Friday, July 6, 2012

Mapping 5: Remains

The question of the final destination of the pieces was a challenging one. Dumpster was out of the question, and it seemed like since the fragments came from the city, they should return to it.

I had passed by 14 Waliców street quite a few times. It was one of the first brick sites I noticed, because of the large mural with the phrase 'kamien i co'. The words are a pun- in Polish, 'kamienico' (pronounced ka-meen-EET-zo) means 'apartment house' and 'kamien i co' means 'stone and what'. The artists wanted to raise awareness about the fate of old tenements in Warsaw's centre. 

Besides the glass office towers and hotels that surround this site, it also lies in the shadow of the Za Żelazną Bramą housing estate (left side of photo). Built between 1965 and 1972, this complex of 19 apartment towers was the first project in Warsaw to use monolithic poured-concrete structures. The blocks have been nicknamed 'mammoth wardrobes' and have been heavily criticized for their scale and monotony. This kind of construction, however, would come to monopolize the landscape of Poland during the 70's and 80's.

It seemed like a fitting place to comment on the legacy of brick.

 In the end, adding the pieces to the wall was more of a symbolic gesture than actual reinforcements for the crumbling city. It does, however, affirm the statement I was trying to make by building the map- that the city is constantly being rebuilt, with consequent accretions of meanings and values.

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