The Literature Stop

In connection with the World Book and Copyright Day, multimedia Literary Stops of the UNESCO City of Literature have appeared in the streets of Krakow. To the users of the municipal public transport they bring closer the important writers associated with Krakow. One of the stops features Joseph Conrad who is looking into the boundlessness of the African jungle, two other ones are decorated with motifs from Stanisław Wyspiański’s works, another one refers to the works of Stanisław Lem, while other ones are inspired by Krakow’s Avant-Garde and their “Zwrotnica” magazine. The outstanding graphic designers from Krakow, among others Przemek Dębowski, Mateusz Kołek and Tomasz Budzyń, were asked to design the stops. Thanks to the cooperation with Woblink and to the use of the Czytaj PL module in the Woblink application, everyone can download free of charge the ebooks, audiobooks, and multimedia materials available at the stops. They action is organized by the City of Krakow, the Krakow Festival Office, the National Museum in Krakow and the company AMS – a Patron of Krakow’s Culture. The stops will remain in Krakow till the end of October, and they will be incessantly supplemented with new digital and literary contents.

“The reasons for this large-scale action are the exceptional jubilees: Conrad Year, Wyspiański Year, Krakow’s Avant-Garde Year, and the approaching Stanisław Lem’s centennial birthday celebrations” enumerates Andrzej Kulig, the  Deputy Mayor of Krakow for Social Policy, Culture and City Promotion. “Our choice of the time for the project inauguration was not accidental: it is April 23rd, when the Book and Copyright Day is celebrated worldwide. As the literary meeting places we have proposed the intersections of the important communication routes, transfer points and the streets of Krakow, the city which since 2013 has had the honour of being a UNESCO City of Literature”.

Przystanki Literackie, fot. Hasenien Dousery, www.blackshadowstudio.com

Przystanki Literackie, fot. Hasenien Dousery, www.blackshadowstudio.com

Selected for the project were six of Krakow’s public transport stops (TAURON Arena Krakow Wieczysta, ICE Kraków Congress Centre near the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, Osiedle Jagiellońskie in the direction of Rondo Hipokratesa, Rondo Matecznego, Krakow’s Philharmonic Hall and Plac Inwalidów) located close to the largest transfer nodes. For half a year they were transformed into an exceptional gallery, presenting literary motifs characteristic of such great authors as Stanisław Wyspiański, Joseph Conrad, Stanisław Lem, and the poets from Krakow’s Avant-Garde. “The inhabitants of Krakow cannot miss them. Each of the stop shelters is a small work of art designed by a well-known graphic designer,” emphasizes Robert Piaskowski, the Program Deputy Director of the Krakow Festival Office, and the operator of the Krakow UNESCO City of Literature programme, within the frames of which the priority “Literature and Public Space” is implemented. Among others we invited the following people to participate in the project: Przemek Dębowski, an accomplished author of book covers, including a series of covers for the new edition of Stanisław Lem’s works; Tomasz Budzyń, an author of posters and an events creator, and Mateusz Kołek, who has cooperated with Polish most prominent press titles, and who is also an author of murals”.

The Krakow’s Avant-Garde Stop designed by Tomasz Budzyń refers to the first avant-garde fascination with modern city, speed and mechanics. The graphic setting of Joseph Conrad Stop is the work of a well-known Cracovian graphic designer, Mateusz Kołek. His design refers to the imagination of the author of The Heart of Darkness. At this stop one will be able to admire not only the exceptional work of the graphic designer, but also documentaries presenting the former editions of the Conrad Festival. On the other hand, the Stop of Stanisław Lem, designed by Przemek Dębowski, will enchant the viewer with the riches of the author’s fantastic worlds and with the accuracy of the futuristic visions which come true today before our very eyes.

Two stops – in Plac Inwalidów and by the Philharmonic Hall – are inspired by Stanisław Wyspiański’s works. In November, the National Museum in Krakow, one of the partners of the action, will open a large exhibition dedicated to this artist. It will show not only the collection portraits and of landscape painting by this genius from Krakow, but also his designs of stained glass windows for the Wawel Cathedral, the Franciscan church, and the House of the Medical Society, as well as pencil, ink and charcoal drawings, stage and typographical designs, and archival photos. The stops inspired by Stanisław Wyspiański’s art are the work of the Krakow’s design studio ARTFM. The one near the Philharmonic Hall focuses on the stained glass windows which can be seen in the nearby church of St. Francis. The stop at Plac Inwalidów invites one to enter the magic Planty Park seen with Wyspiański’s eyes at dawn. “I am very pleased that Wyspiański, who has recently been slightly forgotten by Krakow, is coming back to his city. This is the objective of the exhibition, which we will open in November at the National Museum in Krakow, but also of such actions as the Literary Stops or the creation of Stanisław Wyspiański’s trail” – says Łukasz Gaweł, the Deputy Director of the National Museum in Krakow for Strategy, Development and Communication.

Przystanki Literackie, fot. Hasenien Dousery, www.blackshadowstudio.com

Przystanki Literackie, fot. Hasenien Dousery, www.blackshadowstudio.com

“We want to remind the inhabitants of Krakow that literature may and should be an ornament of our city and it constitutes its important part. Thanks to the projects like this, literature comes out from libraries and bookstores, and it has a chance to attract a new audience”, says Robert Piaskowski. That is why special emphasis was placed on the multimedia aspect of the project, and on the possibility of interaction. Each of the stops offers a QR code served by the application of the partner of the action – the Woblink. Thanks to the Czytaj PL module (available in the Woblink application), the world’s largest reading promoting action, after scanning the code one may download, free of charge, the e-books from the special collection of works of the authors and with the most important studies on their work. While waiting for a bus or a tram, anyone can listen to a free audiobook with the Fables for Robots by Stanisław Lem, read the new translation of The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, or the study titled Conrad’s Polish Legacy by Rafał Kopkowski, or the book by Agnieszka Adamowicz-Pośpiech, Travels with Conrad. Sketches.

Additionally, the Krakow Festival Office has made available to the CzytajPL.pl portal the resources of the service prepared for the Codes of the City action, which has been carried out since 2015 (www.kody.miastoliteratury.pl). These include photographs, biographical entries, and audio materials, both in Polish and in English versions. They are real rarities: own poems read by Jalu Kurek (Krakow 422) and Julian Przyboś (A Sign), Tadeusz Peiper’s work, A Flower of the Street, presented by Grzegorz Turnau, and Adam Ważyk’s Poem for Adults read by Piotr Czarnota.

The company AMS, the largest out-of-home advertising company in Poland, has provided the highest technical quality for the stops.

“At AMS, we say, that what we do, is not just business. We want our carriers, on a daily basis, not to serve commercial campaigns only, but also to assist the promotion of important cultural events. Therefore we are happy to be able to co-organize such an outstanding project,” says Grażyna Gołębiowska, the Head of the Department of Marketing Communication and PR at AMS. “For the time of the action we have excluded six stop shelters from sale, transforming them into multimedia theme stops. First, we prepared the foils with which we entirely covered the panes and roofs of the shelters, and thanks to the lenticular printing we achieved special effects of depths and animation on the static layout. At the next stages, we shall, among others, add some aromamarketing elements, and mp3 devices, which can help one to get acquainted with men of letters,” adds Ms. Gołębiowska.


Organizers: City of Krakow, Krakow Festival Office, the National Museum in Krakow, and AMS.
Strategic Partner: Woblink/CzytajPL.
Partners of the action: Publishing companies – Wydawnictwo Literackie, Wydawnictwo Znak, Internet Library Free Reading, Wydawnictwo Universitas, www.lem.pl.

The Project is supported by the Public Utility and Transport Infrastructure Office in Krakow.



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