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communicating in public spaces

Posted on by tyler

when, as an everyday citizen, you have something public you'd like to say, don't you think you ought to be able to say it without fear? i certainly think so.

tonight i went into midtown and downtown kansas city with a group of six other people to hang up some posters and do some mud stencilling. the entire time there was this undercurrent (in my mind at least) that "we shouldn't be doing this, because we'll make people mad". well, of course those who will be mad are the people who own the buildings and of course those people are everywhere. they even hire people to watch their buildings, lest someone look at it wrong or, much worse, ride their skateboard off the stairs.

after putting up a good amount of posters on what seemed to be innocent enough walls, we did put some posters and stencils in one park downtown, which i helped pay for through my paycheck extortion (city taxes), and yet i still wondered how long the posters would stay up. the second crew were warned twice by plaza security, after which they gave up. both crews were then relegated to hitting up two parking garages in the plaza to do the remainder of our work.

it is a sad state of our city spaces when we have to hunt for available spaces and places to communicate with our brothers and sisters. everything is owned, taken up or otherwise off-limits somehow. why is it that only people with money to own a business get to claim all the space as their own? why is all that space privately owned in the first place? what does that say about who deserves to be seen and heard?