In an environment which we all lay claim to, whose voice is it that should prevail? Should it be just a single voice? If not, then how come we, the people that populate them, are subject to a tireless monologue of ad talk inerspliced by the odd piece of functional information (Toilets, Exit, etc)?
The streets belong to the people who use them. The people who live, play, work, party, lounge and look after them. Yes, streets need looking after. They need on the ground advocates who recognise that the importance of their environment is displayed not through property values, but by the palpable, living, breathing ambience of them. Their character!
Central to this idea of character is the element of sovereignty, evidence that people either as individuals or groups feel connected to their neighbourhood. That they not only feel a sense of community but that they’re inclined to actively contribute to it. These people are the advocates. Ads for lost pets, rent parties, gigs by bands you’ve never heard of and will probably never see. These A4´s run off at the uni copy centre, local library or home inkjet are artefacts of a society that still wants to communicate with each other and counts the street as a means in which to do this.
And so it is for art and artists. Especially those that want to cultivate some form of dialogue. Dialogue suggests exchange. It is not one person talking and the rest listening. It is a dynamic, changing and responsive activity that furthers thinking and promotes understanding. Grey walls are not indicative of dialogue. They talk about inactivity, about a lack of engagement.
We are not prepared to let those that sit in city council or ad agencies determine the face of our community, not when our choices are between grey walls and billboards.
http://blog.askew1.com/2011/03/super-city-censorship/ – Askew’s side of the story
http://95bfm.com/default,198784.sm – BFM interview with Askew
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wuBmVFJ6b0 – Rob Shields on graffiti
http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/the-wall-and-the-paper/ – Russell Brown’s Hard News
http://tvnz.co.nz/media7/s6-e7-video-4070508 – Len Brown talking to Russell Brown
http://dubdotdash.blogspot.com/2011/03/so-fresh-so-clean.html – Review of the above Len Brown interview