Most places which exist today lack any particular identity or purpose, content to subsist as highways upon which people keep their eyes on the road, the screen, the red destination bubble.
A means to an end, most places are happy nowadays to remain unmarked by the souls who frequent it. No longer souls but vehicles, we are encouraged to maneuver ourselves from destination to destination without so much as looking up.
How far we’ve come - to be able to avoid interaction with our environment altogether. To wash our hands clean at the end of the day, knowing we needn’t have done because we haven’t touched anything since the last time. To leave no impact of why we may have travelled there, who we may have met there, or what we may have felt there.
And yet, there are a select number of places in this world that still inspire vocality - that inspire a second thought or an unapologetic emotion or a protest or a rebellion. Places which scream even when silent, their gaping mouths spewing graffitied street that preaches colour and pain and life in the street.
Two furry-winged owl compadres with slotted circles for eyes and dangling robotic claws which rub against their friend’s. Paralleled in all but one detail, our right-hand owl has lost a metallic talon - to who? Two ram-shackle birdbrains stare curiously, unseeingly but with awareness, out at us. They capture you if but for a moment.
An eye on a brick wall, observing you from beneath a drooping eyelid which bears no embellishment. Flanking our watchful eye are a series of globule-like protrusions, decorated with black bands, spirals and minute holes which burrow into the eye’s uvula eyelashes. It serves neither the purpose to please nor to horrify, but to attract a gaze. The aesthetic secondary, a detail we’re often forget much too quickly. Isn’t it enough to look at something interesting without a measure of what we might stand to gain?
A book shop of yellow walls stacked high with books curated in a careful but completely indistinguishable organizational system. Two reading nooks have been carved out of the walls, welcoming you to become part of the place’s incomprehensible organization. Black mirrors panel the back wall, creating the impression that you exist in another shop and another and another and another. Panic-inducing except for the soft croon of Leonard Cohen which leads you to believe you might just be the safest you’ve ever been. Everything in its place and a madhouse.
Messy and uncontainable and beautifully chaotic. All of it art because it has been formed by human hands recreating human experiences - experiences which are offered up for us still dripping with tears or sweat or blood or all three. Experiences which we can share in as a result of our mutual human-ness.
Connection is the fool’s gold we trove the digital world for each and every day. Seek the places that remind you that the trick is in the tangible.