The modern cityscape is a visually cluttered space, full of government signage, billboards and sporadically public mural or unsolicited street art. Therefore, it is not surprising that a lot of art goes unnoticed or just categorised as 'urban noise' and not important by passersby.
This is where The Outings Project comes to challenge all that. Set up as a 'global participative' one, the project concentrates on the way different people respond to images, which are taken out of their normal logical white walls institutionalised context and pasted up in random public spaces.
Nothing new so far you would say, but actually you would be in for a surprise. What sets it apart from every other project, is the fact that it provides an opportunity for everyone to get involved and decide how their urban environment should look like. In Julien Casabianca (Outings Project's main instigator) own words:
It's a way to discover how we can share the same urban environment with different generations and different kind of persons : when we stick, we obtain exactly the same reactions from both young and old; hip-hop teenagers to harpsichord old men. Everyone finds it beautiful... Maybe because the aesthetics in these paintings is in our common culture, without opposition of generations.
Below: in Dijon
The idea of taking classical paintings out of their white walls context to the city walls, continues Casabianca, comes from the so called "artistic squats culture" (occupy buildings for art). In fact, 'taking temporarily a building that was kept empty and forgotten years and years by its owner', explains Julien, 'offers that building to feel the spirit of freedom. That's weird, because a building is supposed to feel nothing. But people who like one house will understand. This is where Outings comes: to feel poetically the necessity to liberate all those portraits of people, who are a little bit forgotten in walls and museums' corners. We give them freedom, like an animal is freed from the zoo. We feel them very grateful'.
And while some might argue that project will raise questions about value, aesthetics, reclaiming public space and taking ownership of the urban environment, Julien and partners are convinced that 'art can revitalize cities only if citizen are directly connected, not only spectators. Outings invite everyone to join the project and do it. We started in August and so far the interest has grown exponentially. People join us every day; from Paraguay, Malaysia, Benin, Italia, Spain, Argentina, Uruguay and Poland'.
If worried about the legal side of things, since obviously, putting art in public spaces can be problematic, especially if unsolicited, the solution is simple:
'We stick only on not maintained walls. The owner can't say that we damaged his a wall, that is already degraded. And its only wallpaper, it needs just a few minutes to remove without any damage'. And yes, 'some walls are painted over after our paste-ups, but only the actual wall and not the paste-up ! '
As for what the future holds, Julien says that 'We are actually doing some prep work to collaborate with some French museums (and their youth communities) , and invite them to collaborate with us, and paste up on authorized walls'.
I will continue following up the development of Outings to see its growth and impact and in the meantime- good luck!
All images: courtesy of The Outings Project