Inspired by the hacker movement, urban artist and activist Florian Riviere’s work in urban environments like Russia take back space dominated by corporations and government, and put them back in the hands of the people. His self-proclaimed “urban hacking” turns everything from advertising billboards and sidewalks and transforms them in to foot racing paths and basketball courts.
His newest peace of urban “hacktivism” is found in Berlin. A rotating advertisement sign proclaims the benefits of whatever piece of corporate culture is being sold. Beneath, however, Riviere has carefully and meticulously fashioned three shopping carts around the base. The carts are made in such a way that a child could easily be placed inside, turning this advertisement taking up valuable urban space, and turning it in to a piece of amusement for Berlin youths.
Riviere draws inspiration from the technological counter culture of hackers, who as individuals have done much to counteract what they see as the poisonous culture of capitalism and greed. Encouraged by the stories of individuals striking out on their own and making a difference, Riviere has gone to nations all over the world to bring his particular brand of art to nearby streets and parks.
He constructs his amusements with something he calls “upcycling”, or using waste and other discarded materials to form the core of an entertaining idea. In addition to rejuvenating the nearby neighborhood, he also reduces waste, and takes otherwise useless materials and turns them in to something beautiful.