Sunday, 24 January 2021

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#Dysturb, 70 pictures to mark #UN70: The Making Of

Dysturb teaser EN

Last week, eight motorcycles and scooters left a building Place de la République in Paris. On each bike, two photojournalists carrying buckets full of glue, brooms, brushes and overflowing bags. Over the course of several nights, members of #Dysturb pasted up huge posters on the streets of Paris; 4 meters by 3, featuring professional photography, printed in black and white, and showcasing crises from around the world.

 The teams set out on the streets of Paris until 2 or 3 am. They agreed on pre-identified locations and came up with more on the go. The images are of migrants, refugees, victims of poverty & human rights violations, and climate change. They were taken in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia, and feature crises that make headlines as well as those that receive less coverage.

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The goal: celebrate the 70 years of the United Nations with 70 pictures showing the world as it is and the answers that the United Nations and its agencies bring to hundreds of thousands of people in need of assistance.  

The rule: respect others’ property, ensuring the posters remain up as long as possible and in good condition. The wall needs to be smooth, exposed to the view of passersby, without being a commercial, historical or religious building. The #Dysturb project does not cover works of other Street Art artists.

Once a location has been chosen, everything goes very fast. A first team member begins to paste the wall with glue, the second unfolds the four part poster, positions each piece carefully and a third pastes it in place. A fourth and final member of the team takes pictures.

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All the volunteers and photojournalists spend three to four hours every night in the autumn cold to get as many images up as possible. Over the past few days the team pasted up 70 images.

Passersby often stop, take pictures and ask questions. They are all enthusiastic about the project and at no time were there any hostile reactions. "It is great! We’ll walk around Paris this weekend to see more of them" said an excited young man coming out of a restaurant with his fiancée. In turn, one of the waiters said that they were happy to have one of the large posters up next to their restaurant, "You had already stuck one here several months ago, and we are pleased to have another one. It's very beautiful". All photos are geolocated and shared on an interactive map, updated by a member of #Dysturb.

“Dysturb! I know you, I follow you on Instagram! I love what you do" says a teenager who lives with his mother near Place de la Bastille. Both spent some time looking at a picture of the World Food Program that shows aid distribution in Pakistan following an earthquake.

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The men and women, who during the day have their respective work, do not count the hours for this project, the largest ever organized by #Dysturb. Once back from a night of work, they tweet, share their photos and post on Instagram & Facebook. The next day, many return to take pictures of their previous nights’ work. Sometimes they find a torn photo, or damaged, but generally they are there, visible to the largest number, to"disturbe" and inform.

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