The wall that units

Author: Ury Smirnov. Category: Future city. Date:01.07.2009, 0:18.

My friend, a creative event-manager from Donetsk, Matyukhina Helen asked me to evaluate her project of City Day celebrations. I found in it a lot of great ideas that would be sure to be pleasant for her countrymen. There are actions and graffiti competitions using the walls of industrial enterprises, temporary fences around construction sites, abandoned fences along the railroad, etc. The last idea I’d like to add, given the numerous queries such as “Graffiti + holiday” (variants: “…+the idea ” “…+town” “… + love”, etc.), which attracted into my blog a lot of visitors since the publication of the article “E-graffiti culture for the social networks generation”. Below you’ll find one of the possible step by step scenarios related to the theme of “celebration – the citizens – graffiti”.

1. Relatively useless wall is chosen in one of the central areas of the city (for example, the wall that surrounds one of the central squares).

2. The competition for the best wishes to the city on the theme: “I’d like my city …” and so on, is announced in the local press.

3. Two things should be emphasized in the announcement. First, in contrast to the “letters to the Future”, packed in lead capsules for the N-number of years, wishes from graffiti will be working right now influencing the operating officials and fellow-contemporaries. Second, the wishes will be inscribed: every utterance, since the competition is won will be imprinted in the city center, along with the signature of the author – and he can show it to their children, relatives, friends, colleagues, visitors to the city, and so on.

4. The jury selects the best texts (authors will receive prizes), and another hundred or two of wishes – quite distinct, kind, intelligent and non-hackneyed.

5. At the night before the anniversary of a team of professional artists and the best graffiti-amateurs brush at the wall all selected texts. The gaps between them can partially be filled with the drawings, reflecting the wishes themes. Professionals are needed for calligraphy: the townspeople do not have to blush for their scrawls. Also spotlights are needed: this spectacle can found a lot of voluntary nighttime witnesses (in the first place – from the participants). That’s why the soft music will be also appropriate.

6. The next morning there will be a competition of children’s graffiti where kindergartners and schoolchildren under the unobtrusive guidance of professionals fill in the remaining voids at the wall. Children’s art will be directly pertinent to this “open letter” to the Future.

7. Also at the day of the Feast the site will be open which is entirely devoted to this action. This website provides a virtual copy of the walls, which can be moved by dragging the mouse left and right, to scale, increasing, reducing the signs, make a bookmark to certain records and link them into a chain (creating something like a slide show).

8. The main difference between the virtual wall and the real one in that the virtual one is infinite. After the holiday, each resident will be able to add at a virtual wall his statement, drawing, song of his own composition, photo or video file that opens city in a new, etc. Texts can be added using a set of “handwritten” fonts, and with using the virtual brushes and paints (including the automatic anti-aliasing of lines – or without it).

9. Visitors can get the new content manually (by dragging a virtual wall with the mouse) or through a search. Moderation of the addition of content should be as rapid as possible.

10. To add a content on a virtual wall is the right of those who live in the city now so as those living in other cities and countries, as well as fellow countrymen who will live in other times.

11. Each text or multimedia recording will be associated with an account of its author. Accounts must have simple tools to add new ideas for the development of the city and multimedia content, which reflects the attitude to the city and also – for the construction of kinship, friendship and professional social networks.

12. Citizens had to know the names of city hall employees, who are responsible for learning and generalization of the ideas published on the site for the development of the city (from the circuit specification bus stops and changes the rules of city services – to the introduction of new social services).

13. Municipality is obliged to publish regularly the detailed reports on the results of the analysis and implementation of proposals of citizens. Every few years the book reissued, which lists all of the ideas embedded by Municipality and provides biographies of their authors.

14. And what about the real wall? It can become not only a new venue for the holidays, but also the starting point for new traditions. For example, it would be appropriate for “people from the people,” firstly declared their political ambitions to hold their first press conference at the wall – under the open sky, with crowds, amid expressions of sincere fellows.

Instead of postscriptum

– Dad, what good have you done in your life?
– You know that in our city the clowns are sent for free at home to children who are ill for a long tim? It came up with your dad. Here, look: it is written in golden letters …

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