It takes an artistic eye to look at an ordinary wall and see potential spaces for art in the fissures between the bricks. Some artists see the blank spaces between objects as zones where new ideas can emerge. M.C. Escher used white space as a central part of his artwork.
Now, in cities around the world, artists are using plastic bricks to fill in empty spaces and “patch” broken walls and monuments. These “dispatchers” have collected their handiwork on a website which includes their manifesto:
I don’t enjoy living in dull and grey cities. Do you? Have you noticed that toys for kids are generally very shiny and colorful? I wonder why that is, given that they are to be brought up to live in mostly dull and gray cities as adults. Since I lived in many of such cities, I am seeking to improve the appearance of public spaces in different ways, in terms of what I consider improvement. Dispatchwork aims to seal fissures in broken walls worldwide, completing the material compilation in urban constructing and adding color to the urban greyscales.
Like Buddhist sand mandalas, the repairs are intended to be temporary. Because the plastic will end up in our water systems eventually, I’d like to see this group experiment with biodegradable LEGOs. Unfortunately, the only biodegradable LEGO-style bricks that exist are a dull shade of brown. Only their scent is attractive; apparently, they smell like green tea.
Since living in Chicago, I have been interested in art projects that reclaim damaged parts of city landscapes. There are many ways to introduce art into cities, including turning vacant lots into parks and yarn bombing.
I participated in a Dispatchers project in Beverly, Massachusetts this weekend. We decorated the entrance of a graffiti-covered building with LEGO-shaped stickers.
We also inserted LEGOs into the foundation of a building at the Montserrat College of Art, as well as some other buildings including the Unitarian church on Cabot Street. We used friction and a small amount of silicone caulk to hold the LEGOs in place.
Curious about whether Dispatchers have been at work in your city? Explore the Dispatchwork website for more details and photos of the installations. Many of the installations are in Europe, but some are in Asia, the Middle East, and North America.