In their article “Here, But Not Now: A Local Tour of a Global Future in The Afterlife of Buildings”, Aleksandra Kaminska and Eva Nesselroth-Woyzbun have explored the exhibition “The Afterlife of Buildings”. The exhibition was dedicated to making an overview of Warsaw’s historical appearance, its face today, and the future image of the Polish capital. The organizers of this event, artists Nicolas Grospierre and Kobas Laksa, were inspired by the idea of crafting Warsaw’s portrait in the near future based on the historical tendencies they managed to find observing the architectural transformation of the city through centuries. Their focus was to identify the strongest trends that influence Warsaw’s image.
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The men of art have chosen six buildings built in Warsaw during the latest period. They transformed the images of these buildings according to the tendencies of post-socialist maternal expressions of Polish culture and identity. They have also added the impact of globalist trends. The result of their craft was placed in a fictitious building entitled “Hotel Polonia” (Kaminska and Nesselroth-Woyzbun 98). This building became the figurative embodiment of the future of Warsaw and Poland.
The artists have demonstrated the images of Warsaw in the previous historical periods. They have made an emphasis on the common trends and features between the images of Warsaw in the past centuries. This analysis helped Nicolas Grospierre and Kobas Laksa to come to the conclusion that the main factor that influences Warsaw’s architectural look is the “obsession with the past” (Kaminska and Nesselroth-Woyzbun 108). The artists have also demonstrated particular examples of buildings and areas in the city that are fashioned in mind with the “obsession with the past”.
Grospierre and Laksa have admitted that globalization is another trend that has a significant impact on architecture in Warsaw. They have shown examples of modern constructions fully inspired by the ideas of global culture. The men of art then have stated that they are not sure about the actual weight of globalization in shaping the thought of Warsaw’s city architects and planners. They have also stated that as far as they see this matter, today Warsaw’s image is more impacted by the passion for the past but they are unsure if this trend will have the same strength in the nearest decades and later on.
Questions for Discussion
- How has the “obsession with the past” influenced the modern image of Warsaw?
- What impact the “obsession with the past” may have on Warsaw’s image in the future?
- Can we expect that the impact of globalization may have a greater influence on Warsaw’s future appearance?
Kaminska, Aleksandra, and Eva Nesselroth-Woyzbun. “Here, But Not Now: A Local Tour of a Global Future in The Afterlife of Buildings.” Material Culture Review / Revue de la culture matérielle. 71 (2010): 98-110. Web.