The Street as a new Art Forum (2016)

In one of Norways major newspapers (Aftenposten 2016) there has been discussions on how street art and the city landscape is evolving into a new gallery for diverse and innovative art in Oslo. In the cities genuine art is created by the avantgarde artists who are autonomous in their form of expression and simultaneously are being molded by their urban lifestyle and experiences. They communicate their art, lifestyle and social being in the urban landscape and acquire other cultures, identity expressions and urban lifestyles like a sponge. In fact; the notion of the city as a new form of gallery for artistical expressions, is not at all a new phenomena. This has been the case for most cities in many decades. More accuratly the streets of the cities are stages, whether its fashion at display, art or social expressions such as dance or music being performed. On the stage of the streets and in the urban sceenery the artist can express herself or himself freely and utilize all their urban experiences. In their eyes art is not something being displayed in galleries or museums, but is shown in the open and free urban landscape. Art is therefore created, acted, performed and played out in the urban sceenery and at the streets as if it was part of a film scene. This view of the city as being cinematic has a long tradition in urban geography and film history:

...the synergy of film and the city was cemented in cinema`s earliest years, when film was used as a medium which allowed the urban citizens to make sense of the city...[F]ilm captured the restlesness and frenetic pace of the citiy... [In short, film]..tells us much about the changing spatial forms and practices of urban life..." (Hubbard 2006: 62).

This urban life and the city`s frenetic velocity and restless character is seen in the various spatial characters of different streets. In the view of Clarke (1997 in Hubbard 2006: 63), the street is not a new form of gallery, the street is the stage; a new art forum, appearing in a long existing tradition for artistical urban expressions. At these stages, in these forums and in these urban sceeneries, a new shape of art is being played out continously, social identities are molded and cultures occurs, are merged or collide. These diverse social identity expressions and concentrations of different cultures makes the city a hotbed of new art forms.

The act of exploring these new art forms is as though the artists work, the city's residents and visitors appear in a genuine filmatic scene which unfolds or reedems at a daily basis in the city sceenary. Therefore I have been inspired both by film editing and system theory in creating this project. Both methods makes it possible to make new combinations of existing elements (Bertalanffy 1968), such as combining street art with flowers, clouds, flowing water, ice or fire. The task is to create a contrasting narrative and highlight heartfelt moments of the experience of being exposed to street art. This natural act of being exposed to street art and being part of a genuine urban sceenery in motion is akin to the experience of playing a role in a fiction film, whether it is the role of the artist, the resident or the visitor. It also permits applying film editing, such as; split-scene or cross-cutting, as a methodology in producing art. The split-scene methodology is in many ways the film producers answer to interdisciplinarity: While the film manufacturer will aim at contrasting or emphasize certain scenes and dialogues in his film to highlight fundamental aspects of the story, the scientist will however endeavor to accentuate or contrasting specific arguments in his scientific investigations. Taken together; the visitor, the resident, the artist and the scientist explores various dramatic roles with different idiosyncratic reactions to street art. One way of exploring these various dramatic roles is by utilizing cross-cutting as a drama technique. At the Drama Rescource webpage (2016) this drama technique inspired by film editing is expressed as follows:

Cross-cutting (also called split-screen) is a drama technique borrowed from the world of film editing, where two scenes are intercut to establish continuity. In drama and theatre the term is used to describe two or more scenes which are performed on stage at the same time. This makes it possible to juxtapose scenes or snippets of scenes that happen at different times or in different places, using separate areas of the performance space. The technique is used to highlight or contrast a particular theme or aspect of the story. Using different groupings, both scenes could happen at the same time, or one could be frozen while the other comes alive. This can have a similar effect to spotlighting particular areas of the stage or using a split-screen in a film. (Drama Resource 2016).

As mentioned above the filmatic drama of street art consists of multiple roles. These diverse and often contrasting characters is fundamental in understanding street art. Although the different acts of the various characters exploration of street art might appear as having great ideosyncratic discrephance, their stories and worlds interfere. In this complex and intertwined situation each story and each character is just as vital as the other in completing the story of street art. Taken together all these ideosyncratic characters constitute and define a new art forum: The street as the new art forum. This implies that the center of gravity for innovation within the art world is changing and it is on the stage of the streets the future of groundbraking new forms of art will manifest itself.

My role in this new art forum alternates between being the resident, the visitor, the artist and the scientist, but most of all I am a true and genuine promoter of street art.

Go ahead and explore your character!


Sites to visit:

Brooklyn Street Art (2016): (10.06.2016)

SplitCity Magazine (2016): (10.06.2016)


Aftenposten (2016): (08.06.2016).

Bertalanffy, L., (1968): "General System theory: Foundations, Development, Applications". New York: George Braziller. Page 1-296.

Drama Resource (2016): (08.06.2016).

Hubbard, P., (2006): "City". London and New York: Routledge. Page 1-298.

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