• Józef Robakowski, Two-Hand Exercise, 1976


One of the most important artistic proposals by Józef Robakowski in the 1970s were Biological and Mechanical Records. These were related to the transgression of the authorship categories - the creator and his work. This time Robakowski decided to hand over the authorship of his own work to a machine (a film camera). Biological and Mechanical Records, based on the analysis of relations between mechanical media and the organism of their operator, were created as a result of the realisation of peculiar scripts. In the “Two-Hand Exercise” (1976) by “removing the camera from the eye” (waving two recording cameras), the artist sought to ensure that the film would not be subordinated to the cameraman, determined by human habits, intentions and imagination. Using the “machine creativity”, he tried to transgress the anthropocentric limitations related to the properties of a traditionally understood creative subject. The artist wrote: “The devices I use for mechanical recording [...] allow me, thanks to their specific character and capabilities, to exceed my notion of the phenomena hidden in a complicated ‘reality’. [...] With their use I can reveal more than I know, see and feel” (Józef Robakowski, “Biological and Mechanical Records”, in: Ryszard Kluszczyński, “The Workshop of Film Form”, p. 80.). However, these “Biological and Mechanical Records” are not passive submission to the machine. Since their character is determined by the transfer of psychophysical states of the cameraman onto film, they can be interpreted as a “struggle” against machines - a struggle for machines to be imbued with the author’s artistic subjectivity, human determinants. The struggles between man and machine, analysed in the Biological and Mechanical Records, extend between the “internalisation” of its logic and an attempt to “anthropomorphise” the machine. Biological and Mechanical Records also include the video cycle “Along the line” (1977), where the artist constantly films a line on the ground while running, jumping, walking, driving.


Year: 1976
Medium: installation
Format: cm

Acquisition: purchase
Ownership form: collection
Source: Józef Robakowski
Index: MSN: 4300-10/2016
Acquisition date:
Financing source: Cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the 'National collections of contemporary art 2016' priority

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