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Like lane markings, but better
December 16, 2004 1:23 AM   Subscribe

Like lane markings, but better. Montreal artist Roadsworth transforms street markings into boots, bullets, and zippers. Sad postscript? He's been busted.
posted by optimuscrime (21 comments total)

 
Nice!

But if scratching your name into shop windows got another perp "a fine of $50,000, 300 hours of community service in lieu of jail time, and is prevented from stepping foot on the island of Montreal for 5 years", I dread to think what this guy is going to get!!

Was it really all worth it?
posted by Chunder at 1:32 AM on December 16, 2004


You know, I quite like crossings to be marked such that they are obviously apparent to all concerned. I say add reckless endangerment to the list.
posted by biffa at 1:38 AM on December 16, 2004


I side with biffa. Clever idea; stupid to have executed it.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 2:41 AM on December 16, 2004


Biffa: Hans Monderman would argue otherwise. According to his theories, this sort of art could possibly make our streets safer.
posted by Timeless at 2:50 AM on December 16, 2004


Timeless, that's b*llocks.

He only mentions a fountain as an indicator of traffic congestion.

How can drawing people's eyes to the road as they cross it be safer?
posted by Frasermoo at 3:16 AM on December 16, 2004


nice. something in the same vein as banksy
posted by jonvaughan at 3:31 AM on December 16, 2004


This certainly goes to show that the law-and-order brigade have no sense of humor.

I doubt that the typical cell-phone yacking, latte-swilling so-called driver would notice a 20 foot nude portrait of Jenna Jameson drawn in the street, much less a zipper pull.

Perhaps he should have used sidewalk chalk, so his art wouldn't have been permanent. Of course, this didn't stop the officers from the New York City Department of First Amendment Obliteration from arresting Josh Kinberg and confiscating his Roadwriter during the Republican National Backpat, er, Convention.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 3:50 AM on December 16, 2004


Frasermoo, I'd hate to live in any city where a painted zipper is the most distracting thing on a street.

Isn't the whole idea behind billboards and such that people have a remarkable ability to pay attention to more than one thing at a time?

I realize that some people might have thought they were actually walking on giant bullets, and that must have been very unpleasant for them, but I like this kind of thing fun.
posted by Doug at 3:52 AM on December 16, 2004


I do not condone grafitti defacing private property or a public space; especially when the grafitti is illegible calligraphy. (If you're curious: this is good grafitti; this is bad grafitti. With an obvious gamut of style and proficient inbetween.)

I preface with grafitti because these works by Roadsworth are not bad grafitti, grafitti at all, or common vandalism. These works of art are public installations cleverly using street insignia, payed for by the municipality, for enjoyment by the public in a public space.

I defend Roadsworth to continue his work; I also hope he documents these for proper recognition in a gallery.

How can drawing people's eyes to the road as they cross it be safer?

I don't think Roadsworth intention is to lure stupid people into the street to be hit by a car either. Although, I live in Los Angeles, not Montreal and if Roadsworth did this on an LA street the artist would already be a tragic blurb on the evening news. Unless that sort of thing isn't newsworthy anymore.

Thanks for the post.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 3:53 AM on December 16, 2004


I posted essentially the same thing as Enron, and yes, I like this kind of thing fun. And people complain about the newbies...
posted by Doug at 3:55 AM on December 16, 2004


Hans Monderman would rather do away with all street signs and road markings. The theory is that by making a traffic situation look more dangerous, you slow down traffic. From what I have seen in practice, I believe he is right.

The question of course is, would you get the same effects if you leave the road markings, but make them unrecognizable, would people slow down to figure out what they mean?

I think they would. At least in the short term. As a pedestrian, I would think and look twice before crossing some of his bizarre crosswalks. As a car driver, I would slow down trying to figure out if some of his paintings would puncture my tires.
But in the long term, as locals get used to it, they would probably ignore it.
posted by Timeless at 3:58 AM on December 16, 2004


Timeless, that seems akin to Amber alerts. When the CHP first put up the warning billboards, my only thought was Whoa! Watch out! since everyone around me slowed down to check out the license plate of the perp. Now everyone just moseys along at 80MPH like usual.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 4:04 AM on December 16, 2004


Great post! Thanks! Also, stop worrying, it's not artists that make the roads dangerous. Plus, I think the arrest will bring a lot of water to his well. After all, none of us knew about Roadsworth until now, right?
posted by acrobat at 5:27 AM on December 16, 2004


I say bust him even though the art is cool.

I'm all for subversion of branding or advertising. I am not so keen on people fucking with public safety measures. Suggestions that this is no big deal or that its not the artists who make the roads dangerous are absurd.

If it had been starbucks or nike painting logos on the road you would probably wig out about the disregard for community welfare.
posted by srboisvert at 5:49 AM on December 16, 2004


Something like what happened to IBM?
posted by Timeless at 5:58 AM on December 16, 2004


As much as I think the art is hilarious, I agree it's probably not a great idea to screw too much with these road markings. They are for public safety and like srboisvert said, not corporate branding. And Doug, Montreal is a city where distractions abound (beautiful people, lovely architecture, etc.) I can see these zippers & boots being distracting, fer shure.

Culture-jamming or no, have you ever driven in Montreal? Pedestrians are widely acknowledged as moving targets worth points for hitting. The last thing you need is to confuse a crosswalk for a bootprint.

I think the sentence is a bit harsh, though. Maybe just make him clean it up. It would have been a better exercise in Photoshop.
posted by RockCorpse at 6:17 AM on December 16, 2004


With regards to the safety issue, it pays to take this in context. Most people on the Island of Montreal (pedestrians and drivers) regard crosswalks as decorative paint already.

"A recent Université de Montréal study showed that 71% of Montreal pedestrians do not stop and wait for the light to change before crossing" and only 37% of drivers respect the lines bording a crosswalk. As the first article points out, lots of people like it this way.

Barbed wire painted beside the crosswalk is not going to make things more dangerous. In fact, it makes for a pretty good visual joke. As do the bullets, the footprint and the owl he's painted on crosswalks.

If it had been starbucks or nike painting logos on the road you would probably wig out about the disregard for community welfare

Yeah, I probably would. But it isn't Nike or Starbucks, is it? They're on the massive billboards beside the crosswalk. Sheesh.
posted by Cuke at 8:41 AM on December 16, 2004


I like it. Fuck safety.
posted by fungible at 9:25 AM on December 16, 2004


I don't think any of his art made things less 'recognizable'. If you can't realize that that row of bullets is was originally a crosswalk, you've got bigger problems than crossing the street.

And what others have said regarding distractions. Frasermoo, et al, I suppose you object to flashy billboards, inventive architecture, street performances, and short skirts on the same grounds?
posted by rafter at 9:26 AM on December 16, 2004


I don't think any of his art made things less 'recognizable'. If you can't realize that that row of bullets is was originally a crosswalk, you've got bigger problems than crossing the street.

Hear hear.

(...If you don't realize that the zipper pull does not mean that a giant J Crew sweater has fallen from the sky and blanketed the street in wooly goodness...)

(...If it's the crosswalk-cum-bootprint makes you hunker down in fear of being stepped on...)
posted by mudpuppie at 9:39 AM on December 16, 2004


I like it.

...though I would have used chalk paint...
posted by odinsdream at 4:21 PM on December 16, 2004


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