Tecken på liv : mänskliga spår i staden

Detta är en L3-uppsats från SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Sammanfattning: The City is filled with signs of life. It teems with human traces waiting to be discovered. Street art of different kinds prevails behind traffic signs, on posts and electrical boxes. Personally con-structed dogs guard roundabouts all around Sweden and small gardens spire underneath window ledges. In this work I want to identify these phenomena and find out what thoughts inspired these creations. My focus has been to interview creators I believe have wanted to contribute something positive to the city life. I call these expressions creative imprints. I found pleasure in coming up with ideas and realising them with all interviewees. A few even mention enjoying the production more than the finished result. Some of the creators feel a sense of responsibility for the city and view it as an extension of their living room. Most of them want to spread joy and communicate with fellow citizens, by making contact, or making specific statements with the imprints. They wish to raise questions, confuse or surprise. Furthermore they provoke, comment and criticise how society and the city itself functions. Some aim to inspire other city dwellers to claim space. The unused and forgotten places in the city – the "no man's land" – are common whereabouts for creative imprints. In those areas they interfere less, thus the imprints have a longer life span. Yet we also find them in more visible places, and often in the areas their creators frequent. Many of the interviewees have become inspired by the areas in which they move about. This way they can also enjoy and maintain their creations more easily. Some statements emphasized the boring nature of the city. Few places offer mystique and ex-citement. There is a lack of spontaneity and playfulness in the city planning. There should be room for the unattractive and unplanned, places for citizens to be co-productive. The citizens, however, are considered to suffer from a certain lack of initiative on their part; they have been reduced to consumers of space. One of the interviewees points out that you are expected to consume if you occupy space in the city. Non-consumers are looked upon unfavourably. Since the commercial interests are evermore expansive – like the adverts splattered all over the city – some of the creators feel that they have the right to take up some space too. Not everyone would take the initiative to produce creative imprints. Two of the male interviewees, both involved in street art, believe that it is more common for males to feel that they have right to the city space. One of them thinks females create imprints of a more inoffensive kind. Yet, in spite of differences in age and sex, there were also some similarities between the various people I interviewed. They were all older than twenty and I experienced most of them as Swedish middleclass. Several have some kind of artistic background. Some have experiences from staying abroad for several years - another reality than the Swedish one. I found that the creators I interviewed really wanted to contribute something good to the city – making it more interesting and enjoyable. To counter the anonymity, as one of them formulates it and bring signs of life. The title Human traces is thus something more than just the creation of human hands. The human is also in the acts and thoughts around creative imprints. In contrast to the commercial in the background, the colourfully embraced lamp post on the front page, expresses this care for the city and its inhabitants.

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