Bill bores the street

How your town says hello should not be billboard boring.

To turn the tone around narrow ways, faded edges from poor maintenance — sometimes a lack of vision: we need new insights. Technical assessments of place, form and lines specify conflict points between systems and people.

A piece of Mahikeng Industrial (c) Ofentse Mokwena 2017

An intersection is a sesspool of conflict points. However, there are so many conflict points that float well noticed but go without being noted in townspaces. Perhaps bylaws could snap jaws at managing the pin boards printed along tarmac introductions to towns. Maybe you need a plumber or fridge repair on arrival. Maybe you need to find a special place to rest or find a clinic or police station. Some notices imposed on our retina reveal a deficit in page space in the local media arena. Others are homemade points of note for blood cooling Mayo; great hidden lunch gems; and typical corner tunes to sip fermented foam from. Yet, these conflict points indictative of the joints of each limb in our ever connected species go unnoticed. If they are, they are painted with cynicism and complaints — as if community defensive. An ironic symptom of political theorists may call progressive retrogressive behavior.

Bush curation carved the tall stance of Mokopane in Limpopo Province (c) Ofentse Mokwena 2017

Progressive retrogression

In principle, we voice our concerns as if complaining is constructive. It is not. Demonstrating appropriate solutions, alternative avenues, forms of discourse and means of articulation — - are each progressive. The retrogressive element is an obsession with apathy and hopeless focus on the drama we’ve heard of before; the corruption here; the attitude there — solutions where? Yes, opinions voiced, but nothing unearthed along the narrative does little for critical debating. Weird how the popular themes now seem to be about open ended debating; inconclusive post-post-post modernism?

Warm welcome from legends, intellectuals and questions in Mahikeng from Vryburg (c) Ofentse Mokwena 2017

Or the proliferation of relativity: as if Einstein was the only intellectual mineral with odd quotes and fuzzy hair. A persistent need to lay linear, stick the most convenient narrative; form; projection and design — makes one less “opinionated” and more “informative”. What if getting ahead meant we needed to be applied felt-thoughtful? Genuine fear of critique, lack of celebration and the concomitant gatekeepers are on the loosing end. As the paradigms converge and marketing fights into NO LOGO spaces — the joke may have already left the roadway with a bad impression, but good information.

Faded edges greet and wave with a malleable token for Vryburg in the North West Province (c) Ofentse Mokwena 2017

Not so progressive suggestions

  • Welcome visitors and locals with an information centre at busybody entry-points.
  • Be Hollywood Bold about your locality but curate local artists to splash up the brand.
  • Love the roadway — May it Welcome walking, cycling and animal drawn friends with the scenery of the countryside.
  • Invest in information packs that are digital, or if printed — so good they are worth keeping; amazing narratives, stories and figurines.
  • Connect with employers to bring companies together, travel to work at different times, car pool, walk more and dance every other weekend.

Highway sales chewed out of the roadway so that they’re no where near the conflict, yet close enough to be heard. (c) Ofentse Mokwena 2017
  • Cut the conflict points and make the area lovely enough for a toddler to feel elated, yet easy to find; an adolescent comfortable to pimple; an adult -youthful; and the elderly active.
  • Focus on the little things — take action on plans and complain much less.
  • Cut the billboards, and decorate with local artists; culture and cuisine — that liquor advertising won’t quench any of the real thirsts thrusted at municipalities.
  • Brag about yourself, what you’re doing and how well, far, near and challenging it is.
  • Focus on the big things — dream bigger than any local and inspire them beyond how the “urban” sisters could.
  • Treat your locals like new arrivals, fresh tourists, interact with them.
  • Connect the tenant and transport network in a safe and secure way — intimate enough to enjoy, clear enough to navigate.
  • Teach.

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