Paweł Kowalewski

“Totalitarianism Simulator” at the Museum of Photography in Kraków

Since 13 December, the Museum of Photography in Krakow has been showing Paweł Kowalewski’s work “Totalitarianism Simulator”, an immersive art installation that allows viewers to confront the experience of living under totalitarian regimes. The work is presented on level -1, and its presentation began with a meeting with the artist.

– In the face of totalitarianism, we are all alone. – says Paweł Kowalewski. In order to allow contemporary viewers to understand what the loneliness of the individual in the face of an inhuman system consists in, he decided to prepare ‘Totalitarianism Simulator’, an immersive show combining the crimes of totalitarian regimes with peaceful images of everyday life under these conditions. Images of the arrest of Jews during the Second World War or the execution of homosexuals in Iran are interspersed here with photos of a family walking the streets of Milan during the Mussolini era or a group of men drinking beer under a picture of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany.

The “Totalitarianism Simulator” allows viewers not only to confront these two faces of historical tragedies, but also – by weaving the photo of the viewer watching the projection into its structure – to feel part of them, another individual in uncertain and frightening times. Each use of the simulator will therefore be different – after use, the individual viewer’s photos are erased, and each user can expect an experience prepared just for her/him.

The show is for viewers of legal age only. The installation can be viewed until 28 January 20214.