Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Thursday, 8 January 2015

One Riddle Solved! (Spit Chewing gum can look lovely!)

©Brigitta Huegel



Dear You, 
you know by now that I have an eye for little things - and being (part-)eidetic, I do not forget pictures (nor faces, even when they have aged during years-long absence).   
So when I spent a few weeks in London in August 2014, I walked over the Millenium Bridge,  and run with the hustling stream of visitors. Then I stopped, several times, seeing tiny drawings at my feet (or under the feet of others - people just don't look), very colourful and a bit naive, like little graffiti. Of course I took photographs (not that easy - I could not get sharper ones), and when I tried to find out what they are, no one could tell me (might have asked the wrong people in Tate Modern?) 
Now I think the riddle is solved: I looked into facebook today and saw a photo in The Londonist and thought: that must be him - the creator of these tiny images! 
Artist Ben Wilson draws his miniatures on chewing gum that other people carelessly spit out on the pavement - and in a BBC interview (at the end of my letter) I found this sentence most impressing: "Not making to many judgments - just seeing what we can make out of it". (OWTTE)

http://cdn.londonist.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Chewing-gum.jpg

Here is the link to the BBC film: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11677462

So I am content that I stayed on facebook (though I drastically reduced the time I spend there to 10 minutes a day). 
And happy to have one answer (of many) solved. 

Yours 
Britta 


22 comments:

  1. He should come to Bath - plenty of gum on the streets here.

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    1. I think he has enough work in London...

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  2. Have you heard of the exterior walls of buildings completely covered in spent chewing gum. I believe one such wall is in Seattle, but there are several around the world, PRESERVED as tourist attractions.
    This fellow seemingly is a miniaturist. Or a minimalist.

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    1. No, I never heard of this wall in Seattle - it reminds me a bit of that bridge in Paris, where they put so many bike locks on (symbolizing ever-lasting love) that one pillar of the bridge broke.

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  3. You have a good eye to spot the art in the gum. You can definitely see the tree in the forest. I will be watching minutiae more carefully from now on.

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    1. It is not always a blessing: I see when a picture hangs 1mm sloping (can live with that) but have to protect against horrible pictures because I cannot "delete" them (so you'll never find me in a horror film). Sorry to say that I cannot 'photocopy' the text of a whole page in front of me (though I remember the page and the place where a quote is written). But very good: I can buy something in shades of colour without having the original with me - it will always match.

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  4. We live in such an interesting time. Chewing gum.

    Happy New Year, Britta!

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    1. Yes, one needs to find the idea. Happy New Year to you too, Suze!

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  5. I like what the artist is doing here. I am also fond, as you know, of solutions to enigmas. You have solved this one elegantly. Brava!

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    1. Thank you, Geo., it was the pose of the artist that made the "click" - and you will feel the same: a riddle might be pushed into the back of one's mind, but is still nagging there.

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  6. I met someone who used to stick tiny paper American flags with toothpick sticks in dog doo (a peculiar sort of clean-up message, intended with humor, I think). I'll have to say, both activities make me a bit squeamish! You are my role model with your 10 minutes a day limitation on FB. I haven't achieved it yet, but on those occasions when I do, I always have a more productive day. (Resolution for the New Year . . .)

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    1. I don't like chewing gum - and think people very ill-behaving who spit it on the pavement - but interesting what the artist made of it: so bright little pictures!
      As to FB: it really became to much of a time-consumer. I took a break - saw how much more time and energy I had then (though I missed articles from the Guardian etc) - and when I came back I used my device I bought some time ago especially for FB: a huge hourglass - it shows me drastically how time is running away, out...

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  7. What an interesting story. I like the idea of someone turning what most of us see as nasty and ugly into miniature pieces of art. And it's verrrry cool that you were paying enough attention to notice his work, and then found out their origin.

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    1. Looking at tiny thing is so satisfying - that's why I like the close-up lense in photography, and the column in a journal. (Though I prefer very lengthy novels to short stories).

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  8. I don't like FB - I just pop in to see my son's latest linocut print and then I am away. I don't like people who throw gum on the floor either, but must admit that little gum character has an appeal.

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    1. When I discussed FB with son, he said he desn't like it because it is a medium of the "acclamation culture" (hope I express it right - its based on approval or consent).
      With those little miniatures it is as with graffiti: I would hate to have one on the wall of our house, and I detest those boring name tags - but have to admit grudgingly that some are real works of art (hopefully on the wall of a factory).

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  9. Hello Britta,

    Well, we have to say that we dislike intensely the habit which does seem to have reached epidemic proportions of spitting out chewing gum wherever and whenever. And, to be truthful, we are not entirely certain that painting tiny pictures on the discarded gum improves matters. Still, do not get us started on the closely allied topic of graffiti since that will raise blood pressures that we have worked hard over the last few weeks to reduce!

    One thing that is so intriguing, however, is that somehow one can track down the most obscure of pieces of information these days. The labyrinth of the Internet is a mine of information as well as a minefield!

    Thank you for your kind messages. They are much appreciated.

    We wish you and your family joy, peace and success for 2015.

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    1. I can share your feelings - and want to avoid every topic that might raise your blood pressure (meditation is a fine way, but they will have taught you that - and I recommend Robert E. Kowalski - on Amazon - an amazing way to reduce cholosterol in a natural way without drugs - I tried it years ago myself with wonderful effects - was never troubled again).

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  10. I do like such unassuming original art, Britta,

    AND

    Your Obi is utterly beautiful

    AND

    Your birthday is the very same date as mine

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    1. So Happy Birthday to you too, Mise - now this riddle is solved too: that's why we both are passionate about pink, love to laugh a lot and are observing people (others and us :-).

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  11. The 'Ick Factor' is very large here for me, though I admire the ingenuity that finds art in the oddest place.

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    1. What I love, Pondside, is that you are so flexible - not insisting on one point of view, though of course you have one, and make it clear - but you also try to feel into the other person's view of things. That's my definition of "young".

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