out" of my kitchen window with a film or video camera onto a huge square which became the hero of my "notebook". I kept filming all the changes and carious social and political events taking place in this square." – Józef Robakowski

We would like to thank Index (, WRO Art Centre (, Józef Robakowski ( and Mariusz Marszal ( for their support in making this event possible.