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Focusing on Latin America's Changing Cities

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Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
6/30/2014 5:23:02 PM
User Rank Burgher
Written on the walls
In my City these writings once depicted gang territory. Recently I see more of it all over the City and the writings are becoming works of art. They now have building materials that are resistant to these writings or works of art.

NewDream
NewDream  
6/18/2014 8:23:43 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
"The words of the prophets...
...are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls, and whispered in The Sounds of Silence."

Graffiti is often a statement, and a mirror, of what is really happening in a city. The walls are a fine place for art, both commissioned and impromptu. Comparison and contrast of the two can reveal a great deal. It is indeed important that residents have a sense of ownership of their city, and looking at what's on the walls is an excellent way to see whether they do.

Kim Davis
Kim Davis  
6/16/2014 3:21:01 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: public art
Susan, that sounds like New York in the 1970s.

Of course, this isn't just about graffiti. It's about the way citizens develop their own paths around cities, their own ways of using them, as well as their own ways of decorating them--and going against that grain will always cause problems.

Kim Davis
Kim Davis  
6/16/2014 3:19:40 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: public art
CitySolver, you put it very well.  If citizens don't feel they own their cities, all the smart functionality in the world won't make cities welcoming and liveable. It's important that innovation doesn't lose its human face.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
6/12/2014 7:00:34 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: public art
Graffiti is alive and well here in Spain. The crisis has provided plenty of material to rail about. But when you mention how sanitized some highstreets have become, CitySolver, there's an interesting contrast here. Most shops have roll down security shutters that protect the entrance and windows -- and provide the perfect canvas for aspiring graffiti artists.

During the day the streets and main shopping areas looks like any other city. Then at night, they become a huge gallery of protest art and colorful slogans. 

Interestingly, the artists seem to contain themselves to the shutters and rarely spray on the walls themselves. Although it's probably removed promptly when they do. 

kq4ym
kq4ym  
6/10/2014 7:18:10 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: public art
It is useful of course, if not artful to keep those messages alive to compare and contrast what official planners and government agencies want to build vs. what the people really want and need. The exhibition should provide some insight to what's really happening in the cities examined.

CitySolver
CitySolver  
6/10/2014 9:27:21 AM
User Rank Blogger
public art
Hi Terry, yes its interesting how much we soak up from seemingly unimportant signs, graffiti etc. I agree with Kim too that we must not replace this colourful tapestry with white on white modernism. In the UK many a bustling high street has become sanitised and has lost something in the process. Its nice when streets feel owned by the residents. There are many problems to be solved,lets hope street art continues to thive in upgraded urban places and that the messages they portray get read and acted upon but that the medium continues in other positive ways.

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
6/10/2014 9:21:35 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Cultural snapshots
I love old photos of the cities in which i have lived. I often look through my own photo albums and my online photos as well and also on Facebook. There are a lot of Facebook groups and pages that are dedicated to cities and places in time...i belong to several including some called "Burbank in the 1960's" and "America in the 1920's" and up until the 1990's, "Growing up in Glendale, CA." and those are just a few of the sites available. I have found so many interesting photos of my city, of buildings and businesses that no longer exsist. You see change through the photos.

Great article

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
6/9/2014 8:07:54 PM
User Rank Blogger
Cultural snapshots
I studied in Rio de Janeiro in 1980, and then returned two years later to try and find work. My best lessons in the Portuguese langugage and Brazilian culture and slang came from the omnipresent, highly politicized graffiti on city walls and surfaces, including some vehicles. The ephemeral nature of the message and the medium makes projects like these more interesting and valuable.

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