Local Street Art

The street as a space for debate is a good foundation for a democratic society. The public space is also a space where we acquire information and knowledge about today and about life itself. A space of exchange and continuous movement. Activism, ephemeral art, contemporary art, public art: then certainly some artistic interventions that simultaneously inhabit various grades are presented. Yes, the term public art includes more items than most people imagine. Many of these works work against the increasing depoliticization of the public space and fight the ongoing privatization and commercialization of the same.

louisville street artIn the urban space it is increasingly common to find graffiti and adhesives, among other ephemeral sculptural and performative interventions. Within the urban universe some ephemeral artistic interventions stand out for their quality in political terms. Many of these actions promote a healing of social, touching wounds of society involved in acting against positive social problems. In others, the artists have the role of communicators and catalysts of social energies. In many cases the relationship between the work and the place is so strong that the effect of that action is expanding and many times reverberates through the media worldwide patent and memorable way. Look around:

London, United Kingdom.

After the terrorist attacks of July 7, 2005, when there were more than fifty dead and seven wounded, it is impossible to react with indifference to walk down the street and meet up with images like a “typical” terrorist who makes the motion to throw one Granada, but in his hands has a colorful bouquet of flowers. Or a little girl tenderly embraces a missile. These images make you remember and reflect on this collective problem.

Banksy uses its street urban art to promote different from the mainstream media visions. This political intention and activist of his work may be influenced by the Ad Jammers (movement that deformed images of advertisements to change the message).

But Banksy graffiti can be considered public art?

louisville grafittiPublic art by Lucy Lipard is “any piece of free access to care, challenges, involves and takes into account the views of the public to whom or who has been made respecting the community and the environment.” [1] For many of the interventions of the mysterious British graffiti municipalities make popular consultation and in most cases people want their deeds should be deleted, so that from the positive response of the population, the technicians make Town Hall including maintenance of these works. One such example is the naked man, the work of Banksy, in Park Street, Bristol, on the wall of a clinic for sexual diseases. According to popular consultation carried out, the Council has decided that this will not be erased [2]. Of course, many people like Peter Gibson, a spokesman for the campaign Keep Britain Tidy believes that his work, like that of other graffiti is mere vandalism and indeed no vandalism and no art on the street and what does not actually exist is a city clean.

West Bank barrier, Bethlehem, Palestine

The West Bank barrier built from 2002 by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to prevent the infiltration of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel, drew criticism from the international community considered a symbol of segregation and in 2004 the International Court of Justice in The Hague declared illegal, as the short barrier Palestinian land and has isolated about 450,000 people.

El Pais published on December 27, 2007 a story with the headline: “The West Bank barrier, a snake graffiti: ‘Artists without barriers’, an organization of Israelis and Palestinians protest through art and non-violence against the construction of the wall has become a must destination for tourists. “[3]

‘Artists without barriers’ has gathered around the wall to display paintings, film screenings, offering concerts, hang pictures or create videos. In August 2005, Banksy, probably invited by this organization, he made murals in the occupied West Bank, particularly in Bethlehem, Ramallah and Abu Dis, combining several techniques territories.

In 2007, dozens of local and international artists have gathered in Bethlehem, Palestine, to perform this year’s ‘Santa’s Ghetto’ where have expressed their graffiti on the controversial barrier of fences and concrete of up to eight meters high surrounding Bethlehem in three directions. They have loaned their works for free a gallery for charity. It was his way of drawing attention and invite reflection to everyone celebrating Christmas while Bethlehem, the city of Jesus’ birth, is surrounded by a wall that prevent their people around, work, or make your life freely.

As an example of the power of attraction that these actions have on the media and scope of their ability to report, also cited the report in the newspaper El Mundo: “The other part of the initiative, graffiti on walls Bethlehem and the West Bank wall, are rather full peace allegory of irony, like a dove of peace with bulletproof vest or a leg that crosses the barrier of concrete, designed by the Spanish artist known as ‘3D’. “[4 ]

Another example of recognition of Contemporary Art on ephemeral art interventions in the public space, the exhibition “Cultures 2008 ‘. In the theme ‘Borders: A walled World’ is the ‘Face2Face’ project conducted by photographer JR, whose work since 2001 is to transform their images on large banners, making exhibitions in the streets of large scale advertising banners. According to the text of the exhibition: “The ‘Face2Face’ project is part of the activist strategy that JR has initiated conflict in different parts of the planet.” JR says he has traveled to the Middle East in 2005 seeking to understand why Palestinians and Israelis can not live in peace. He explains in the project site on the Internet: www.face2faceproject.com that: “After a week, we had a finding With the same words: These people look the same; They speak almost the same language, like twin brothers raised in different families. A religious covered woman has her twin sister on the other side. A farmer, a taxi driver, a teacher, you have His twin brother in front of him. And I His endlessly Fighting with him. It’s obvious, but They do not see that. We must put them face to face. They will realize. We want that, at last, everyone laughs and Thinks When He Sees the portrait of the other and his own portrait. ”

The Face2Face project is intuitive portraits, often in black Palestinians and Israelis with the same profession and white, or engaged in the same social function (such as teachers, religious etc.), print these images in large format and glue them in urban spaces where the meaning is powerful, for example in JR West Bank Wall he says: “We Hope That This Project will Contribute to a better understanding Between Israelis and palestinians. Today, “Face to face” is Necessary. Within a few years, we will come back for “Hand in hand”. ”

Center of São Paulo, Brazil: ‘Prestes Maia’ the largest vertically occupation of Latin America

São Paulo is a city with a population of 10,406,166 inhabitants living in extreme social inequality, and the social transformation that is present in every need. Currently the city goes through a process called ‘revitalização the center of São Paulo’ which includes a process of gentrification [5] and the criminalization of poverty. With the project ‘revitalização’ the city center has become even more desired area by increasing property speculation. Many artists and groups fought against this process, a symbol of this struggle was the movement ‘Integração Sem Posse’ in which dozens of artists and groups such as skeleton, BijaRi, Mídia Independente Center, Experience Imersiva Environmental, Elephant, Tasters Stories and A Revolução Não televisionada be supported movements for housing the center of Sao Paulo, particularly the ‘Movimento Sem Teto do Centro’ in the occupation of an abandoned ‘Avenida Prestes Maia’ building. The “Prestes Maia ‘was the largest occupation of Latin America. 468 families lived in it from 2002 to 2007.

The artists performed in the dissemination of this social problem attracting the attention of the authorities and the media in general to spread what happened in that occupation: From as police tried to talk to the poor sanitation process center. And they did it with poetry, founding a library, taught to read and write, promoting festivals, debates, performing interventions in building facades and sidewalks [6].

I had the opportunity to act as an artist and citizen in this movement and what caught my attention was the meeting place and debate generated on the ground floor of that building. Meeting space between social classes, which in the Brazilian context and especially the city of São Paulo is absolutely necessary.

The performance artists greatly strengthened the ‘Movimento Sem Teto Center’ and promoted a great delay in the evacuation of the building. About this movement André Mesquita, a Brazilian journalist, researcher of the relationship between art and contemporary collective activism, reflects in his article: “Art-artivism: interference, coletivismo and transversalidade ‘that:” É gives união between artist and social link novas as aesthetic forms são extended autogestão, convertendo-se em trabalho ferramentas of community and ultrapassando uma transmissão mere informative and historical given, just ou uma satisfazendo to demand “artistic novidade” committed Tendência com to do now. ”

Many artists and collectives working in various lines and in various parts of the city, working in the field of awareness of social problems and the responsibility of citizens in the social construction. Mesquita says that not always ephemeral art demonstrations are recognized as art, but the most important is: “(…) salientar recentes as to how art is articulam Práticas Coletivas or Ativismo com. A vontade of ações, intervenções e na performances cidade, fragmented by sociais contradições and economic and hair mercadológico device gives publicidade and gives mídia will make, is intimately linked com introdução of novos modes not daily political engajamento, transforming you artists em agents ative Catalisadores and experiences, integrating art and life. “Mesquita argues in his article that in addition to information work and reporting of global or local issues, these interventions / ephemeral poetic actions contribute to the recovery of public space.

Outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil

Another interesting project that works in the field of decentralization of artistic production and aims to expand the circulation of culture in the suburbs, is the JAMAC (Jardim Miriam Arte Clube), founded in 2004 by three artists in the Jardim Miriam, suburb in the southern region of São Paulo. The project aims to transform not only the lives of the inhabitants of the community but also agents of the initiative themselves. The trio consists of Mônica Nador, Lúcia Koch and Fernando Limberger. The “club”, in addition to paintings artistic interventions in the neighborhood, offers classes in painting, photography and design, and a small library. First, the performance of JAMAC was based on direct intervention in the houses of the neighborhood, with the help of the inhabitants of the town, and which immediately created an art production workshop open to the entire community, in which artists sought not just socialize artistic technique, as well as the authorship of the work.

Listen to the words of the artist Monica Nador: “Não thought that art transform possa as sociais Structures, Acho increasingly more difficult or exercício mais uma que não of prática I included this sulfate. For mim, é um em impossível trabalhar country like Brazil or social realidade week nossa consider. Não Acho than vou move muita coisa, maybe nothing, but não quero passar beaten. Ha six years I dedicate all or tempo ao meu Projeto Paredes Paintings, um you die aberto set of paintings feito em poor barrios give great speeds and inside cidadezinhas em do. Atualmente tenho eu não mais em relação material attachment art trabalhos years. Faço projetos you will die for qualquer em, do not chão on uma qualquer table top do joelho em … Agora has pouco, non JAMAC, fiz um um I desenho together garoto da Comunidade com. Tenho ateliê Nem mais uma só sobrou table, which used to costumo ler and estudar. Hoje é meu ateliê to rua. “[8]

Reflections on artistic practice: Minister Manso Plaza Costa, Center São Paulo, Brazil

The square is in the center of the city surrounded by decaying buildings. A place with hidden treasures in its poor appearance: Hundreds of families, children. Beggars sleeping on benches, kids doing petty theft. Young mothers walk with their babies, children run, men play billiards in the bar. This is the place Minister Costa Manso, a simple square, where great events never happen, but a place for living, where walking the dog, found a neighbor, rest. A place with great potential. A place to anyone. A place like others, different from others. São Paulo is a city, and therefore infinite, a place where anything can exist.
Figura3. Image Minister Costa Manso square.
Or SESC (Serviço Social do Comércio de São Paulo) is a private institution, nonprofit. Maintained and managed by entrepreneurs of trade without receiving any government grant [9]. At the invitation of this institution in 2005 I made the experience participatory artistic intervention: ‘Corpo Coletivo: fertilities’ [10] in Costa Manso Minister plaza. This intervention was timely and experimental, in order, by the SESC, to explore the possibilities of cultural activity in this square. For this work, the SESC unit located near the square entrusted me an intervention to encourage community and constructive use of this public space.

The intervention consisted of an action that was briefly the jointly develop some sculptures, locate, and beautify the square symbolically filling the empty boxes of the same with flowers, discussing local issues in the course of work.

During the performance in the square he worked symbolically care space through the planting of dried flowers painted by local people and by working with the sculptures. The participation of people was excellent community work materialized, but at the end of this, many of the inhabitants withdrew the ‘flowers’ and took home.

What connects this attitude? What does it reveal? Does the lack of public awareness as a community space? Would not this reaction a sign showing us how no specific work on the corporate value of that space of São Paulo ?. Through this experience, I noted how precise is linking more and more art to the public space, so that it can be seen and consumed long term, by all and free, as one of the ways of working the notion of community based practice, in the very experience of that space, raising awareness about their use and care. The recovery of public space is not natural, it is cultural. To understand it well, it is essential to provide people situations in which they can create emotional bonds between people through the space and the space itself. To build the square-the public-space, it builds us, an external practice that reverberates internally and can generate new thoughts and new positions.

However, the lack of links can lead us to other consequences, as noted by Professor Renato Janine Ribeiro, head of Ethics and Political Philosophy at the University of São Paulo, in his article ‘sociais elos Novos: Internet as a democratic espaço’: “We all do enfraquecimento do queixamos social bond. Quem estuda to criminalidade fortalecimento he says, or do social link ela é excellent antidote against a degradação he gives social life. As elo strengthen social week or simple nostalgia be peeled forms hardly vão voltar, but not thinking novo (…) “[11]
Figura4. Image of participants in the ‘Corpo Coletivo: fertilities’ project intervening in Costa Manso Plaza Minister
Art art

Is ephemeral art part of the use of urban space?

There is a driving force behind many human beings, which is to work for what you believe. Many artists put their talents to a collective cause. The painter-architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser Austrian-dreamer Regentag (1928, Vienna; † 2000) defended and acted in the sense of our right to intervene in the city. In Dusseldorf, the February 27, 1972, released its manifesto “Your window right, your duty to the tree”: “Our existence is losing dignity. We passed gray and sterile facades, without realizing that we are condemned to live in prison cells. If we want to survive, we must all act. Each of us must design your own environment. You can not sit around waiting for the authorities to grant you permission. The outer walls belong to you as much as your clothes and interior of your home. Any kind of personal design is better than the sterile death. (…) We have to ignore the rules prohibiting or restricting this right. ”

The performance of the aforementioned artists are an example of a new social energy, charity, peace and poetic action you see on the walls, on balconies, in the squares, on the streets. In many cities in many countries. As stated David Avalos (Group Material) about what many artists think and do: “We do not conceive of art as a mere reflection of society. We conceive art as a vehicle for society to create future, to enable people “[12]

Jacinto Rodrigues expresses the change that occurs in the position of the artist in society in his study of Joseph Beuys, founder of the concept of social sculpture, advocate of the importance of the participation of citizens or people in projects and believes in transformations generated from the experience gained in these projects: “Currently, an abandonment of the divine role of the producer of art is given to fit the other the role of independent creators. But it is not intended to change the subject just that object. Now is the possibility that everyone can participate in this double game art production and profit, transposing the border that separates the artist no artist. “[13] This quote illustrates the extent of this change of mentality expressed in these artistic interventions carried out by individuals, groups or independent spaces that act stimulating the ordinary citizen, the person to take part in the making of the city, promoting a more creative and collective urban life. Encouraging more active participation of people in politics from the use of public space and form an alternative to the market.

Moreover, some are critical of these initiatives on their provisional nature, others for their aesthetic character, forgetting the political and artistic expression of these interventions, which also not intended to replace other forms of public art need. Felix Duque in his article “A meeting place contaminated” considered naive, utopian and romantic proposals like those of Joseph Beuys. Duke puts it “This proposal to support healthy people, this” democratic solution “of art in everyday life of the citizen, an art handed devuelto- or rather the” public good “(…)” the idea that the people could transfigure artistically creative individuals works in the service of the community, without God or master, in which people only recognize and celebrate herself … “and continues:” And yet only within the new public spaces produced by urban redevelopment, by the standardization of tourist resorts, due to the globalization of transport and communications, and the amazing crossing of the first and the second called “theme parks”, but I say – in the space of a new political culture in which work and leisure exchange their functions and lose their distinctive edges may arise, to the contrary, the public art “[14].

From providing Duque we can think about different ways of thinking space of the city, such as describing Patxi Lanceros in his review of the book ‘Societies Movedizas’ Manuel Delgado: “Old dispute between the city and urban (H. Lefebvre), or between cops and urbs (I Joseph) (…) On the one hand the city, its universe of meanings that can be planned or designed (as modern or postmodern perspective); on the other hand dynamics, movement, transit, so restless or disturbing (…) the flood of ‘pedestrian coalitions’ that can become demonstration, riot, in mutiny: that may seem momentary ‘state of emergency’ and however, are the norm (pragmatic) than in urban -expuesto and acts and uses-off the (syntactic and semantic) forms of the city. “[15]

Is ephemeral art of the recovery process of urban space?

The public space is a place of passage, those who have time to enjoy it are privileged, not subject to economic time. Most, we have only a short time enough to get through. In addition, the streets have become the luxury item of advertising culture, present in all places and in all sizes, while manifestations of culture and society are under threat, as we can see by attacks police against graffiti, posters, begging, street art and popular initiatives gardening among others. [16] are rapidly criminalizing everything really public life of cities. Professor Ursula Franklin of the University of Toronto says, “I guess the reality in which we live as if it were a military occupation. We’ve been busy as were the French and the Norwegians by the Nazis in World War II, but this time by an army of advertising. We must take back our country from those who have taken on behalf of its global hands. “[17]

Art to Art

What is the political value of ephemeral art?

If we go back and look at the origin of ephemeral art in contemporary urban space we go back to the sixties, and see how this phenomenon is gaining more consistency from the nineties when the term “public art” happens to include two new meanings: First, the construction of public spaces from work teams composed of architects, designers, artists, environmental psychologists and others. And the second, ephemeral art events: speeches, performances, interactive and participatory arts often are also produced by collectives or multidisciplinary teams. In this review it is important to quote the ‘Reclaim the Streets’ (RTS) as one of the most important in the field of struggle for the reconquest of public space social movements.

In this fast trip we perceive that the origin of ephemeral art is linked to more politicized, a need to claim spaces, rights and also a strong need to express artistic movements. From all this the most important thing is that it is a social energy that comes from the bottom up, the population of society and not the Power to the People. And it is already is a public art feature, more than one person to another.

Today there is a great proliferation of cultural events and the most diverse public art programs. Some like the Public Art Fund (New York) and the “Sculpture Projects Münster” (Münster) mixed with perennial ephemeral art public art. Other really focus on ephemeral art interventions as interference (Barcelona), the POCS, Project for Open and Closed Spaces (Barcelona), Madrid Open (Madrid), the Festival d’Art FAC Carrer (Sant Adria de Besos, Barcelona), Project Public (barium Gracia, Barcelona), the Urban Arco, the new version for the 2009 art fair Arco (Madrid), the Idensitat that the last call performed between the cities of Calaf, Manresa and Mataro (Barcelona) to name a few in the Spanish context.

Generally the fact that the concept of public art is being discussed, it is already positive by itself. More even than we find it in this debate closer to everyday art that focuses on a more interactive, concerned to broaden the audience of art and engage directly relevant to the local population concerned issues. For example, the Madrid Open program, which is in its fifth edition, is public art project proposal “to deepen an artistic activity, understood as a practice of activation and interaction with other agents, seeking to provide to all citizens other views and other proposals for participation different from those in the usual spaces of museums, galleries, art center or fair. “[18]


The art necessary

The good news is in the streets: If we look carefully ephemeral art interventions, we identified a driving force in common, which is looking to do something, say something, to promote meetings, reflections, minimal changes in posture. A political art. An art that has a healing social dimension. The political and social significance of these ephemeral interventions, has much to do with his approach from empathy, positive and open to community participation approach and are a counterpoint to the opaque dimension of society: individualism, fear the fears of society, conflict and social tragedy among others.

Moreover, these dynamics are increasingly present demonstrates the commitment of the people and not to be exercised from a non-institutionalized political practice, it stops being political and perhaps more effective.

In the words of writer Jose Saramago, in the debate “Quixote hoje: utopia and political” World Social Forum in Porto Alegre (2005): “O that transformou or a utopia world não foi, foi a necessidade”. Transform is undoubtedly one of the potentials of the artwork. This force is implicit in the art and can be used both for political power to beautify and then speculate urban space, as citizens organized as a movement to fight, and even concomitantly.