URBAN PLASTICS – Species (Dis)Appearing / 2008, 2009

Interventions in public space, internet blog, exhibition
NS Dubrava, Zagreb

Vlaška 75, Plateau Dubrava 1, Plateau Dubrava 8, Dubrava 43
April ’08 – April ‘o9
Utillities workers, city government, poster-plasters, passers-by, street artists, visitors of the internet-blog, the artist
NS Dubrava, Cistoca d.o.o., Komplot, Ivana Mestrov, Fedor Kritovac, Franciska Cettl

A project URBAN PLASTICS – Specises (Dis)Appearing reflects upon the organic processes and the aestheticism or spontaneous sequences in the visual identity of the street. Conceptually, it plays with the theme of sculptural artworks in public space. While the traditional sculptural artwork is an object completed by the artist and set into space as a sort of foreign body, the re-defined Sculptures are created in such a way that the artist merely defines their framework and then lets them evolve in the spontaneous life of the city and its everyday processes.

The project consists of five recycling containers that allow for wild advertising and attaching of posters. By cooperating with various urban institutions, a legal framework has been created for the action and the containers were marked by labels that invited to ad posting instead of prohibiting it. The labels were regularly renewed during the period of one year. They contained the blog address (www.urbanplastics.blogspot.com). The blog publishes a diary a diary that documents the visual/sculptural changes on the containers from month to month.

The project is also a reaction to the sterilization of public space and the tendency to annihilate wild advertising with the help of legal prohibitions, as well as to the increase in citizens’ responses that comply with the aesthetic criteria produced  by the advertising industry and the  capitalist system.

Public space should be a joint space of living communication rather than serving private interests, media and corporative manipulations, or various restrictions that go hand in hand with those. In this respect, parts of the inventory of communal equipment are especially suitable for communication between citizens, since they offer space for advertising something for free or posting information on events, mostly those taking place at clubs that have no money to rent advertising space, yet their activity is crucial for the survival and growth of the alternative and critical (youth) scene.

In this way, a specific aestheticism has been created through visual identity of those street segments that are characterized by constant and spontaneous exchange of textures, colors, layers and information, accompanied by organic processes that take place under the impact of time and weather.

Three years ago, on the stretch where we have meanwhile placed the containers (from Vlaska Street to Dubrava Avenue), there was still a large number of empty shop windows, covered with multiple layers of posters, that were diligently marked by labels saying ‘Stick no bills’, even though the shops were abandoned and derelict. With this project I wanted to offer a sort of refuge to the phenomenon of wild advertising and sticking posters, to reassert a specific urban aestheticism that evolves spontaneously and testifies of the city as a living body, and to investigate the alternative potentials of communal and other inventory in public space.