The first stories of Fresh Market were collected in 2017 in Warsaw during collaboration with labor migrants from Ukraine. It was an attempt to work with the issue not in an esoteric way. At the beginning we heard the stories of labor migrants from the employee in various organizations in Poland, which help to solve social and legal issues. We were looking for the opportunity to get access to the real people to hear from them about the problems they faced. When we have had a certain amount of stories collected in archive, we questioned ourselves what this archive is like, how do we relate to it? Do we believe that certain number of stories put together, make the work full?
The archive contains intimate stories of different people. We’re curating the way that information is coming to us by framing the experience through a series of questions. Currently, the archive has stories on emigration, violations of labor and human rights, patriarchal control over women, xenophobia, self-identification and identity, and other precarious conditions. An archive is a kind of mélange – a mixing of various narratives and social compounds, spectrum toward freedom and restrictions in the different sites.
In the archive we bring together different contexts and experiences by documenting and creating them. And, of course, the core is not in the number of stories we want to get or to reach the certain number, but in their totality, in how these stories give meaning to each other, how they relate to each other, how they make a conversation with each other. How one story answer the questions raised in another stories, and how together they create a certain narrative.
Another series of questions related to the form of the archive and its subjectivity. How should look a space where these narratives come out? Who are the final editor and storyteller? As the creators of the archive, we want Fresh Market to be more than a positing of a traumatic experience of the person whoever’s going to share a story, so that it can be an environment for collaborative work. We want to trace how the story is read and perceived. For this we use certain methodologies. Fresh Market is a nomadic archive that is filled in and worked on in the different contexts. To emphasize the multiplicity of interpretations, we use transparent layers that are imposed on top of the initial text, each time when it is read in a new context. We invite people to read the story and highlight what seems important to them. Selected fragments are placed on a separate layer that overlap the previous layer, the name of the person who read, and the date of reading is placed next to the reading results.
Discussions that are happened during the process of reading become a part of the archive as a separate text document.