intervention in·ter·ven·tion (ĭn'tər-věn'shən) n. Interference so as to modify a process or situation.There's also of course another commonly thought of context, usually also medically related, that involves that friend we all have or had (and/or uncle) who failed to listen to his/her loved ones at the intervention and lives on (or not) in what might be called a painful existence, much of the time.
Interesting to think of STREET INTERVENTION in all these contexts, with layers of playfulness sewn in. My experiments have involved directing foot traffic, prompting a city to place toy horses all over town, slapping up some Braille Graffiti, and a few others...
And...as I continue to marvel at the frenetic energy of street life in NYC, I also seek and enjoy moments of serendipity with objects and words placed by other - intervening - like minds. You can follow various street art blogs and stay on top of these things online, worldwide, which is fun...but, comparatively, nothing beats the discovery of an object placed in public with a special intention for you to see it and perhaps interact with it.
Two things popped into my field of view the past week. The first was a pair of red high-heels hanging from a tree in Greenwich Village. People passed by without a glance. This is NYC afterall, not only can people NOT be bothered by such peculiar whimsy, but they've seen it all before...it's all been done...and the garbage left on the sidewalks is often vastly more interesting (if only conceptually) than most street art...to all that I say, NO! YOU ARE BEING INTERVENED WITH!!! WAKE UP!!! SURE MAYBE THE OBJECT ISN'T YOUR THING.....BUT IT'S THERE FOR YOU AT LEAST LOOK!!! BE AWARE!!! THINK!!!! WAKE UP!!!!
I emailed the red shoe artist and a few days later heard back: The artist is Diana Boros and she has been placing art in the streets for a couple years now. She says her site hasn't been updated in awhile because she's been concentrating on public projects and will be updating the site soon with documentation of it all. We had a couple email exchanges about street art, her projects, thoughts about street artists interacting with the public, etc. She says she will be continuing to do these sorts of interventions, look for them on her site soon! (Or, on the streets.)
Ok, back to my rant, so maybe you're busy...maybe the street as a gallery gets in the way and the objects just don't speak to you. Fine. But, you know, every now and then RE-CONSIDER the idea that maybe you will come across SOMETHING that YOU WILL LIKE by way of street art. Every once in awhile, allow yourself to SEE and HEAR the INTERVENTION. It's meant, after all, for you.
Which leads me to the second street art project I saw this week, a web site called See Me Tell Me. Here's the description from the artist:
Since June 2010 I have created and placed hundreds of tiny seemetellme street-art works in New York, London, Paris, Seattle, Manhattan, KS and Louisville. Using low-art materials I create each work in less than 5 minutes. Anonymity is not part of the work and I identify myself by putting my web-site address or QR code on each piece before I place it in public view. I do this to elicit viewer responses; I want to know who collects a work and why. So if you have seen a work or placed one in your collection, email me or comment on your new acquisition. Thanks
A key element to this project that I like is the Twitter element. The artist broadcasts to followers when and where objects are being placed so dedicated collectors can take the call to action and be a part of the project. (I plan to jump in the next time it is possible for me to do so.)
Designing toys meant specifically to be placed and played with in public is something I continue to think about and work on.