"Here’s what fascinates me: that I don’t know how to talk about it. My words seem awkward, clumsy. The language I use seems weak when talking about sign languages and more broadly, about the world of the Deaf."
"But let me be more concrete. First, have a look at a few truisms from the Truisms collection of Jenny Holzer. These sentences, seemingly simple, start to gain new and unexpected meanings in the context of sign language:
Listen when your body talks.
People who don’t work with their hands are parasites.
Words tend to be inadequate.
Description is more important than metaphor.
Abstraction is a type of decadence.
You are responsible for constituting the meaning of things.
One Gesture is a show about sign languages. It’s a performance about communicating with the world - the world of the hearing and the world of other Deaf people. I’m interested in communication as the passing on (and creating, and transforming) of knowledge, emotion, culture. If language defines reality („The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”, as Wittgenstein has it), then what can we learn about the world from the languages used by the Deaf? What in their experience of communication is universal, and what - unique? (And how in the world does none of my friends have Deaf friends?)
This for now. But I’m writing these words at the beginning of the work. I don’t understand the landscape I see in front. I don’t know what will come p;out of it."
One Gesture – Gestuno is a documentary theatre performance about the languages of deaf people. On stage, deaf performers are invited to describe life in their own language.
What sort of a mirror is language? What sort of games does it play with who we are? The title refers to the sign language called Gestuno. Designed in the 70’s as a universal sign language, it was a failure. Today’s (sporadically used) International Sign has practically no leftovers from Gestuno, which was at its source. The story of Gestuno is an example of how often humanist ideas are far from being the ultimate goal we should fight for.
WOJTEK ZIEMILSKI is a theatre director and visual artist. He creates multi-disciplinary works using a variety of forms taken from the performing and visual arts. He graduated from the theater directing course at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal. After returning to Poland in 2008, his first projects earned him media attention as “the hot new name of Warsaw theater” (Gazeta Wyborcza), and “the rising star of Polish culture” (Duzy Format). He is the author of, among others, Small Narration (2010, shown in over 20 countries) and Prolog (2011, first ever Polish show at the Ruhrtriennale). As a lecturer at the Warsaw University he teaches contemporary approaches to theater making with a particular focus on devising techniques, the new dance’s (so-called “non-danse”) input into theatricality, and its use on stage. Since 2015 he co-runs XS - an art centre focused on performative practices - theatre, dance, performance art, and other forms of art which work within a performative framework. He was one of the authors of the 2014 artivist action Golgota Picnic Polska which happened across Poland, protesting the canceling of Rodrigo Garcia's show Golgotha Picnic.
WOJTEK PUSTOŁA is a visual artist born in 1980 in Warsaw. His area of interest is film making, sculpture, performance and scenography. He is a graduate of the Sculpture Department and Multimedia Department on Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Poznan. His work has been shown in various exhibitions such as ‘Coming Soon’ in Temporary Gallery Cologne, Vordemberge-Gildewart Fund Award in Museum of Contemporary Art Cracow, Wro Biennale. Pustoła is affiliated with ‘Centrum w Ruchu’, a contemporary dance platform for choreographers and performers, as an author of video installations and scenography notable for its minimalistic and functional approach. He lives and works in Warsaw, Poland.