Thursday, May 13, 2010

A functional beauty

Beauty is a human virtue or quality. It is about what we choose to see as much as how we see. So I placed the "there is BEAUTY in the CITY" magnet on my back, stood on the balcony in my apartment and faced my city, Leiden. This is my view of my city most days. Some who see our balcony wouldn't consider it very beautiful, with the tools and ladder and so on, while others wouldn't consider all the flats around us as very beautiful and neither do I, if I am seeing beauty only as form. What I find beautiful about where I live is that I can easily walk or cycle to where I need to be and that we can use our small balcony for working on new art projects. And this isn't the first time I've used our balcony as inspiration for an artwork, the 3 minute video begins from where you see me standing here

There is BEAUTY in the CITY

The There is BEAUTY in the CITY art project is a collaborative project with the people of the world. It encourages a reframing and rethinking of the urban spaces that we inhabit - using a magnet as a tool to renegotiate familiar territories.
The project was started in March 2008 by UK artist Anna Francis
(Her blog - also has links to other art projects too)
in Stoke-on-Trent for the Axis Festival, and has had over 200 images submitted from over 40 photographers/artists which are shown in exhibitions and festivals as well as on the blog managed by Glen Stoker.

“Anna says the project allows people to see the place in which they live in a new way, and differently.

But she is emphatic that it is not just about creating a photo-album: "The project could easily be (mis)interpreted as an effort to simply collect and label images of urban spaces and indeed if the project was to be undertaken by just one person or one individual, this idea of 'beauty' could become very problematic."

"But the fact that many people's views on 'beauty' are included in the project makes for a very interesting end result. The fact that many different people are working with this phrase on their own terms means that the idea of there being beauty in the city is open to a wide variety of interpretations."

BBC website, 9 April 2010


If there is a corner of your city that you want to draw attention to, or label as beautiful, you too can join in. Details are on the blog ( which also has photos of places where “there is beauty in the city” sent in by others across the globe.

There's also a facebook group for this project here

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