Rainbow in Flames

The Rainbow, an arch made of artificial flowers, is a public sculpture created by Julita Wójcik and is the outcome of a participatory art project carried out in Wigry, North-East Poland in 2010.1 In 2011 the sculpture, this time as commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute,2 was collectively rebuilt in Sopot and in Wilamowice near Oświęcim3 and was then transported to Brussels where it stood in front of the European Parliament as a monument to Poland’s first EU Presidency.4 The Rainbow returned to Poland before the Euro 2012 football championship and was located in Warsaw at the Square of the Saviour, in the Marszałkowska Housing Estate.5 Between 2012 and 2015 the sculpture was administrated by the Warsaw City Council6 until August 2015 when the Rainbow was dismantled and removed from the Square of the Saviour.7 The sculpture then joined the collection at the Warsaw’s Centre for Contemporary Art, its new patron. There have not been any further announcements as to where the sculpture will be displayed in the future.8

Rainbow, photographed on the day when it was partly burnt, photograph by Weronika Plińska

The Rainbow, which Julita Wójcik called “simply beautiful”,9 was described by the author as devoid of any social or political meaning and thus “free”; everyone can ascribe their own meanings to it. The artwork was introduced as potentially “open” and thus capable of producing an unlimited number of readings. This was claimed despite the fact that the rainbow is an international symbol of the LGBT community. It is worth mentioning that, according to Artur Żmijewski, in communist Poland the so-called socially applied arts had long been disgraced because of their having been used as a hegemonic tool by the totalitarian regime.10 On the other hand, in the mid-1990s and 2000s, Polish artists witnessed incidents of exhibition closures and artworks being physically attacked by politicians and members of the public. This convinced artists that the boundaries between political and artistic performances are blurred.11 The Rainbow was also destroyed and renovated a number of times,12 the visible result of struggles between various groups of ‘defenders’ and ‘attackers’13 who would associate the sculpture either with LGBT issues, or with the hegemonic European project which they criticized for a tendency to unify necessary cultural and religious differences.14 Initially described as a “gift,”15 “free” from any social or political meaning, the sculpture was therefore appropriated by various groups among its audience of ‘receivers’. According to Roger Sansi, participation in relational art practices can be described as a mode of “gift-exchange.”16

In her famous book Gender of the Gift, Marilyn Strathern elaborated on the classical, Maussian notion of the gift as an extension of the person.17 She used ‘Melanesia’ as an example, not as a particular geographic location as opposed to other locations, but as “a setting for a sustained thought experiment.”18 Her aim was to criticize the Durkheimian notion of society treated as an average for a given space and time. One of the main questions she raised was whether the individual as such is still an adequate category: would it not be more adequate to say that the relationship between person and society is continuant?19 In the ‘Melanesian’ case, there is no such thing as the distinction of internal and external set of relations. With respect to the gift-exchange, the author claimed that gift transactions transform persons, who are exchanged in the same way as things. According to Sansi, Strathern “stresses the continuity of people and things, as entities involved in relations – without presupposing any hierarchy between them.”20 According to Strathern, Melanesian persons are complete and composed of elements such as masculine and feminine; they hide certain parts of the self to reveal others, depending on the relation of exchange that they enter into.21 The person cannot enter into any relationship without defining and transforming herself and the person is defined by the relationships she enters into and carries. A ritual decomposition of person is also appropriate and possible, as when a person dies in a social sense and the relationships get recomposed and invested in other people, as “…relations are what animates the person.”22

Alfred Gell, who was strongly influenced by the work of Strathern, claimed that “the anthropological theory of art is the theory of art that considers art objects as persons.”23 Gell argued that art objects are the ‘indexes’ that mark both the result and the instrument of somebody’s agency. In other words he claimed that artworks, in the form of material objects, are the visible traces of actions intentionally performed by ‘primary agents’. The ‘primary agents’ are not only the artist who made the artwork, or the patron who commissioned it, but also the public for which it was originally created. Drawing on an argument previously made by Strathern, Gell claimed that, as the results of somebody’s intentions, artworks are dispersed – in time and space – elements of the “distributed personhood” of the primary agents (such as the artist, the patron, the public etc.). For Gell, a good metaphor for an artwork is a ‘trap’ because, “The trap is ... both a model of its creator, the hunter, and a model of its victim, the prey animal. But more than this, the trap embodies a scenario, which is the dramatic nexus that binds this two protagonists together, and which aligns them in time and space.”24 According to Sansi, from this perspective “artworks don’t just index the agency of the artist, but of all the agents that have been entrapped by the artwork.”25 According to Gell, art objects also have an agency – as ‘secondary agents’ they can transform social relations by causing “an effect” in their vicinity. As recounted by Sansi, who elaborated on what was stated by Gell himself, this allows one to think that “the trap, as an index, is a device of generating relations, or in other words of generating agents, not just tracing them back…”26 In this article, drawing on my ethnographic data and selected interpretations, I would argue that the Rainbow, surrounded by its material and immaterial infrastructures, operates as a powerful device. It is a Gellian ‘trap’, understood following Sansi as a ‘gift’ that interpellates27 emergent political subjects who respond to it as receivers.28

Police officer keeping an eye on the crowd after Together Against Nationalism march organised by the Anti-Fascist Warsaw, photograph by Weronika Plińska


According to Gell, the anthropology of art is a theoretical study of “social relations in the vicinity of objects mediating social agency.”29 I decided to approach the phenomenon of the Warsaw Rainbow by following multiple interactions, initiatives and interventions mediated by the art object and performed in its vicinity. My fieldwork at the Square of the Saviour lasted six months. I participated in a number of advertised public events such as the first performance of the LGBT choir ’Voces Gaudiae’ (October 11, 2014), a march called “Together Against Nationalism” organized by the Anti-Fascist Warsaw (November 9, 2014), or the happening “I Defend Rainbow like Independence” organized by the Twój Ruch political party (November 11, 2014). During my research project I also observed one, small religious demonstration of the radically conservative opponents of the Rainbow which was called “Protest in Defense of Catholic Faith and Tradition,” and was organized daily between June and November 2014. However, it is important to underline that I also took part in many spontaneous gatherings that took place in the vicinity of the Rainbow or in the surrounding locations, such as the demonstration against the staging of the play Golgota Picnic in June 2014.30 In additionI conducted a number of interviews with different subjects who, in my opinion, were directly involved in the production of the phenomenon of the sculpture. Among others, I interviewed the producer of Rainbow from the Institute of Adam Mickiewicz; I also spoke with Agnieszka Tarasiuk, the curator of an artistic project called Flower Power in Wigry, where the sculpture was initially created. I interviewed a volunteer who took part in the process of making of the sculpture in 2010. I looked at the visual representations of the Rainbow and interviewed the photographer Marcin Wziontek, who was responsible for creating an iconic image of the burning sculpture during the Independence Day March in 2013 - which I will describe later in this article. I also interviewed one of the leaders of the National Movement who organized a widely discussed protest against bringing the sculpture back to the Square of the Saviour after its renovation in May 2014. I also used cell phone photography as a method of documenting the changing vicinity of the sculpture.31 Luckily, when finishing writing up this article, I also had the chance to speak with the artist, Julita Wójcik, herself.32

From “Relational Aesthetics” to “Relational Antagonism”

In a number of interviews, Julita Wójcik called her sculpture an “open work”, using a term coined by Umberto Eco.33 She compared her position as an artist to that of a gardener, doctor and cleaner, claiming that all she ever wanted was to be socially useful and to make her audience feel needed too - instead of making them feel insulted or scared34. By creating the Rainbow in a collaborative manner,35 Julita Wójcik seemed to be participating in what has recently been called “relational aesthetics.”36 The author of the term, the art critic Nicolas Bourriaud, claimed that contemporary art practices that fit into the category of “relational aesthetics” are democratic because they aim to treat the audience like a subject, with all the attendant consequences. Relational artworks are inclusive and they establish possibilities for dialogue. They aim to transform social relations by offering an “everyday micro utopia” – a unique sense of togetherness lost in late capitalist alienation. The artists mentioned by Bourriaud, such as Rirkrit Tiravanija, use their privileged positions to create spaces that are available and “free” for their users to inhabit. And whether it is an art gallery transformed into the artist’s own apartment - a place where everybody could occasionally dwell - or a canteen where Tiravanija cooked pad thai to feed the audience, the idea was to offer a sense of togetherness – not on a large scale, as promised by past utopias, but on a micro scale.

However, as Claire Bishop interestingly pointed out, the question was: Who were the persons that Tiravanija fed or invited to their gallery ‘apartment’, and why?37 For her, the fact that a group of gallery goers ate pad thai, chatted and did a bit of networking, did not mean that the art practice became truly democratic, since it did not address existing socioeconomic boundaries. Thus she argued for “relational antagonism” instead of “relational aesthetics”: for her, democratic is what usually puts the idea of “harmonious” co-existence into question. It is the sense of “otherness” and the uncomfortable position of the one who cannot be totally herself when confronted with the “Other” that lies at the core of democracy.38 As stressed by Bishop, “the threat that the other represents transforms my own sense of self into something questionable,”39 and that is why the “relation arises not from full totalities, but from the impossibility of their constitution.”40 She understands the public sphere in a similar way to Rosalyn Deutsche, who drew from the argument of Laclau and Mouffe, not as a sphere of dialogue leading to consensus but as a sphere of antagonisms.41 According to Laclau and Mouffe as recounted by Bishop, “a fully functioning democratic society is not one in which all antagonisms have disappeared, but one in which new political frontiers are constantly being drawn and brought into debate – in other words, a democratic society is one in which relations of conflict are sustained, not erased”.42

In 2010, in Wigry, in north-east Poland, Julita Wójcik created a “rainbow made of artificial, cemetery flowers” to “support the walls of post-Camaldolese monastery.” The Roman Catholic Church was at the time in the process of reaquiring the property, which had previously been rebuilt by the state and was serving as a public, cultural institution – the House of Creative Labour (Dom Pracy Twórczej) where the ‘artist-in-residence’ program was housed.“Flower Power” had been intended as the last artistic project organized in the House of Creative Labour.

The artist’s choice of materials made reference to provincial commemorative practices43: in Poland, artificial flowers are commonly used for decorating graves for All Saints’, the Day of the Dead and local indulgences.44 Fresh flowers appear more frequently during summer festivals such as Corpus Christi processions and harvest celebrations - dożynki. During the harvest, (usually) women collectively make impressive garlands weaved from the ears of corn, flowers, fruits and vegetables. And they are not only for display, but are also the subject of agonistic competitions between villages.45 In the case of the Rainbow sculpture, these local traditions intersected with others spheres of life the artistic project called “Flower Power” was initiated by curator Agnieszka Tarasiuk who aimed also to invoke the usage of flowers in contemporary art practices such as land art, environmentalism and other practices.46 The project openly addressed matters concerning sexuality, including queer or simply non-heteronormative sexualities (for example in Maurycy Gomulicki's Fangor Flower or Jeronimo Hagerman's Aromática Cama Comunal). The broader context of emancipatory social movements was also present.

In order to make the Rainbow, Julita Wójcik organized a handicraft workshop. The workshop was open to all to attend, and although the artist said that some of the collaborators were her acquaintances – who also invited their friends in turn – many others joined in on the spur of the moment. The majority of the volunteers were women,47 both local and those coming from big cities like Warsaw. According to Julita Wójcik, one of the key figures in the process was Dominika Wróblewska, an LGBT activist and feminist who also invited further participants. The volunteers’ main task was to equip each factory-produced flower with a stalk made of wire. Later on, crafted items were collectively placed on the arch of the sculpture. As recounted by the artist, she found the non-alienating, manual labour process created a micro utopia of cooperation set up across differences such as age, gender, and sexual orientation of the collaborators.48 Julita Wójcik continued organizing similar workshops between 2011 and 2014, whenever the sculpture needed to be rebuilt or renovated. She thus transformed the activity of crafting flowers into that of crafting social relations.49 What was fashioned was not only the material object itself but also the ephemeral community of the Rainbow ‘co-producers.’

However, the story of the sculpture came to prove that the term relational antagonism proposed by Claire Bishop seems more accurate to describe what is at stake when contemporary art practices take social relations as their matter. It remains crucial to underline that the Rainbow was created in the shadow of the conflict between the church and the state, a conflict which was said to concern “property rights”. The final results of reclaiming the property in Wigry had mostly symbolic results – the post-Camaldolese monastery was soon reopened as a pilgrimage centre dedicated to the memory of John Paul II.50 The sculpture was created in the context of conflict and that is why it was not “open-ended” – the context enforced divisions which became more apparent later. As recounted by Bishop, divisions are limitations and “it is from the exclusions engendered by this demarcation that antagonism occurs.”51

Disobedient Object

As mentioned above, the Rainbow in Warsaw was destroyed several times. During the 2013 Independence Day March organized in Warsaw by a radical right-wing organization called the National Movement,52 the public destruction of the Rainbow was given a powerful visual representation. The iconic image of a young man triumphantly raising a Polish flag in front of the burning sculpture was by photojournalist Marcin Wziontek. The photograph soon went viral and attracted the attention of international media such as The Guardian, which posted it as a “picture of the day.”53 In Poland the photograph was published on the cover of the newspaper “Polska Niepodległa (Independent Poland) and granted the title “patriotic image of the year” by the Association of Catholic Journalists.54 According to Wziontek, the young man whom he portrayed was at the same time photographed by his own friend, so the picture only “captured the moment”. I also remember people gathering near the burning sculpture, many taking photographs, acting as if they were documenting a get-together with friends. For me, the relaxed atmosphere under the burning sculpture was striking because the act of burning the Rainbow itself, preceded by public incitements to hostility motivated by homophobia,55 had a surprisingly similar structure to pogroms.56 One radically conservative Catholic TV station was even fined for inciting hostility while providing live coverage because, according to the National Broadcasting Council, the correspondents openly expressed their approval for the act of public vandalism.57

Happening "Let's kiss under the Rainbow," photograph by Wojciech Jankowski

In 2013, the empty, blackened frame of the burnt Rainbow soon became material evidence of the failure of Poland to integrate with the European project.58 However, it also brought out some recognizable themes from Polish history – such as the shame of being the one who performs violent acts. Andrzej Leder, in his book A Dreamt Through Revolution. Exercises in Historical Logic, claimed that in Poland, between the years 1939 and 1956, a social revolution took place that enabled both the emergence and the expansion of today’s urban middle class.59 However, according to Leder, the memory of the “dreamt of” revolution has been suppressed because of the dramatic violence that it brought in its wake. In my opinion, this would explain why so many counter-initiatives were taken up in response to the burning of the Rainbow, as if participation in these counter-initiatives could change their uncomfortable position of being “passive witnesses”, a role known from the public discourse on the role of Poles in the tragedy of the Holocaust.60 The sculpture was soon restored as a result of the great effort of Warsaw citizens, who put enormous pressure on the local government by organizing a number of grass-roots initiatives and happenings in defense of the sculpture, such as “Let’s stick a flower in the Rainbow!”61or “Unshakeable! Let’s kiss under the Rainbow.”62 The numerous campaigns usually initiated via Facebook, included diplomats63, activists64, and celebrities65. One group of prominent public figures organized a public collection of money for the purpose of renovating the sculpture.66 Somebody hacked the Facebook page of the National Radical Camp67 – which was banned for promoting hatred right after the Independence Day March of 2013 – and it was brought back online with an image of the Warsaw Rainbow and plenty of new political slogans68 such as: “Nationalism is not patriotism, because hatred is not love. NRC – we change for the better,”, “I am Polish and I have Polish obligations: tolerance, solidarity, opposition to violence. NRC – we change for the better,”, “„Girl plus girl is a normal family,”, “„Public communications, communal houses, first communion. We used to cry: down with communism, but now we are not so sure,”, “„Only under the Rainbow, only under this sign, can Poland be Poland and a Pole be a Pole!”69 Julita Wójcik also publicly condemned homophobia and organized a handicraft workshop70 that was hosted by the Zachęta National Art Gallery.71

At that time, the burnt and blackened frame of the Rainbow gift-sculpture had apparently transformed itself into a “disobedient object.”72 The construction was soon decorated with flowers, leaflets, flags of the Campaign Against Homophobia, drawings, and paper notes carrying personal messages. The term disobedient object was coined by Catherine Flood and Gavin Grindon for artifacts that “ordinary people always used to exert counterpower.”73 Disobedient objects “can be monuments, full of symbolic, historical accumulation, or small, quotidian and domestic. As much as they are often playful and humorous, they can also be simultaneously traumatic, traversed by antagonisms and conflict.”74 Disobedient objects “aren’t unified by style or type,”75 although it is very rare that they are “fine,” since “quality” is what belongs to privileged social conditions. Disobedient objects, entangled with humans, are temporary constructions that are not made to last. They are objects that are made to support social change, and that is why they are filled with hopes and promises. However, most often they fail.

The Rainbow as Spectacle

It is important to underline that after the sculpture was burnt in 2013, the Mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, announced that the Rainbow, which was initially described as a temporary project,76 would be rebuilt as many times as necessary, as a “symbol of tolerance.”77 Just before Independence Day March 2013, the sculpture was actually restored by the local government, because it was also burnt in 2012.78 By saying that the Rainbow would be rebuilt as many times as necessary, the Mayor declared that the gift-sculpture would become an agonistic gift, a potlatch. One of the main issues raised by the opponents of the sculpture was that the artwork’s maintenance was costly.79 For them, the “gift” was never “free” – it was paid for with the public’s money. According to Sansi, who drew from the argument of Bataille, a potlatch is an “expense without return,” and as such “it turns the expense into public spectacle.”80 The author claimed that potlatch, just like theft, can become “an event of transgression that questions the reproduction of the existing social order”81 by denying the logic of the market economy. However, if the potlatch is performed only for fame and recognition of the “giver,” it easily turns into “spectacle.”

Sticker with an image of the burning Rainbow spotted after the Independence Day March 2014, photograph by Weronika Plińska

At the moment my research was conducted, in 2014, the Rainbow had already been restored by the local government and was fully renovated. However, this time no one could physically approach the sculpture because the whole area was highly secured and the artwork was under the special protection of city guards. The sculpture, originally made as a fragile construction – an arch made of artificial flowers – was now diligently maintained, unlike other “disobedient objects” which are made to support social change. When appropriated by the City Council, the sculpture became an “inalienable possession”82 – a precious objectification of the city’s policy aiming to associate Warsaw with “tolerance.”

To be precise, the flow of people in the vicinity of the sculpture was limited from the very beginning because the artwork was located on a roundabout. An exception to this rule was made in November 2013, soon after the sculpture was burnt, when visitors were allowed to enter the traffic circle. Demonstrators were also allowed to enter the roundabout during the march “Together Against Nationalism” in November 2014, during the women’s rights march “Manifa” in March 2015, and also during Gay Pride march in June 2015. However, aside from those days, the majority of visitors who came to see or to photograph the sculpture were forced to keep an obligatory distance. So for the ordinary, unaffiliated passers-by, it was possible to view the sculpture only from afar, either from the opposite pavement or traveling by tram, car, or bicycle which already gave the impression of seeing it as if it were a moving image.83

In the summer of 2014, I still observed efforts made by passers-by who struggled to trick the officers and enter the zone inhabited by the sculpture. The intruders were usually stopped by city guards and chastised for crossing the street in the wrong place or fined.84 When observing the interactions my first intuition was that the roundabout preserved a sort of an ’aura’ produced by past participatory events. Because the Rainbow was made in a collaborative manner and because, for most of the time, Julita Wójcik remained fairly absent as an author – the sculpture was appropriated by various groups of its receivers, some of whom definitely knew how to play hide-and-seek with the authorities. For example, one of the volunteers who took part in the process of making of the sculpture in Wigry told me in an interview that after the sculpture was burnt in 2013 in Warsaw, she felt that she needed to take a stance. She therefore took part in the happenings organized in defense of the Rainbow that also condemned the homophobia of its critics, for example, by initiating a non-heteronormative exchange of kisses in the vicinity of the sculpture - “Let’s kiss under the Rainbow!”. Interestingly, after that event, the Rainbow was temporarily appropriated by a group of conservative politicians from the political party Solidarna Polska, who decorated its frame with national red and white flowers, and organized a Christmas Eve party there.85 The politicians claimed that they wish the Rainbow to be rebuilt, but only in national colours. The interviewee did not like the idea of the Rainbow being appropriated by right-wing politicians. One night, she spontaneously decided to tear some of their flowers from the monument and brought them home as trophies.

However, between June and November 2014, it was quite apparent that the Rainbow was surrounded, not so much by the “aura” attributed to collaboratively made artworks as by the invisible, protective mist emitted by CCTV cameras installed by the Centre for Security and Crisis Management of the Capital City of Warsaw,86 which also provided a sprinkler system and illuminated the sculpture with street lamps.87 Thus the actions performed in the vicinity of the Rainbow, which I regularly observed, were not only mediated by the sculpture. They were also substantially designed and furnished by the material and immaterial infrastructures operating in the “site” that the Rainbow inhabited, such as the city monitoring, hotspots, street lamps, electricity, and the specific, panoptic form of the built environment itself.

It was the built environment that provided conditions for creating multiple, visual representations of the sculpture in first place, which, in turn, transformed the disobedient object into a “panoptic device.”88 A number of Facebook pages were dedicated to both the Square of the Saviour and the Rainbow, and so an immaterial infrastructure was set up for the circulation of images.89 The page called “Zbawix” [a play on words that connects two terms – “savior” and “fun”] was full of posts and digital images documenting the daily life of the Square, as well as “crazy nights out” and photo evidence of an action performed by one of the arsonists who attempted to destroy the sculpture during the period when my research was being conducted.90 The owner of a coffee place located at the Square of the Saviour, Galeria Funky Studio, installed a surveillance camera on the façade of his building, so that the sculpture could be streamed live on the Internet.91 The Square of the Saviour was given its own public hotspot to enable a connection via a network called Square of the Hipster. It is important to add that the majority of public events that took place in the vicinity of the sculpture were announced via social media.

Thus I would argue that, in this case, it is not only the sculpture itself, but also the infrastructures that should be perceived as mediators; not only do they organize and regulate the flow of humans, goods, and information in the vicinity of the sculpture, they also transmit and confirm the existing power relations.92 Close, ethnographic investigation of the social space produced in the vicinity of the Rainbow may potentially serve to call into question theprivileged role of human agency in producing the phenomenon of the sculpture as even the gestures performed in the vicinity of the art object may no longer belong to the subjects, but to those who represent them.93 The Rainbow was permanently monitored by CCTV cameras – both commercial ones and those provided by the local government; the sculpture was also frequently televised and photographed on private cell phones. It is therefore possible to claim that the Square itself became a site of the transmission of what Debord called the ongoing “spectacle.” According to Debord, the “spectacle” is “not a collection of images, but a social relation among people mediated by images”.94 Furthermore, a complex system of monitoring and control usually serves the purpose of creating “disciplined subjects.”95 Hence, I would argue that here, more agency was attributed to the complex, multi-layered infrastructures that put the panoptic device in operation than to human subjects. From this point of view, the dynamic interactions between the intruders who struggled to enter the site inhabited by the sculpture and the officers who struggled to fine them, those interactions were “unimportant competitions,” since, according to Debord, “the spectacle is the existing order’s uninterrupted discourse about itself, its laudatory monologue,” “the spectacle’s form and content are identically the total justification of the existing system’s conditions and goals.”96

A Gift that Interpellates

Soon after the Rainbow was re-installed at the Square of the Savior, in May 2014, one small, radically conservative group, led by a priest, protested “in defense of Catholic faith and tradition”. One of their main demands was to remove the Rainbow, which they considered “a blasphemy,”97 from “the vicinity of the church of the Holiest Savior”. As they put it in their official open letter addressed to the Mayor of Warsaw: “standing at the Square of the Holiest Savior, we pray for the Authorities of the Capital City to send a crew of workers with a crane so that the installation [the Rainbow] could be taken away as immediately as it was installed.”98 Contrary to the official, historical reports,99 the priest who wrote the letter claimed that, in the past, the Square of the Savior had had a monument to Jesus Christ which was destroyed by the Nazis. The demonstrators wanted to return the Square back to the previous “owner”, so the conflict was presented as if it was concerning “property rights”, as in Wigry. However, the protest was organized against the so-called “gender ideology,”100 that is, among other issues, against Poland’s ratification of the Council of Europe’s “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.” This message was communicated via banners that the demonstrators held which compared “gender ideology” to totalitarian regimes such as communism and fascism. Some of the biased slogans were roughly translated into English: “Correctly-thinking Pole, remember!!!! Gender – the ideology of spineless Westerners is not for our hardy Poles. Instead of helping to change our laws, homo-couples should be helped to change [themselves].”101 This was because the convention included content pertaining to LGBT persons, as it prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Thus, the imaginary results of actions taken by the protestors would be to return the Rainbow back to its actual patron - to the Council of Europe.

The protest had its own dynamics organized by the rhythm of prayers (the recitation of the Holy Rosary, The Chaplet of Divine Mercy, The Angel of the Lord) and informal discussions. The majority of the demonstrators were elderly women. It was rather unlikely that they would talk to random passers-by – they usually stood close to each other, almost in a circle which, to me, suggested that their activity was directed to the inside rather than the outside of the group. The demonstrators would ignore those passers-by who wanted to argue with them, laughed at them, took photographs of them or, in some cases, were willing to have a conversation with them. The protest was addressed almost exclusively to a group of people of the same religious affiliation, who could prove it by joining the activity of praying in public. The gatherings were organized five days a week, usually at the same time and in the same part of the Square. Each of them lasted approximately three hours, despite the changing weather conditions, season of the year or signs that the demonstrators were getting tired with propping up the massive placards. The regularly practiced religious protest seemed effective in how it produced social relations: almost the same number of demonstrators would meet every day and they were not always the same people. Many times I saw new people spontaneously joining in, usually to recite some part of the Rosary. The public gathering soon became a recognizable meeting point for them. The demonstrators would not only pray – they also chatted and occasionally exchanged leaflets distributed by the priest, such as the copy of the already quoted open letter addressed to the Mayor of Warsaw.

When they were standing opposite the Rainbow, I noticed that some of the protestors faced the sculpture when reciting the Rosary, as if the Rainbow had, in fact, been appropriated by them. When after one of their gatherings, I randomly asked one of the elderly ladies about the artwork, she honestly confessed that before she had not been in the sculpture. She did not realize when the Rainbow appeared and why. It was only after the “free gift” was introduced as a “gay symbol” and associated with “gender ideology” that it became visible to her. From this point of view, the repetitive actions mediated by the Rainbow and performed in its vicinity seemed effective in how they produced the ephemeral political community of religious believers, praying in protest against the presence of the sculpture.

It is important to underline that after my fieldwork was completed, Poland ratified the Council of Europe’s “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence” (signedby the Polish President in April 2015.) Nevertheless, Polish law does not define crimes motivated by homophobia and transphobia. The protest “in defense of Catholic faith and tradition” was continued in 2015.102 This time, the demonstrators held placards that criticized President Bronisław Komorowski who ratified the Convention, and openly expressed their approval of the newly elected conservative President, Andrzej Duda.103


The story of the Rainbow shows how Julita Wójcik opened up a space for creating multiple authorship. Thanks to her decision the Rainbow actually became a truly “democratic artwork.” Its “democratic qualities” did not correspond to the liberal concept of the public sphere, understood as a consensual agreement between rational individuals. In this article, I presented some of the examples of how the Rainbow, as a “gift-sculpture,” interpellated the emergent political subjectivities of those who responded to it as receivers. Instead of harmony, the sculpture produced conflicts between the antagonized, ephemeral communities of its “co-producers.” The conflicts that the sculpture effectively mediated falsified the idea that different groups or persons can peacefully coexist in one society without the threat of being excluded. I was hesitant to call the conflicts that I observed “class conflicts,” because that would require more advanced fieldwork. However, I would like to stress that one of the main differences between the various groups of the Rainbow’s “receivers” was generation (elderly vs. young women). According to Bishop, by probing the boundaries of what is and what is not possible, it is conflicts and not consensus that can actually bring about social change.104 I imagine that the newly emergent political subjects - be they radically conservative, leftist, neoliberal or queer - will remain active in the public sphere. However, their activity will presumably exceed the limits of a public discourse organized around the Rainbow itself.105 By reporting on the social life of the Rainbow, I followed the argument made by Roger Sansi who claimed that: “Any project of ‘participation’, like the gift, contains the seeds of the opposite: market competition and exclusion. (…) Perhaps from the perspective of anthropology, more than if they are morally unquestionable or politically effective, what is remarkable is their very process.”106

1 “Julita Wójcik, Tęcza, Dom Pracy Twórczej w Wigrach, sierpień 2010,” Obieg, last modified August 26, 2010, http://www.obieg.pl/kronika-towarzyska/18442, accessed November 2, 2015.

2 A state-founded institution set up to promote Poland abroad.

3 As recounted on the website of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Oświęcim is “known to most of the rest of world as Auschwitz.” See: Wójcik’s Bridge from Poland to Belgium at Fossils and Gardens, culture.pl, http://culture.pl/en/event/wojciks-bridge-from-poland-to-belgium-at-fossils-and-gardens, accessed November 2, 2015.

4As recounted on the website of the AMI, “the presentation should go beyond the popular stereotypes of Poland and the Poles and highlight the bright side, our sense of humor, practical impracticality, self-depreciation and, against all odds, our openness and optimism.” See: Julita Wójcik’s Rainbow from Sopot to Brussels, culture.pl, http://culture.pl/en/event/julita-wojciks-rainbow-from-sopot-to-brussels, accessed November 2, 2015.

5The office of its producer, the AMI, is in the same neighborhood.

6 The City Council was responsible for the maintenance of the sculpture according to the official agreement with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. See: http://www.senat.gov.pl/gfx/senat/userfiles/_public/k8/dokumenty/stenogram/oswiadczenia/jackowski/6802o.pdf , accessed November 2, 2015.

7The decision to remove the sculpture was made collectively by the administrator, the artist, and the patron, the AMI. The official reason was that the agreement with the administrator, who was responsible for the maintenance of the sculpture, was valid only until the end of 2015. The AMI and Julita Wójcik organized public happenings in order to pay a last tribute to the sculpture. The members of the public could take their “last selfie” in front of the sculpture using a machine provided by the organizers called “fotomat.” The night that the sculpture was dismantled, the artist was there giving away the Rainbow flowers. See: Saying goodbye to the Rainbow, culture.pl, August 3, 2015, http://culture.pl/en/article/saying-goodbye-to-the-rainbow ; Janina Blikowska, Pożegnanie Tęczy. Zostanie rozebrana [Farewell to the Rainbow. It Will Be Removed], http://www.rp.pl/artykul/1220399.html, accessed November 2, 2015.

8The official statement was published on the website of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw on August 27, 2015. See: http://csw.art.pl/index.php?action=aktualnosci&s2=1&id=1280&lang= , accessed November 2, 2015.

9Julita Wójcik. Tęcza, culture.pl, http://culture.pl/pl/wydarzenie/tecza-julity-wojcik-w-warszawie, accessed November 2, 2015. All translations from Polish into English by the author.

10Artur Żmijewski, ”Stosowane sztuki społeczne,” Krytyka Polityczna, 11/12 (2007):15.

11 According to Żmijewski, as a result of this situation Polish contemporary artists developed ways of achieving sociopolitical impact without being explicit about it. For example, when cooperating with public institutions their work would often also reflect their own, inner policies. In my opinion, this could be the reason why in 2011 Wójcik fashioned the Rainbow as a gift of collective effort – one made by the inhabitants of Sopot and offered to the city of Brussels to be erected in front of the EU Parliament - “Sopot Makes Art for the City of Brussels”, see: Julita Wójcik’s Rainbow from Sopot to Brussels, culture.pl, http://culture.pl/en/event/julita-wojciks-rainbow-from-sopot-to-brussels, accessed November 2, 2015.

12Lea Berriault, Seven Questions About Poland’s Most Divisive Artwork, culture.pl, http://culture.pl/en/article/7-questions-about-polands-most-divisive-artwork, accessed November 2, 2015.

13Jacek Niegoda, Karol Sienkiewicz, "Co się wydarzyło na Placu Zbawiciela? Ciąg dalszy rozmowy" [What Happened on the Square of the Saviour? A Conversation Continued.], Dwutygodnik.com, 122 (12/2013), http://www.dwutygodnik.com/artykul/4925-co-sie-zdarzylo-na-placu-zbawiciela-ciag-dalszy-rozmowy.html, accessed November 2, 2015. Protest przeciwko odbudowie Tęczy przy Placu Zbawiciela. Narodowcy zatrzymani [Protests Against the Building of the Rainbow at the Square of the Saviour. Nationalists Detained], PolskieRadio.pl, http://www.polskieradio.pl/5/3/Artykul/1098563,Protest-przeciwko-odbudowie-Teczy-przy-pl-Zbawiciela-Narodowcy-zatrzymani, accessed November 2, 2015.

14 Chantal Mouffe, Agonistyka. Polityczne myślenie o świecie , trans. B. Szelewa, (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej, 2015), 55-75. As recounted by one of the leaders of the National Movement, who protested against restoring the Rainbow to the Square of the Saviour in May 2014, the “traditional, Christian majority” of Poles refuses to integrate with the European project because they associate it with nihilism. [Polish original: “… nie chcą się zeuropeizować, w tym rozumieniu europejskości, jakim jest podążanie za zachodnioeuropejskim nihilizmem kulturowym].

15 Ted Purves ed., What We Want is Free: Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art (New York: State University of New York Press, 2004).

16 Roger Sansi, Art, Anthropology and the Gift (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), Kindle edition.

17 Marilyn Strathern, Gender of the Gift: Problems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia (Berkley: University California Press, 1988).

18Alfred Gell, “Strathernograms, or, the Semiotics of Mixed Metaphors,” in Alfred Gell, The Art of Anthropology. Essays and Diagrams, ed. Eric Hirsch (Oxford and New York: Berg 1999), 39. The ‘Melanesia’ is also referred to as the “system M” and it is presented in opposition to “the West.”

19 Marilyn Strathern, “Parts and Wholes: Refiguring Relationships in a Post-Plural World,” in Conceptualizing Society, ed. Adam Kuper (New York: Routledge, 1992), 81.

20 Sansi, Art, Anthropology and the Gift, 107.

21As recounted by Alfred Gell: „In the light of the system M, therefore, the gender of the persons is a function of particular relationship into which they enter, not something immutable, which is socially constructed one way or the other.” Gell, “Strathernograms, or, the Semiotics of Mixed Metaphors,” 62.

22Strathern, “Parts and Wholes: Refiguring Relationships in a Post-Plural World,” 83. According to Strathern, a person is composed of social relations and that is why it is relational itself – it is a dividual rather than an individual.

23 Alfred Gell, Art and Agency. An Anthropological Theory (Oxford and New York: University Press, 1998), 9.

24Ibid., 27.

25 Sansi, Art, Anthropology and the Gift, 59.

26 Ibid., 62.

27 Ibid., 66.

28 One of the leaders of the National Movement, in an interview with me, remarked that he was not interested in the sculpture until he realized that there was an ideology “behind it”. See also: Jakub Kowalski, Palma i tęcza: promocja ideologii [The Palm Tree and the Rainbow: Promoting an Ideology], http://www.rp.pl/artykul/61991,1169897-Palma-i-tecza---promocja-ideologii.html, accessed November 2, 2015.

29 Gell, Art and Agency. An Anthropological Theory, 7.

30The play by Rodrigo Garcia was officially banned from the 2014 Malta Festival in Poznań, because representatives of the Roman Catholic Church protested against its staging. The decision of the organizers to exclude the play caused counter-protests in many cities in Poland which took form of public readings of Golgota Picnic.

31 The method was insipired by the work of Ger Duijzingis and Michael Stewart. See: Ger Duijzingis, “Miejskie trajektorie: tworzenie antropologii ruchu,” Kultura Współczesna 72/2 (2012), 19-24; Micheal Stewart, “Mysteries reside in the humblest, everyday things: collaborative anthropology in the digitalage,” Social Anthropology, 21/3 (2013), 305-332.

32I would like to underline that most of my interviewees were women, which proves their leading role in producing the phenomenon of the sculpture.

33 Umberto Eco, “The Poetics of the Open Work”, in: Participation. Documents of Contemporary Art, ed. Claire Bishop (London: Whitechapel Gallery and Cambridge: MIT Press 2006), 20-41.

34 “Cóż po artyście w czasie marnym. Zapis dyskusji podczas premiery Szumu nr 5” [Who needs an artist in these wretched times. A discussion during the premiere of issue 5 of Szum], Magazyn Szum, http://magazynszum.pl/krytyka/coz-po-artyscie-w-czasie-marnym-zapis-dyskusji-podczas-premiery-szumu-nr-5, accessed November 2, 2015.

35Grant Kester, The One and the Many: Collaborative Art in a Global Context (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011).

36Nicolas Bourriaud, Estetyka relacyjna, trans. Ł. Białkowski (Kraków: Muzeum Sztuki Współczesnej w Krakowie, 2012).

37 Claire Bishop, “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” October 110 (2014), 64.

38Here she followed the argument previously made by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe in: Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (Verso: London, 1985).

39 Claire Bishop, “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” 66.

40 Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, 125. Cited in Bishop, “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” 66.

41 Rosalyn Deutsche, Evictions: Art and Spacial Politics (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996).

42Claire Bishop, “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” 66.

43As recounted on the website: http://www.obieg.pl/kronika-towarzyska/18442, accessed November 2, 2015: “A Rainbow [symbolizes] good luck in an important enterprise. The place where the walls of post-Camaldolese monastry will be supported by a rainbow made of artificial, cemetery flowers: House of Creative Labour in Wigry” [Polish: TĘCZA, czyli pomyślność w ważnym przedsięwzięciu. Miejsce, gdzie pokamedulskie mury wigierskiego klasztoru zostaną wsparte tęczą z cmentarnych sztucznych kwiatów: Dom Pracy Twórczej w Wigrach].

44 For Polish local commemorative practices see: Ewa Klekot, “Mourning John Paul II in the streets of Warsaw,” Anthropology Today 23/4 (2007), 3-6.

45In the past, the folk tradition - which had already been politicized before - was appropriated by the communist authorities, who organized national harvest celebrations to promote the strategic alliance between workers and peasants that lay at the core of communist ideology.

46 Julita Kwaśniak, “Wigierski supeł ze światów – o pracy ze społecznością lokalną oraz nierównej walce dialogu i eksperymentu z monumentalnością murów z Agnieszką Tarasiuk rozmawia Julita Kwaśniak” [The Wigry Knot of Many Worlds: Agnieszka Trasiuk and Julita Kwaśniak talk about working with local communities and the uneven battle of dialogue and experiment with the monuments], https://mocak.pl/wigierski-supel-ze-swiatow-z-agnieszka-tarasiuk-rozmawia-julita-kwasniak, accessed November 2, 2015.

47 The second most significant group of participants who took part in the process was children.

48 See also: Krzysztof Gutfrański, “Sztuka jako zawód? Z Julitą Wójcik rozmawia Krzysztof Gutfrański” [Art as a Profession? Krzysztof Gutfrański talks to Julita Wójcik], Magazyn sztuki, http://magazynsztuki.eu/index.php/rozmowy/213-sztuka-jako-zawod, accessed November 2, 2015; Witold Mrozek, „Pożegnanie z Tęczą. Autorka: nie chciałam, by stała się pomnikiem” [Farewell to the Rainbow. Artist: “I didn’t want it to become a monument”], Gazeta Stołeczna, http://warszawa.wyborcza.pl/warszawa/1,34862,18601678,pozegnanie-z-tecza-autorka-nie-chcialam-by-stala-sie-pomnikiem.html, accessed November 2, 2015.

49 A similar argument was made by Michael Herzfeld in his book The Body Impolitic. Artisans and Artifice in the Global Hierarchy of Value (Chicago: Chicago University Press 2004).

50 As recounted on the website: http://www.wigry.pro/, accessed November 2, 2015.

51 Bishop, “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” 72.

52As recounted on their website, the National Movement was set up after the Independence Day March in 2012 as a “socio-political initiative” that brought together minor organizations such as Młodzież Wszechpolska [All Polish Youth] and Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny [National Radical Camp]. See: http://ruchnarodowy.org/, accessed November 2, 2015.

53 Fiona Shields and Arnel Hecimovic, “Best pictures of the day – live,” The Guardian, November 11, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/news/2013/nov/11/best-pictures-of-the-day-live, accessed November 2, 2015.

54 In Polish the organization is called „Oddział Telewizyjny Katolickiego Stowarzyszenia Dziennikarzy Polskich.” For the award listing see: Nagroda za najlepszą fotografię patriotyczną roku 2013 [Prize for Best Patriotic Photography in 2013], http://www.ksd.media.pl/aktualnosci/1762-nagroda-za-najlepsza-fotografie-patriotyczna-roku-2013, accessed November 2, 2015.

55I remember people chanting, “No reds, no rainbows - only a national Poland!” A cry of that sort might equally have been addressed to political enemies.

56 See: Adam Michnik, ed., Przeciw antysemityzmowi 1936 – 2009 (Kraków: Universitas, 2010).

57 Kamil Sikora ”Telewizja Trwam dostała 50 tysięcy zł kary. Za pochwałę spalenia Tęczy na Placu Zbawiciela podczas Marszu Niepodległości,” [Trwam TV receives a 50 000 PLN fine. For praising the burning of the Rainbow at the SAviour’s Square, during the Independence March], Natemat.pl, http://natemat.pl/118827,telewizja-trwam-dostala-50-tys-zl-kary-za-pochwale-spalenia-teczy-na-placu-zbawiciela-podczas-marszu-niepodleglosci, accessed November 2, 2015.

58See also: Krzysztof Gutfrański, “Sztuka jako zawód? Z Julitą Wójcik rozmawia Krzysztof Gutfrański” [Art as a Profession? Krzysztof Gutfrański talks to Julita Wójcik].

59 Andrzej Leder, Prześniona rewolucja (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej 2014), 48-96.

60 See: Michnik, ed., Przeciw antysemityzmowi 1936 – 2009.

61 https://www.facebook.com/wetknijkwiatekwtecze?fref=ts, accessed November 3, 2015.

62 https://www.facebook.com/events/572198816186628/, accessed November 3, 2015.

63 See: “Ambasador z kwiatami przy tęczy. Na Twitterze wrze: ja pier…,”[Ambassador with flowers by the Rainbow. Twitter goes mad: F*** me…”] Dziennik, November 14, 2013, http://wiadomosci.dziennik.pl/wydarzenia/artykuly/443163,ambasador-z-kwiatami-przy-teczy-na-twitterze-wrze-ja-pier.html, accessed November 2, 2015.

64“Całowali się pod spaloną tęczą. Chcemy pokazywać dobre wzorce” [They kissed under the burnt Rainbow. We want to provide good role-models], Rmf 24, November 15, 2013, http://www.rmf24.pl/fakty/polska/news-calowali-sie-pod-spalona-tecza-chcemy-pokazywac-dobre-wzorce,nId,1058915?f=l&filter=2#, accessed November 2, 2015.

65 Martyna Śmigiel, “Ludzie wieczorem dekorują tęczę. Wśród nich Edyta Górniak” [People decorate the Rainbow in the evenings. Among them Edyta Górniak], Gazeta stołeczna, November 15, 2013, http://warszawa.wyborcza.pl/warszawa/1,34889,14940211,Ludzie_wieczorem_dekoruja_tecze__Wsrod_nich_Edyta.html, accessed November 2, 2015. “Szulim też CAŁOWAŁA SIĘ pod tęczą” [Szulim also KISSED under the Rainbow], pudelek.pl, November 16, 2013, http://www.pudelek.pl/artykul/60950/szulim_tez_calowala_sie_pod_tecza/, accessed November 2, 2015.

66https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zbi%C3%B3rka-publiczna-na-rzecz-T%C4%99czy/477443632369138, accessed November 3, 2015.

67 https://www.facebook.com/narodowy.radykalizm?fref=ts, accessed November 3, 2015.

68The owners of this fan page paraphrased some of the most popular, political slogans used by radical right-wing organizations such as: “Only under the cross, only under this sign, can Poland be Poland and can a Pole be a Pole,” “Boy plus girl is a normal family,” “I am Polish, so I have Polish obligations” (a quotation from Roman Dmowski), “Better dead than red: down with communism!”

69Polish slogans: Nacjonalizm to nie patriotyzm, bo nienawiść to nie miłość. ONR – zmieniamy się na lepsze; Jestem Polakiem, więc mam obowiązki polskie: tolerancję, solidarność, sprzeciw wobec przemocy. ONR – zmieniamy się na lepsze; Dziewczyna i dziewczyna normalna rodzina; Komunikacja publiczna, mieszkania komunalne, pierwsza komunia. Krzyczeliśmy „precz z komuną”, ale już nie jesteśmy pewni; Tylko pod Tęczą, tylko pod tym znakiem, Polska jest Polską, a Polak Polakiem!

70 Justyna Bakalarska, “Julita Wójcik: Spalona Tęcza to symbol przemocy, którą trzeba powstrzymać. To ponura wizja…” [Julita Wójcik: The burnt Rainbow is a symbol of the violence which needs to be stopped. It’s a depressing sight…], Polska Times, November 15, 2013, http://www.polskatimes.pl/artykul/1042833,julita-wojcik-spalona-tecza-to-symbol-przemocy-ktora-trzeba-powstrzymac-to-ponura-wizja,id,t.html?cookie=, accessed November 2, 2015.

71 Agnieszka Kowalska, “Tęcza wróci 1 maja. Przyjdź i zrób kolorowe kwiaty” [The Rainbow will be back on May 1. Come and make some colourful flowers], Gazeta stołeczna, April 11, 2014, http://m.warszawa.wyborcza.pl/warszawa/1,106541,15771439.html?order=najstarsze, accessed November 2, 2015.

72 Catherine Flood, Gavin Grindon “Introduction,” in Flood and Grindon, eds., Disobedient Objects, (London: V&A Publishing, 2014), 6-44.

73Ibid., 9.

74Ibid., 12.

75Ibid., 11.

76From the very beginning, the Rainbow was planned as a temporary project. See: http://culture.pl/en/article/saying-goodbye-to-the-rainbow, accessed November 3, 2015.

77 See: Lea Berriault, “Seven Questions About Poland’s Most Divisive Artwork.”

78@SEBASTIANNataniel „Spłonęła tęcza na placu zbawiciela” [The Rainbow burnt down at the Saviour’s Square], kontakt24.tvn24.pl, October 13, 2012. As recounted on the website, the Rainbow was burnt by a drunk man without any clear motivation: http://kontakt24.tvn24.pl/splonela-tecza-na-placu-zbawiciela,62906.html, accessed November 2, 2015.

79Ksiądz Garda do Hanny Gronkiewicz-Walz: jak Pani godzi elementy cywilizacji śmierci, których ojcem jest szatan z wiarą w Boga, który jest Ojcem Życia? [Father Garda to Hanna Gronkiewicz-Walz: how do you reconcile elements of the civilisation of death, whose father is the Devil, with faith in God who is the Father of Life?], wobroniewiaryitradycji.wordpress.com, October 27, 2014, https://wobroniewiaryitradycji.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/ks-jerzy-garda-do-hanny-gronkiewicz-waltz-jak-pani-godzi-elementy-cywilizacji-smierci-ktorych-ojcem-jest-szatan-z-wiara-w-boga-ktory-jest-ojcem-zycia/, accessed November 2, 2015.

80Sansi, Art,Anthropology and the Gift, 112.

81Ibid., 96.

82Ibid., 108. It is important to emphasize that Julita Wójcik did not like the idea of the Rainbow becoming “a monument” of this kind. She expressed this, both in conversation with me and in other interviews. See, for example: Mrozek, ”Pożegnanie z Tęczą. Autorka: nie chciałam, by stała się pomnikiem” [Farewell to the Rainbow. Artist: I didn’t want it to become a monument].

83Julita Wójcik expressed her disappointment with this fact. However, the artist claimed that the increased monitoring and control were the results of numerous attempts to destroy the sculpture. See: Katarzyna Szymilewicz, Sztuka nadzorowana i nadzorująca – rozmowa z Julitą Wójcik [Monitored and Monitoring Art. A conversation with Julita Wójcik], paonoptykon.org, May 28, 2015, https://panoptykon.org/wiadomosc/sztuka-nadzorowana-i-nadzorujaca-rozmowa-z-julita-wojcik, accessed November 2, 2015.

84 Martyna Śmigiel, “Kręcą film o tęczy z pl. Zbawiciela. Premiera w 2016 roku” [They are making a film about the Rainbow on the Saviour’s Square. Premiere in 2016], Gazeta stołeczna, November 24, 2014, http://m.warszawa.wyborcza.pl/warszawa/1,106541,17016439,Kreca_film_o_teczy_z_pl__Zbawiciela__Premiera_w_2016.html, accessed November 2, 2015.

85 Solidarna Polska zorganizowała wigilię pod Tęczą [Solidarna Polska organized a Christmas Eve party under the Rainbow], polskieradio.pl, December 18,2013, http://www.polskieradio.pl/5/3/Artykul/1006735,Solidarna-Polska-zorganizowala-wigilie-pod-tecza, accessed November 2, 2015.

86 Biuro Bezpieczeństwa i Zarządzania Kryzysowego Urzędu Miasta Stołecznego Warszawy. [The Office of Security and Crisis Management of the City Council of the Capital].

87In the night time it was easy to spot even a black cat entering the traffic circle. However, in the day time, I never saw any birds sitting on the sculpture, although they would sit on all trees and bushes in the area.

88 Sansi, Art, Anthropology and the Gift, 65-68.

89Some of those pages were called, for example: “Zbawix,” “Is the Rainbow burning already?”, “Is the Rainbow burning?”, “Is the Rainbow still at the Square of the Saviour?”, “Spotted: Square of the Saviour,” “Petition for the Rainbow from the Square of the Saviour to have a Nyan Cat,” “We demand that the Independence Day Marchers rebuild the Rainbow from the Square of the Saviour at their own expense,” “White and red rainbow,” “We demand the Rainbow from the Square of the Saviour be rebuilt by the National Movement,” “Let’s rebuild the RAINBOW,” “Public collection of money for the Rainbow,” “Let’s rebuild the RAINBOW at the Square of the Saviour,” “Let’s rebuild the rainbow in Polish-Hungarian colors,” “Let’s rebuild the rainbow in Polish-Lithuanian colours,” “Rainbow church at the Square of the Saviour – #compromise.”

90 The image was posted on Facebook on August 6, 2014: https://www.facebook.com/zbawix/photos/pb.154738488012576.-2207520000.1439663972./343132185839871/?type=3&theater, accessed November 2, 2015.

91 Interestingly, the camera was still in operation even two months after the Rainbow was removed from the Square: http://oognet.pl/content/details/1206, accessed November 2, 2015.

92 Bruno Latour, Splatając na nowo to, co społeczne. Wprowadzenie do teorii aktora-sieci , trans. K. Abriszewski, A. Derra (Kraków: Universitas 2010).

93 Guy Debord The Society of the Spectacle, 1967, trans. Black and Red, published online: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/debord/society.htm, accessed November 2, 2015.


95 Sansi, Art, Anthropology and the Gift, 66.

96Debord, The Society of the Spectacle.

97 “Ksiądz Garda do Hanny Gronkiewicz-Walz: jak Pani godzi elementy cywilizacji śmierci, których ojcem jest szatan z wiarą w Boga, który jest Ojcem Życia?” [Father Garda to Hanna Gronkiewicz-Walz: how do you reconcile elements of the civilisation of death, whose father is the Devil, with faith in God who is the Father of Life?].

98 Ibid.

99 Rafał Jabłoński, “Pomnik Chrystusa Króla”, Życie Warszawy, September 23, 2010, http://www.zw.com.pl/artykul/517373.html, accessed November 2, 2015.

100 Pope Francis attacks gender ideology, catholicherald.co.uk, June 9, 2015, http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/06/09/male-and-female-differences-must-be-recognised-and-valued-says-pope-francis/, accessed November 2, 2015.

101Polish: Zdrowo myślący Polaku – zapamiętaj!!! Gender – ideologią zachodnich „mięczaków”, ale nie dla „twardzieli” Polaków! Homo – związki do leczenia – a nie do prawa stanowienia.

102The protest was organized at the Square of the Saviour, however, the demonstrators would occasionally move to other locations such the Farmers’ Protest Camp by the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.

103Tylko u nas zdjęcia od o. Jerzego Gardy z protestu przeciwko Paradzie Równości w Warszawie [Only with us can you get photos from Father Jerzy Garda from the protests against the Equality Parade in Warsaw], wobroniewiaryitradycji.wordpress.com, July 3, 2015, https://wobroniewiaryitradycji.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/tylko-u-nas-zdjecia-od-o-jerzego-gardy-z-protestu-przeciwko-paradzie-rownosci-w-w-wie/, accessed November 2, 2015.

104 Bishop, “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” 72.

105Here I am drawing on the work of Saba Mahmood who reflected on the role of women in the Egyptian Islamic revival. See: Saba Mahmood, “Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival,” Cultural Anthropology 16/2, (2001): 202-236.

106Sansi, Art, Anthropology and the Gift, 100-101.