In our over-juried, overexposed, over-hyped land of art and design it's refreshing to see an art event that not only has no jury, but also gives away the pieces in an "unprejudiced" way to anyone near the bike path. Born out of a reaction to recent changes regarding Berlin's vandalism laws, Papergirl rallies artists and cyclists to distribute rolls of paper art (posters, prints, etc.) to unsuspecting Berliners. I had the pleasure of interviewing the original Papergirl, Aisha Ronniger, to find out more about this project.
Step 1 - Assemble
In your video interview (see below) you said Papergirl's main message is to have fun, and make people happy. Do you think the art scene has lost sight of these goals in any way?
Well, first of all, this is me talking about myself. I ponder too much about things and what might others think about things etc. So the impulse was: do it and have fun and get other people involved, cause shared fun is twice as fun!
Step 2 - Gather
Papergirl, in addition to being a reaction to the recent paste-up law in Berlin, also focuses on the experience of the event as a performance piece. What sort of reactions do you see from people receiving the posters/seeing the group of cyclists?
Berlin is a city full of art, so many people are kind of used to it or are too cool to show any reaction or curiosity at first. But mainly people are surprised and even the toughest ones are curious after a while! So sometimes we get a "thanks" yell or even thank you e-mails!
Step 3 - Deliver
You say the works show a great range of quality and quantity. Why did you decide to make Papergirl an "open call" submission and not a juried show?
I think it comes from a street art point of view. The streets are not curated either and all the work that is out there is sort of a present to the viewer, too! Through this decision the visitor of the show turns into a curator. And also, I don't want to tell anyone what he can or can't give away.
Step 4 - Enjoy
Papergirl is specific to Berlin. Do you see Papergirl expanding to occur in other cities/countries?
I'd say the idea of Papergirl is universally understandable; in every culture you make presents and people make art. So actually, you only need a bikeable city and some people! In fact Papergirl has already been invited to Spain and there is a PPG branch in California since this year. It would make me very happy, if Papergirl would be adapted all over the world one day!
Find out more about participating or starting your own Papergirl Project.
All photos courtesy of just.ekosystem.org. Interview by Steph Walker.