Wojciech Sobolewski (1966) is a sociologist, philosopher, the historical leader of the Warsaw’s Orange Alternative in the 1980s. He co-organized all of the “orange” happenings in Warsaw. Sobolewski also collaborated with the Independent Students’ Union but had never joined the organization.
Till the studies at the University of Warsaw Sobolewski did not engage in a political activism. As a student of sociology, he began making small graphic works for the Independent Students’ Union, like projects and illustrations for papers, leaflets, and posters. When in autumn 1987 the rumors about the Orange Alternative's happenings in Wrocław came to the students’ milieu in Warsaw, Sobolewski together with Krzysztof Płaska and Rafał Szczęsny organized on November 29 the football match between teams KS Misery and FC Welfare. During the game, the referendum was conducted with the question: “Are you in favor of the severe winter, even if it lasts two or three years”. The happening was interrupted by the police intervention. Next happenings took place in Warsaw in 1988. The “Relatively Huge Maneuvers AntiMON-SB”, on April 27, was a battle of tanks made of cardboard. The action was a protest against compulsory military schooling at a university.
Soon the creators of happenings from Warsaw and Wrocław decided to coordinate their actions. The “Revolution of Dwarfs” was conducted simultaneously in both cities, on June 1. However, after that happening there was a split in Warsaw: Szymczak and Płaska created the Catch 22 group, while Sobolewski started to organize happenings under the name of Warsaw’s Orange Alternative. Sobolewski conceived that happenings needed the active participation of the public as well as interventions of the police to awaken the dynamics of the event. According to these assumptions, the happening “Pollock Can” on February 24 was carried. The mob gathered by the organizers collectively painted walls, lanterns, pavements, and shop’s fronts in the passage in the Downtown Passage (now Passage of Stefan “Wiech” Wiechecki). The Warsaw’s happenings differed from others by cracked costumes (e.g. one of the participants of the “Rev-Revue of Soc-Fashion” happening on November 6, 1988, disguised himself as a Palace of Culture and Science) as well as parodies of official rhetoric and symbols. Contrary to the Orange Alternative in Wrocław and Łódź, the Warsaw’s Orange Alternative had funds from the Committee of Independent Culture. The financial inequality was a cause of tensions inside the movement.
On October 7, 1989, Sobolewski announced the end of the Warsaw’s Orange Alternative, due to the lack of public interest and reactions of the police. In 1995 he made his master degree on the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw about the happenings of the Warsaw’s Orange Alternative.
Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland
- Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland