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Community Conversations
with Alex & Dydine

Episode 5

What do you think happens when we allow the “others” in?

Special guest Monika Dorniak. The importance of self-expression.

The conversation took place on Instagram live
January 17, 2021

Monika Dorniak biography

Monika Gabriela Dorniak (*1988).
German-Polish interdisciplinary artist.

“I want to share my research on trauma and its consequences with you by referring to my experiences of working with refugees and migrants on artistic projects. Traumatic events do not only re-shape the life of an individual person through Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but can also be inherited biologically by the future generations, making the experience of trauma an ongoing hassle for the family.

The research that I will share with you, is accompanied by my personal experiences of growing up in a rural part of Germany as a child of a polish migrant. My father had to flee from communist Poland due to his activism in the Solidarnosc as a lawyer. This scenario made me understand what it means to be 'the other' from an early age.

However, I did not let those outside projections impose on me, but decided to analyse the behaviours of the 'normative' and homogenous group from an early age. This lead me to the sociopolitical projects that I am working on nowadays. Besides of sharing my research on trauma, I want to share the experience and potential of having a migration background as an artist working with sociopolitical themes. I will exemplify the possibilities of reclaiming the traumatised body on chosen projects that I have been working on.
My art works are often collaborative and range from performances, workshops, wearable sculptures to videos, and to understand subjects in more depth I am merging disciplines such as dance, psychology, natural and social sciences and philosophy. I use the arts to address the problem of trauma, and explore ways of procesing individual and collective trauma through my collaborative projects. For some years I have worked on projects together with migrants and refugees, and have been commissioned by British artist Marc Quinn to work with refugees in London, Berlin and NYC on his recent project Our Blood that I will introduce to you later.

My work with refugees is going beyond the projects borders and I became friends with many individuals from countries around the world who have experienced wars at first hand. The inherited traumatic experiences of my family members makes me empathise more with the subject.”

Source LECTURE - 06. DECEMBER 2019. THE POTENTIAL OF BEING DIFFERENT Experiencing the Museum Conference - Garage Museum Monika Gabriela Dorniak