Sleuthing on the web, I came across this advertising agency and its recent installation along a public crosswalk. It looks much like the City Repair Intersection Repair projects — except, in this case, it’s for commerce, not charm. Of course, the “fries” were removed when the street closure was up, but it evokes thoughts about what is possible in the public realm.

This project reminded me of Peter Gibson, perhaps one of the most well-known artists to incorporate official traffic control markings into his art. In his words, it began as simply a project to install bike lanes in places where none existed. It soon evolved into a full-blown project spanning three years, court dates, and finally, a film.

Similar to Intersection Repair, the city told both artists that such things could not be done. Not today, not tomorrow — not ever. But after they went ahead and did it anyway, perceptions changed. And today, much of Gibson’s work, as well as City Repair’s is sanctioned by communities. It’s an interesting look at how sometimes it’s easier to ask forgiveness, rather than permission.

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