Warsaw features 67 spaces administratively defined as squares or markets. Most of them are developed and serve designated communication functions. Does this mean that their potential is fully utilised by the residents? Or maybe it is realized entirely elsewhere? The “Place. User Manual” exhibit proposes a new look at squares as spaces created through use. Urban life proves that the potential of a square in Warsaw can be attributed to many more places than just those designated by urban planners, and the talking about them remains open.
In the squares, we most often perform simple activities, such as transferring to a bus, tram and subway, crossing, waiting for someone or a means of transport. We may complain that in some cases their function is reduced to a parking lot, intersection or roundabout and does not favour other forms of spending time. What else can we do there? Even in unfavourable circumstances, we can implement one of the scenarios of utilising squares. At the exhibition, we offer various possibilities that form the basis of typology, keeping in mind that there is no one proper way to use a square. There are also many types of squares – controlled, deliberate, temporary or oasis, depending on the characteristics of a given space, human activity, property rights, and urban processes.
The exhibition summarizes the three-year research project titled “Place Warszawy (do odzyskania)” (EN: Squares of Warsaw (to be recovered)), run by the Puszka Foundation in partnership with the Bęc Zmiana Foundation and co-financed by the Warsaw City Hall. More on the research: placewarszawy.pl.
Artists: Alicja Bielawska, Marcin Chomicki, Oskar Dawicki, Agnieszka Dąbek, Zofia Kofta, Kobas Laksa, Diana Lelonek, Post Noviki, Supermarket Group, Marta Ziółek
Curators: Ola Litorowicz, Agnieszka Sural, Bogna Świątkowska
Compilation of research for the exhibition: Maciej Frąckowiak
Graphic design: Tomasz Bersz
Organizer: City of Warsaw
Execution: Bęc Zmiana Foundation, Puszka Foundation