The reclamation of urban spaces has been the subversive counterpoint to the macro shift in the world population into cities - it is projected that by next year the number of people living in cities will exceed the rural population for the first time in history.
Skateboards, parkour, graffiti, urban games - these are all attempts to reclaim our concrete environments in some way. Humans are the most social of all animals - this is apparently why we're so smart - but even our mighty prefrontal lobes can only cope with groups up to about 150 people in size. Beyond that we simply can't cope. So the emergent property that is a city is a community way beyond our evolutionary ability to parse, which generates all kinds of odd behaviours that we know as urban living, including the urge re-exert control of this inhospitable environment by painting on it.
Now 'proper' art has come out of the galleries to compete on the street.
HP and the National Gallery in London have taken some of the art [or reproductions thereof made on HP printers] off the walls, turning the West End into a giant gallery. The Grand Tour website has suggested walks and an audio tour for the Podded.
And this morning my mate Saul pinged me into Swedish artists Eltono and Nuria Mora, who have also taken their art out into the world. As part of the Public / Private exhibition they place paintings in the town around the gallery and encourage visitors to talk a walk, find them and bring them back. The artists then sign the work and finders keepers.
Lovely, participatory art reflecting on the boundaries of public and private spaces and what delineates one from the other.
[Whether or not you can smoke is probably not the answer they were hoping for]