The Howling Mob Society (HMS) was a collaboration of artists, activists, and historians committed to unearthing stories neglected by mainstream history. HMS brought increased visibility to the radical history of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, through a grassroots artistic practice focused on the production of historical markers. We chose to focus on the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, a national uprising that saw some of its most dramatic moments in Pittsburgh.
directory - Graffiti / Street Art
When at the end of 2007, the then incumbent Mwai Kibaki was announced as the victor of the presidential elections in Kenya, and was immediately sworn in again, protests broke out in various regions of the country. The anger of the people was directed towards the ethnic group of the Kikuyu of which Kibaki is a member. When the artist Solomon Muyundo aka Solo7 witnessed how in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum and one of the largest in Africa, houses and market stands were set on fire, he began writing “ODM – PEACE” with charcoal on walls, referring to the Orange Democratic Movement of Kibaki’s election rival Raila Odinga. The buildings which carried his writing were not harmed by any looting.
Using football field marking equipment, I marked the grid of demolished streets and houses of the Manshia neighborhood. The markings drawn by the sea, on the border between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, brings the historic streets and houses to the surface. The white lines delineate the quarter that lies under the lawns. The markings are reminiscent of police markings at a murder scene, in this case the murder of the houses, the architectural murder, the cultural murder of Jaffa.
The project consists in the appropriation of urban public spaces that have been forgotten, abandoned, or are sterile. Those spaces are occupied through artistic interventions that transform them into ceramic modules. The five members of the group choose the spaces with a critical eye over the city, seeking to humanize the urban environment and discuss how it is used and/or administered. The five members design, produce, and install the interventions. The result is a composite of panels, modules, and simple geometrical shapes, which when grouped construct more complex shapes. The final image is abstract. Using modern tiles, the group appropriates the aesthetics and the historical value of the tile in Brazilian culture, which arrived with the Portuguese national identity.