Weaving the Streets & People’s History Archive

What is our “people’s history archive of street culture” going to look like? Street culture is a ubiquitous form of expression that resists easy definition. Our people’s history archive of street culture will document the creative and complex ways in which ordinary people make use of public space. For our project, city-based street culture includes but is not limited to public performances, graffiti, painted murals, neighborhood gardens, parks, urban reclamation projects, political demonstrations, and any other public gatherings. Other suburban and/or rural “ground up” initiatives, such as farm-to-fork community-supported agriculture (CSA) projects, could also be represented in our people’s history…

New course proposal for “Street Art Graphics” digital archive project

The pegatinas writing assignment with Marina Llorente and the Weaving the Streets & People’s Archive project with John Collins have both gone so well that I’ve decided to develop a new course proposal that would offer students the opportunity to conduct research and write about street art stickers and ephemera related to street culture for the Street Art Graphics digital archive. One of the biggest game changers for the archive is that I’m trying to convince SLU to convert from ContentDM to Artstor Shared Shelf, a Web-based cataloguing and image management software system that would provide several improvements. In addition…

Pegatinas writing assignment – featured SLU student research – Jamie Abraham ‘15

The fall 2013 pegatinas final writing writing assignment for Dr. Marina Llorente’s ESP 439 seminar Literatura, cine y cultura en la España contemporànea went really well. Having the students first annotate the images made a big difference. Students were also given the chance to submit preliminary drafts of their work to get feedback on their writing. The students who annotated images, conducted additional research, and revised their writing subsequently aced the assignment. During the upcoming week, I am going to post examples from several students to be able to show others this process of writing about stickers. Today’s featured student…

Pegatinas Writing Assignment Part One: Annotating Images for Digital Archive

For the upcoming assignment at St. Lawrence University to have Marina Llorente’s students analyze political stickers from Spain, I decided to split the project into two parts. Part One will ask students to annotate the images, and Part Two will ask students to use the annotations to write about what the stickers mean (i.e., what are the larger issues that the stickers point to?). I’m doing it this way now because the last time we offered the assignment, students did well contextualizing the stickers but sometimes forgot to describe all of the textual and visual elements of the stickers. Those…

“The People’s Archive” instructional notes

Below are the notes I sent to the Weaving the Streets & People’s Archives team members today, focusing on the People’s Archive component of the project. “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” – Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting “The archivist, even more than the historian and the political scientist, tends to be scrupulous about his neutrality, and to see his job as a technical job, free from the nasty world of political interest: a job of collecting, sorting, preserving, making available, the records of the society.  But I will stick…

FC St. Pauli stickers #2

I did a little more research and polished my previous blog post on St. Pauli stickers for two reasons: 1.) I needed a shorter, condensed version without links to use in the Street Art Graphics digital archive, and 2.) I will use this version in the traveling exhibition, Re-Writing the Streets: The International Language of Stickers.  I can also use this exercise to show students the differences and similarities among a blog post, metadata for a digital archive, and an exhibition text panel. ————————————– Hamburg, the German port city home to the St. Pauli football club (Fußball St. Pauli or…

STUCK UP and “They Live”

My “I’m Sorry (George W. Bush)” sticker is included in an exhibition entitled STUCK UP, A Selected History of Alternative & Pop Culture Told Through Stickers, which opens on January 20, 2012, and runs through March 3, 2012, at Maxwell Collette Gallery in Chicago.  The exhibition, which was curated by DB Burkeman, draws from his extensive personal collection and: “provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore the expanding role that stickers have played in popular culture over the past four decades.  ‘STUCK UP…’ features stickers from Street Art legends (Banksy, Barry McGee, Shepard Fairey, Space Invader, KAWS), and internationally lauded contemporary…

New link to street art database

The contemporary street art database is being re-conceived in a much more useful fashion.  AT SLU, arts cataloging guru Arline Wolfe has been organizing image files and assigning consistent terms for artist, title, date, location, and most importantly, subject and description fields.  Good cataloging = easier and better access.  Sounds simple.  It’s not.  Really not.  We’re still stuck with a non-intuitive online display format using ContentDM software, but at some point in the future something better will surely appear on the horizon.  Arline now has 200 stickers from Berlin in the new collection with 300 in the wings – another…

Sometimes/all the time

“Sometimes the pencil is stronger than I am” is my favorite quote right now from an Inuit artist, Suvinai Ashoona.  I can kind of relate.  Sometimes stickers and street art have such a strong presence and force, stronger than me.  Well, not sometimes. All the time. I hope that’s not too weird.  I love the creativity, the hope, the commitment, the optimism.  That people will notice.  That people will care.

Notes

I was able to speak today with someone who grew up in (west) Germany, and I showed him stickers from my two recent trips to Berlin, the one in 2009 and the other in 2010.  He’s lived in the US for the past 30 years, but he talked about aspects of German history and culture that will help me make better sense of the stuff I have been gathering for the past six years. My favorite quote of the day was, “Tempelhof is a cult like The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”  (I’ve got a dozen or so stickers about Berlin’s…