Is it still public? Is it still art? Is it lost? Or is it found?
Across the globe we're seeing locals do amazing things for their communities and public spaces. Some refer to this as tactical urbanism, popup interventions or DIY urbanism, but for us we just like to call it for what it is, daily life.
The daily exchanges and obvious or hidden dialogues that happen between residents, workers and visitors in a place make it distinct, a memorable experience that continues long after you exit from the place. In this way, any positive addition to a place becomes an urban gesture, a confirmation of local pride and commitment to enhancing the permanent and/or ephemeral features that make it unique.
This notion of the 'temporary' aspects of place was recently experienced by Sydney based artists Gillie and Marc Schattner. In 2013, they donated 100 fibreglass dog sculptures to various public spaces throughout the City and within weeks all but three remained.
The dog sculptures were initially dropped on streets and in parks relying on passive surveillance from nearby shops, passing vehicle traffic or street life, to keep them safe. Once the sculptures started going missing, Gillie and Marc resorted to plastic ties and chains to secure the remaining artworks.
They now affectionately refer to the missing sculptures as the 'Lost Dogs' and regularly ask the public (via social media) to send through pictures of sightings.
Here at TC, we recognise the time, money and resources Gillie and Marc had invested into their public art experiment but can't help to applaud them for their innovation, risk and most importantly, daily gesture to public life. Gillie and Marc are not only amazing artists but are interested in fostering community and creating spaces in our cities that capture imagination.
“This was an art experiment we did ourselves, just to see what would happen. We love public art and do everything possible to try and bring art out of galleries and into public spaces. So this is what we did with our dogs, we put them on the streets.” says Gillie Schattner.
We can't wait to see what Gillie and Marc's next experiment will look like and what attention they'll receive from the public.
Stay in touch with Gillie and Marc and see more images from their Lost Dogs here.