It is becoming increasingly difficult to describe towns while using historical categories, terms or ontological metaphors such as genius loci. Secular, fragmentary, and anomic post-industrial towns subjected to communication and information do not enroot us 'here', in our places, but change us into moving images of the consumer, the tourist, the passerby, the demonstrator, and the hardworking resident, and together with the images of the streets and squares transfer us 'elsewhere'. Despite the fact that today it is rather the product of marketing strategies than a live metaphor, genius loci continues to inspire researchers. What can be done so that its sense-creating force would not vanish while imprisoned in an historical costume? A proposal formulated in this text leads to a confrontation of the town genius loci with another metaphor - the oligopticon - with whose assistance B. Latour described Paris at the end of the twentieth century. Between genius loci and oligopticon there exists a bond based on a common meaning: both are known as the 'tireless guard'. By blending the social and technological aspects of life in the city, oligopticon, similarly to genius loci, extracts from urban space an endless number of sites (the multiple versions of Paris in Paris, Poznan in Poznan, Gdansk in Gdan sk), which together create a certain entity; true, it remains inaccessible for the sort of perception which has not been subjugated to the media, but it does not resemble anything else, and is mysterious and undefined.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.