London-based graphic designer James Reynolds posts up on abandoned buildings and gets some love for it. It is nice to see such a simple and sincere concept for public art.
I have mentioned the ideas DIY Urbanism here before, but recently came across an interesting project by Droog Design in the Netherlands. Its called Urban Play and is described as a catalyst to inspire creativity in the public domain. The event includes a number of individuals and groups who have come up here before including GRL, You Are Beautiful and a few others.
The site is short on content right now, but it does feature a statement from one of Cincinnati’s cultural “elite”, Aaron Betsky, who says,
Urban Play is designed to take back the street… to give us the tools that let us install ourselves, our friends, our families, our games and our desires in what should be the space we all own collectively. Urban Play is the most promising experiment in not urban design, but designing the urban I have seen so far.
There is a more in-depth overview of the project at the ExperimentaDesign site which mentions
Individuals are taking it upon themselves to physically alter their cities to make them more creative, interactive, personal and fun. What we are witnessing is an unparalleled level of creative urban intervention which represents the intersection of the latest genre of street art and the beginnings of open source urban design.
It is this idea of open source urban design that really caught my attention. This idea suggest that what is commonly considered vandalism can also be a civic endeavor. For all the private property rights advocates out there I know you’ll have a blast with this one, but rest assured, or don’t rest, that these ideas are becoming more intrinsic to the emerging urban culture. Without tolerance for these types of activities cities will have a difficult time remaining competitive. People want to be involved, but they don’t want to sit at the table and speak the language of yesteryear just to be heard.
This comment by curator Scott Burnham sums it up perfectly for me.
While some social attitudes have previously dismissed urban intervention as a form of vandalism, at the heart of this current wave of DIY urban design is in fact a deeply sophisticated movement driven by artists and designers who want to expand our relationship between creativity and the city.
Dan Witz is an amazingly detail oriented street artist who is a master at optical illusion, creating 2D images and placing them in public spaces so that they appear to be 3D. Often, changes in scale or color are the only way to know they aren’t real. But his latest project, Ugly New Buildings, really plays up on the illusionary factor.
There are many more at his site as well as a statement about the project and its title.