Street Installations by SpY

SpY - Balloons

SpY is an urban artist who has been practicing forms of intervention, mostly traditional graffiti, since the mid-1980s. More recently, he has chosen to work within the confines of urban elements, often playing with their intentions and using them as a “palette of materials”.

I suggest checking out this book for a nice overview of urban intervention art like this. Much of it has a strong element of humour, wit, or playfulness. To me, the strength of this type of work lies in its ability to ambush your everyday life, disrupt your routine, or at the least, make you reconsider what the things around us are made of.

Image Above: Balloons (2008)

via: Colossal

SpY - 0 Likes

SpY – 0 Likes (2013)

SpY - Live

SpY – Live (2012)

Walk-by Theatre: Bike Safety, the Psychology of Selling, and Leadership in the 1940s

Last night we hosted our first Walk-by Theatre screening. Featuring films pulled from the Prelinger archives, Danielle and I curated a program that touched on the aesthetics, values, and practices of 1940s/50s/60s American culture.

The built-in benches on Pelissier along with some chairs from our collection were perfect seating for the hour-long program. A number of other passersby stopped for a couple of minutes, while others stayed for the rest of the screening. A large sheet, our new projector, and some borrowed speakers made this a really simple process and I think it looked really great!

And, in case you missed it, here are the links to the films:

One Got Fat – Bicycle Safety (1963)

Man to Man – Salesmanship and psychology instruction for gun dealers (1947)

Hired! – Quirky Chevrolet sales film (1940)

We’ll be doing this nearly every Monday at 9pm for an hour-or-so. It’s free, and we have plenty of seating. There’s a parking garage right above the seating, and plenty of bike racks.

MIT’s Place Pulse

Place Pulse, a sort of rating system for locations within a city, enables pedestrians to form a database of their opinions and findings. More importantly, this project allows participants to share information with those who might have a part in future urban development. Five cities are currently available to rate through Place Pulse: Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Boston, and New York.

Place Pulse, by the Macro Connections group, is a website that puts the full force of science behind fuzzy things like how safe or rich or unusual a city seems, and it does it in the least likely way: by crowdsourcing people’s ratings of streets, using geotagged images, and turning those answers into hard, eminently crunchable numbers.”

This project should be a helpful tool in determining “aesthetic capital”, but the question of superficiality appears. Place Pulse could garner usable information for the remodelling of urban commercial spaces, parks, roadways, and structural facades, but can not hope to solve the pressing problems of crime and poverty. I’m aware that the purpose of the project is not to tackle these social problems, but it’s possible that Place Pulse could plug in to other social efforts for urban improvement.

Via: Fast Co. Design

Paris Street View

We’ve posted about the emerging Google Street View found photography sub-genre before. Michael Wolf is another artist using found GSV images to capture the absurd, banal, and occasionally poetic existence of modern street life. When compared with candid photography, Google Street View images present an infinitely larger database of frozen moments which were never intended to be seen as anything but instructional. Wolf has sifted through these images and presented to us an account of Paris at one moment in time.

Continue reading “Paris Street View”

Roadsworth: Painting the City

Life Support System by Roadsworth

Reading about a show up at Atelier Punkt, featuring work by Roadsworth, I was interested in the gestures that transform an infrastructure that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.

Working with road paint, the street artist, Roadsworth, plays with the existing roadway communication to transform straight lines into heartbeats, street crossings into candles and fire crackers, and pedestrian crosswalks into gifts.

Continue reading “Roadsworth: Painting the City”

Drive-Thru Symphony + Border Bookmobile + Laboratory Ecologies

Nature Bridge Pedestrian Overpass, Windsor, Ontario

TODAY in Windsor, there’s an incredible amount of activity happening. The Green Corridor will host a talk / workshop from Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council grant officers, two artist performances, and one huge outdoor event to bring culture to the NAFTA freeway.

Lee Rodney will launch her Border Bookmobile—a Windsor-made 1993 Plymouth Voyager stocked with a collection of artist books, theoretical texts, maps, and ephemera about the urban history of the Windsor-Detroit region and other border cities around the world.

Jennifer Willet will conduct ongoing laboratory research and hold a bio-art workshop with the general public in the presentation of her work InsideOut: Laboratory Ecologies. This piece explores the laboratory removed from its sterilized artificial setting and placed in an outside world full of environmental organisms and ecologies.

The Green Corridor along with composer Brent Lee, visual artist Sigi Torinus, Assumption High School musicians, What Seas What Shores, CJAM 91.5fm, and others will create a one-hour performance of music and visuals that interact with the passing traffic on Huron Church Road near the Pedestrian Overpass. Drivers can tune-in to the performance in near-realtime and contribute to the Drive-Thru Symphony by honking their horns, or revving their engines, or generally making noise. Broken City Lab will also be contributing through a number of projects by us as individuals.

Here’s the schedule:

1:00 – 2:30 – Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council
Integrated Arts Programs Information Session
Room 115 LeBel Building, University of Windsor
3:00 – 6:00 – Border Bookmobile, Lee Rodney
InsideOut: Labratory Ecologies, Jennifer Willet
8:00 – 9:30 – Drive thru Sympony Performance
Nature Bridge Pedestrian Overpass,
Huron Church Rd. at Millen St.

1:00 – 2:30 – Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council / Integrated Arts Programs Information Session / Room 115 LeBel Building, University of Windsor

3:00 – 6:00 – Border Bookmobile, Lee Rodney / InsideOut: Labratory Ecologies, Jennifer Willet

8:00 – 9:30 – Drive thru Sympony Performance / Nature Bridge Pedestrian Overpass / Huron Church Rd. at Millen St.

This is going to be an amazing event, dare I say, history-making. You need to be there.

Google Street View’s Street Photography


“A street view image can give us a sense of what it feels like to have everything recorded, but no particular significance accorded to anything.”

In a guest post over at Art Fag City, Jon Rafman presents an excellent image essay on Google’s Street View feature and the many amazingly curious images its roving cars have caught since its inception two years ago.

Collected from blogs and his own Google Maps usage, Rafman pulls some of the most compelling images from Street View and attempts to articulate both the importance in studying this growing mass of images captured by computer-controlled cameras and the implications of us, as human beings, continuing to place meaning onto their subject matter, their composition, and their moral implications.

I was certainly taken by a number of the images, and undoubtedly by the writer’s design, I began to wonder what it means to see these very selected images pulled from their contextual frame of more streets, more people, and less interesting combinations thereof.

Consider this a must-read.

[via Art Fag City]

PreFab Parks for Park(ing) Day


Every year in New York, parking spots are taken over by people wanting to transform urban space into something more useable than concrete boxed in by painted lines under the banner of, Park(ing) Day. The even was originally imaged by San Fransisco’s Rebar, an interdisciplinary studio operating at the intersection of art, design and activism. The “small, functional, vibrant” parks that are part of Park(ing) Day each have a theme and are nearly all temporarily turfed with sod.

In the video, there’s a number of interviews highlighting people taking on the initiative for fun or for politics, but nearly all want to suggest the potential for rethinking the many, many, many parking spaces used by a single car at a time.

This certainly works given the sheer number of people in a city like New York, but if there was one parking spot in Windsor that you’d take over for a day, where would it be?

[via Worldchanging]

Google Street View is Coming to Windsor


Google’s Street View service is making the rounds across Canada. There’s no schedule that I’ve been able to find yet, but they are coming to Windsor.

Anyone have any ideas about when Google is coming to town?

And maybe as a follow up, anyone have any ideas?

There’s already a short history of artists working alongside Google’s team. In 2008, artists Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley invited the Google Inc. Street View team and residents of Pittsburgh’s Northside to collaborate on a series of tableaux (pictured above), but to not at least think about doing something would certainly be a waste. How often do you think this could possibly happen?

I wonder if a well-placed, but legible, banner might be worth investigating?

[via CBC]

GOOD’s Livable Streets

GOOD Magazine's Livable Streets Winner

GOOD recently had a Livable Streets competition where they invited readers to do some rendering and Photoshopping of holistic redesigns. The winner, Steve Price, reimagined Portsmouth, Virginia with infill development, light rail, and dedicated bike paths.

We need to do this for Windsor. Anyone up for putting their skills to use? Maybe Scaledown should try to push something like this forward.