Art as Energy: Józef Robakowski from the Workshop of Film Form to Video Performance and Energy Recordings


  • Michael N. Goddard The University of Westminster



Józef Robakowski, experimental film and video, video performance, state socialism, biopolitics, workshop of film form, energy recordings.


Józef Robakowski is a prolific experimental artist who has worked across multiple media including experimental photography, film and video, video installation, video performance, experimental television, artistic documentation, curating and other activities from the 1960s to the present. Recent publications have shed some light on the Polish Workshop of Film Form he was a founding member of but it is still necessary to underline Robakowski’s distinctive contribution to this collective project. Moreover his creative activity has extended well beyond this and has as much to do with the creative use of video, which he pioneered in Poland from the 1970s, in a creative trajectory that calls into question stable distinctions between film, television and video. While his early video work can be characterised as having largely formalist concerns with the nascent medium, its evolution via video performances points to dimensions beyond any mere medium specific formalism. Significantly, across all his work there is an attention to the relations between energy and technical images, that gives both these aspects of his work consistency. This article will present several examples of Robakowski’s works, as well as several of Robakowski’s artistic statements which taken together articulate an approach to artistic practice that is non-illusionary and bio-technical-energetic, drawing on and extending the legacies of avant-garde precursors into the contemporary multi-media digital present.

Author Biography

Michael N. Goddard, The University of Westminster

I have been teaching and researching in the UK since 2007; prior to this I had a number of positions in Poland, Australia and France. During this time I have organized several international conferences on The Fall, Subcultures and Lifestyles in Eastern Europe, Polish Cinema, and Noise as well as numerous seminar series. I was involved with the foundation of the journal Studies in Eastern European Cinema and worked as both Reviews editor and Co-Editor and am now serving on the editorial board. I was also a founding member of the Network for European Cinema and Media Studies (NECS) and served for three years on the publications committee working towards the successful establishment of the NECSUS journal amongst other activities. As well as actively developing an international research and teaching profile, I have been active in numerous conferences and other events in the UK and Europe, North America, Latin America and the Antipodes and has delivered invited presentations in many of these locations. Recently I was awarded the CAPES/Science without Borders Special Visiting Researcher Fellowship, valued at 46,000£, for a three-year project with researchers from UNISINOS, Brazil on Cites, Creative Industries and Popular Music Scenes (2014-2016). I am the course leader of the Film, Television and Moving Image MA at Westminster. Prior to this I was PGR Director of the School of Arts and Media at the University of Salford. I have also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Łódź, Poland (2004-2007) and before that held numerous positions including Lecturer in Television at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and Lecteur d’anglais at the Charles V Institute, of the University of Paris 7.




How to Cite

Goddard, Michael N. 2019. “Art As Energy: Józef Robakowski from the Workshop of Film Form to Video Performance and Energy Recordings”. Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, no. 9 (December).




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