Szychta and Kaluś threw a cat from a bridge. Kaluś, Bajlas and Gała vandalised a cemetery. Bajlas and Szychta set a garden house on fire. Bajlas broke a plate over a schoolmate’s head… Kaluś, Bajlas, Szychta, Gała and Mati come up with forms of entertainment that are limited only by their imagination. They follow democratic principles when sharing cigarettes, chocolate, crisps and cola. They together run away from Big Agata. This is a story about five boys from Biskupice, a former worker-miner district of Zabrze. Although other city dwellers consider it to be a dangerous place, with no perspectives or opportunities for development, for the five boys it is the centre of the universe and an unlimited playground. Unlike their peers from big cities, the kids from Biskupice enjoy a much larger living space and more freedom. They do not live in a gated community where sterile playgrounds are carefully marked and have the necessary safety certificates. They are free to walk on the grass. Nobody (except for Mrs Pierogowa) seems to be bothered that they play football everywhere. Their lives are not marked by fear of a pedophile lurking in the bushes or broken glass. Their world tempts with space and imagination. What is sometimes worrying is the future and the question: how many bad deeds must one commit to become an adult?
Konstancja Nowina Konopka spent several years photographing the boys. She accompanied them on their outings, she watched them and eventually became their friend. After all, she wasn’t like other adults who just come to preach and teach. She took pictures. She not only registered the course of an alternative, somewhat dangerous route to adulthood, but she also talked about friendship, trust and freedom. Through the mass culture we got used to simple stories with a happy end; we have been blindly following the Western recipes in order to organise the perfect adolescence formula. In this case, however, things went differently, and it is completely irrelevant whether there will be a happy ending. On the margins of “1001 bad deeds” there is a story about role models and rules – all that we can take into adulthood.