I went to London recently and just put up a photo album from the trip. I was all set to write a little post about the cultural similarities (besides English) that make London feel more like the States than like Germany and how I’ve had conversations with other Americans about this and so forth. But then I realized I had not yet posted my photos from my trip to Barcelona, over the Pyréneés to Toulouse and rural Midi-Pyréneés, France. So now I’ve put that album on my photo links page, too.
It’s funny to see the (completely unintentional) contrast. Street art is a strong theme in my travel photos, yet I have never sought it out. I don’t google where the good walls are, or plan walking adventures around hoping to see it. I just happen upon it, it catches my eye, and I snap a photo. I’ve taken pictures of street art in Mexico City, Athens, Berlin, Rome and Istanbul. London, Dublin and Amsterdam? Not a one. My first thought is that it’s about surveillance. I couldn’t help but notice the cameras everywhere in London. I felt acutely aware that I was being watched. Maybe it’s about public space? Capitalist control of the public sphere? Policing? Tolerance? Control? History of fascist control or not? Vitality? Whatever it is, some cities have vibrant street art cultures and others just don’t, or I suppose actually, marginalize it to places where a casual tourist doesn’t come across it.
Whatever the case, hooray for Barcelona! What a magical city! Protecting the spark.