Posted by: Simon | May 6, 2011

Public space belongs to you

Stick it to the Streets

It’s been almost a year since VPSN put on the Stick It to the Streets (SITS) event.  If you need a reminder, we had dozens of aspiring drummers show up from all walks of life, ready to collaborate on an impromptu musical performance down the streets of Granville (click here for one of many Youtube videos of the fine day). I think it’s safe to say that everyone involved had a blast: after a few hours of non-stop drumming, exhausted participants who had their fill of percussive goodness went on their merry way, but not without proclaiming their excitement for the next SITS.

“When are you guys doing this again?” I would be asked.

I couldn’t really give them a definite answer but it was something I wanted to do again in some shape or form. So to this day – and ever since our public space manifesto was on display at the VAG – people are still asking when we will stick it to the streets for a second time. It’s great that people are still excited, but there is something fundamentally wrong with this question and I’ll tell you why.

With SITS, my initial intent was to show everyday people the endless possibilities of how public space can be used and manipulated, beyond the promenade you walk through or bench you sit on. Essentially, it was designed to empower. Whether SITS continues as an annual event or not shouldn’t deter anyone from doing something similar, be it by themselves or with a group of friends. For me, the true measure of the event’s success is its ability to inspire and enable people to go out realize their public space dreams. Every public space event, from Park(ing) Day to the Halloween transit party, can fundamentally be organized by anybody. That’s really how it all began.

Though VPSN events have grown dramatically over the years, the sentiment will always remain the same. VPSN will continue to push fresh ideas to the masses. We’ll keep putting on energetic and engaging events. And we’ll always welcome your support and participation. But if you feel that itch to make some music with lamp posts and street furniture, then grab some sticks, call your friends and just head out and do it. Public space belongs to you.

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Responses

  1. Great post, Simon!

  2. Thanks, my man!

  3. Fantastic post. I think the work that helps make your post even more pointed may be this: permission. The whole point of SITS was to say that permission to use public space is not written in stone. We can give ourselves permission to be playful in public space — we don’t have to wait for someone on the Internet to give us permission.

    We still need to apply reason and sound judgment to understanding the effects of what we do, of course, but within that we should feel free to experiment, re-purpose, be spontaneous.

    Awesome statement.


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