You may see the "Occupy X" encampments as ramshackle nuisances of temporary shelter and unhygienic disorder. But the Washington Post sees "a vibrant brand of urbanism", worthy of contemplation, approval, and comparisons with random installations in modern art museums.
Yes, I double-checked. It's not a piece from The Onion.
Some deep thoughts from the article:
“There is a self-consciousness to camping,” says [author Charley] Hailey. “It is a truly applied aesthetics.”
That self-expression makes McPherson Square a dynamic study in improvisation and adaptation. Signage, made mostly with recycled cardboard and pizza boxes, is everywhere, creating a cacophony of anti-capitalist messages that resists the bullet-point thinking of commercial and organizational culture.
Practical adaptations to living outdoors take on artistic resonance. To make it easier to fill water jugs, someone has created an elegant system of two bamboo sluices that channel water from a drinking fountain. No one would take credit for this small “hack” of standard urban furniture. But that refusal of authorship is also part of the Occupy value system.
The idea that Hoovervilles plus iPhones make for a dynamic rejuvenation of urban cores is, to put it mildly, ridiculous. I wonder how their relaxed approach to land allocation meshes with their demands for massive government intervention to solve social problems.