I like sticker art, or street art graphics, if we’re going to be fancy.
The little graphics stuck onto lampposts, mailboxes, newspaper boxes, derelict phone booths, bus shelters, and other public places where people tend to stand around for more than a few seconds. Those things.
Sometimes witty, sometimes punny, sometimes venturing waaaay into weirdo crackpot wackadoo territory. Sometimes they’re political. Sometimes commercial. Many times they’re just plain odd.
These stealth statements are stuck wherever by whomever for whatever reason. An actual physical archive of these materials is highly unlikely because safely removing a sticker from public property would attract more interest (from pedestrians and police alike; “Don’t worry, officer. I’m an archivist!” would go over so well…) than a quick snapshot.
But that hasn’t stopped collections from being developed. St. Lawrence University hosts the Street Art Graphics collection, publicly accessible via contentDM. It can be searched by genre, geographic location, and artist/contributor.
Still, St. Lawrence’s collection just focuses on the graphics and not the graphics in situ. Seeing the stickers in their native habit, knowing and seeing where they’ve been deposited just lends a *does a rolling hand gesture* certain something.
While it would be nice for a group of archivists to scour the streets of major metropolitan areas looking for possible accessions, obtaining funding for such an endeavor might be a bit of a problem. An archive focusing on this genre would be best developed in the digital realm as a crowd-sourced… thing… Perhaps in the same vein as the Smithsonian’s crowd-sourced Rock & Roll photo archive.
Smithsonian Rock & Roll has photos, event data, information on the camera that took the pictures, and copyright attributions. Sweet.
Something like this for street stickers would be pretty nifty. I know, I know. That’s what Tumblr is for. Pinterest, too. But I’m not talking about just sticking some pictures on a blog.
I think it would be interesting to see a proper archival investigation into the who, what, where, when, why, and how of these items, to the best of the donor’s/crowd-sourcer’s (and archivist’s) abilities. Locations! Dates! Subject attributions and thematic grouping! Plots on a map! All the good stuff.
And then advertise it via some kick-ass street stickers.