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Posts Tagged ‘stealth’

Oh, I do love kindhearted stealth projects. This worldwide campaign promotes reading. Chayanit Itthipongmaetee filed a report about it at KhaosodEnglish in Thailand.

“ ‘A Little Prince’ was hiding at BTS Siam [Bangkok Transportation System, or Skytrain]. A ‘Cat in the Rain’ was discovered at BTS Sala Daeng. …

“Fairies hid copies of these books and more in public places [in early August] as a local launch of The Book Fairies project, an international initiative in which people leave texts for others to discover in cities around the world. After readers finish a book, they are supposed to pass it on to others.

“One of the Bangkok book fairies said she learned about the book-drop project a few days before attending Saturday’s TedxBangkok. At the event held inside the KBank Siam Pic-Ganesha Theatre, she sneakily dropped five copies of best-selling memoir ‘Tuesdays with Morrie.’

“ ‘I was really excited for my first book drop, hiding one book at a time, mostly on breaks throughout the event,’ said the woman. …

“She was delighted to hear from one of her book beneficiaries a day later.

“ ‘Dear #bookfairies, I found this at #TEDxBangkok and took it home with me. I don’t know who you are but thank you for passing it on,’ wrote Facebook user Awm Has Standards. …

“Asked what kind of books she wants Thais to read more, the Bangkok book fairy said it would be literary publications for youths.

“ ‘This might sound strange, but I would love to recommend everyone to read English children’s books. … They are doors to creativity, language learning and life lessons. With or without pictures, the exciting stories for children always allow you to be free with your imagination and color them wild. They are also a good start for those who want to practice English.’

“The Book Fairies campaign was originally launched March 8 on International Women’s Day. The campaign became world-famous when British activist and actress Emma Watson, best known as Hermione Granger in the ‘Harry Potter’ film franchise, left copies of books with feminist themes around cities such as London, Paris and New York.”

More here.

Photo: The Book Fairies Thailand / Facebook

littleprince-420x420

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Art: Vita Wells
‘Flights of mind,’ 2007. Book, hair, lights, fan, key, screws, hinges, glue.

Maria Popova’s website, Brain Pickings, is a never-ending source of inspiration, and my only regret is that when her e-newsletter arrives each week, there never is enough time to savor it.

In a recent one, she was a reviewed Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed, which she got at the library. The pictures are terrific and remind me of other items we’ve featured. (Remember the lead from Asakiyume about the stealth artist in Scotland who made sculptures from books and left them in libraries? I wrote about that here.)

“As a fervent lover of papercraft, book sculpture, and creative repurposing of physical books,” writes Popova at Brain Pickings, “I was instantly taken with Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed (public library) — a compendium of extraordinary artworks from the around the world, using the physical book as raw material for creative contemplation and cultural commentary.

“Sensual, rugged, breathtakingly intricate, ranging from ‘literary jewelry’ to paperback chess sets to giant area rugs woven of discarded book spines, these cut and carved tomes remind us that art is not a thing but a way — a way of being in the world that transmutes its dead cells into living materials, its cultural legacy into ever-evolving art forms and creative sensibilities.”

Read more here, and be amazed by the other pictures of book art.

Art: Jennifer Khoshbin
“Prove It,” 2009, cut book.

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stealth-poetry-project

I like reading about — and sometimes initiating — little stealth projects like buying a box of Georges Seurat note cards and putting them one at a time on shop shelves so folks will get a subliminal clue that the Players are putting on the musical “Sunday in the Park with George.”

In 2012, I created the Stealth Poetry Project. Read about that here. I have also blogged about the reshelvers, who move bookstore volumes around  (if they think a politician’s autobiography belongs in the fiction section, for example).

So imagine my delight when a website I subscribe to, Good.Is, sent a message about an international group of people doing similar projects. They call themselves Creative Interventionists.

“The League of Creative Interventionists,” says an e-mail I received this week, “is here to insert the creativity and unexpected back into our cities. The League is a worldwide network of people working to build community through creativity. We create shared spaces and experiences in public space that break down social barriers and catalyze connections between people and communities.

“Each month we will get people together to carry out a creative intervention around a theme. We will also share our inspiration and the template for others to replicate the intervention or create their own intervention in their community.

“The League is launching in San Francisco on February 12 with an event and group creative action around the theme of love. We will be creating an installation in public space where we will share the stories of our first love on postcard-sized stickers. Random passersbys will be able to enjoy these stories and participate by adding their own story. We will also place these stickers in random places to be discovered by unsuspecting strangers who will then be invited to add their story to the installation.”

More at www.Good.is.

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I do love creative stealth projects. This one is not quite stealth because, although the perpetrators act under cover of darkness, they are known — and willing to be interviewed.

Taryn Plumb writes for the Boston Globe about graffiti artists with knitting needles in Ashland, Mass. “Armed with clews of yarn, they transformed a series of utilitarian light posts into colorful, whimsical, eye-luring structures.

“It’s called ‘yarn bombing,’ ‘guerrilla knitting,’ or ‘graffiti knitting’ — wrapping and otherwise decorating everyday structures with yarn under the cover of night. …

“It is a worldwide movement — the first international ‘yarn bombing day’ was observed on June 11, 2011 — that has emerged in the last decade, with elaborate designs hitting bicycles, statues, trees, steps, parking meters, phone booths, and subway interiors, filling potholes, and even draping entire buses and military tanks in various countries.

“In its local application, though, Ashland Creative wasn’t completely rogue. Organizer Andrea Green sought approval from selectmen.”

Plumb explains that the group’s main motive is to help reenergize the downtown as other local community-building initiatives are doing.

“And the response? Curiosity from both adults and kids, the latter of which have named their favorites and been more than happy to explore their texture.

“ ‘People have just been delighted to see the way ordinary functional objects have been transformed into fun, interesting works of art,’ said Green …

“ ‘People often have the perception that art has to be seen in museums,’ Green said, ‘but amateur artists can create it, and it can still entertain.’ ”

More.

Update 2/10/14: Got to add another great yarn-bombing story here, courtesy of Mary Ann.

Photo: Ashland Creative
Ulie Nardone participated in Ashland’s recent Wrap-It Up Art Project.

Update: Beagling sends along this version of yarn bombing.

Photo at the NY Times: Olek
“Charging Bull,” near Wall Street, was covered in crochet by artist Olek in December 2010.

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Last year around Christmas my husband visited Southeast Asia on business and came back with descriptions of Christmas trees decorated from head to toe with written words on strips of paper.

That got me thinking about a new stealth project, one I hinted at here.

I printed out the quotes below and covered the paper with sticky plastic. I will put one set of quotation strips on our Christmas tree, but the first strips are now posted here and there around town. We’ll see what happens to them.

Feel free to use the lines here for a stealth project of your own, with or without sticky plastic. Or send some other quotes that I can use. If you are really ambitious, you might put strips of poems at the bottom of a poster headed something like “Help Yourself to Poetry” so people will be encouraged to take one.

“The roses had the look of flowers that are looked at.” T.S. Eliot

“The endlessly changing qualities of natural light, in which a room is a different room every second of the day.” Louis Kahn

“God inhabits the praise of his people.”

“Flowers have their agendas.” Mark Jarman

“I’d like to have a hand in things, what’s going on behind the screen.”  Kate Colby

“I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on the way.” Carl Sandburg

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Loved this Wired article about an unusual artist underground in France that preserves antiquities under cover of darkness.

Jon Lackman writes that the Urban eXperiment (UX) “is sort of like an artist’s collective, but far from being avant-garde — confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the new — its only audience is itself. More surprising still, its work is often radically conservative, intemperate in its devotion to the old. Through meticulous infiltration, UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of ‘restoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesn’t have the means to maintain.’ …

“What has made much of this work possible is UX’s mastery, established 30 years ago and refined since, of the city’s network of underground passageways — hundreds of miles of interconnected telecom, electricity, and water tunnels, sewers, catacombs, subways, and centuries-old quarries.” Read more.

I’ve been collecting stories of people doing good by stealth. In fact, if you type the word “stealth” in the search box in the upper right-hand corner, you will find five other stealth stories I have blogged about.

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The phrase comes from the carol “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”

Somehow, the words “when half-spent was the night” instead of “in the middle of the night” (a choice doubtless made to fit the rhythm) makes one think about the meaning more. Something about a gift arriving unexpectedly halfway through a time of darkness. Something surprising and curious.

A nice gift I received Friday was an expression of gratitude for being there for someone through her first year at my workplace. With tears in her eyes. Golly. Something surprising. A welcome surprise.

Then today, tucked in the back door, a stealth gift. Hmmm. No note. Swedish colors. For Erik? I think I recognize the cookie style. It suggests Suzanne’s longtime friend, a buddy since kindergarten, known for — among other things — her mother’s cookie-painting parties at Christmas.

Suzanne is being remembered, and being reminded of fun times, at a busy season when her friend is visiting town for only a short while. These are gifts that make people feel good.

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