I've been having a little fun following The Underbelly Project on the web. Here's a few notes.
Yesterday evening at, say, 9 PM I googled “the underbelly project” and got somewhere between 1000 and 2000 hits – I didn’t write down an exact number. Earlier today about 8:00 PM I did the same thing and got almost 35,000 hits. What’ll the number be tomorrow? When will the number more or less max out and what will that number be?
And remember, the number of Google hits is just an index of the number of people who decided to take active notice of the project by mentioning on the web. The number of people who’ve heard about the project, whether by reading about it or through word of mouth, is considerably larger.
This is by Kid Zoom, one of the artists in The Underbelly Project. This, obviously, is very much above ground.
Some Comments at the NYTimes
The NYTimes article is currently the second most-emailed article in the paper. It's attracted a few comments (58 so far) and I've excerpted some of them. Read the first two comments with close attention for sociological and anthropological detail. Who are these people and why would they be saying what they’re saying? What are their interests in this work?
Bruiser, Brooklyn, 2 Nov 2010, 11:40 AM:
It makes me sick to see graffiti's last true stronghold be invaded by a bunch of blood sucking tourists and fame seeking toys. Whenever the Times writes about graffiti, I literally cringe. It's always deplorable and hideous. I don't care where 'this reporter' got a college degree from, you are NOT QUALIFIED to write about graffiti and especially not the tunnels. Next time, refer to a real graffiti writer before publishing trash. This project is a total sham. . . . There are good stories to be told about art and graffiti and the tunnels, but this is not one of them. This is a hack attempt by fame seekers going about it the quick, cheap way. . . . RIP NYC, it's all just disneyland now. Big up to all the former contributors to real subway tunnel graffiti.
artloverfinder, New York, 2 Nov 2010, 11:41 AM:
My NYU roommates and I after finding this article today and doing some online research were able to narrow down the actual location to one of two possible open abandoned subway stations; one remains inaccessible so we tried for the accessible one. We got it right. We discovered the art, and it is indeed beautiful, but alas in some parts has even already been destroyed and tagged over by other graffiti "artists." A single chair of the dining set remains. . . . By the time we were finished, we had already helped a freelance photographer and another small crew up, and saw another group headed in as we left. I wouldn't be surprised if this place was mobbed or blocked off in a day or two. We got some great pictures and video. Thanks so much for this wonderful article.
This is a then-unfinished piece by Ceaze, one of the writers in the project.
One reader, Ann from Connecticut, while loving the concept, was worried about the security implications: “They could have been setting bombs.” I can’t say that that exactly worries me, but I do wonder. These folks made a lot of trips down there over an extended period of time, and didn’t get caught. Or was it that they were, in fact, noticed, but no one was worried? Lots of room for paranoid conspiracy theorizing.
Absurdiscus Jonez from West Point, VA, wonders: “. . . where are the sc-fi writers who could use this as a futuristic discovery or a safe haven during a apocalyptic disaster?” I wonder if someone’s pitching this to HBO, perhaps as movie, or perhaps as an ongoing series. Maybe someone in Japan’s working on an anime series about a street art hit squad from the future. Who knows, maybe that’s exactly what they are.
What’s going to happen with this site? When will we see photos of the trashed state? What’s the MTA going to do? Will Workhorse and PAC cash-in with a book deal? Who knows.