In the relentless build-up of paint, each layer is victorious

Every surface is a locus of minor victories enabled by transition and becoming, a recurrent celebration of trivial metamorphoses and opinions. Each inscription is an assertion, an involvement, a temporary victory of visibility over silence, of activity over idleness and of memory over oblivion. Fame here is rarely individual and it almost never lasts, but it produces a collective recognition instead, a force that comes from being simultaneously together, rather than distinctively apart.

Successful street art is much like successful creative cities, where the most sought-after values are individuality, extraction, replicability and globalisation. Its victories are never minor, and it frowns upon uncertainty – which is why the present character of Leake Street is seen as inconvenient. The Tunnel does not support stability or permanentisation, and it refreshes itself every day with new layers of paint and visual contributions. A dissection through the Tunnel surface palimpsest reveals enthused multitudes of expressive colour, each significant as part of a whole, each working towards a communal project of memory, integration and co-creation. 10, 100, 1000 days of Leake Street represent as many temporary victories and participatory claims, which demonstrate an exemplary mode of surface production and expression.

Advertisements