Street Use

Pop-Up Market in Bangkok

Street Use’s Ambassador-at-Large, Todd Lapin, filed this report about street use in Thailand. The contents of this short video clip entitled Train Runs Through Bangkok Market is very hard to describe, but I can assure you it is worth watching.  What is most surprising is the speed of recovery. Mr. Lappin writes: 

Watch this one through to the end… it’s a pop-up market on a train track in Thailand.  Amazing.

Posted on November 30, 2007 at 10:35 pm | comments

Pakistan’s Decorated Vehicles


I’ve ridden in some Pakistan buses decorated like this truck, and I do believe the extreme color makes the dusty, long trip more fun. I took a few photos, but nothing like the wonderful portfolio of art that Peter Grant has accumulated. He’s followed the trucks back to their painterly sources. And it is not just trucks (or lorries as they are called there) that succumb to these paint jobs, and that Grant captures. Pakistanis paint bikes, carts, jeeps, scooters, buses and boats in a similar riot of color.

Some may wonder, why? These large, ornate decorations remind me of the massive antlers of moose. According to some evolutionary biologists, the fantastical, and impractical horns are the result of a runaway arms-race, as males try to outdo other males in their maleness. I think the same is happening with the lorry decorations in Pakistan. When I was there 30 years ago, the art was simpler (although still eye-popping). It has gone over the top as artists and owners try to outdo each other in detail, scope, and intensity. This art is cool and useless, and hugely impractical.


For a related exaggerated decoration of trucks, see the Japanese Dekorata in Street Use.

Posted on November 27, 2007 at 9:16 am | comments

Layers of Time

I found this on Otherthings Flickr page. It a multilayered paint chip taken from a public mural wall that was recently demolished.

This is an extreme closeup scan (2400 dpi) of a paint chip retrieved from the ruins of Belmont Art Park by Amy McKenzie earlier this year. The fragment is about 1cm thick, and appears to consist of about 150-200 layers of paint. (For a sense of scale, note the ridges of my fingerprint in the lower right.) This should give you an idea of the staggering number of pieces painted in this spot over the decades.  The park used to be surrounded by one long wall covered with artwork, but that wall was illegally demolished by real estate developers earlier this year.

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Posted on November 20, 2007 at 2:28 pm | comments

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