Home Uncategorized Beware of the Aesthetics Police!

Beware of the Aesthetics Police!


I think it’d be hilarious to get a small number of people together to form a fake group called the Spokane Aesthetics Police. This satirical organization could play on a number of humorous themes and would spark conversation in a variety of unconventional ways. The basic idea would be to go around issuing “aesthetic citations” to offending features of the local urban/suburban landscape.

First the SWAT Team would deploy near a busy street corner on a sunny afternoon. Members of this group would be easily identified by their brightly colored handmade jumpsuit uniforms, oversized badges and toilet paper roll night sticks. The Investigators would drum up attention by running around with rulers, giant fabric and color swatches, and cameras to document the scene of the crime. A janitor-type officer could go around collecting “evidence” (cigarette butts, food wrappers, etc.) and placing these into carefully labeled zip lock bags.

Once people begin to gather, the Sheriff would step into the crowd to present the citation (with bull horn when appropriate) explaining the nature of the offense and the demanded compensation on behalf of the public. The ticket would be placed on the offending object itself, or presented to the proprietor or manager of the property.


A “Top Ten Most Wanted” list could be developed and posted around town. I suggest that Joe Diamond and petty taggers be among them to start. Other suggestions of things that deserve the scrutiny of the public eye:

the windowless faces of the Davenport Tower
the boarded up Safeway/Dollar Store in Hillyard
the ClearChannel headquarters out on E. Sprague
the backside of the Spokane Tourism & Information Bureau
our Convention Center, which looks like a beached robotic whale
NorthTown Mall
The Aesthetics Police could make an intentionally hideous website that pokes fun at all the typical features of crappy website design. People could post their complaints and the Aesthetics Police would be there to heroically respond. People would come to hedge their bets on where the Aesthetics Police would strike next, unpredictability makes things fun! Over time, with good public rapport and consistent media coverage, business owners and/or developers might think twice about maintaining their property or heeding design guidelines to avoid a visit from The Infamous SAP.

Slogan’s might involve something along the lines of “We might be poor, but we ain’t blind!”

Long term extensions of this project might include “Departments” organized around specific tasks. I would volunteer to be the “Window Box and Flower Pot Patroller”. I’d create my own ticket (probably a magenta 8”x11”) and go around documenting instances of under maintained landscaping features. These would be posted on the Aesthetics Police website, while outstanding examples of public landscaping would be lauded and presented with creative awards. Another simple idea would be to place green quarter-sheet size tickets on the windshields of ULVs (Unecessarily Large Vehicles) with energy use and transportation efficiency statistics on the back.

Tags: Identity Crisis · Pretty Things · Shock Value · Street Theater3 Comments


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