Monday, November 21, 2011

Urban Instagram (Warsaw Year Zero)

 A few weeks ago I visited Warsaw
for a lecture at the Faculty of Architecture
that was part of the FATA MORGANA XV OSSA 2011 WWA
later on Grzegorz Piątek, one of the two curators of Golden Lion winning Hotel Polonia in Venice Architecture Biennial, took me for a walk around Warsaw, explaining how the city had been meticulously reconstructed after being basically wiped out during strategic WWII bombing.
I thought it was funny that in Poland they still talk about WWII, whereas in Greece so many other things, the current crisis included, have happened. 
Had time stood still in Warsaw? Was it still WWII?

Apparently the Warsawians had made careful plans of every historical building in the center, because they predicted that the center would be bombed, so they were ready to reconstruct even before it would destruct.
Sp after the war they were perfectly able to rebuild everything perfectly, going as fas as using the original materials of the buildings.
the made only slight adjustments so that, for example the main square, would become picture perfectly picturesque but just with a little bit of extra space for events. 
Around the 1970's the Warsawians completed the reconstruction of the wiped out buildings, and started renovating the "saved" buildings that survived the bombing.

This could be one of those 17th century "saved" buildings, freshened up in the 90s.
but this is a building built in the 1970's which now has started to acquire a bit of patina.
Suddenly I realized that the "17th century buildings" that were built in the 60's and 70's looked older and more authentic than the real 17th century buildings from the 17th century, because those had been freshened up in the 90's and 00's. This was Instagram Urbanism!
rushing to my photoshop actions, I made my 2011 photo of a 1970's 17th century building look like it was taken in the 1920s.

Then I examined more of the buildings, trying to understand if they were new original, 
old original, refurbished authentic or simulated old new.

Time had indeed stood still, but it was more of a time warp that a freeze frame
but perhaps Warsaw, by warping into this time machine urbanism had become the best example of out non-new non-time specific Tumblr Times, 
where everything that's interesting is new.

we ended the walk by the old castle, so perfectly manicured during it's reconstruction, and perhaps because it was one of the later examples, it ends up looking as new as the Giant Regional Style Shopping Malls that crowd the suburban exurban nowherelands of Central Europe, 
when in fact it's just a really old uber botoxed castle.

No comments: