Warsaw: a city that disppeared

21 06 2008

[source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily 20. June 2008; author: Dariusz Bartoszewicz. photographer: Aleksander Prugar]

Don’t come to Warsaw! Poland’s capital doesn’t exist any more. Someone has hidden it from us – for good. Here is a unique look at a city covered with a curtain of advertisements.

Ściana Wschodnia

There was no war, that the world forgot to notice, but Warsaw is gone. Adverts ate it. While city council and residents have given up.

There is a battle in Warsaw again: for every house, for every block, for every street corner, for every look. Those attacking and fighting one another are media houses, advertisement agencies and global brands. See, buy, taste – you’ll be happy.

Should the city be reduced to an advertising pillar – and its inhabitants to consumers?

‘They are like cockroaches – you spray them, spray, and they get immune’ – that’s how David Lubars from Omnicom Group talked about consumers and advert.

That’s why it isn’t enough to put adverts to newspapers, on posters, billboards. That’s too little. Too soft. The message needs to be stronger… and best when ad moves through the streets.

That’s why we there are huge tubes of toothpaste, chocolate bars and washing powders driving around the city. Previously these were busses and trams. And you could even see the world through their windows. Now all you can see – more adverts.

Residents are having their windows covered with them. Why would you look out of the window? What could be better to look at then a mega-billboard outside your window in the morning?

There are those who try to protest… They complain they don’t get enough sunlight. The most desperate among them cut holes in huge adverts covering their windows – so that they are able to open windows and let some air in.

But what can an ordinary citizen do confronted with the ultimate argument that “adverts on our building will pay for renovation”…

Warsaw is gone. Instead of coming to Warsaw, you better dig old postcards and photo albums from your closets. Or visit Paris, Berlin. Maybe you can still see something there.

Marszałkowska

Rondo De Gaulle\'a

Marszałkowska

JPII/Solidarności

AVON

Centre

Sezam

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R

Toshiba