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Subtle Swiss Urban Art

While wandering around I've noticed all the good urban art in Switzerland is very subtle and often well hidden

I'm not sure why, exactly, Zürich feels nice to be in. As soon as I arrived I liked it. The longer I stayed, the more I liked it. Why could this be, I wonder? Let's take a stab at it and say: maybe it's the subtlety? Vague - yes - but apt. You see, here they don't plaster it over every wall, nor do they shout it out loudly every chance they get - how wonderful (they think) it is in Switzerland. Although there is rampant use of the colour red, it still stays subtle enough to never be a bother; rather, it actually seems more likely they just decided on a colour-scheme and stuck to it. Branding - they has it.

Urban art can say a lot about the attitudes of a populous. Take anti-war graffiti or anti-social fuck-them-all! graffiti for example, which is clearly reflecting a negative attitude. Compare this to the colourful and happy graffiti decorating Zürich and you can understand what I mean. Swiss people must be rather satisfied with things in general because, far from negative or anti-social graffiti being sprayed, their urban art is either just colourfully-decorative or humorously-satirical. Sam appreciates this muchly.

Swiss anti-aids posters are freaking awesome! For 2008 we have Astronauts, Scuba Divers, Spelunkers and Tarzan. The first time I saw one it didn't really catch my eye until I had walked on, though 'wait a sec', and gone back to see two scuba divers getting it on. Subtle... The 2007 campaign was titled: No Action Without Protection, so clearly playing hockey or fencing without protection would be silly (as shown). Lastly, their 2006 posters used much simpler visual cues; who doesn't like stick figures, really? It's all available to giggle at on their web page here: www.lovelife.ch. Love it!

There were more amusing shop names to be found in Zürich this week. How would you like to dine at the Roten Kamel? Yes, I'm fully aware that's German for Red Camel, still funny. Or a poster of a (lol) cat with the word 'BEER' written above advertising - and if you guessed you'd be wrong - a bookshop. It read: 'There's a lot in life you can go without, but not cats and literature'. Not food and water?

With all this snazzy urban art and very little graffiti about the city, you tend to give any old scribble on a wall the benefit of the doubt and think it good. Even hastily-sprayed and misspelt swear-words could be considered deep as a statement of some post-modern kind. It also helped that it was directly opposite the art gallery, in thinking it was artistic. As was this one here - fast and cheap but still somehow not graffiti. Drawing boobs on a poster: Graffiti? No no, it's artistic! It's a comment on the superficiality of the fashion industry. Oh rly?

Then there's stickers. If you really try you'll start noticing quite subtly placed stickers. They don't stand out especially much and are not even that direct in their purpose, so why do people stick them there? What do they mean? What was the person who stuck them there thinking when they did it? Was it put there as part of an underground subtle urban art movement? I would certainly like to think so, because it sounds rather romantic. Stickers, as well as other little scribbles subtly stencilled somewhere you'd never notice unless you looked, have such an appeal as an art form I think.

Just as an aside, I thought these books were funny placed next to each other (photo taken shortly after Mike and Luke visited). I also managed to get two good reflective mirror photos of myself (because all you bastards don't take photos of me) in the city. Meike was with me in Zürich for a while and so I put a flower in her hair. It was the same kind of flower (Tropaeolum majus) that grew at the bottom of Beryl Street in Warners Bay (my first house) by the big cement drain. They smell nice, just like the mirror cleaning fluid Meike has in Berlin for her bathroom. She says they're nothing alike but what does she know... I like them both anyway :-)