Rozzell Medina, the instructor is an older student with an appropriate sense of humor (in photo on right he's drawing a window for our windowless room). The second meeting of class we left campus for a derive (French word with accent on first "e"). At the site Bureau of Public Secrets it is defined as a "technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences....playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll."
Seemed an opportunity to scatter our household's collected weaving/knitting leftovers to bird-nest- building as we strolled. I brought some to class and gave out thin strips of paper with the message:
My partners for the stroll were two very, very tall young men, not particularly verbal. Few women students in this class. It was a stretch in every way imaginable. The best part was that it was a sunny day and I added many steps on my pedometer in the long walk--even though we did take a trolley for the half mile as we neared Powell's Books.
Explaining Street Art...umm, not easy. Many think it's grafitti. For New Yorkers of a certain age the image that comes to mind immediately is a string of subway cars covered with bright, bold outlined names and drawings. Norman Mailer (my least favorite literary light) wrote a useful essay in a 1974 book with excellent photos by Jon Naar of these moving displays, The Faith of Grafitti. I think it was the sense of lawlessness that appealed to Mailer but that could be a projection on my part.
Listening my classmates is a window into another world. I am only a visitor to the 21st century, a holdover from the last one. While their ideas and values are often unsettling, these are what will drive life for our grandchildren. One grafitti artist whose name was familiar from the 1980s was Jean-Michel Basquit.
I'd like to write more about how watching the film, The Radiant Child, about Basquit's creativity in a too-short life, completely altered my assumptions--HOWEVER, I am deep into computer hell after installing iLife and can barely get this post up.