The Time Machine takes us to the world of utopias and futuristic, unrealized projects for the city of Warsaw. The installation is a subjective panorama of nearly 50 projects from the last 200 years and includes works that reflect purely idealistic visions, as well as quite realistic projects intended for construction. Time verifies the validity of these ideas. Today, some of them only bring a smile, some frighten, while others fascinate with their grandeur, beauty or the accuracy of proposed solutions.
Architects deal with what doesn’t exist just yet — their work is oriented towards the future. The archival projects collected here were the answer to the tangible problems of their time. They are the sum of the past aspirations, fascinations, and short-lived trends. In retrospect, they seem to say more about the problems of the times they were intended for, than about the present day.
Over the centuries, the same tasks have been undertaken by successive generations of architects. The designs for the Temple of Divine Providence (initially to be named Temple of the Highest Providence), new bridge crossings over the Vistula River, the metro, or monumental burial mounds, have all reappeared at various points in history and in different locations. Eventually, some of them were finalised. Others, unrealised, will probably resurface in the future.
Inside the Time Machine, one finds a parallel reality, in which a different set of circumstances has led to the creation of an alternative Warsaw. Is it still the same city? What would our everyday life be there? It is impossible to avoid such questions, when faced with the material traces of this different, alternative ‘future’. The foundations of the Temple of the Highest Providence in the Botanical Garden, streets named after the World Exhibition in Saska Kępa, or the unfinished metro tunnels, abandoned half a century ago, all seem to be artefacts of this potential, unfulfilled reality. These objects belong to an entirely different order. They remind us that these plans — in today’s perspective, impossible — were once taken entirely seriously and were just a step away from being implemented. Today, on the other hand, we live among the ruins of the future that our predecessors were never able to build.