I've seen the future. Year of Stanisław Lem in Kraków, Poland and around the world
Dozens of events and artistic projects will mark the Year of Lem in Poland and around the world. A special conference organised by the Kraków Festival Office and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute presented the programme of the Year of Lem, the visual setting for the celebrations, as well as Kraków's financial support programme for cultural activities related to the writer's works and Lem-themed publishing projects.
The year 2021 was declared the Year of Lem by the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. Dozens of events and artistic projects await enthusiasts of the Polish writer whose works are most frequently translated into foreign languages. The Kraków celebrations are coordinated by the KBF Kraków Festival Office - a cultural institution of the City of Kraków - and the international projects are organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
During a virtual press conference, the slogan promoting the centenary of the Polish writer's birth and the accompanying visuals were presented. "I've seen the future" is more than just a catchy slogan - the anniversary slogan reflects the accuracy of Stanisław Lem's futurological reflections and reminds us why he is still worth reading today.
"It is unfortunate that the anniversary celebrations coincide with a difficult time that has been extremely hard on culture," says Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of the City of Kraków. "The last few months in Kraków have proved, however, that even in such difficult conditions literary life does not stop. I am convinced that this will be the case this year as it abounds in literary events and, I hope, in joint celebrations of Stanisław Lem's jubilee. In Kraków, the Year of Lem is not only about big events planned for the writer's birthday, but also about regular meetings at the Potocki Palace - a new space for culture at Rynek Główny 20.
"Stanisław Lem is a writer whose works reach readers all over the world. When observing contemporary social, cultural or economic changes, we often have the impression that we have already read about them - in Lem's works". - says Barbara Schabowska, director of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. "We present to the international audience not only an interesting Polish writer, but also a philosopher and futurologist, to whom it is worth reaching out also now, in the new decade of the 21st century."
The Year of Lem in Poland
Events of the Year of Lem
"The thing that not only pleased me, but also positively surprised me, is the fantastic, enthusiastic and vivid reaction of people, not always connected with literature, for whom the Year of Lem is an important event" - says Izabela Błaszczyk, Director of the KBF. "They use Stanisław Lem's works and ideas in their creative work, open new interpretative paths for reading his prose and make his thoughts a part of today's discussions on thoroughly contemporary issues". We will be able to see how Lem's work resonates in 2021 many times over. Actions planned as part of the programme of the Kraków UNESCO City of Literature include, among others, the Lem Reading School, a Lem panel at the Jewish Culture Festival, meetings around Lem's works at the Conrad Festival and the Lem event promoting reading - Read PL - in November. The Year of Lem will also be present on the PLAY KRAKÓW city VOD platform - playkrakow.com. You can already watch "The Room" directed by Krzysztof Jankowski there. The film, which premiered on the platform on 5 February, is based on the short story The Seventh Journey from Stanisław Lem's Dzienniki gwiazdowe (The Star Diaries).
Lem is one of the greatest icons of Polish culture and an internationally recognised brand. The City of Kraków has therefore announced international Lem events, including cooperation with the Polish Culture Institute in Lviv and the Publishers' Forum in Lviv, a programme organised in collaboration with the Iowa UNESCO City of Literature, and the international conference Philosophical Lem organised at the Pedagogical University in Kraków.
Celebrations of the centenary of Lem's birth cannot proceed without books. Wydawnictwo Literackie in Kraków, which has been the publisher of Lem's prose and essays invariably for years, is preparing new editions that will be of great interest to the public. Following the publication of Summa Technologiae at the end of last year, the Year of Lem will see further revivals of books by the Polish master of science-fiction prose. They include Fables for Robots illustrated by Przemek Dębowski, responsible for the covers of the latest editions of Lem's prose in Wydawnictwo Literackie, and the comic book The Seventh Voyage by Jon J. Muth, based on one of the short stories from The Star Diaries. Work is also underway on two biographical books about the writer - prepared by eminent experts on the life and works of Stanisław Lem - Agnieszka Gajewska and Wojciech Orliński.