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The public call out for the inaugural CIRCA x Dazed Class of 2021 initiative asked audiences to submit a 2.5 minute film in response to the theme ‘Communion’ set by interdisciplinary artist and lecturer, Angel Rose. After receiving 2,000 applications, we are proud to present the 30 finalists who will each receive access to the Dazed Space and have their work exhibited as part of the CIRCA programme, appearing across public screens in London, Tokyo and Seoul this September.

Expanding on their commitment to help support the talent of tomorrow, CIRCA and Dazed appointed a community of jurors including Cauleen Smith, Frank Lebon, Hugo Comte, Simone Rocha, Dexter Navy, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Michele Lamy to select their top 5 submissions. From this, one lucky finalist will be selected by world renowned performance artist Marina Abramović to receive the #CIRCAECONOMY cash prize of £30,000.

With public art spaces diminishing, investment in arts education being cut and artist communities at risk, this joint initiative aims to empower the next generation of artists working in moving-image by platforming new voices and points of view from local communities on a global level, giving them unrivalled media exposure and the tools to help kick start their careers.

How did you become an artist and what was your route to your current practice?

EWELINA WĘGIEL:
Since I was 5 years old, I took drawing lessons, when I was 7 years old, my dad, who is a photographer, let me shoot my first footage, he bought me a camera and already then he showed me the huge amount of functions in photoshop, since I was 10 years old I played the guitar, the piano and then I also finished a sewing course.

I think this has always shaped my intuition and how I can express myself in different media.

Than I started my art studies and used any opportunity to travel, change place of living- exchanges, summer schools, studies abroad, residencies and I understood how important is to meet other artists and curators and musicians and filmmakers, makers and not only and that without building this community, my work as artist wouldn’t be possible.

What inspires you to make your work?

EWELINA WĘGIEL:
I am most inspired by the everyday practices of non- human and human beings.

As Joanna Brach Czaina writes in “Szczeliny Istnienia” (The Cracks of Existence): “The basis of our existence is everyday life. And since we experience the fact of existence as extremely important, we are astonished every time we realise that it passes in trifles. Everyday life, which is the existential background for extraordinary events, which we await – often in vain – can therefore determine everything. It has a tiny dimension but the frequency of it is high.” I love this quote and it really describes well what i look for- I don’t want to wait for big events to happen, great characters to appear, I find everyday life much more interesting.

Can you identify any elements of your community or collaborators that have had a strong influence?

EWELINA WĘGIEL:
For 3 last years I’ve been working within catholic church (as an atheist) on the video of which part I sent. I started when I was 21 than and I spent there huge amounts of hours and this experience made me thinking about art and community in a different way. Foremost I’ve learned empathy and patience, listening and not judging anybody but try to understand and thanks to this approach, parishioners who I worked with, were relaxed with me and opened.

Would you consider your practice to have a positive social impact, and if so in what way?

EWELINA WĘGIEL:
I think yes, meetings are key – I can learn a lot from the community, but I also try to bring in some different views.

There’s no spectacular social impact, I’m happy that I can talk together I’m not going to change the world and that’s not my goal, but when I finish the full version of this film I hope it will be able to tell the story of the community around the church without political judgement. There is no material like that in Poland yet, and that would be great, because the church divides people a lot, and cutting yourself off and thinking only through the prism of government and church propaganda is the worst.

How is your project tied to the Circa x Dazed Class of 20:21 theme of ‘Communion’?:

EWELINA WĘGIEL:
All my video is on communion of people, rethinking it and understanding the power of it, but also gives a broader view on it.

Also in this day and age of man-made climate change, we need to act together and our relationships should be based on mutual respect, listening to each other, friendship. In my project I was thinking about building ties between different beings and appreciating those bonds that exist.

Has your work been recognised by any public bodies or organisations in the past?

EWELINA WĘGIEL:
This work – no.

How would the #CIRCAECONOMY prize of £30,000 impact your future practice?

EWELINA WĘGIEL:
The award would allow me to continue working with community actors, facilitate the long process and post-production necessary for my projects. I would especially like to work with non-human actors.

I would like the film industry to not only be open to stories about human individuals and I intend to make such films, even though this is always the main reason why my proposals for funding are rejected.

What would you do with the money?

EWELINA WĘGIEL:
I would spend it for the next long term project.

If you are awarded the #CIRCAECONOMY prize, how might this affect your community?

EWELINA WĘGIEL:
The award would allow me to work with community and pay community of artists I work with while postproduction mainly (as always).