Online, Offline, Red Line
Like it or not folks, these are very mobile times we’re living. And we’re not the only ones on the move. Increasingly, technology and transit have not only bridged distances between people, but cultural products as well. Public art is no different. These days, you’re just as likely to encounter it on the internet as you are along the metro. So, what the digital age has done for graffiti has been to preserve and proliferate ephemeral works online. Sites like 12 oz. Prophet and Juxtapoz are already in on the action, serving as platforms for writers, graffiti enthusiasts and the like to get a glimpse of graffiti and street art beyond their own neighborhoods.
Yet, aside from exposing us to new ideas and aesthetics, the internet can also be a platform for reconnecting us with the physical and familiar. One major aim of Red Line D.C. is to use this website (and posts like the one you’re reading, right now) to promote online discussion for offline engagement. We want what you encounter here to encourage participation; a fresh perspective on the art (or lack thereof) in the places you inhabit most. And, it turns out that there’s a term for what we’re trying to do — digital placemaking. Check out the video below to hear urban designer and community builder Bonnie Shaw explain what digital placemaking is all about:
Using online communication to enliven offline communities, eh? Not a bad concept, but definitely one that takes a little work–from as many people as possible. The challenge, so far, for Red Line D.C. has been to corral more contributions from local residents. Not just $$$–though, that is appreciated–but stories, comments, and captured images of the red line. If you live in the city, ride the metro or just have something to say about public art in public space, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
The internet is an easy and effective way to strengthen community ties. But, when all else fails, there’s always the ol’ fashion in-person method. Late last week, Words, Beats &, Life Inc. (our friendly D.C. nonprofit) held a community forum for local residents to weigh in on the creation of an upcoming mural in the District’s U st. corridor. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a large number of attendees looking to join in on the mural-making process, so we’re wondering what can be done to get more people participating in the aesthetics of their everyday space. Be it online or off, be sure to share your voice! What you see may be important, but what you have to say about it means much more!