COMBO and MUTO — revolutionary urbanism with a spraycan


BLU, the Bologna-based street artist and wall-art animator, has recently teamed up with David Ellis, a Brooklyn-based “motion painter,” to produce the animated work COMBO, an amazing piece of urban re-inhabitation that imaginatively brings dead urban space back to life through the use of paint and stop motion.  In the opening sequence of COMBO, a pile of scrap wood is dropped into a well, which then becomes a mouth.  The mouth digests the wood, a face appears, and twin spires of fire exit from recently opened eyes.  This is clearly a visual representation of a kind of imaginative awakening, an awakening fueled by the detournement of the non-space of everyday urban existence into an artistic space of play and encounter.  BLU and Ellis are like the mouth of the well, digesting the raw material of the space around them and converting it into a dreamspace that overwhelms the dead container from which it has originated.  In a way, the work of BLU and Ellis fits right in with Guy Debord’s idea of revolutionary urbanism:

Revolutionary urbanists will not limit their concern to the circulation of things and of human beings trapped in a world of things. They will try to break these topological chains, paving the way with their experiments for a human journey through authentic life.

COMBO and MUTO (an earlier wall-animation by BLU) are nothing if not experimental works that have the aim of bringing the city back to life by breaking open spaces for a new awareness of the urban order that surrounds us.  In both MUTO and COMBO there are moments where bricks are pushed out of walls and animated life pours from the holes that are left behind.  This is reminiscent of the famous Situationist International slogan, “Sous les pavés, la plage!” (“Beneath the paving stones — the beach!”), except that in this case the beach is the imagination unleashed in order to turn spaces of alienation into spaces of procreation.    

2 Responses to “COMBO and MUTO — revolutionary urbanism with a spraycan”

  1. Very cool! I’ve seen something similar to this in a video made by artists in Argentina. I wonder who was first, or whether it is the same group.

    I like the analogies to the SI.

    • 2 Trane DeVore

      I haven’t seen the video by the Agentinian artists, though I’d love to. If you have a link, could you post it? Anything that resembles animation by BLU would be fantastic to get my eyes on.

      As for the SI, any chance to work an SI reference in is a chance that shouldn’t be missed.

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