In 2011, the artists documented the area around Port Praski (‘Praga Port’) in Warsaw, a place whose character and purpose were about to change in the years that followed.
Plans to establish a river port in what is currently Praga-Północ district were discussed before World War I, and it was eventually built during the inter-war period. With three harbour basins spread over about 38 hectares, the port served inland shipping and handled cargo. It was closed down in 1980, but in the 1990s, the Elektrim company took over the port grounds as partial repayment for its investment in the construction of Świętokrzyski Bridge.
Julia Staniszewska and Piotr Bekas took photographs of the area surrounding the port in 2011, when Elektrim’s daughter company was authorised to develop the property. In the text to accompany the photographs, the artists stated:
A new development project will soon be launched to turn this place into a modern residential and retail area with a park.
And that is exactly what happened – the first housing blocks were built over the next couple of years, and there are plans to build tower blocks, more luxury apartments, and a conference centre. According to the investor’s projections from July 2017, the Port Praski area will accommodate approximately one million square metres of residential space.
Julia Staniszewska and Piotr Bekas took a series of photographs that captured the life and atmosphere of this part of Warsaw immediately prior to its economic, social and symbolic gentrification.
Originally written in Polish, translated by AG, edited by MB, Dec 2018