Porto’s Alma 11
Since I have been writing my Streetart Stories about the City Ghost of Frankfurt am Main, I feel I have been chased by all sorts of ghost’s or monsters sprayed on to the walls in different cities. In Mainz, there is this monster mostly popping up on Stickers or papers stuck to walls, dustbins, traffic signs or whatever. In Bremen, I found this really ugly monster which looks like a giant skate from some underwater horror show. When I pass by Düsseldorf on the train, I always recognize these huge pieces of some monster or other as well similar to the one in Mainz. The city ghost in Frankfurt looks also more like a monster than a ghost and I think Hazul’s piece here is really this type of ghost that first springs to mind. I remember street art by Herbert Baglione on the floor of the Hauptwache in Frankfurt during a street art festival instigated by the Kunsthalle Schirn with artists from Brazil. For years, the ghost was visible on the floor and the crowd walked across it. These are ghost one would find in old children’s books. The long cape blowing in the wind assimilating a ghost shooing around the blocks of the city in a spooky way. So what is it about cities and its ghosts? It cannot be a coincidence that every city kind of has its special ghost character. I think it must have something to do with townspeople in general. The German rapper and singer Peter Fox always portraits the city monkey and especially when partying it is easy to find people turning into ghosts or monkeys or even monsters. It is this moment when the alcohol is losing its impact and the body becomes aware of its corporality by feeling sick, tired and exhausted. You are walking home alone, or you are haunted squeezing into a night bus which could really turn into a nightmare because everybody is sweaty, drunk displaying a ghostly pallor, mentally absent like a moving hull of one’s true self. At day time, when millions of people form a mass running from shop to shop, focusing only on consumption, bumping into every person without caring, shopping streets like the Zeil in Frankfurt can turn into a ghost train as well. But I think, it is this city’s night life which moves street artists to spray ghostly characters on to the walls. They have this really strong connection to night life which is freedom and prison in one. To fill time until safe spraying can be done from midnight to the morning you join some party, ingest some harmless drug to cool down, then you go out the club with ears beeping and swooshing like hell, your body dissolves in an atmosphere of alcohol, dancing and stale air, and of course the smoke. The smoke, the smoke, the smoke. It is this moment when the atmosphere sort of overturns. The moment when you realize, this wasn’t the great party you wanted to go to again. And then you realize that you had been searching for this special feeling of party freedom you felt ten years ago when you were eighteen and that since then you have wasted your time searching for this feeling. So you kept drinking, partying, going out at night, but this special time never returns. You start to realize that during these good old days, you were surrounded by friends but now you go out alone every weekend only cozying up to your own ghostly specter. So you spray these ghost on to your city walls to make your voice and feelings heard. You feel empty, you don’t feel real, because what is left of you is a face without identity, a cover without content. So Alma is going to haunt you, she is going to shoo around these corners to remember your capacity, your volume, your matter, your meaning. Watch out for her. She is your shadow in the night lacking a spark of light.