Joanna Wojda – diploma 2012

The Abject or a Stranger inside me.

The famous Gombrowicz's Diary opens with an intimation of presence, a presentation of a overwhelming, bothersome, repetitive me. I am the most important and probably the only problem I have: the only one of my protagonists to whom I attach real importance,¹ Gombrowicz goes on to write.

This is a situation where the I is both the subject and the object of cognition. Opening oneself to the I broadens the internal space which, as a consequence, leads to a separation of the I that becomes the object of reflection, and hence – an other. The other enters the realm of the I and the subject becomes no longer uniform and identical with itself.

According to Kristeva, this place in the I is occupied by the abject – neither a subject nor an object. Nevertheless it constitutes a sphere of subjectivity that accommodates everything that is socially unacceptable: impurity, wickedness, filth. It arouses both repulsion and fascination.²

The abject denies the subject's integrity; it is something that exists, and simultaneously goes beyond the borders of the material world.

Joanna Wojda's diploma project is born at the border of dreams and the waking world. The author plays with her protagonists' corporality, purposefully blurring the boundaries between genres and genders, reevaluating the categories of femininity and masculinity. Hers are ambiguous, hybrid forms. The visual shape corresponds with the soundtrack. The hums and rustles invite us into a world inhabited by half-human and half-animal figures and apparitions.

We try to familiarize our fear by constructing analogies, ordering into categories, building hierarchies. But here, everything that is known and familiar becomes indistinct, the borders blur. People and things are defined by their designates, becoming parts of an enormous mosaic. Therefore, it is very probable that each image registered by our consciousness will someday return, multiplied and reflected in the mirror of our thoughts and experiences. The unknown arouses fear but at the same time, being in touch with otherness prevents us from stasis – we constantly shift, demanding our reaction, making us shift our position.

Opening oneself to otherness makes transgression possible, it models our identity, expanding the horizons of cognition – which means that we have no other choice than face our fears and nightmares.

(text: The Lithography Atelier: Magdalena Boffito, Błażej Ostoja Lniski)

¹ Witold Gombrowicz, Diary Volumes 1-3, trans. Lillian Vallee, Northwestern University Press, 1988.
² T. Kitliński, Obcy jest w nas. Kochać według Julii Kristewej, Kraków 2001.