Take back your city with colour

Colour is a power which directly influences the soul

In Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky states his theories on the use of colour, seeing a close connection between artwork and the spiritual dimension. 
The colour can have two possible effects on the viewer 
- a physical effect, superficial and based on temporary feelings and 
- a spiritual-psychic effect due to psychic forces through which the colour reaches the soul.
In 2008, Vassily Kandinsky's 'Weilheim-Maria's square' ('Weilheim-Marienplatz') has been painted on the flagstones on the square in the Bavarian market town of Weilheim. About 500 pupils and Weilheim citizens painted the 2,100 square meters area with its about 8,000 paving stone to produce the biggest Kandinsky picture worldwide.

Wasilij Kandinsky - Weilheim- Marienplatz - 1909
Marienplatz 2008
Marienplatz - 2008

Queremos inyectar positividad

In 2012, the Spanish collective Boa Mistura made a street art social project in Brazil. They raided the suburban streets of Sao Paulo to make huge anamorphosis with the help of people. The project "Luz Nas Velas" consists in five colours in correspondance to five themes.
- beleza - beauty
- firmeza - firmness
- orgulho - pride
- amor - love
- doçura - sweetness

They can be read only arrived at a certain point of the staircase, because often associated with a precise vision of the surroundings and background.

The intervention has the aim to put a turning point in the marginalized community through art. It is for this reason that the authors of the intervention are the residents with Boa.

"Who has been the most active in painting the streets are children, are happy to get their hands dirty in colour and give a new look to those places: they become the new owners, as well as their families, the place to which they have given new life, achieve a new perception of public space."

The blue of the sky

Inspired by George Bataille's book Le blue du ciel Aldo Rossi adapted the motto The blue of the sky as title of an article on his addition to the San Cataldo Cemetery (Modena), where the roofs would be covered with blue sheet metal. Throughout his life from the blue notebooks, to the bedroom walls of his lakefront residence, the use of colours remains a distinctive element of his architecture.

From Berlin to London, from Aldo Rossi to Renzo Piano, in the worst gray-fog day, yellow, green and orange facades spread away the energy of colours, while the buildings around adjust the gray tones in one indistinguishable mass.

Aldo Rossi - Kochstrasse - Berlin
Renzo Piano - Central St. Gilles - London

Gray is the colour of compromise

A '90 American movie, where people live in black and white world. Slowly they start to feel emotions, pleasure and all around start to bring colour. The change is hard to be accepted, but it seems like a flow that no one can stop.

Screenshot from the movie 'Pleasantville'

Screenshot from the movie 'Pleasantville'

Edi Rama was the major of Tirana between 2010 and 2011, but before that he was a painter. As mayor of Tirana he literally painted the town every colour. Rama is best known for the removal of government kiosks all over the city, thus cutting down on endemic bribery, and for the establishment of a modern new reception hall for citizens with paperwork requests. Rama's administration also demolished thousands of illegal buildings, removed hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete from riverbanks, and planted thousands of trees and bushes all over the city.

These interventions are arguable as much as you like, but they represent a turning point. If the physical and systematic transformation comes from above, the cultural improvement is a bottom-up transformation. For a country that was Communist for 47 years and saw the demolition of almost every historic building, this kind of intervention represents a different point of view to see the public space, the streets and inject the feeling to be part of the city. Maybe the city looks like a circus, but more than the critics, it is interesting the question - how do you want your city looks like? After that, there is always time to make it better. 

"One of the main problems of post communist Albanian society was the loss of collective responsi­bility towards a shared public space/domain. Private property used to rule; every­one had become very individualistic and refused to take responsibility for what­ever existed outside the doorstep of their house. They would go as far as changing everything they could inside their old houses, without bothering at all about how it would affect the outside. This example also reflects the attitude towards public space, which was regarded as a space tor pure personal profits.
As soon as the first colourful compositions had been painted on the facades, people started to react. Some didn't like what was happening, some enjoyed it very much, but most felt unsure and started to talk and discuss the phenomena. For the first time there was a sense of a shared public space, and the feeling of collective re­sponsibility crept out from the historical abyss "here Albanians had condemned it. Besides painting the facades, sidewalks were being repaired, lights were being put up, and the amount of geenery was increased. Instead of only men in leather jackets smoking slim cigarettes, women and children, old people and young couples slowly started to reclaim the space that earlier had been socially denied to them. The sun seemed to shine differently from the reflection on colours and fresh green grass. Tirana started to change." 
From: "Re-inventing the Wheel / When colours become politics..."

The first building in Tirana to get splashed with paint. 
Before and after.

“As a result of the project, international artists turned whole living blocks in central Tirana into unique works of contemporary art.“ Edi Rama