The Stoberskiade – sticker biography

The Stoberskiade is several hundred stickers scattered across all the continents of the globe, which, after being photographed, will come together on a web site to create a wholly unique “street biography” of Jaś Stoberski. This is simultaneously a tourist route through the life and work of a writer that owes a debt to situationist psychogeography, where the concept of the map is set on the basis of drifting through places that are, by premise, unattractive and untouristy. This “sticker biography” is open-ended non-fiction, encouraging the viewer to download a sticker from the Ha!art web site, print it out, stick it in a place where the great stroller Stoberski might have gone, and then send a photograph to the web-site administrators (portal@ha.art.pl).

The genre of works created on stickers has a very rich tradition; in literature it reached a high water mark, for example, in Nick Montfort and Scott Retberg’s novel Implementation.

The stickers feature statements by the following: Adam Macedoński, Andrzej Kowalczyk, Jan Pieszczachowicz, Aniela Birecka, Leszek Walicki, Lucyna Merklinger, Jan Masłowski, Barbara Sommer-Czycz, Barbara Kotlarska, Stanisława Mięsowicz, Łucja Mróz, Paweł Heszen, Hałatkiewicz family.

The point of departure for this experimental biography was the thesis that Stoberski was a mystery figure, a symbol of ambiguity, Citizen Kane in reverse (unlike the American magnate, he never possessed anything). He was the very image of the happy simpleton, but unraveling his story would give Lacan or Derrida ample room to expound on the substitution of desire or the theory of “lack”. He was also a figure who exploded the framework of the traditional book and who, in this age of digital humanities, is being brought to life in several hundred stickers collectively prepared by Piotr Marecki (text) and Katarzyna Janota (visuals). The point of departure for the creation of this bilingual biography was rewalking Stoberski’s route (The Stoberskiade) and listening to the stories of Cracovians whom he obsessively visited (the route around Krakow’s apartments was retraced by placing ads in the local papers). The multiple perspectives presented on these stickers prove how difficult it is to speak of a figure who appeared regularly and seldom spoke a single word about himself.

Jaś Stoberski was a secular saint, snatching happiness out of the thin air, a friend to Krakow’s wives, a naif writer. One of Krakow’s most outstanding figures from the communist era. He wrote several hundred very similar stories, in which he sketched portraits of Krakow’s women and men and their apartments. A master of detail, “Krowodrza’s answer to Proust”. He was a proponent of the belief that “everyone is different”. He was chronically dependent on the people whom he visited on the daily route he walked through Krakow, and to whom he gave money. He will forever be associated with the golden era of Krakow’s Przekrój; in the rubric of this communist-era world-class magazine he subversively played the role of the global/local writer who went everywhere on foot and almost never strayed outside of Krakow and its environs.



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