Experiencing Interruptions?

Symphony of the Ursus Factory

With sounds and body memory, the ex-workers of the Ursus Factory re-enact one day of work in a plant that no longer exists. The resulting symphony consists of the choreographed movements of the workers, accompanied by the recreated phonosphere of the heavy industry.

  • Jaśmina Wójcik
  • Igor Stokfiszewski
  • Jaśmina Wójcik
  • Wojciech Marczewski
  • Zuzanna Król
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Symfonia Fabryki Ursus
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    music, history
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 1 minute
  • Completion Date:
    October 30, 2018
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  • Dok Leipzig
    October 30, 2018
    World Premiere
  • IFF Rotterdam
    January 29, 2019
    International Premiere
  • Hotdocs
    April 27, 2019
    North American Premiere
    Best Mid-Length Documentary Award
  • Sheffield Doc Fest
    United Kingdom
    June 9, 2019
    UK Premiere
Director Biography - Jaśmina Wójcik

Jasmina is a visual artist and social activist who creates videos, paintings, projects in public spaces, and interactive installations. Graduate of Faculty of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (Multimedia Lab). In 2011 she defended a PhD at her alma mater. She has won many awards and merits for her artistic activity, including first prize at the Samsung Art Master Competition in 2007 for Improvisation. She was a Ministry of Culture and National Heritage scholar in 2007, 2013 and 2017. In 2015 she was a laureate of Warsaw Cultural Educational Grand Prix Award for a project at the site of the former Ursus Agro-Mechanical Industry and a laureate of the 5th Film Award (from the Polish Film Institute, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, and Wajda School) for Symphony of the Ursus Factory.

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Director Statement

For the last seven years I and a group of my friends, who are social activist artists, have been working with the ex-employees of the Ursus Factory. The idea for this film was born when I saw ex-labourers reminisce about their work: their arms, legs and backs did a silent dance, presenting the tasks they used to perform. I realised that their bodies still remembered. The film Symphony of the Ursus Factory captures one day of work in the plant: going to work, getting to the work station as it looks now and work itself as a kind of a performative dance. Their actions awaken the tractors they once produced, which arrive from the whole country to perform their thanksgiving dance for their makers and stay with them forever as the spirit of this place, its identity. The film has its roots in the documentary genre, and stems from real experiences of real people. Yet, at the same time, it is creative, ritual and full of imagery. The routes to our heroes’ work intertwine, the structure of the script is finely weaved. Igor Stokfiszewski and I based the script on casting recordings, finally selecting sixteen persons of different professions, work stations, places, ages, mutual relations and sexes. The next step was nine months of intense workshops for our heroes, run by choreographer Rafał Urbacki and composer Dominik Strycharski. Rafał and Dominik helped our heroes access their autonomous moves and got them used to the sounds they, or their machines, would make at their work stations. Since the very beginning, our work on this film had a unique character: we reacted to the heroes and heroines, to their gestures, moves, recollections, memories, dreams. The script kept evolving. The shooting days were extremely exhausting, but at the same time they gave us huge amounts of satisfaction and a palpable sense of salvaging fragments of a world that falls apart as we watch it.