Dialogue 01: The Image of Promises

Dialogue 01: The Image of Promises
In this fast-paced moment of transformations and homogenisation taking place in the world, we felt it was urgent to bring other ways to look at, rethink and build our reality. The aim of this project was to forge another consciousness about the impact of this rapid process of transformation on our cities - that affects how we know them, their physical and cultural presence, and in specific the role of on-site representation of (new) construction projects. What is the relation between representation and reality?

Ever more technically advanced renderings make the architectural images representing the envisioned end-result increasingly realistic. Paradoxically, however, the resulting visuals also become more and more alike, exposing a constantly returning same-like smoothed colour scheme, ever returning stereotyped figures draw to inhabit the space, gleaming surfaces of buildings and streets, and standardized accompanying texts.

For as much as the architectural structure is presented as a promise, its semi-utopian image contains the features of a non-space, of the ever-the-same or radical interchangeability that also characterizes much of our current global system. Especially at the moment when such images are confronted with the reality of a present context that not by far resembles the vision presented, the disconnection turns them into nothing more than a scenography or ‘Potemkin village’ - empty, and even absurd.

How do corporate aesthetics relate to local specific contexts and what is their impact on architecture and the appearance and identity of our cities? Whose dreams, whose and what kind of ‘utopian vision’, is actually presented? And for whom?

In March 2017 we asked residents in Belgrade to interact with life-size billboards that surround the construction site of the ‘Belgrade Waterfront’ project, in order to open up a dialogue on this large scale urban development, as well as to emphasize the absurdity of the ‘reality’ that is projected, in this development and in similar developments on a global scale.

For us the construction site with the semi-utopian billboard images, texts and publications and an exploration of the city 360° around the site, revealed a huge disconnection of the new developments in relation to the existing context and the city’s identity.

The conversations opened up different perspectives, variying from critiques, concerns to contentment.

The image of promises is part of

Reflections & reactions on Urban Transformation

On-site Exploration, Dialogue




Photos and Video
rotative studio

rotative studio, Noortje de Leij

Dialogues with
Scapes:Lab (Marco Macura, Pavle Stamenovic, Ljuba Slavkovic, Dunja Peric), TUDelft Complex Projects and Milan, Nikola, Sanja and Veljko