Holding fire: skin.
One month of light studies.
The lighter's flick sound.
Looking at the slowly moving flame, it elongates when fingers lightly touch the thin surface of the air surrounding it. Once, twice, thrice, in an abstract, open rhythm, the wick "tschs-ctcc-szctsz-c-tscc-ccscz" textures it's oxygen dinner.
On the first of January, I found myself gazing at that single candle with the same intensity as a kid trembling during thunderstorms, unable physically to tear their eyes away from the window. I lit a funny bday candle. Lit and placed it on my left hand, a bit on the top left part, on the way of the "heart" line. About three minutes, it burned for about three and a half minutes. Fourteen hours, about fourteen and a half hours before, my uncle had passed away from cancer. I had placed a small white paraffin candle with a spiral funny stripe on it and clicked a lighter.
The core of the practice was born during our conversation with Aga Schroeder at Kaja’s. A shared desire for light. The rule was to light candles daily for one month straight and find a person to pass the fire onto the next month.
January of 2024 is the very first month of the project. From the perspective of time, I could see how deeply needed it was to start this way: spontaneously, authentically, intimately. Throughout the month, I lit the fire in completely different environments—in three different countries and four cities: Kraków, Odesa, Helsinki, Warsaw. With my mother, friends, cultural co-workers, lovers, two dogs, and four cats. Whether by the seaside, in a bathtub, on the Ukrainian border, on a friend’s couch, or on the street, I found myself placing candles on my skin, most of the time those funny birthday ones.
The aspect of commemoration found me first.
The candles became agents of illumination, self-liberation.

The act of lighting a candle could be seen as an assertion of light dedication, a tool for reflective deconstruction, a practice of attention, and self-regulation. Inviting a sensory experience by centering the body around the practice, candle lights became symbolic figures of embodied narration.
"To hold a fire" this saying resonates with the intensity of an explosion, the kind of cold fire that sears the turning points of loss. To hold fire on your skin by choice brings the freedom of expression. It flows and drips with hot and colourful paraffin, creating pleasurable impulses, each flicker a reminder of the vitality of existence amidst the shadows. The pleasure of controlled pain environments, the play with the danger of burns, the intimate moment of lovers placing candles on your skin turns the practice into a sensual experience.
Each day was marked accurately through the candle’s flame dance. On the very last day of my light studies, D. Kowalik placed a contact microphone on my hand. We burned 72 candles and recorded the minimal noise of them burning.
Throughout the month, the fire showed me its different shades. Fire-related theories and stories started to follow me: from the teachings that liken the human soul to a flame, flickering against the winds of fate, to the beliefs that fire is the transformative agent, purifying the impure and transmuting the base into the divine. I read, thought, talked, and experienced so much on light, fire, and candles and cannot recommend you more to join the practice and feel it with your own skin.
I send my gratitude to everyone involved for the experience of this month and special thank you to Aga for the conversation which started the project and for taking the fire into the next month. Below, I'm attaching short text notes of each day.

Day 1: From grief on a friend’s couch.
Day 2: On the "heart" line of the left hand.
Day 3: In the Syro bathtub.
Day 4: On the border of Ukraine.
Day 5 and 6: In Odesa with red, blue, and yellow candles on my legs with my mother's help.
Day 7: With the sound of the air-raid siren.
Day 8 and 9: Of commemoration.
Day 10 and 11: The chaos of the night in Odesa.
Day 12: From the morning of day 13.
Day 13.
Day 15: From the border.
Day 16 and 17: With a friend in Krakow.
Day 18: With a lover.
Day 19: With the danger of fire.
Day 20: With a candle on a kissed rock.
Day 21: Outside of the skin.
Day 22: With 1 candle placed 22 times.
Day 23: With one long focus candle.
Day 24: With a lover.
Day 26: On my chest.
Day 27: In Helsinki.
Day 28: Lit up by Lennart for his partner Julia’s loss.
Day 29: At Micol's.
Day 30: After the “Lemperk Odesa 05.01.24”
pre-opening durational performance.
72 candles for the day 31, a minimal noise set with
D. Kowalik in Warsaw.