Jackpot (2020) installation 
MFA Degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, PL

photos by Bartosz Zalewski
the sponsor of the project is Prokonstrukcje

15% of all people live with a disability. It will affect most of us, either temporarily or in old age. However, it is an aspect of humanity that we deny from our imaginarium. Instead, we value efficiency, independence, strength, health and beauty - according to very precise standards.

In the United States, up until the 1970s, the so-called ugly laws were in force, prohibiting people with visible disabilities from being in pu- blic spaces. Throughout most of the 20th century, eugenic laws existed around the world that allowed forcible sterilization of people with disa- bilities. Until the First World War, freak shows were popular - that is, exhibitions where people with non-normative bodies were on view for entertainment. In contemporary mass media, representations of disabi- lity are still few and when they appear, they often take on stereotypical and objectifying forms. An example is inspiration porn - where the di- sabled become a motivation for the viewer because they exist in their bodies, experiences love or plays sports.

I was born with a missing upper left limb, but I only started identifying myself as a disabled person at the age of 26. Despite the fact that I was a recipient of cultural goods all this time, marginalized information about the emanci- pation movement or disability studies did not reach me. With the right clothes, choreography and prosthesis, I could pass as able-bodied. I was focused on not causing any discomfort to the person who was looking at me.

The starting point for the work on the project was the Wheel of Fortune program. Participa- tion in the game promised social advancement and visibility. Looking at the spectacularly displayed prizes that the participants fought for, I began to reflect on the activities and objects that exclude me, which I idealize.

At the age of eight, while on vacation with my parents, I wanted to play pool. It turned out that I was not able to grasp the stick in such a way as to participate in the game on fair terms. This situation became the basis for my project of a performative spatial situation, consisting of the following elements:

Green carpeting that fills the entire room

The color of the carpet refers to the surface of the pool table, under which the balls disappear. This time it fills the floor in the entire room - the person entering the room enters the playing field and takes on a performative character.

An illuminated advertising lightbox, 200 x 155 cm in size, showing an enlarged X-ray of my deformed bone.

Breaking down the billiard situation, I looked at the materials the table and the accessories for the game are made of. My attention was drawn to the fact that billiard balls used to be made
of ivory. With regard to this material, I decided to include an X-ray image of my bone, which at first glance is not recognizable as a human bone. The lightbox is made by a company pro- ducing advertising media, so it also refers to this form of mass communication. I collide it with personal, authentic medical records. The dimensions of the box are adjusted so that the bone in the photo corresponds proportionally to the sphere on my body.

Wheel of Fortune video

The final element of the work is a video showing part of the wheel of fortune that spins at a steady pace, without conclusion. The sound of a ticking wheel fills the room. The film al- ludes to the moment when the participant of the game has already moved the wheel, but does not yet know the result - waiting for her fortu- ne. The wheels design was based on that of the Wheel of Fortune program from the early 90’s, when I was born. Numbers have been removed from the board.

The performative action took place during the defense. The questions asked were directed to the ball, as in the toy version of the eight. After I left the space, my character was replaced by a full ball, and the performative role was played by the viewer, entering between the elements.

Pool ball 8, in the form of an outfit that I put on my body.

In reference to my confrontation with billiards, I embody the ball with the number 8. This ball in the game is decisive, it is also a popular pop culture theme - it is used to predict the future. Eight was also my age when the analyzed situation took place. The spherical suit completely covers my body from the shoulders to the thighs.