Rue Ste Croix de la Bretonnerie
Sometimes it’s a case of ‘you had to be there’. In several streets where I have walked, mainly in the 1st to 4th arrondissements, there are these large paintings on the pavement of a foetus, sometimes in the womb. They are not stencils but the uniformity of the different renditions and their size suggests that the act of painting them involved a performance calibrated to the artist’s body measurements. I could speculate about what event, cause or band they were advertising, but really I don’t know. I suppose the meaning of this graffiti was understandable at the time when it was done.
The foetus in Rue des Halles is an example of ‘layering’, where one piece of pavement graffiti is laid over another – in this case the ‘official graffiti’ of a pedestrian crossing. The photograph also shows a pair of police on roller blades.
Rue des Halles
This inscription has me baffled. Godot, the graffiti-spotting cabbie, saw it first and posted on his Flickr site. It’s in Wilson Street, Darlington, near Eveleigh, and it reads Eco-cycle Rapists. The style of writing is accomplished and familiar but what does it mean? Who or what is it defaming – or advertising?
(Eco Cycle, by the way, is the brand name of an electic-powered bicycle that has a “rechargeable lithium battery and electric motor which cuts in when you flake out”).
Wilson Street was a popular inner western route to the city long before it was officially stamped as such with the large white bicycle stencils. Dozens of cyclists earnestly pedal over these words daily. Do they notice them?
Pitt Street, Sydney
Sydney-based designer Dan Hill has been looking at the pavement. He is interested in capturing everyday examples of how the city assesses invisible or hidden characteristics of its infrastructure and he writes about this in his blog post Sensing the immaterial-material city. You can see Dan’s photos here. They include shots of people who appear to be sensing the city and he calls these people – with their traffic cones and their fluorescent work jackets – sensors.
Frederick Street, Petersham
Along with their various probes and surveying instruments, an essential item of equipment for these people is the spray can.
Today’s guest spotter is Richard Blair, a local history fossicker.
Recently uncovered by Marrickville Council during street plumbing activity under two Camphor Laurel trees on the eastern side of upper Metropolitan Road, Enmore, Sydney, are what appear to be sandstone cobblestones.
One expert opinion suggests these stones may have been part of a carriageway as they are in such a deliberate order. That would mean they may be linked with Enmore House which formerly stood on this site until demolition in the 1880s. However, one might expect a cobblestone carriageway to have been made from a stone more durable than sandstone, such as granite or bluestone.
Other views suggest the sandstone course may have been associated either with some early civil works project or may have been laid in conjunction with the arrangement of street tree planting.
These photos were taken in September 2009. The sandstone courses were still uncovered in November, but by December 2009 they had been (presumably) covered over with soil.
I figured this sign was not meant for me. Some private joke or invitation, but still I was intrigued. Sat 1st? Yes, I got that – the previous Saturday was August 1st. Queen Street? King Street? Crown Street? No streets of that name anywhere near this spot, the corner of Ross and Hereford Streets, Forest Lodge (Glebe). And as for the upbeat insect? No idea.
A month later I found an answer of sorts in Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, some three or four kilometres away. A notice chalked in the same hand for Surry Hills Markets, always held in Crown Street on the first Saturday of the month. So the notice in Glebe was meant for me … and everyone else. But I still don’t get the ant.
Canberra writer Doug Fry is Pavement Graffiti’s inaugural guest spotter.
Apart from a failed first year university class (and my weekly trash TV fix of Bones) I don’t really have any experience in the field of psychology, so I’m only making a vaguely educated guess when I say that the author/illustrator of this work is probably a paranoid schizophrenic.
The author/illustrator is a gentleman who appears to be in his early 40s, and his chaotic ‘thought pattern’-type works can occasionally be spotted on public surfaces – bus shelters, powerline poles, shopping centre walls – around the inner southern suburbs of Canberra. This particular work was done on the footpath along Macgregor Street in Deakin, not far from the local shopping centre.
I passed the gentleman in the middle of sketching this particular ‘thought pattern’ during a stroll to fetch some groceries in December 2008. On my way home, he was sitting on a nearby bench, his work complete, so I stopped to chat with him – unsuccessfully. The gentleman immediately grew suspicious of my attention, muttered a few words, and then walked off in a hurry, leaving the mystery of his works intact.