Strzemiński, had taught in the building attached to the block of flats in which I lived. If I propped myself up in bed in my two-room flat, my back would be resting against the wall on the other side of which Strzemiński gave lessons fifty years earlier.
Strzemiński was one inspiration for the Workshop of Film Form and the anarchist grouping Łódź Kaliska. Both took as their subject matter daily life: its apparent absurdity under Polish state socialism and its potential as the fundamental basis for developing a different reality – literally a homemade reality – as the beginning of a psychological and social reordering of existence that was both independent and collectivist. The making and showing of art became a form of direct action with strong political implications. Cooperation was the oxygen of both movements, which overlapped, and communication with artists and audiences abroad was a crucial encouragement and stimulus. As a native English speaker, I was able to write critiques of films that were sent or taken abroad for screening in Western Europe or the USA. My first attempts in the analysis of visual and plastic, as opposed to verbal, artefacts were made inside a milieu of art-making. It was a form of cooperation that taught me the value and effectiveness of collaboration. Writing out of collaborations with other artists and writers is something I have sought out ever since, and has been reflected in films and exhibitions, as well as in many of the essays gathered here.
My three years in Poland were punctuated by trips back to England twice a year. These would be undertaken by car over two or three days, with long waits at the border between Poland and East Germany, and sometimes between East and West Berlin. I would reach West Berlin by nightfall and would stay in the Kant Hotel in Kantstrasse, not far from the KantGaragen, the classic modernist building used by Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin to store weapons; a few blocks