Shape smaller, softer interventions

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This yearbook brings together twenty creatives and community organisers from all walks of life: musicians, visual artists, dancers, art collectives, and everything in between. From personal to political, their contributions reflect diverse forms of community-building through care. How do they inspire each other? Who do they care for? How do they care? 💘

  • Name: Magdalena Zawieracz
  • Visual communicator / Information designer 
  • Pronouns: she/her 
  • Age: 26 
  • Location: Brussels  
  • Instagram: @magdalenazaw 

What do you care most about, and how is it relevant to your art/practice? It could be a social issue, your community, yourself, or anything! 

I care about being present, looking at the corners and margins of my reality, searching for openings through which I can work and create, or through which I can cause some type of micro-disruption. All of that informs my design practice. 

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Three words that come to mind when you hear the term ‘care’? 

Care is communal, soft, and spreading.  

What inspires you to care more for others, or to use your art/practice as a platform to do so? 

I’m interested in the very subject of care and its many expressions. I approach it through the lens of language. That means collecting the words of others which then become a matter of my practice, and shape the outcome. To give you an example; in one project I was studying activism and acts of disobedience. What stood out in the interviews was a desire for amelioration, tenderness and continual strive for togetherness. It not only inspired me to engage in care but made me realise that a creative process is a perfect place to exercise it. 

How do you hope to inspire others? 

Design can act as an invitation, a sincere gesture, or a call to play. I create books and objects that are active in their nature. Not in a digital or interactive kind of way, but rather in requiring action. I think that’s because I hope to inspire curiosity, engagement and care from the reader/participant. 

I create books and objects that are active in their nature

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What type of change do you want to inspire in your community/environment?  

I’d like for creatives to consider smaller, softer interventions. There is a tendency to think about disruptive solutions on a macro scale: colossal protests, organised rallies, political movements and international organisations. Of course, now and again, activism is about putting oneself on the street, waving a banner or screaming out a slogan. But oftentimes the disruption happens in a domestic realm or within personal creative practice. Subversion and revolt don’t have to be grand or overt…  

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How much influence do you think (y)our backgrounds have on (y)our art and practices? 

Through the years I have been actively engaged in protesting: both in my home country of Poland and abroad. From attending feminist rallies, strikes and happenings to designing activist posters and banners, I became conscious of the fact that my design practice needs to be driven by it. As an information designer, I am trying to find ways to shape data and knowledge in ways that are not authoritative, that grant agency and offer a multiplicity of options, readings and solutions. In my projects I leave space for participation, for something to be revealed, torn out, scribbled or pierced through. In that sense, my background has greatly shaped my understanding of design and has often informed my creative decisions. 

What are some challenges that you face while doing what you are passionate about?  

To not become a utopian, who dreams of alternative worlds that can never be realised…although a little bit of dreaming is necessary!  

How do you define ‘community’? 

Collaboration and togetherness.

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What is a ‘safe space’ for you? 

It’s a space where I can ask questions: How do we create with and for others, collaborate, disobey, design and change? 

Is receiving care a privilege, a right? 

Both. On a systemic level, it should be a right, on an inter-personal level maybe a privilege… 

Do you think this generation is redefining care and community building? And how? 

I do think so. We acknowledge that care and community building can take many different shapes, or have different expressions. To me, it’s about creating bridges, leaving more space for others and focusing on constructing diverse and flourishing systems. 

What small acts of care do you hope to see more of? 

Creation of considerate, open structures that provide opportunities for others to be heard.  

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How do you balance taking care of others and taking care of yourself? Do you make that distinction in the first place?  

Not sure if I cracked that one yet, but I do think that carving out some space to care for oneself is necessary to care for others… Caregiving requires lots of nourishment.  

Do you care about being cared about?  

Not much. I’d rather be cared for by the ones I care about.

<div class="editorial-banner"> <div class=“editorial-credits”> Photos by Ines Magno and Jeremy Tawedian </div></div>

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