Charlotte Biszewski Rodzina 
 
Inspired by notions of home, what is means to the individual, how we use objects to adorn our surroundings, to tell stories and store memories. Incorporating work as a traditional printmaker within a range of communities, Charlotte Biszewski strives to find new relevance in traditional crafts through the incorporation of new technologies. 
 
During October she will be travelling across Poland, an unknown, yet familiar territory. Using this trip to research a history, she will integrate analogue practices in photography and tape recording, mirroring ancient scroll forms, creating a giant camera film spool on a 10 metre roll of wallpaper which works in conjunction with the winding of a cassette recording to tell a journey, an unwinding story which travels back in time. The final will result in a digital scroll which will be streamed online, linking the two processes in unity, the audience will scroll backwards and forwards through this journey. 
 
Gdansk. It is here where I know of some relatives, here where I have heard of. It was also the first place in Poland which came under Nazi occupation. But don't worry, this wont be too war heavy. It just feels relevant in this story. 
My grandfather, Edmund, son of Edmund, grandson of Edmund, yes. All were civil engineers, building the transsiberian railway, my great-grandfather got citizenship (I think he was originally Belarus?) in 1913, after the Russian Revolution. 
My Grandfather became an officer in the army and was one of the only to escape when the Poland was invaded. He travelled his way across Europe, avoiding arrest until arriving in the UK, where he was enlisted into the army there. 
I have started with an interview at Grandma's house. It was tough, I know that there are parts which she doesn't want to give me with this story. So I didnt want to push it. But here is a small sort of recording I did on a tape player. 
 
It was important. It taught me 2 things. 1 was that the original suitcase exposure unit, kindly donated by Hackspace Bristol, was not suitable for collecting 3D objects. 2. My family is a bit closed off. 
So I spent one week in Oxford and during that time managed to make my own exposure unit (as originally suggested by the wonder Bristol hackspace members). And it works, 2.5 meters of LED strip lights in a suitcase. 
Process 
The processes I am developing during this project are Cyanotype and Van-dyck Brown. These are two similar pre-silver forms of photography, (well actually van-dyck does have a bit of silver nitrate in it), one producing a beautiful Prussian Blue and the other a rich Sepia.The advantages of both is that apart from the chemical formulas of each, there is little required to develop prints and they are far less light sensitive than traditional photography- not requiring a dark room. Infact the bathroom of many of the places we having been staying have done the job more than adequately, having forgotten my scales, I have been able to successfully eyeball the measurements and it seems to work. You can work with acetate negatives, sketching onto tracing paper, found objects and stencils. 
 
Family #2 
Irene lives in Gdansk. 
 
She was the Niece of my grandfather, she lives in an old people’s home in Gdansk, she speaks no English. I went to visit her with Kaszia, who is the Granddaughter of my Grandfather’s sister. Confused? I think I will draw a family tree. 
So there was Edmund (great-grandfather) who worked on railways in Russia and Ukraine, (him and his wife were put in a work camp in siberia after the Communist Revolution – for being the beaougouis. They had 5 children at the time, who were taken care of by a priest in St Petersberg. Great-grandmother wrote to Lenin, explaining she had 5 unacompanied children and they were released. 
 
There were 3 girls and 2 boys. 
Maria Antonina ur.Biszewska ur.~1905; 
Jadwiga Biszewska ur.1907;  
Halina Biszewska ur.1908; 
Edmund (Muś) Biszewski ur 1910 
Stanisław Biszewski (najmłodszy) ur.~1912. 
Heres a bit of the interview and some recordings from the trip to the beach, driving across Poland and more all mixed together. 
Words so far, which keep coming up, to include in the final book 
kolej żelazna - trainline 
Gdansk 
matka - mother 
Poznan 
babcia - grandmother 
grób - graves 
Musch - nickname 
inżynier - engineer 
dowódca - officer 
Waszawa 
pianista - bakery 
piekarnia - baker 
granica - border 
ojczyzna - home /homeland 
przesunąć - To move transer, displace 
Dziadek - grandfather 
uciekać - to flee 
uciekli 
armia - army 
spotykać się - to meet 
The story is divided into 6 plots.  
With reflection on the project, the format has had to change, a long scroll does not reflect the complicated winding narrative which is forming. The change in all directions how ech child was seperated by the invasion and each found a very different path to escape or live with in a city.  
The question has been how to express this digitally, I have been working with artist books. In a bookart ans letterpress gallery in Warsaw. Working with people here is amazing, the stories from the Polish underground press movement are inspirational. It definitely has made an impact on the way book arts are conducted in the country. I am loving the DIY style which they had to adopt, traces of which still linger. The people I am working with have a strong respect for poetry and literature. 
 
This part of the story predates the war, during the Russian Revolution 
Click on this text to edit it. 
The End 
Thought I should sum up a bit about how this has ended, or well not ended. 
Tomorrow is All Saints Day. I will go to my ancestors graves and leave flowers. That is the tradtion here. 
I still continue to make the visual imagery for the book. I will finish next week. 
I have created a physical artist book from the project- which I will upload final photos of. It has been greatly influence by the digital aspects of this project. The audio was something which I have never done before and I will continue to experiment with hooking it up to speakers activated when opened. Something which I have not had the equipment here for. 
The link below is the online book, which in the end does not follow a croll format, however I began to play with this online panorama site, which links you through to different spaces, each representing one of the stories from a sibling.  
Its a bit gimmicky but could have real potential. 
It will continue to grow as the story develops. ! 
 
Back to top 
Designed and created by it'seeze