Beurs is full of ads. It’s almost like an exhibition. The collection that amuses me the most is by the Westblaak exit. It’s some photos of sun-tanned models, drinking Pepsi with a little help from Photoshop. They’re clearly a few years old: the clothes are dated and they’re slightly yellowed. Everyone’s smiling and holding their hands near their mouths, so that a can can be stuck in there later. The photos are hidden on an unused wall. I’m particularly fascinated by a man with an almost cartoonish jawline. The whole collection is like an absurdist meme ahead of its time, and I very much hope that the city archives will preserve it one day.

Sometimes I sit on a train surrounded by so many people with headphones that no one can hear me when I talk loudly to myself. Then I have a conversation about a conversation that no one is having with me. “Are pregnancy tests mainly bought by people hoping the result will be negative, or positive?” “I haven’t figured that out yet.” “Maybe the ads are a hint, mostly aimed at expectant mothers who can’t wait to get certainty.” The social void of AirPod is slowly making me solipsistic*. So much so that sometimes I can’t figure out whether I’m thinking silently or musing aloud.

Perhaps that’s precisely why the ad for an ad stands out to me. Because it looks like someone’s trying to tell you something, but can’t remember what. The illuminated ad in the dark metro tunnel is still trying to raise the awareness of passengers. She still believes. She believes someone will look and respond to her message, so she can be filled with a new message again. And because I am looking at her, I am not alone.

* Solipsism (from the Latin solus (“alone”) and ipse (“self”)) is the belief or philosophy that only one consciousness exists: that of the observer. The entire universe and all other people communicated with exist only in the mind of the observer. Source: Wikipedia

Giselle Timmers 2_2023_2560_Pauline Wiersema_Levien Willemse

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