Friday, December 19, 2014

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

They are getting paid for what they do, but it looks like fun doesn't it. Perhaps a new industry is waiting to be born: People would pay for the thrill of scaling a high-rise, and maybe you could get them to wash the windows as part of the deal. [2011]

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Havana, Cuba

The United States and Cuba are normalizing relations, a long-overdue move on the part of the U.S. government. Life for everyone, including these gardeners, is about to change, hopefully for the better. But, as the American dollar stages an invasion, change could also mean a widening income gap between rich and poor. [2014]

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Trieste, Italy

Who keeps the streets looking good? Hard-working men and women whose toil goes unsung. Who gets the credit? The syndaci. They call the tunes. It's the same everywhere. [2008]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chiang Mai, Thailand

In both Thailand and the United States, Meals on Wheels means feeding the hungry. In the United States, however, the hungry are shut-ins who can't prepare food for themselves. In Thailand, the hungry are people who order fast food by phone and have it delivered. Context matters! [2011]

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA

How many ads can you add to a single wall? As many as you want if you just keep painting over old ones. Do you see Coca-Cola struggling to make a come-back? Look closely, and you will discover layers of history reintegrated into contemporary narratives. [2012]

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dallas, Texas, USA

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does culture. A blank wall is a reserve of space, ready to be exploited when the economy permits. Then, it becomes a resource, ready to be commercialized. That was the practice in downtowns and uptowns all across the country as modern retailing began in the late 1800s. [2007]

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Norfolk, Virginia, USA

"Mural" comes to the Anglophone World from La Francophonie. The word for wall in French is le mur. From it, we get mural, today used as shorthand for mural painting, a painting on a wall. What you see along Norfolk's Granby Street is paint on a wall, for sure, but does it qualify as a painting? Is it a mural? And, does it deserve a Gold Medal? [2014]