STREETART_ "Paris 13 Tower" is a visual and sound transmedia project, that is both immersive and collaborative, putting the power in your hands. After gaining the relevant permissions, art gallery owner Medhi Ben Cheikh invited artists from around the world to decorate every part of the building – from its 36 apartments to stairwells and the exterior brickwork – before it is torn down.
For one month only the tower has been visited physically and on the website down to the tiniest detail, than was physically closed to the public but still available online. Everyone was asked to virtually save the artworks created from destruction, click by click, pixel by pixel.
The site now only include the parts that you were able to save, it is the only witness of this huge artistic project. The tower is now permanently closed and will soon be destoyed.
We had a conversation with Mehdi Ben Cheikh about his project and its enormous success.
- Could you talk about the project? What was the idea?
As a gallery of street art, I must have an urban practice of street art. That's why I worked for several years with the Mayor of the 13th district of Paris on an open sky museum of street art and many others projects. Regarding the Tour Paris 13 project, with the support of the Mayor, the social landlord of the building, ICF Habitat La Sablière, gave us the apartment as and when the tenants were relocated, from February to September 2013. I've ask artists to came from all over the world to intervene voluntary (free) and completely invest the place, from floor to ceiling. More than 100 artistes came from 15 differents countries. To make the biggest exhibition of Street Art ever made !
- How did you select the artists?
I knew the first like eL Seed who paint one of the building facade of the Tour (the red one), because they are exhibitors in my gallery, and then network worked. Because they all wanted to belong to this project. But there was one rule : it should remain confidential until mid-september.
- Which was the response from the visitors?
Just creasy! From 8 to 13 hours of queue to go inside!
- The tower is going to be demolished this month. Do you think that this event was a success or a failure respect your initial intentions?
It will takes few weeks to demolishd the tower. It should be done in February or March. Un incredible sucess and a real answer to people who wants and needs those kind of artistic project in Paris.
Now the exhibition is over but you can still visit the tower and have a look to the artworks saved by supporters and visitors on the website http://www.tourparis13.fr. Also you can sadly follow the destruction...
Have a look to Tour Paris 13 on Google Open Gallery
GIVEN THE URGENT AND EPHEMERAL NATURE OF THE STREET ART,
IN THE END IT IS THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS THAT THIS PROJECT WILL BE ABLE TO SURVIVE.