Using street names to measure a city’s cultural values.
Streets have been used as a form of social engineering, mirroring a town’s cultural, political and religious values. They also suggest what people deeply care about, who they are, and who they like to be seen to be.
In Micha’s new works, European city streets become his subject as the artist captures a sort of “time capsule” by creating molds in-situ that he later casts in his studio capturing all the elements at the time of mold making.
Streetonomics will leave you looking at streets in a whole new way…
“During the first covid-19 lockdown, I had to travel quite extensively to some European cities and what bewildered me the most, was the silence, the eerie quietness from otherwise busting streets with life. As public transport was also to a standstill, walking was my means of transport from one city location to an other. Some streets, known for their active spirited and energetic temper, were stripped of what was once their signature dish, sort of speak. Some others, like in Geneva, were just as empty as they were during pre-covid times.
What they all had in common, was that the streets lost their people, their character, their way of life.
Slowly after life started getting back to normalcy, I wanted to capture the emotions that I had felt, whether gained or lost, from those city streets during covid. From the fresh chewing gum left by newly visiting tourists on the marble pavement at the entrance of the Ancient Agora in Athens to the fatigued cracking asphalt of a once busy street of the Swiss alps.
My journey continued to Milan on via Corridoni, adjacent to the entrance of the famous Leonardo da Vinci university language school, who’s walls drew my interest as a witness to decades of graffiti, peeling off from their glorious past of being a student’s artistic sociopolitical “message board” and desperately waiting for the remote learning to end.
My last stop was in Cologne, who’s stone paved streets had a story to tell, literally!..."
Micha Cattaui, May, 2022