As a choreographer, Alex Baczyński-Jenkins continues to develop a vocabulary of embodied movement that explores the depth of queer life. As an artist and as a cultural worker, he examines the political potential of pleasure and collectivity. A heightened social awareness runs throughout his practice, evidenced for example in Baczyński-Jenkins’ role as the co-founder of Warsaw-based queer feminist collective Kem, which explores new approachs to choreography, performance, sound, and social practice.
Baczyński-Jenkins takes the corporeal world and its fleeting subtleties as his primary site of representation. He uses a variety of choreographic tools to render the nuances of interdependence into more perceptible and material forms. Desire is transformative, and Baczynski-Jenkins is interested in exploring its looped and tangled trajectory. In 2019, the artist had a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel titled Such Feeling, where he presented three performances conceived between 2014 and 2018. Untitled (Holding Horizon) (2018) featured five dancers whose synchronized movements (drawn from the foundational Box step) animated a negotiation between individual desire and collectivity. The work’s music and lighting responded to bodies in motion; the performers both affected and were affected by shifting sounds and light. The work’s soundscape provoked associations that shifted between a pastoral-romantic sci-fi and a raver’s memory, ultimately capturing the dazzling intimacy and energy of a club. Testing the threshold of visibility and invisibility, Untitled (Holding Horizon) is a polyphonic work that continued Baczynski-Jenkins’ phenomenological investigation into disorientation and friendship.
Baczyński-Jenkins also explores how video-as-medium might provide a vehicle for social choreography. In his first film, Faggots, Friends (2019-ongoing), the artist adopts an essayistic style that splices fictional scenes with documentary footage. Scenes of friendship and leisure are interrupted by images of the first LGBTQ pride march in Białystok in 2019, which was met with violent right-wing protests. The film emphasizes alternative ways of living and being together. It explores how interiority, care, and collectivity manifest in queer communities and invokes the notion of the queer home: as a place from which to depart, a site of shared disorientation, an experience of being out of place, and simultaneously a destination itself. As Baczynski-Jenkins explains, “the work speaks through and alongside these relations. It embodies a queer layering of time and attention through which intimate relations can emerge.” The film’s title references a 2018 poem by Ezra Green as well as Larry Mitchell’s seminal book from 1977, both literary touch points that build continuity in the struggle for queer liberation. Towards the end of the film, three protagonists dance in a muddy riverbank, a well-known cruising area. In this scene, Baczyński-Jenkins hints at the larger political stakes that surround his work and examines the creative potential of queerness when its very survival is at risk.
While in residence at Callie’s, Baczyński-Jenkins conceived and rehearsed a new work, Unending love, or love dies, on repeat like it’s endless (2021), which delves into disorientation, loss, celebration, and hybrid temporalities including ecstatic pleasure and mourning. The work premiered at Klosterruine in Berlin in August of 2021. Baczyński-Jenkins also prepared the inaugural edition of Kem School—a new study program taking place in Warsaw and initiated by Kem Collective—titled: How to touch movement? Social choreographies, performance and queer feminisms as world-making.