coLumn True TaLeS
Photographs from left by Julie Norvaisas (London), Steve Portigal ( Toronto and N YC)
are now tourists with a purpose.
This isn’t a substitution for the
more typical things you might look
at—your bridges or cathedrals—
it’s an enhancement, an additional
layer. As teammates and collaborators, we have been slightly
bemused and pleased to discover
this similar obsession (sharing
Florence and London pictures from
our separate trips; our strolling
New York together after wrapping
up an enormous consulting project). The fact is this stuff feeds us.
It’s a world hidden in plain sight.
But looking closely at the nonobvious is of course what we do in
our user research work.
The site-specific nature of graf-
fiti transforms a walk down the
street into a stroll through a liv-
ing collage. The gift of street art
(because of its choice of canvases)
is that we can engage with it at
any number of levels. We can
guess at motivations or identify
cultural threads and patterns
or just enjoy the pure aesthetic
effect. The Oscar-nominated Exit
Through the Gift Shop provoked us to
dwell on recursive questions about
what is art and who corrupts who
when street meets art, although
Steve had already encountered Mr.
Brainwash on a wall in Chelsea,
advertising (of course) an art sale.
© 2011 ACM 1072-5220/11/11 $10.00