INTERNATIONALES STäDTEFORUM IN GRAZ - SYMPOSIUM 2012: THE WOOED CITY
This annual international symposium, with the title "The wooed City - Townscape and Advertising in the Focus of Monument Preservation and Building Culture", and as part of ISG’s annual programme for 2012 "Townscapes/Villages”, will focus on the conflict area advertising in urban space.
The history of advertisements or outdoor advertising can be traced far back and can be found in various forms in western history. The design of the advertising usually reflects the art of the respective period and for a long time was a modest design element in public spaces. During the age of industrialization, although the detailed economic structures increasingly sought surfaces in the city which could be covered in advertising their dimensions were basically linked to the pedestrian traffic flows and for this reason remained manageable.
Cars, as faster means of transport and the opening of towns and villages by private transport required new means to catch attention both with regard to the type and to the scale of the advertising media. They ranged from forests of flags to advertising towers, moving beams of laser light to MEGA POSTERS covering entire facades and making public spaces into private business areas by force. On motorways and roads, at rest stops and lay-bys billboards are permanent companions. Banners hanging form bridge railings and towering information signs cut up the landscape, usually irrespective of its qualities. The increasing density of adverts signals to us as a matter of course the approach to the city. A colourful world of neon signs welcomes us at night and signals urban life and vitality. Moving images on video walls wrestle for attention, even public transport vehicles have in the meantime become advertising media.
In the historic centres of towns and villages, the appreciation of which has been growing for years, an effort is being made to win back the original authenticity by caring for the building fabric and for public spaces. Car traffic is being forced out in order to gain more high-quality living space for the inhabitants and to encourage urban life. At the same time it is intended to initiate a number of economic, tourist and social activities which would benefit the special atmosphere.
These endeavours are thwarted or even destroyed by unsuitable, excessive and often insensitive advertising methods if we let things take their course.
In Graz, for example, in spite of the restrictive provisions of the Law on the Preservation of the Historic Centre of Graz, even in the most valuable areas of the historic centre, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is hardly a renaissance entrance or ground floor façade which is not covered by billboards, flags, adverts for special offers and pub and restaurant signs. In some cases the architectural structure gives the impression that it was conceived for the advertising on it.
The art project “DELETE! the Delabelling of Public Space” in the Neubaugasse in Vienna, in which all the advertising symbols were covered up with yellow plastic or the strict advertising regulations in Zurich show that design guidelines and a smaller number of selective advertising locations are not detrimental but beneficial to commerce. The reduction in the number of signs and surfaces creates heightened attentiveness on the part of the passers-by and wastes fewer resources if advertising is targeted. Win-win situations whose possibilities have not yet been sounded out by many cities can by all means occur.
The aim is to to scrutinize the townscape and advertising from the point of view of architecture and monument preservation. Monument conservationists, architects, advertising experts, creative designers and those responsible for the legal implementation are given a chance to speak. Exemplary laws will be looked at and a discussion will take place regarding measures and possible creative changes to advertising design.
Internationales Städteforum in Graz
Dates: 21 - 23 June 2012
Venue: Technische Universität Graz, 8010 Graz, Rechbauerstraße 12, HS 1
For more information, visit www.staedteforum.at