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Paweł Fabjański. The readout will occur automatically


Paweł Fabjański's Play With Capture 

For long he believed he was still striding through the forest, in the numbingly warm wind, which seemed to blow from all sides and move the trees like snakes, following the barely visible blood-trail of the regularly pulsing ground in an always similar twilight, alone in the battle with the animal. (…) When the wind increased, he was lashed by trees and branches more often on the face neck hands. The touch was at first rather pleasant, a caress or as if they were testing, although superficially and without particular interest, the texture of his skin. Then the forest seemed to thicken, the kind of touch changed, the caressing became a measuring. Like at the tailor’s, he thought, when the branch circumscribed his head, then the neck, then the breast, the waist etc., the forest seemed to be interested even in his step, until it had taken his measure from head to toe. The automatic nature of the proceedings irritated him. Who or what directed the movements of these trees, branches or whatever else out there was interested in his hat number collar width shoe size. Could this forest, which resembled no forest he knew, had “walked through”, be named a forest at all.[1]
Paweł Fabjański decided to play. To play (with) the devices of capture, the apparatuses of the forest that keeps studying us. He scrutinizes the machine that the forest is, and through with we believe we are striding, in the instant we feel its caresses. His models’ bodies are covered in markers, allowing for the capture of the nature of our gait, our facial expressions, even for the reconstruction of the body as autonomous whole; despite its absence, its death, having descended into nothingness. He shows the futility of confrontation, of the solitary battle with the animal: all bearings disappear, the space melts away, and what remains is the studying, the rubbing of bones against each other, the pain. Pathos also evaporates. What we see is not a heroic fight but tomfoolery, a drunk’s brawl, the iron embrace an attempt at staying afoot rather than at breaking the opponent in two. In any case: where is the threshold between us and the forest? Fabjański’s protagonists do not seem to be in possession of their own bodies – they are either absent, blank, or mismatched. Any attempt at identification is void. The distancing effect is reinforced by the markers – in exquisite, saturated orange, they do not disguise their base materiality as ping-pong balls. It is all play. The trajectory of the ball-projectile does not suggest the death of the protagonist, but registers the putting on of a clown’s nose, which returns in the struggle with the apparatuses’ dark matter. The ball even assumes the status of cult object: on the one hand as a death star (in all plenitude of its celluloid self), on the other hand – as a promise of happiness drifting against the backdrop of a pastel gradient, framing Fabjański’s whole project. This promise of happiness seems crucial here, since it explains the „commercial“ aftertaste of the series, especially its second part, rendered in smooth pastel colours: the girl blows lightly, and the ball floats in space – ad infinitum.
Krzysztof Pijarski
[1]   Heiner Müller, Herakles 2 oder die Hydra, in idem, Werke 2: Die Prosa (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1999), 94. Translated by Dennis Redmond,, accessed January 10th, 2016.