An Opportunity to Engage

 Artwork by Mel Kadel. Photo by Luna Park.

Artwork by Mel Kadel. Photo by Luna Park.

This week we have a poster from Mel Kadel. Here are her thoughts on Art in Ad Places and her poster:

 

What a great opportunity this is, to place a piece of art in a spot that is strictly reserved for advertising.

The original image would normally have been hung in a gallery, with a very limited audience who seek out art exhibitions.

For that audience I am thankful, but this project breaks that wall down and brings art to our streets which are oversaturated with ads.  

My thoughts behind this image have to do with our strides to unify and keep a hopeful vision during a really dark and complex time.

That feeling of unity might have been on my mind when making it, but like anything visual, everyone sees things differently.

So whether it raises curiosity, makes someone smile, inspires contemplation, or is just noticed for a moment, I hope it draws people in for a change of scenery.

- Mel Kadel

Mel's point about opportunity is a particularly interesting one. Why are we not given these opportunities to take some ownership over public spaces? Why are certain public spaces "strictly reserved" for something other than public use? And what would it mean to change that? Artist/activist Jordan Seiler and actors Cody Lindquist and Charlie Todd touch on that point in a recent episode of Lindquist and Todd's podcast Two Beers In, as they reflect on a project by Sophie Calle and Paul Auster.

Here's an experiment, not unlike Auster's challenge to Calle (but which we are stealing from Evan Roth, who used to assign his students to do this): Carry a permanent marker in your pocket for a week. Something strong from the graffiti tools section of your local art supply store. You don't even have to use the marker, but just know that you could use it. See how it makes you feel about the spaces you walk through, feel the newfound power, and consider whether or not to use it. With that marker, spaces that may feel strictly reserved for others may suddenly feel open to you. And now imagine that everyone carried a marker, ready to engage with public space, and what a wonderful world that would be.

 Artwork by Mel Kadel. Photo by Luna Park.

Artwork by Mel Kadel. Photo by Luna Park.