Art channel

Libido and Thanatos

My libido and thanatos are not and have never been the opposing forces. They are the leading force. The leading force in my life, that is in my film, because film is what I do, create, live and breathe; it is what makes me horribly conceited, as I make no deals and join no coteries. I first gave up on a full-blown career at the moment of my birth (the midwife pushed me out of my mother’s womb and called me a dancer, maybe a ballerina), and later at the birth of my children. I gave birth to my daughter when I was 18 years old, quite publicly, in the University Hospital, observed by a group of girls; it was then that I became a strongwoman.

Throughout my pregnancy I was taken care of by the Hospital Director Dr Rużyłło, who was a friend of my grandmother W.E. Szymańska, née Koziełło. Oh, my old age; I still haven’t noticed that I grew old. Pretty intense. I have never looked to the future or made plans. I have always lived in the present, with this huge baggage of the past that stretches back hundreds of years. Today, I have zero sex in my private life, and the maximum amount of sex in my working life; the maximum as determined by the film constraints and the willingness of the actors and actresses – my collaborators. Of course, I would like to have more. I often feel like a male pronoun, especially in writing. At the time when sex was my number one I felt like a man and I felt like a woman. My mother was kind of a hermaphrodite. My father was a poet.

FGLND (Federico Garcia Lorca Noir Despair) is being shown at the Pornfilmfestival Berlin 2019 at the end of October. The film had its premiere at the New Horizons IFF 2013, in the Third Eye section. There was a lot of buzz, but no reward and no review, except for the one by the Directors’ Guild of Poland, according to which I manifested a disgusting gay homosexuality, just like Alain Guiraudie, who was given the FIPRESCI Award for “Stranger by the Lake” during the very same New Horizons festival. It was a great accolade for me, my film, and my team. After the FIPRESCI Award, the review by the Directors’ Guild of Poland disappeared.

I would like to “talk on Skype,” as you suggest, but my Skype grew old with me – it won’t cooperate with my obsolete devices – a quasi-situation. One may argue that my flagship performance with a candle in my anus1 and in my mouth was a sexual act, especially that I preferred anal sex; yet, for me, it was an act of rebellion, believe it or not. Linguistic pluralism is important to me; not everything can be expressed in Polish. Such is the state of my mind. I am probably burdened by the baggage of my upbringing. My mind and my brain dictate my sexuality, with the feedback loop in the form of lust, attraction, desire, and emotion. My brain has always been my priority; my intellect, my libido.

The urge to create is absolute, there is almost no fear. Fine, I’m afraid to go to the dentist, perhaps because of the physical closeness; some stranger looking into my insides, drilling, digging, pulling, and boring inside my head, so close to the brain. If I had the same attitude to the dentists as to the sexual act, my teeth would be on top of me, but it is what it is, and it is bad. Right now, my sex life is also at the bottom. I don’t love myself in the libidinal kind of way anymore. I love my actors and actresses who play me. The urge to create is absolute, and it has grown.

My latest film – EPOKALIPSA – 2019. It’s had its only screening at the LGBT Film Festival 2019 in Warsaw in April. I was hoping to show it again at the Pomada Queer Festival 2019, but there will be no Pomada this year; so sad. Where did my Vampire come from? From the bottom of my soul. The Vampire is me. Where did the skull in the pram come from? The skull instead of a baby? From my head. What is the Vampire doing? He’s loving and killing. Why is Edka singing? Because I can’t sing like that. Why is Edka undressing? Because she wants to, and because she fulfils me. Every actress and every actor who wants to undress fulfils me. The wedding dresses are mine, yours; they’re common, they belong to my grandmothers, and my granddaughters too.

I value Shakespeare, but not for what he did to Ophelia. My society needs to renew and redeem itself – patriarchy must fall, because it is the only way towards human equality (gender) and world equality. I don’t make documentaries, I make poetic, independent, brutal, magical, mesmerising films; I want the viewer to fall in love with me. Mermaids live in the water, open their eyes in the water, breathe, swim, love; they can enchant anybody. I can’t. I was about 20 years old when I lay down on the water for the first time. And why do I use the mask with its tongue out? I used to fear masks, but I’m not afraid anymore.

My personal apogee. Languages opened me up to the world. A person (of any gender) that uses only one language has a large deficit. The deficit is even larger for someone who has never left their birthplace. This is exactly what’s enriched me – being and living in many places, cities, countries, settings, continents and communities. The books I’ve read, the films I’ve seen – I’ve lived them all. The music that’s touched me, the dancing, the steps – it’s a never-ending litany, if not a hymn. Nowadays, I make two (too) long films a year. The form of my creative work has outgrown its suitability for consumption.

My homosexuality has its roots in the process of reading; I started to read obsessively when I was 5 years old. All of my favourite poets, writers, and authors turned out to be homosexuals; the same was true for film and theatre directors. It was the beginning, but there was no end. I went crazy. My lesbianism grew from self-love, (self-)sex included. It grew and spread.

There is no such thing as ugliness; maybe except for intolerance, hatred, inhumanity and alike.
Transgression is inevitable. My art wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for copulating with the taboo. Non-normativity is inevitable; it results from the ways of my life in the real and imaginary world, you name it. Non-normativity is my norm.
Queer is He, She, and They whom I love. Maybe I’ll love myself again one day.

Malga Kubiak The Ego Trip Label, September 14, 2019, Warsaw

Malga Kubiak, the underground diva, in New York known as the Neo Neo Beat Dame. A director of independent films, a performer, an actress, a writer, a singer (Miss Mess), a painter. For 40 years she has been living and working somewhere between Sweden, Warsaw, Berlin, and New York. The absolute artist, a legend. Daughter of the poet Tadeusz Kubiak.

Tadeusz Kubiak
From The Bottom

I’m the city rat,
I’m the urban city rat,
I live at the bottom of your lives,
in your garbage, in your cellars,
I dislike the sun, prefer the moon.
I’m the urban city rat,
I’m the asphalt town rat,
I’m fed on what you scorned
from tables, bowls, plates and pots,
I gnaw bones of animals and birds
murdered by your choice.
I’m the rat, I’m the cosmopolite,
I’m the rat –
I love, fuck and breed
among the broken stuff which
you have cast into the deep down,
despising and refusing to see.
I’m doing fine,
I’m happy here in the spider web of springs
of the beds ragged down by your desires,
beneath the iron and the old wood
at the top of which you rest and pet,
dine and chat.
I’m the rat from your city,
I’m the rat from your bottom,
you see me rarely,
yet, with poison you hunt me,
you die of numerous illnesses of your kind,
still you blame me for the few,
you kill each other with your hands,
yet, you see the enemy in me,
you drill each other’s guts,
you peck at the livers like vultures do,
and bother when I tear an old trash.
You are worse then million rats,
you stroll in the sun, under the stars,
you may kill to feed yourself,
I live off what you scorn,
I sneak by, I reckon my ill looks
I’m the rat, I’m the rat,
I’m the city rat.
At night I gambol in the empty attics
the hanging gardens of mine,
garden of Eden’s wedding feast
where you dry badly washed clothes,
besmirched sheets and the rest of
where you might once hang,
reveal the tongue and slug.
Oh, the heroic, it is sure, if our town
goes down you shall leave the deck,
homes, beds, bars, waiting halls,
schools, churches, theaters and posts.
Here too you are like me.
I’m the rat, I’m the rat,
I’m the rat without your mask.2

This poem is “my father in all his decadence which I have absorbed like a sponge. I remain under the huge influence of my father, I had been around him since the day I was born, I entered his world and stayed there for good. I was captivated by literature. “The Rat” is about opposing consumption and material life; about old clutter in the attic and the rats fucking each other. It is about a person who hung themselves in desperation. To me, it is beautiful” (an excerpt from the interview by Katarzyna Bielas for Duży Format and Gazeta Wyborcza, 2008).

1 A reference to the performance „Arystokraci” [Aristocrats] in Komuna // Warszawa, CHOTKOWSKI / HUECKEL / ŚLIWIŃSKI / WĘGŁOWSKI Artistic consulting: Maja Kleczewska

2Translated from Polish by Malga Kubiak (source:, and proofread by the translator of the main text.


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