Installations, videos and projects in public space

by Oliver Ressler

Don’t purchase a better world, fight for a better world


A billboard by Oliver Ressler on gated communities in Warsaw

Gated communities seem to emerge primarily in countries with big differences in income among people and where governments show no real effort in redistributing wealth. Post-socialist Poland and especially Warsaw seem to be very fertile grounds for social disintegration and segregation, which leads to the development of gated communities at an unbelievable pace. For people who choose to live in gated communities, the reduction of uncertainty and disturbing factors seem to be of extraordinary importance.

The billboard (size: 504 x 238 cm) shows a typical façade of a gated community from the perspective of someone standing in the street. It shows the fences, the cabin of the security guards, and the posh architecture.

The irritating feature of the building is that most windows are broken. The broken windows can be seen as a rupture of the imagined stability and safety of a gated community. The images of broken windows and the graffiti have been photographed in poor and abandoned areas in Warsaw. The graffiti on the building reads: “Donkeys from right to left tell lie to people.”

Through this montage, the photo brings together the living areas of the haves and the have-nots. Associations with an uprising or a militant struggle may be evoked.

On the top of the billboard, the Polish text in uppercase (NIE KUPUJ LEPSZEGO SWIATA, WALCZ O LEPSZY SWIAT) declares: Don’t purchase a better world, fight for a better world.

The billboards were created as part of the Passengers Festival in Warsaw, September 2008, curated by Kuba Szreder and Zuzanna Fogtt.