Friday, January 9, 2009

Street Art: Roadsworth!

This is Peter Gibson:

And this is some of his artwork:

That’s right SuperForest; we’ve got another street artist for you! This one is coming to us straight from Montreal and his thought provoking artwork over in Canada has caused quite a stir. He began his work with one simple goal in mind, create more bike lanes. This goal would later evolve into somewhat of a movement. Gibson explains,

“As my personal artistic process evolved, political concerns were eclipsed by artistic ones and I often felt more inspired by the process than I did by the message I was trying to convey. Marshall Mcluhans famous quote "the medium is the message" is significant in this regard. The ubiquitousness of the asphalt road and the utilitarian sterility of the "language" of road markings provided fertile ground for a form of subversion that I found irresistible. I was provoked by a desire to jolt the driver from his impassive and linear gaze and give the more slow-moving pedestrian pause for reflection. The humourlessness of the language of the road not to mention what I consider an absurd reverence for the road and "car culture" in general made for an easy form of satire. In the spirit of Marcel Duchamps, all I had to do was paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa so to speak, to introduce a glitch in the matrix. A matrix made up in part by a worldwide network of roads and an ever-growing fleet of humans encased in steel carapaces, hurrying about like molecules in the body of an insatiable machine.”

Exciting! Some smart cats decided that his artwork was so astonishing, it had to be shared with a wider audience and as a result, they made a documentary about him. This documentary has been floating around several film festivals. Here’s a little demo.

What a mind blowing artist! Now of course much of what Peter Gibson was doing was quite illegal (he received quite a bit of heat from the law) but a lot of his artwork brings to mind simple yet important questions; questions on freedom of expression and to what extent that freedom holds true in public space. Gibson writes,

Although we thankfully don’t live in a totalitarian society (some would argue this point) there is nevertheless an underlying assumption that to have a voice in the public realm requires money, property or political influence. Some would say that relinquishing barriers to public expression is to invite anarchy but I would argue that a certain form of anarchy already exists: corporate anarchy. Not that I think that marketing or advertising is wrong. The exchange of goods and services is obviously an essential facet of the human experience but not the only one and I feel the common space should reflect a greater diversity of expression.

Interesting, do you have any thoughts on this or on street art in general? We’d love to hear them!

Have a great weekend!

(Learned about Roadsworth on Drawn! Peter Gibson photograph found here.)

1 comment:

spoon said...

I love this artist! Thank you so much for sharing him with us, Carla.