SECRET HEART – Short Story Competition

In the year of Chopin Slovenian art group KOLEKTIVA and FPSW Foundation for Promotion Contemporary Art is inviting you to write a short story about Chopin’s heart whereabouts during the WWII.

Deadline: December 3, 2010
The best story will be awarded with 100 EUR!

Before the funeral, pursuant to Chopin’s dying wish (which stemmed from a fear of being buried alive), his heart was removed and preserved in alcohol, perhaps brandy. His sister later took it in an urn to Warsaw, where it was sealed within a pillar of the Holy Cross Church on Krakowskie Przedmieście, beneath an inscription from Matthew VI:21: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Chopin’s heart has remained there—except for a period during World War II, when it was removed for safekeeping—within the church that was rebuilt after its virtual destruction during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

After Chopin died in Paris, his sister brought his heart back here, as he wished. It was interred in the church. A music-loving German general – a notorious war criminal, as it happened – help save it when the Nazis leveled the church after uprising.
(Searching for Chopin, Finding Poland’s Past by Michael Kikmmelman
Published in New York Times on October 3, 2009)

We are looking for a fiction short story about the hiding of the heart. Who and how many people were involved, how and where it was hidden? What happened during the hiding? How it was found out again and restored in the new church?

The story about the course of events during the hiding of the heart might be or might be not intertwined with real facts.


Length: Up to 1.500 words
Language: Polish or English
Eligibility: Everyone can apply
Author must also include following data: Name, Surname, Address, Phone Number or E-mail

Stories must be submitted to the e-mail: no later than December 3, 2010

The best story will be awarded with 100 EUR!

With the sending of the story you give KOLEKTIVA and Program Gallery the permission to:
– use your story in the art project Secret Heart (installation in the gallery)
– translate in English
– publish it on the internet (on the website:
– publish it in a small booklet (accompanying publication to the exhibition)

If you do not clearly specify in your submission, that you don’t give the permission for any of the above mentioned, we will consider that you agree with all paragraphs.

More information:

KOLEKTIVA will present the best stories at the exhibition Secret Heart in Program Gallery in Warsaw in December 2010. KOLEKTIVA will respect the copyrights of the authors and will clearly state the authorship of each story.

The origin of the idea for the project Secret Heart

KOLEKTIVA art group have already in the past been interested in inviting public to participate in our projects with their stories and memories.

For the project Visions (2006, Graz, Austria) we announced an open call to people from Graz to imagine and write about the project that we (3 artists from Slovenia) would do for the exhibition in city’s Kunsthaus. We were interested in the perception of the art world by the people who are not part of the visual art scene. We offered the writers and others who decided to respond to our open call to enter the institution and express their views and visions. Best three stories were presented in a video in which a professional actor would read them for the camera and all stories were published in a booklet.

Since 2004 KOLEKTIVA is working on an ongoing project entitled Special Place in the City. In this open end project we ask residents of different cities to show us their special place and share with us their personal stories, memories or opinions. The aim of this project is to give a voice to average citizen and to present small personal spaces and experiences as an alternative to official historical narratives that builds up a (tourist) image of a city. The project is presented in many forms: as video, photos, texts, objects, installations and on a website (

The idea for the project Secret Heart originates out of the both above described projects. By chance we read an article Searching for Chopin, Finding Poland’s Past by Michael Kikmmelman published in New York Times on October 3, 2009. We learned that Chopin’s heart is placed in a church in Warsaw. We think the fact that it stayed preserved even when everything around it was destroyed in the WWII is a great example and a symbol of survival and resistance. The absurd situation that a German general helped to save a national symbol of the very nation they wanted to destroy brings in an interesting twist. Since the heart’s whereabouts during the hiding are not known we find this secret place of hiding an actual special place of the city of Warsaw. By inviting people to write a story about the hiding place of the heart we are actually asking them for fiction stories about the course of events during the hiding of a heart which might be or might be not intertwined with real facts. In writing the story about the heart we see an opportunity for people to express their opinion and emotions in regards to the painful time of Warsaw Uprising and the WWII which has had a strong impact on the city and national identity. KOLEKTIVA will collect these narratives through an open call, publish the texts online and in print and eventually present them in the exhibition in Program Gallery in Warsaw in autumn 2010.