Cities in the UK are the most homogenised in the world. Each aspect of public life has been catered for, packaged neatly into a theme. Each chain guarantees a particular product or experience. This encourages us to live in a world where few risks need to be taken. What is it in the UK psyche that has led to this process of duplication? Is this the choice of the urban planners or is this a situation that we desire in a desperate need for conformity, reliability and reassurance. This video documents the facades of Pret-a-Manger, a hugely popular sandwich shop. There are 256 branches of Pret, spread across four countries, which have almost identical frontages. Each scene is framed so the signage displaying ‘Pret-a-Manger’ is registered, thus remaining consistent throughout the film. The cuts between each scene progressively accelerate until the viewer can only absorb the branding, not the streetscape. Cities conflate into a maelstrom of corporate design and urban life.

Commissioned by Catalyst Arts, Belfast.


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