The photo and film series Machines by Łukasz Skąpski pivots around the unexplored thread of the history of Polish post-war innovation. In 1982 in the region of Podhale, the artist witnessed the launch of a machine for ploughing up potatoes, constructed by a local farmer. The odd-looking machine was a curious assemblage of parts of various origin: the body taken from an SHL motorbike with the steering wheel fitted to the back, the rear wheel replaced with a ploughshare, and the drive transmitted to a metal paddle wheel taken from a farming machine.
Skąpski developed fascination with the inventiveness of amateur engineers, who strived to cope against the adverse conditions of centrally planned economy. The state-run manufacturing of heavy farming machinery catered for the needs of large entities in Central Poland. Instead of using tractors from the factory in Ursus – too expensive and unfit for mountainous areas – farmers started to build their own machines. After many years, Skąpski returned to Podhale to document, describe and interpret the odd machines.
References: Ł. Skąpski, Machines, Cracow 2009.
Language: Polish (english subtitles)
Source: BETA SP
© Łukasz Skąpski
Ownership form: deposit