Historical monuments adorn many public city streets across the world, but how often do we come across an interactive swing affixed to said monuments? Polish artist Kamila Szejnoch’s public installation titled Swing, which is from her 2008 project series called Carousel Slide Swing, adds a playful element to the bronze Berling Army Soldier Monument in Warsaw, Poland. The artist combines traditional and fixed history with open, contemporary art allowing the average passerby to stop and interact with the otherwise stationary memorial statue.
The installation’s attachments seek to offer a new meaning to the once-propaganda-laden monument. While it is a remnant of a communist nation, the swing reinterprets the figure’s purpose. Szejnoch explains the idea behind her work: “Swing is based on a contrast between the monumental bronze Berling Army Soldier and a tiny individual swung by a big hand of history. It is a monument from a former era, but at the same time – from the Berling Army soldier’s point of view – it is a well-deserved tribute paid to his sacrifice. This is an example of how much history can differ from the perspectives of individual and collective memory. My aim is to make this complexity and ambiguity more conspicuous, to show the relation between an individual versus the historical machine.”