Technology has brought us humans so many good things. We can communicate. We are entertained. We are safer. We are progressing, developing and continually learning. But, it also gives us a greater power to help others.
Project 256, co-ordinated by Chris Courtney, has been created to give a voice back to the homeless through art and technology. It wants to change the perception of giving to the homeless and prevent homeless people from becoming shunned or invisible.
First of all a street artist paints a huge image of the homeless person in a prominent public position with a unique QR code and a web-link. The web-link shows you a video about the homeless person featured and the QR code is linked to a Bitcoin wallet that belongs to the homeless person in the portrait.
A donation can be made that is both direct and instantly received. The homeless person is supplied with a phone for them to be able to utilise the donations. This means you know the donated money is going directly to help that person to buy food or shelter for the night, or to save for larger purchases.
The homeless person isn’t dependent on being there to receive the donation and I can imagine that this could make donations more consistent and reliable? I guess we will see as the project unfolds!
Check out Herakut’s website
The project is starting in London and Paris where there is a lot of free wi-fi available on the street. However the project hasn’t been without its teething problems. Initially the phones were quickly sold to make instant cash. However, now the phone is looked after by the street artist or a volunteer for up to a month with the hope that the homeless person will understand that it will provide an income with potential long term benefits.
The artist’s image makes it a positive talking point and individual stories can be followed. Columbo was the first man in Britain to be featured. He has been painted in Shoreditch, in East London by Bom.K. and can be seen at the top of this page as the main article image and below.
Art is being used to PR the cause, to tell a story and change people’s perceptions. There is a story, a person, a life behind the homeless person you donate to, a story told through beautiful street art imagery and amazing advances in technology. But most importantly this facilitates the ability to be able to help.
The more I learn about PR, the more I see it as a glue that holds projects together, it has the ability to create a platform where it can help to inform, educate and facilitate. PR is powerful. It comes in various forms and functions.
So my next thing to tickle your creative tastebuds has to be the trailer that Banksy released today for Dismaland! I know – I’m obsessed. Dismaland is my cup of tea, so why not celebrate the things you like?
The video follows a family, who start at the breakfast table and is questioned by a narrative that asks ‘is there something missing in your life?’.
They then head to the park to experience a classic rip-off of Disney’s infamous tag line ‘the happiest place on Earth’ but then experience all sorts of ‘dismal’ happenings once there.
It’s a creative rip off of the Disney TV adverts and is the perfect homage to his bemusement park and the extremely on point art works which pick up topical provocative political and cultural themes.
Watch it here:
My five am start, two and half hour drive and four and a half hour queue time to ensure my feet were one of the first across the threshold at Dismaland paid off…
I was in!
*Spoiler Alert: Go no further! I haven’t put many images up that are new and not in the press because I don’t believe in ruining it for others, but there are a couple. If you want to go and don’t want to ruin it for yourself, look no further!*
The pre-opening ticket PR hype did nothing to quell my excitement, and I was not disappointed. Not one little bit!
The staff are purposefully rude, abrupt and non-responsive, but in such a humourous way that I got an exceptional fit of the giggles as we passed through the fake security entrance. Of course they had been told to do that, but the innocent childish laughter kept coming. Cardboard scanners and CCTV and other props were incredible, polished off by the outstanding performance by the staff who ‘interrogated’ you. After a hilariously impressive start I went through the door half-expecting it to end there but there were more staff to hand out leaflets, only they made it intentionally difficult for you to take a map from their hand, or just stood there looking at you blankly full of disdain. None of them broke character, not once and it totally made the experience.
I found it a visual over load, with so much detail that I took a lot of time taking it all in. It was a magnificent triumph, Banksy had successfully curated a wide array of art and put the artists together to create one fluid and coherent installation. He created this from scratch in under six months, it was seriously impressive.
Having the PR ‘stunt’ fit in line with the event/attraction/installation (well, it is all three!) was the perfect way to promote the event and keep it in line with the mission behind the installation.
The art itself, predominantly installations, were deliberately thought provoking and challenged perceptions. Here’s a peek at some of the works…
It’s a great place for creative thought, perhaps it suggests a way for public relations to come at things from a different angle too. The stakeholders in attendance were a large cross-section of society, some where there because of the hype, the attraction, the installation, to look cool, to be an activist, an anarchist, an artist…
Every sort of person was there and international languages rippled across the air. Stereotypes didn’t really work here, it had a strange mass appeal. Perhaps it’s because Banksy’s works aren’t aimed at one person, they are aimed at everyone, to challenge everyone’s thoughts and what is fundamentally right and wrong.
It was anything but Dismal! We had a wonderful time, and I seriously suggest you go and experience not only the fun side, but the elements which make you challenge your thoughts and ideas on difficult topics.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget to Exit through the Gift Shop…