Mediamatic Off-Line Vol. 11#2 Paul Groot


Mieke Gerritzen

Our public spaces are subordinate to an increasingly unequivocal picture. The torrents of present-day traffic - those of speedy car drivers to those of hurried air passengers - particularly require rapid, transparent information enabling efficient reaction.

The logos are developed to this end, well organised and quickly grasped traffic signs allowing little variation. Generally speaking, the design scarcely matters: always the same theme. Never anything really new, for the template is fixed. Poor designer!

Mieke Gerritzen is not concerned with all these limitations. As a designer with an artistic hand she does enjoy an extra freedom after all. Which she exuberantly deploys here. For mark my words: when she presents these design-like artistic signs at the side of the busy traffic road by Mediamatic Supermarket, you may well talk of a provocation that is not without danger. For everyone who passes by here, the pedestrian, the biker, but especially the motorbike and scooter driver, car driver and lorry driver does get it unexpectedly thrust in their face. In particular those driving fast have to, while quickly flashing by, scan and understand the usual traffic signs in a single instant and next to them, on top of them, along behind them, scan and understand the ideogram of Gerritzen’s logo too. And react to it in a suitable way

While she was designing Mieke Gerritzen must have visualized something like that urban legend that keeps on popping up about how Coca-Cola is supposed influence the experiences of the cinema goer with secret messages. By introducing invisible but subliminally experienced advertising logos in certain films. Gerritzen does it here quite blatantly, but not without risk: what if you drive by in a not very concentrated fashion and become confused because of a shock reaction to this logo that suddenly materialises. It is true that Gerritzen keeps it in a rather sensual atmosphere, but her insinuations are sometimes extremely unexpected. The pair of lips that sensualises and eroticises; the strongly religious impulses and the threatening inspiration of a dark cross suddenly materialising against a coloured sunset; an attractively smoking cigarette that doesn’t refer to the taboo on smoking, but invites you to treat yourself to a smoke.

Perhaps I see it a bit too pointedly. Why shouldn’t Gerritzen have intended it to be somewhat more "relaxed"? Perhaps she just wanted to show, as a surprise, the logos of a spectacular “airport??? along a road that doesn’t go to an airport or a special architectonic structure. Perhaps Gerritzen simply wants to do nothing else but allow the tired driver to drift off for a moment, as if he were en route to some suggestive destination.

If you'd like to quote something: Groot, Paul. "Untitled." Mediamatic Off-Line vol. 11 # 2 (2006).

Translation: Helen-Anne Ross