A week or two ago (just before the migration of this blog the a new server) I walked past an outdoors advertisement in Amsterdam, near where I live. It is an ad for the Dutch Open Air Museum in Arnhem. It says “Vrij als vroeger – Even terug naar de jaren ’60” (something like “Free as once before – briefly back to the ’60s“).
(click to enlarge)
A brief look at their website tells me it’s an exhibition about leisure time in the 60s. What made me take a snapshot of this was that the picture shows a mobile phone being crushed by what appears a miller’s stone, or a giant tractor tire, I don’t know. So this advertisement basically says that freedom is to be without the mobile phone. It plays upon popular opinion that the mobile phone, handy is it may be, is also a burden and a restraint on freedom. Crush your phone and you’ll be free again :).
What strikes me now as I am writing is the addition of the word “Even..” (briefly, or just a little moment) in the subtitle. It suggests the possibility of temporarily escaping modern day pressures (the obligations imposed by the mobile phone) when visiting this open air museum. Why would we want/need to do so? Why go to a museum for this? And what is good about a temporary solution? I mean, nobody is really going to crush his mobile? I think the ad tries to appeal to the possibility of imagining and actually visiting a time and place when things where not so complicated. The museum then creates a temporary playground for our imagination. We can actually undergo the experience of living an ideal simple life, albeit temporarily.
And here’s another advertisement I found on their website, burning a remote control: