Signal Hill has long been a communications point on the Southern California landscape. In an earlier era, Native Americans signaled their brethren with fire and smoke, from Santa Catalina Island to the foothills of the Coastal Range bordering what is now L.A.

Today the signals are electronic, connecting us--at the click of a mouse--to vast, new worldwide networks.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Can Art Change the World? Become Part of a Global Art Project to Create Community Join Me

The anonymous French street artist,"JR," won the 2011 Annual TED prize given to "exceptional individuals" devoted to changing the world.  He has discovered the "power of paper and glue," installing large-scale conceptual art projects worldwide to celebrate--for better or worse--social connectedness, or what has been dubbed "relational art."  In each of his projects the participation of local residents is central--not a means to an end. (See the YouTube video of JR's TED acceptance speech here.)

His images have graced the wall separating Jews and Palestinians, homes of Rio de Janeiro's oldest favela (seen in photo above) and the walls of Paris, New York, L.A. and Long Beach, among others.  They present images of human beings saying "Take notice.  I am here.  I am not a statistic. This is what I stand for."  And behind each image is a story to be revealed or to be imagined.

Now, as the remaining photos show, we can craft our own stories of our own communities.  JR has organized a worldwide art project called "Inside Out" where individuals and groups are encouraged to send in photos of individuals to be reproduced in large, black and white format, for displaying in public spaces.  You can click here to get a general pictorial idea of JR's "Inside Out" global art project, or go directly to his website to see how you can participate.

I am forming a group to participate in Inside Out.  So if you in any way relate to the community of Signal Hill, California and would like to participate, leave me a comment or send me an email expressing your interest.  I'm planning to have something up within the city by the end of February 2012.

I believe art can change our little corner of the world.

If you want to read more about JR and his art, look for the Nov 28 issue of The New Yorker magazine.

Also, here , one year later, is an update to JR's work, his "Inside Out" global project that is changing the world. 


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