A newsstand near the Marais, in central Paris.

Newsstands and billboards across Paris display dynamic advertisements, in which a display panel vertically scrolls through three advertisements. These are similar in concept to the American rotating tri-panel billboards. From a technical standpoint, this is a clever way of maximizing advertising revenue while also saving space—the above newsstand can display three times as many advertisements by using scrolling billboards as it could by using static posted advertisements.


The same newsstand, moments later. Notice that two of the advertisements have changed.

With all of their activity, urban spaces are necessarily places of staticness and dynamism. When we regard urban spaces four-dimensionally, we can see the different time scales at which urban elements operate. At one end of the scale are geographic features (site is eternal!); at the other, the people moving through space. In between are slung all sorts of quirky elements, from cars to parks to monuments to food carts. These elements are quirky because they mix staticness and dynamism: Traffic, for example, is reliably dynamic, static in its dynamism. Food carts offer a dynamic, temporary spatial product by occupying the same location at the same time of day for a set period of time. (This is a theme I’m planning on exploring more in future state-side posts.) From one side, their positioning is static; from the other, dynamic.

These newsstand advertisements fall into the mix, too. Like traffic, they are reliably static in their dynamism. Change is the only constant.