Sławomir Shuty

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  • fot. Ela Lempp

(aka Shuty™), born in 1973, author of fiction, photographer, underground film director, creator of disco-music operas and writer for the art-zine Baton. He grew up in Nowa Huta (hence his pseudonym, because “s-huty” means “from Huta”). He has a degree in economics and spent several years working in a bank before dropping out. All of Shuty’s very varied activities should be regarded as one single, multifarious work of art - “the Shuty™ product of Poland”, the aim of which is to describe his native society, which since 1989 has ended up “in the jaws of consumerism”. The very title of his first book, Brave New Taste (echoing Aldous Huxley’s famous work), suggests a parody of the new reality, in which the human individual is blasted with impudent advertising, insistent promotion and pseudo-scientific marketing slogans. The novel Gibberish was issued in the format of a cheap popular romance (it had a pink cover with “Look for the 100 zloty inside” written on a yellow star, and was printed on the worst kind of paper), to have a go at the saccharine stylisation of such books. Gibberish is an unrestrained stream of consciousness from early childhood (memories of martial law) to modern times (its structure is reminiscent of the work of William S. Burroughs). Gibberish follows the standard format of a guidebook to Kraków, in which the image of a city in decline (full, as the author points out, of fast food stalls, power stations and solaria) is in perverse contrast to the official vision of Kraków as Poland’s city of culture. Michał Witkowski has described Gibberish as “a fist thumped on the table” in protest at the new Polish reality, capitalism and consumerism. Sugar Level Normal consists of several brief images, in which with a large dose of irony the author shows the reality of typical Polish housing estates and the trivial, typical problems of their residents (preparing for holidays, problems at work, going abroad, taking part in TV game shows, the annual ritual of the priest going from home to home with new year blessings, a child’s First Communion, a nameday, a visit to a fortune teller, a shopping expedition, a child’s birthday, alcoholism, a driving course, and blind dates). His next work, The Block, is the first Polish hypertext novel. At the subject-matter level it depicts the reality of a housing block and its inhabitants on one of the Nowa Huta estates. The way Shuty describes it, the tower block has the structure of a real building; on the home page we find a “List of Residents”, and by clicking on any selected name (there are about 30 of them on 10 floors) we can enter that person’s flat, get to know the tenants and their life stories, and then use hyperlinks to move on to other flats. The new book by Sławomir Shuty (The Heap is constructed like an ethnographical study of the language and mentality of the Firm’s employees. In this case the Firm is “the banking sector”, a department at the Hamburg Bank. Shuty succeeds in depicting metaphorically the modern-day situation of the young Pole caught in the cogs of capitalist enterprise.

Bibliography

  • Nowy wspaniały smak, Nowa Huta 1999.
  • Bełkot , „Kolekcja Ha!art”, Krakowska Alternatywa, Kraków 2001.
  • Cukier w normie, Museum Nowum& Krakowska Alternatywa, Kraków 2002.
  • Blok– powieść hipertekstowa, http://www.blok.art.pl, 2002.
  • Produkt Polski – cykl internetowy, http://www.ha.art.pl/shuty/, 2001-2003.
  • Zwał, Warszawa: W.A.B, 2004.
  • Cukier w normie z extrabonusem, Warszawa: W.A.B, 2005.
  • Ruchy, Warszawa: W.A.B, 2008.
  • Jaszczur, Kraków: Korporacja Ha!art, 2012
  • Dziewięćdziesiąte, Kraków: Korporacja Ha!art, 2013

Translations:

Hungarian:

  • Bomlás [Zwał], trans. Józsa Árpád, Budapeszt: Napkút Kiadó, 2010

Russian:

  • Geroj našego vremeni [Zwał], Sankt Peterburg: Amfora, 2006.