The on-line transmission from the flight

2017-10-17 17:07:07

The Warsaw millennial panorama is a two-dimensional photographic visualization of space taken from the highest point in the city – exactly from the level of the millennium clock suspended just under the spire of the Palace of Culture and Science. It is the second complete panorama ever made of the city. At the time of its creation, it was probably the largest image of its type in the world.

One measure of it is the combined file size of 13 GB. At this resolution, it would be possible to print a full-resolution image 150 meters high (more than half the height of the Palace of Culture and Science) and over a kilometer and a half in width. This image was processed using a 133 MHz PC with 256 MB of RAM and only 40 GB of hard disk space.

The panorama was displayed in the center of the capital suspended from the storefronts of the Galeria Centrum. The size of the image as displayed was smaller than planned by a factor of ten, a restriction imposed by the size of the longest building on which it could be hung. In the end the banner was four stories high (11 meters) and 133 meters long. Its sponsors were the author of the undertaking, who donated the picture to the city and its inhabitants, Gazeta Wyborcza, which financed the printing of the banner and its promotion, and the Galeria Centrum, which made the frontage of its buildings available for free.

The panorama was unveiled by the city president on New Year’s Eve, 2001. Unfortunately, city leaders at the time were neither interested in nor able to take advantage of this event as a way to promote the city. On New Year’s Eve, a night when all the cities of the world are mainly showing fireworks and even the lighting of a glass sphere prompts great applause, the unveiling of the Panorama would have served as an extraordinary promotion of Warsaw both at home and abroad. Instead, the images broadcast worldwide of Warsaw’s empty, sad streets devoid of people were juxtaposed with a reveling Krakow market square and the whole was labeled with the laconic comment “you can see where the real capital is”.

Over 600 medium-format color slides created in September 2000 documenting the cityscape at the symbolic moment of the start of the millennium were used in creating the Panorama. Individual sectors of space were exposed successively based on the direction of falling sunlight. This made it possible for all structures in the panoramic image to appear fully illuminated regardless of their position.

One of the qualities characterizing the panorama is the new method of depicting space in accordance with the mental perception of information (collection of impressions), rather than strict optical rules. The apparently straight streets surrounding the Palace of Culture and Science are really mutually perpendicular, and follow the perimeter of a rectangle. The classic optical depiction of straight lines photographed panoramically from one place gives an image in which straight lines become arcs. We do not notice these deformations as we move our eyes from one place to the next. In our perception, each of the streets is seen individually, as a straight line parallel to the bottom edge of the panoramic image. In the Panorama, these streets also align together in a straight line, just as we perceive them, but as a result streets that are actually perpendicular to one another appear to form one long straight line. The goal of the author of the Panorama was to create a depiction of space that would contain full information about that space, with its photographic representation in accord not only with the physical but also with the imaginative perception of reality. There arose a new depiction and a new architecture of collecting perspectives of varied, alternating convergences.

The author of the panorama did not view this enormous undertaking as a completed task, but above all as the starting point in creating a research workshop and laboratory for further creative work, both scientific and cultural. The creation of such a high-resolution panoramic depiction of Warsaw led to the plans for the future design of a spatial image database.

The Warsaw millennial panorama inspired many scientific articles and publications, where one can find more relevant technical and substantive details connected with the concept and technology of its creation as well as with the interpretation of its content.

More about the panorama


The Warsaw Panorama suspended from the front of the Galeria Centrum mall.


16:11 - Fat Kate