Brodowicz Alicja

Institute of Creative Photography

|| Phatic Communion

In 2008, I moved from a big city to a small town.

This was a unique experience. The photos tell a story of my wanderings through the town; peeking into people’s windows; looking at children playing and friends talking; seeing them far away, as if through a thick wall of glass; they recount my inability to connect with them in a meaningful way. My failing attempts at establishing meaningful relations, which would go beyond every-day small talk; my dawning realization that at a certain point in life, it is very difficult for some people to find their bearings after moving to a new place.

Solitude hurts more when you live in a small community that is reluctant to let you in. Solitude in a big city is different – it is anonymous. Here, solitude has the face of the person that is alone – everybody knows it, and one has to struggle with this burden.

The term phatic communion was coined by British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski in his essay "The Problem of Meaning in Primitive Languages". It denotes the linguistic function of a language aimed at the maintenance of superficial social interaction rather than imparting information or sharing ideas.

|| Generations