Public Service Mosaics in Shanghai

Ruihua Lane (瑞华坊) is one of the many old alleys in Shanghai’s Luwan District (卢湾区), but it’s distinguished by its wonderful display of visual public service announcements made up entirely of large mosaic tiles. Though slightly fading, the posters, in good Party-like slogan fashion, reminded the lane’s former residents of behaviors that went along with […]

Strange Graffiti in King’s Park

I’m a big fan of street art for all sorts of reasons: it is a sign of dynamic urban life, it is a jab in the face of authority, it makes my walks through the city more interesting. But street art, like all forms of art, can get stuck in a rut. When it takes […]

La violencia del silencio

Madrid, 2010 La pauvreté et l’exclusion, lorsqu’elles habitent le silence, deviennent une menace pour l’humanité. Pourtant, il y quelque chose comme une larme que le capitalisme n’a pas su comprendre. La cité que nous habitons, refuge de nos émotions, parle tout bas de nos espérances. Et j’ose espérer que demain, des gens plus sages nous […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Europe, Society and Culture by Daniel Corbeil Comments Off on La violencia del silencio , , ,

A Short Detour in Mongkok

Mongkok might be one of the world’s most crowded places, but sometimes all you need to do to escape is to make a right turn down a quiet alleyway. That’s what I discovered when I was walking from home to the Flower Market the other day. Instead of taking the usual route along Sai Yee […]

Signs of Peace

San Telmo, Buenos Aires De’anmenwai Dajie, Beijing

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Meet the Plumber King

Last summer I wrote about the Plumber King, who writes advertisements for his plumbing services in unusual corners of Hong Kong. Contractors usually promote themselves by scrawling their name, number and occupation on utility boxes or lampposts. But Kui Wong, as the King is known in Cantonese, carefully paints his ads in back alleys, street […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Meet the Plumber King , , , ,

Street Signs and Street Art

San Telmo, Buenos Aires Palermo, Buenos Aires

Follow My Steps

It’s rare to come across any unorthodox street art in Hong Kong — it’s mostly stencils, paste-ups and graffiti. So I was pleased to see these vinyl footprints glued to the pavement at the nearest crosswalk to my apartment. They remind me of a couple of things: the footprints placed rather whimsically on metal grates […]

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Madrid rebelde

Utopia, Lavapiés Rebelde, Lavapiés

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Brick Lane Street Art

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/15673926[/vimeo] It’s right next to the City of London, but the Brick Lane area is everything the financial district is not. It has long been one of the poorest districts of London, notorious for its crime and council housing. It also has an artistic atmosphere and abundant street art that contrasts with the sterile corporate […]

Writing on the Streets

It was late on a chilly March afternoon as I wandered through a small plaza near Houhai Lake in Beijing. The air was struggling to stay above freezing and I shivered in my spring jacket. Looking down, I noticed some Chinese characters drawn in water on the plaza’s grey paving stones. Whoever drew them was […]

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Need a Plumber?

In Hong Kong, like in many Asian cities, it’s common for contractors to advertise their services through graffiti. Forget Google — to find an electrician, a plumber or a cement specialist, just walk down the street and look at the phone numbers scrawled on utility boxes with magic marker or stencilled on walls with spray […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Need a Plumber? , , , ,

Mexican Bohemia: Chicago’s Pilsen

From the Loop, the Pink Line El bursts west, floating among the rooftops of a low-rise industrial district. As the city’s wall of downtown skyscrapers drifts away and the train enters an expanse of limitless sky, it’s as if the Pink Line is darting toward far more distant destinations than its terminus in neighboring Cicero. […]

Posted in: Architecture, Demographics, Society and Culture, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Mexican Bohemia: Chicago’s Pilsen , , ,

Hong Kong Rooftops: Russell Street

The tong lau on Russell Street, across from Times Square, is not in the best shape. Walking upstairs from the street, I pass a bookstore and a hair salon; after the third floor, the shops give way to apartments and the stairwell becomes filled with rubbish, its tiles stained by years of grime. By the […]

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