Szymon Adamczak - An Ongoing Song

But is there really such a thing as nothing, as nothingness? 

I don’t know. I know we’re still here, who knows for how long, 

ablaze with our care, it is [An] [O]ngoing [S]ong.
 - Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

Spinning the wheels of my feeble limousine into not very gentle of a night. I find myself in a place where a certain playfulness is expected or, rather, is imposed. An unwanted desire to always be with the other, to perform codependency. Here, me and him are together in a way I imagine my cells would be together with a virus, in a manner directed by science, out of my hands but, nevertheless, controlled. Hyacinths gardened in my medication bottles. Deborah, Yvonne, Insert Your Name and Pina. A Sims version of a burning love, a drug OD faked for a film scene, a deadly plague described in a book. A (previously) unreleased letter that keeps writing itself.

I wondered about ways to express the weightlessness of this duet. About the phantom pains I felt from the open wounds of others before me, and the testament of life that they bequeathed to me. I embraced the unexpected kinships and made genealogies dance together. Virus is a terrific performer. (One in a million, once for a lifetime.) Mouthwatering. The global population of the infected makes up for a country almost as big as the one I come from. And this is not ironic.

Date & tickets

2 June 2018 | 17:00 - 23:00 /// buy ticket €7,50* /// Szymon Adamczak, Sofia Dinger, Isobel Dryburgh, Clara Garcia Fraile, installations by Catarina Vieira and Clara Garcia Fraile

*includes our traditional serving of soup & bread

Location: DAS Graduate School


Collaborators: Panna Adorjáni (dramaturg & composer), Billy Mullaney (performer), Roland Korponovics (illustrator), Paweł Szubert (spatial designer)
Advisors: Zhana Ivanova, Manolis Tsipos
Tutor: Jeroen Fabius
Support: Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw
Thanks to: Community of DAS Graduate School, Visual AIDS (New York).
Dear strangers, friends and lovers for their generous support


Szymon Adamczak (born 1991 in Poznań) is a Polish theatre artist, dramatist and writer based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He studied at the College of Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities at the University of Poznań. He is the co-founder and vice-president of Kolektyw 1a in Poznań, an organisation that aims to support emerging artists and facilitates social development through artistic practices. He is an associated artist at Universal Pleasure Factory (RO) and currently is completing his Master’s at DAS Theatre in the frame of DAS Graduate School in Amsterdam. He is pretty much a left-handed nerdy fidget who is never truly ironic in his endeavours.

Previously he was the dramaturg and programmer of National Stary Theatre in Kraków under the artistic direction of Jan Klata (2015-2017). He has been working both in state theatres and on independent projects in Poland and internationally.

Awarded for performances devised with Magda Szpecht: Dolphin_who_loved_me at 100° Berlin Festival (2015) and Schubert. A Romantic Composition for Twelve Performers and String Quartet at International Divine Comedy Festival (2016), both presented across festivals in Europe. His most recent performance is called Forbidden Books and it premiered at Temps D’Images Festival in Cluj (2017). 

Artist's Statement

I do believe it does matter who you are and what place you speak from. Being born in 1991 into a Catholic lower middle class family in the Western part of Poland, I represent the first generation born and raised after the fall of Communism. Carrying the mark of a Millennial kid, whether I want it or not, I embody the aspirations of this young democracy, its troublesome relationship to a complex history and heritage. I entered the artistic landscape in Poland, not being initially trained to be an artist, Today, I understand my entry from a queer perspective which I have decided to acknowledge and to nurture in my developing practice.

The theatre I am proposing is, therefore, self-induced and aims to transform, in a poetic way, the singular experiences that have been been of my interest. Considering writing as my primary practice, I seek stories that are immune to the conventional modes of representation onstage. Imagine, for example, someone so allergic to light, even a lit computer screen may burn through their skin. A dolphin being taught English language and, eventually, being believed to have consciously commited suicide due to its love for a human. Think of how a once deadly virus that we seem to have control over still performs its vicious dance in an almost unfathomable way.  I find a tremendous ferocity in picking such gentle stories.

In my artistic practice I yearn to re-establish a frame of reference and a communication between stage and audience under the following formula: speaking of one’s behalf, the politics of disclosure, honesty, testing democratic principles, and exploring personal limitations. In the performance Forbidden Books I was working with actors on their coming-of-age stories by using, with their consent, their personal memoirs and videos. An actress was committed to a task to fall in love with an audience member and convey their relationship through the scope of the show in order to vividly revive her own early love life. By igniting the sense of agency and empathy within the fictional framework I wished then to empower the audiences, hoping to make them feel different than in the outside world, where we often feel lost as we face the irreversible lack of our own influence. In my understanding, theatre is not a mirror of life but a privileged space in which the artifice skews our belief in the consensus that produces everyday reality.

My projects serve also as means of reflection on the complexity of contemporary living by dwelling on topics such as my personal relationship with the HIV virus. My aim is  to elucidate these topics in the context of larger narratives of a political, social and biomedical order which entangles populations made of individuals. Yet, as I do so, I care for the importance of playfulness within the work itself, which comes directly from my own preference, at times, for brainy computer games and disarming television.

As an artist maneuvering between the academic, scientific and social circles, my role is to create connections and build, even if temporarily, platforms where people can meet and exchange meaningful experiences. For years I have been involved in an array of occupations alongside artistic creation. By working in-between the public theatre infrastructure and the independent field as a maker, dramaturg, producer and curator I have learned to value collaboration that is diverse in terms of disciplines and to cherish the passion and desires of the bodies involved in the act of creation.