Mission District Transition: every-flavor beans, one by one?

Erie Alley looked good from under the freeway yesterday. Seems like a lot of the paintings are visible. The storage yard in front might have been more cleared out than usual.


Same day, this is how the front wall looked in the Mission Dispatch food truck court on Bryant St:
IMG_0146scaledThe Mission Dispatch self-description says:

“It’s about the people, it’s about community. It’s a place where artists, designers, and others converge in a nice, sheltered, outdoor space under the sun, to meet new people, try new food, share ideas, and collaborate.”IMG_0146detail

There’s an homage on the site to the former city sign shop where the food trucks stand now. Plenty of respect expressed there for continuity from the past. Plenty of respect for street-made aesthetics too — it’s a food truck garage, after all. Plenty of respect, certainly, for creativity within the frame that the host space provides.

But on the wall outside is one of the more firmly phrased anti-graffiti signs out there. And that wall remains painted one color, unbroken.

It is of course a property owner’s right not to give in to graffiti.

Except, every property owner who diligently paints over tags doesn’t put up a sign like that. A point is being made about staking out a private property’s public face. Why?

So, OK, I don’t know if there is some particular graffiti conflict going on involving that block. If so, my own outsider’s ignorance is showing.

But I’m going to guess something else is going on there. I think it’s an aspect of the prevailing newer aesthetic to see one thing at a time: one food truck at a time, one news story, one blog post, one tweet. Pick one thing at a time out of the jumble, set it off in a frame, guard its integrity against encroachment, appreciate it with undivided if possibly brief attention.

On or off the Web, no matter how big or small a thing is, each thing gets its own capsule. Whether it’s Twitter or a food-truck court or a magazine or a clothing shop or a restaurant menu, a mix of things is a selection of discrete items offered to a consumer in a framing context that’s like a bowl of every-flavor jellybeans, each with its own separately encapsulated flavor — not like a “melting pot”, nor a stew, nor a patchwork, nor a garden.

Maybe because attention to one single thing is terribly valuable amid the firehose spray of data? Because, online, the effects of jumble can feel more like nuisance than serendipity?

How much does it matter that money is involved in setting things off one by one, away from jumble?

Are unplanned, unchosen kinds of synthesis important for creativity? In what proportion to the whole?


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