Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Guerilla Gardening/Renegade Gardeners

Here’s another great idea. Guerilla Gardening. I first came across this idea on an episode of The Green on the Sundance Channel (Tuesdays at 9pm; it is a whole series). A group of people will, under the cover of night, take over an abandoned piece of urban land and make it beautiful by planting. Highlighted on The Green was a group from Portland, Oregon, my former hometown. They beautified a strip of land adjacent to a bus station. I can’t help but think that the next morning the people using that bus stop had to have noticed this goodwill gesture and perhaps for a moment their attention was arrested and they noticed something pretty and nice…..a moment of peace and appreciation. Our actions do have an impact. Small or large. Did you cut someone off on the road today or in conversation? Were you unfriendly? Did you let someone who was in a hurry go before you in a line? Hold the door for someone? Or just smile at someone? Another example of guerilla gardening is Richard Reynolds from the UK, www.guerillagardening.org. He uses the internet to cultivate practitioners.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Face2Face Project

I discovered the work of JR, a French photographer and street artist and one of his current projects, Face2Face, in the current issue of GOOD magazine. From JR's website (www.jr-art.net): "The Face2Face project is to make portraits of Palestinians and Israelis doing the same job and to post them face to face, in huge formats, in unavoidable places, on the Israeli and the Palestinian sides. In a very sensitive context, we need to be clear. We are in favor of a solution for which two countries, Israel and Palestine would live peacefully within safe and internationally recognized borders." The images on JR's site of the installation of the photographs is terrific- check it out. Casey Caplowe writing for GOOD magazine says, "It is an audacious project both in its scope and in its willingness to point out the obvious similarities between two groups who so often consider themselves irreconcilably different." If you haven't yet checked out GOOD magazine, do so. I got up at 5am yesterday and spent the day trekking NYC arriving home exhausted. When I saw the new issue of GOOD I felt a surge of adrenaline and ended up paging through almost the entire issue, surfing as I went.