Veronika Rút Fullerová
Veronika Rút Fullerová

Visual Culture

Veronika Rút Fullerová

 

In 2015, I managed to introduce the issue of visual pollution into the public debate in the Czech Republic. I had returned from an internship abroad and suddenly I saw Brno as never before: overlaid with a meaningless mixture of signs, notices, and canvases. This experience shaped my decision of how to spend my spare time for the next few years. I simply wanted people to realize how alarming the state of Czech urban visual culture was. But I never imagined the issue would reverberate in society as much as it did, causing a wave of fierce reactions. A number of quality articles appeared, followed by some misinformation, a few misquotes, and to top it off, even a scandal in local politics featuring a misuse of the topic. A number of critics emerged, and using their personal taste as a proof, they campaigned both for and against visual pollution. Because of the utter confusion in the public opinion, the media just kept repeating the same question ‘What is visual pollution?’. The debate moved in circles. Many town halls made honorable but clumsy efforts to organize street advertising along minimal legal parameters.

During those years I met many specialists from various fields of expertise. They could describe the problem using different points of view and they were an inspiration and a source of knowledge to me. Visual pollution isn’t just about aesthetics, really it’s a testimony to the lack of systematic approach on the part of the entrepreneurs combined with toothless legislation. Let me invite you then, to read about the history of advertising regulations, for example. It’s been here for more than a hundred years, and should be seen as an integral part of the city, not an innovation. Or about the fact that change must come, first and foremost, from the bottom up – from architects, graphic designers, and business owners. It’s in your hands, just like the October issue of ERA21. Reading it can make you happy, angry or bored; but the important thing is that you can close the magazine at any time, and choose to concentrate on something else. Advertising in public spaces doesn’t allow any of that, we all have to look at it, whether we want to or not. That’s why we have to start using it in a much better way.

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