As we worked on the research into the films, their makers, and the film culture they constructed, we began to develop ideas for exhibition. We were conscious of needing to construct a social and material context in which the films could be situated, something routinely missing from conventional exhibitions of ‘found’ films as artworks.

The project was first made public in the Enthusiasts exhibition, curated by Łukasz Ronduda at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw in June 2004.

Subsequent versions, reconfigured as Enthusiasm, toured to the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, 1 April – 22 May 2005, Kunst Werke in Berlin, 5 June – 4 September 2005, and Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona, 27 October 2005 – 15 January 2006.

The Enthusiasts exhibition included a compilation of official newsreels, the reconstructed interior of a film clubhouse, a selection of films curated into three hour-long film programs, each presented in a ‘cinema’ exhibition environment, a collection of festival posters, and the Archive Lounge of films found but not screened in the programs.

Official Newsreels

Official newsreels of Polska Kronika Filmowa were shown in a screening room. These are state-sponsored films glorifying the productivity of the communist state, its factories and their material output, state festivals, shopping, cultural events, etc. This official record is a background against which the Enthusiasts films themselves can be viewed. The compilation was curated by the distinguished film critic Tadeusz Sobolewski.

Reconstructed Film Club

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2004

Many of the film clubs we visited during our research were wonderfully evocative. They caught the traces of the social and creative history of the members and the films they made. Through framed photographs, film stills, caricatures, medals and trophies, cupboards of old film reels and video cassettes, redundant projectors, cameras and recording equipment, film editing desks, tea- and coffee-making equipment, a fridge, a coat-stand, odd chairs and salvaged furniture, the room reproduced the material context in which the films were made. A monitor in the clubhouse plays films documenting club excursions and holidays, special events, the process of film-making, meetings and festivals – all aimed at establishing the collaborative, social nature of the film-making in these clubs. The gap between the humble club and the cinematic aspirations of the members remains extraordinary.

The Films

We watched hundreds of films, in many extraordinary circumstances, often with former club members present. As we became wary of imposing our preferences and taste on the richness of the films themselves, we tried to become sensitive to their makers’ enthusiasms and aspirations. What evolved were three porous themes, installed in three curtained cinema spaces.


Stills from Flyposter, dir. H. Urbańczyk, AKF Bielsko, Bielsko Biała, 1980

Films of personal, political and sexual love, loss and longing; themes of alienation, ecological anxieties, a fear of war and violence, and a terrible longing to be elsewhere.

Past, Imperfect – Rachel Moore Anthropologist Rachel Moore locates resistance to state violence, in shared private passions


Stills from Misunderstanding, dir. P. Majdrowicz, AKF AWA, Poznań, 1978

Films reflecting on the joy, banality and celebration of ‘everyday’ life; themes of humor and camaraderie, of families, parties, passion and sex as subversion.

Subversive Love – Amelia Jones Art Historian Amelia Jones celebrates the transgressive power of love


Stills from Symbiosis, dir. T. Junak, STK Rotunda, Kraków, 1969

Films exploring the beauty and horror of labour; themes of futility, celebration and awe accompany films made by people themselves caught within processes of production.

Reclaiming Enthusiasm – Magda Pustoła Political theorist Magda Pustoła warns that enthusiasm has been drained of its radical potential and appropriated as a new form of capital

Archive Lounge

Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, 2005

The Archive Lounge enabled visitors to watch a large selection of the digitized films collected but not screened as part of the exhibition program of Enthusiasts. Our intention was to encourage visitors to curate their own film program and to recognize that our selections, Love, Longing and Labour, were part of an interpretive process and not final or authoritative. 

This online archive is an extension of that process. 


Entuzjaści w Warszawie / Review David Crowley

Atopical Places Antony Hudek

The Enthusiastic Archive Leire Vergara