The mini-project 'There is Beauty in the City' got underway last week in Prague. It consists of negotiating the city in a new way, specifically, walking the city with a view to noticing the hidden beauty which can be found there. This is an individual, subjective idea and will end in different results depending on who is doing the walking and looking. I have found that the process of seeking beauty while walking in the city opened my eyes to new and exciting notions. Suddenly I am not a passive receiver, a tourist or outsider, even though negotiating an unfamiliar city, I am a participant in the place. I am place-making.
Public Art - Prague, February, 2008.
It is a very simple idea - on the walk I have my camera and my magnets, which say 'THERE IS BEAUTY IN THE CITY' and that is precisely what I am looking for, and I know it when I see it. The only specification for placing the magnets is a metal surface - so as long as there is something to be noticed and a metal surface I can make my intervention - placing the magnet.
So far it has been entirely my choice what is noticed, and where the magnets are placed, but soon the project will be opened up to others.
I have been commissioned by the organisers of the Axis Festival, Stoke-on-Trent to produce Magnet packs for the festival, in this way the project becomes a collaboration between me and the people of Stoke-on-Trent, who will be invited to place the magnets in their chosen beauty spots around the city - a seperate blog will be set up in order to showcase the collaborative project. Watch this space for details...If you want to join the project by finding 'beauty spots' in your city then you can copy and paste the template below. It doesnt have to be a magnet - you can print out the sign and place it wherever you see beauty in the city.
I have found it to be a great eye-opener, and just taking a walk with my sign cheers me up if I'm in a bad mood - try it, it definitely helps to reframe a situation or place in a more positive way. If you are looking for beauty - you will find it!
The original magnet size is 90mm X 52mm - so you can resize this one if you want to or just print it out from here. Join the search for beauty - place your sign, then take a photograph of it - you can email me the results, with your name and where the photograph was taken, and I will add it here. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stoke-on-Trent Collaborative Project, commissioned by Axis Festival will get underway in May, and the results will be available at: www.thereisbeautyinthecity.blogspot.com