Found City Poems
1. Found City Poems is an idea freely taken and freely given. We want you to join in.
2. We hold that text is the most significant building block of the contemporary city.
3. We are in love with text, and especially in love with text in the urban environment. We are endlessly fascinated by how text is used in cities, and by what is hidden therein.
4. Although we call them “Found City Poems”, we like poems found in any environment, urban or rural or somewhere in between. We think that wherever text appears in the environment, there is a tiny fragment of city there.
5. A Found City Poem is not received, but revealed. A Found City Poem is never a given message from an advertiser, urban signage designer, punk flyposterer, or other text author. Each Poem must be Found through unexpected juxtaposition, framing, angling, or other device. We mistrust authors of text and what they have to say, but are grateful for the raw materials they provide.
6. A Found City Poem will have meanings unintended by the authors of its source texts, and may be outright contradictory. Political, ideological and aesthetic commentary on the source texts is welcome, but we hope that Found City Poems will live longer than their sources.
7. A Found City Poem must not be digitally edited to find the poem: it must record the poem as it is found. Digital editing is permissable to alter contrast and brightness and so on in order to make the poem more legible, as long as the process does not obscure any text that would otherwise be visible.
8. We find Poems as children find them: we are ontologically and aesthetically naive. That is to say, we do not overly question how reality is made up or what we find beautiful.
9. The artwork is the Poem, not the photograph. Therefore, crappy photos are perfectly acceptable. They may even be preferable. Cameraphones are encouraged. We do not care if the photo is poorly lit, slightly blurry, or from a clichéd angle, so long as the Poem is clear. Professional photographers are still welcome as long as they are trying to find Poems, not photographs.
10. We believe that looking for Poems is a wonderful way of exploring a city, whether it is familiar or unfamiliar. Looking for Poems heightens and directs observation, and can be very calming in the crowds and noise of the contemporary city. Looking for Poems is especially good at neutralising the overwhelming effect of a city filled with advertising copy.
11. Looking for Poems is about finding out how text is used in the city, and then trying to get it to do something else.
— Harry Giles, 02/10/14