you call that street art

by Alex Wisser

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Caroline Mcleod Arts and Culture Officer, Marrickville Council

Dear Caroline,

Thank you very much for considering participation in my art work for “Sketching The Gamut” art project.  As I explained on the phone, this artwork and the exhibition it is a part of will be propositional in nature: in other words, it will be a work that presents only the idea or proposal of a far larger work that might one day be achieved along The Sydney Green Ring (though it need not actually be achievable either).

The work which my project is proposing is to create a stencil of the design below and to then paint it in temporary spray paint along The Green Ring, enacting in temporary form, an analogy of the more permanent signage we hope one day will be erected to designate The Sydney Green Ring as a recognized active transport corridor and continuous public space within Sydney:

The making of the stencil and the painting of the form along The Sydney Green Ring will only be one part of the work.  The second part of the work will be the documentation and display of all of my efforts to secure permission from the 13 local councils through which The Sydney Green Ring passes and any other authorities that I might need to confer with in the making of the work.

The idea behind this art work has two dimensions.
Educational:  I am hoping that this work will offer its audience a perspective onto the workings of council and the procedures and mechanisms through which council actualizes the designs and intentions of its community while maintaining standards and safeguards that protect against activities that threaten the well being of the council LGA.  This dimension is directed at rendering the processes of council more transparent, giving people a better idea of how it functions in actuality and in cooperation with its constituents.  This will result in a lessening of the sense of confusion that people feel when approaching council, rendering it less intimidating and more accessable.  Such an outcome would give people more confidence in engaging with council and contributing to their community through such engagement.
Motivational: By making an artwork directly about the people who make local council work, showcasing their daily contribution, I am hoping to bring to both The Gamut and The Sydney Green Ring projects an dimension of personal investment from the people who will be essential to their realisation.  This investment is something that artists usually enjoy and council workers rarely- that of recognition for the work that they have done.  My art work intends to illuminate the contribution and credit accordingly, those working participants without which the creation of such an ambitious public project would not be possible.  Another way of framing this is to suggest that The Sydney Green Ring offers to every potential participant the same motivation that the artist enjoys: the possibility of taking credit for the creation of a 34 kilometre public art work etched into the map of the city that also serves as a functioning active transport corridor and continuous public space.
If you hadn’t already guessed it, this email will be the first document in the artwork I am attempting to make.  Please understand that I might use any direct response that you give to it in the artwork as well.


In order to make a propositional display which will be composed of a number of the elements of the final work I would like to ask the following from you:

Permission to paint a sample stencil somewhere along The Sydney Green Ring in temporary spray paint for the purpose of documenting it for display in “Sketching The Gamut”.  This paint, I am informed, is commonly used by road repair crews to mark roads for repair.  The paint is environmentally safe and can be removed at will.  I have attached a document brochure for a paint similar to that which I intend to use.  Pending further information I will supply you shortly with the documentation for a paint that I can access here in Australia and for a price that fits my budget.
I would like to useI would like to arrange a meeting in which we can further discuss this project and during which we can mock up some photographs of us meeting, shaking hands, possibly reviewing The Green Ring.  These photographs would be displayed in “Sketching The Gamut” as a part of my work.
I look forward to talking further with you about this project.


Alex Wisser