In honor of Nelson Mandela, whose 95th birthday was celebrated across South Africa and around the world this week, Shanghai-based artist Phil Akashi created a mural titled Tribute to Mandela in the Shanghai Graffiti Park. To make the monumental portrait of the icon, Akashi used a boxing glove dipped in black traditional Chinese ink paste to repeatedly imprint the Chinese character for “freedom” on the wall. The resulting image consists of 27,000 punches, symbolizing the 27 years Mandela served in prison.
Plans for a new office development in North Amsterdam called De Ceuvel will transform a formerly polluted waterfront area into an environmentally sustainable hub for creative professionals. The development—which will only remain on site for 10 years—features retrofitted houseboats connected by winding bamboo paths that will provide office and workshop spaces for creative and social entrepreneurs. The surrounding area will also house environmental treatment plants that clean up toxic waste left on the site from former industrial use.
In Tunisia, a country that has restrictions on public assembly, a company called 216 Atelier has created an app that enables soccer fans to cheer on their team while watching the game remotely. The 12th Man App allows the user to select commands such as “horn,” “applause,” or “sing,” which then stream through 40 large speakers, making the cheers audible to the players in the stadium. To evoke the experience of being in a crowd, fans are also able to see which commands were being used most by other fans. As stated on the company’s website, the 12th Man App enabled 93,000 fans to support their team during their win of the First League championship.
SeekProject in Lagos, Nigeria is an initiative that places murals on the sides of buses in an effort to expand the dialogue between art and audience within the public realm. While the project was launched as part of the Lagos Live Arts Festival in 2012, the murals have become permanent ornaments displayed on the city’s public transit system. Due to the popularity of the project, there is hope that it finds financial support to create new murals that add to the city’s vibrant streetscape in the future.
As part of Turkey’s nation-wide protests against Prime Minister Erdogan and the ruling AKP party, the people of Istanbul transformed Gezi Park into a makeshift social commune. The local community built cooperative stalls that served a multitude of functions and programmatic activities, among them a communal kitchen, television and radio stations, a free-speech corner for formulating tactics, an infirmary, a warehouse, workshops, and yoga classes. All were made possible with donated supplies from supporters in Turkey and around the world.