Mission Complete: Botstories Boulder by Gary Hirsch

Artists are now exploring social media as a platform for experience.  Not just as marketing tools, though that should not be underestimated.  Rather the tantalizing experiments with social media as a component of, or the canvas for, expression is a source of fascination for the agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society.  Well, some of them at least.  Admittedly there are more than a few agents who are confounded by the whole thing and believe that what Facebook needs more than all else is a  well placed toss of a large wrench…

As these artists continue to experiment we see a depth and complexity to the investigations that can be exciting.  Or, sometimes, ridiculous.  One lesson that is worth exploring was ably demonstrated by artist Gary Hirsch in his recent mural project for the City of Boulder.



hirsch (2)


hirsch (1)


Gary’s simple idea is, as you might imagine, the front for a serious and complex game.  I won’t go into it here, as time will not allow.  (Sorry, I am writing this post while on a stakeout, hidden in a mailbox…)  But, please read more on his site: www.botjoy.com.

What is compelling for the agents who assisted Mr. Hirsch in his project was the delight people take in his clever, perhaps devious, social media campaign.  What makes for a viral hashtag, or blog post, or tweet, is mysterious.  But Mr. Hirsch saw something.  Please conduct further research at #botstories and #botjoy.

What should we learn from his success?  That a simple message, a simple question, is accessible and therefore useful to the folks in social media land?  That opening up the exploration to the personal voice captivates?  That irony is attractive?  Or, as I hope, that people yearn for the connection to beauty in all they do, even when what they do is 140 characters in length?

We shall follow #botstories as the internet community of quizzical robot enthusiasts grows.

And, congratulations to Gary on a wonderful project!!  And, congratulations Boulder on your new artwork!!  Stop by 13th and Arapaho to see it for your own self.


New Assignment: Bot Joy

Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society have been approached by [name redacted] to assist in the covert deployment of Bot Joy onto the unsuspecting residents of a peaceful Colorado community.


Through Bot Joy, artist Gary Hirsch has invaded communities like London, Austin, and his own Portland, OR with the charming army of tiny robots painted on Dominoes.  Read more: http://www.botjoy.com/


Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society are fascinated with this nexus of social media, urban life, and the chance encounter with art.  It’s also worth discussing Hirsch and his artist-ilk: those that produce images motivated by the nothing more than spreading of joy.  Much needed, these days.  But, not always so easily accepted in the closed loop of art patronage, surprisingly.  Friends With You is a team that comes to mind, and one that has had some association with The Society in the past.  I wonder what you all in internet land think of these types of artists?


Anyhow, our agents will update this website with details on this mission at the end of May.  Stay tuned.

Banksy Shmanksy

So, I’ve been moderately annoyed with the overdone and sometime schmaltzy coverage of Banksy’s New York residency.  It is just too much about his brand and celebrity and too little about how he might actually affect the public.  He didn’t do anything really new that I can see.  Of course, I stopped following the vacuous daily news stories about what pithy throw-up was discovered by the gooey fan-club members in the media at about October 15.  Maybe 16.  So, maybe I missed the real quality…


However, I am forced to admit that on his last day he knocked his “audio guide” out of the freakin’ park.  Listen:




Banks…  (that’s what I call him…)  Banks:  I too hope that the last few centuries of art history are the anomaly.




Update on Dalek’s Boulder Mural, from StreetArtNews.net

This dispatch was received on Sunday from StreetArtNews.net

Dalek New Mural In Boulder, USA

Brooklyn-based artist, Dalek just finished working on this new mural in Boulder, USA where he was helped by the local community and specifically kids.
If you are in the area, you’ll be able to find it on the Victors & Spoils’ building on East Pearl Street.
Look below for more angles of this piece and then check back with us soon for more updates from USA.
We at the Poorly Kept Secret Society can attest to the delight and wonder that comes from pulling masking tape.  The big reveal!!  These young men are forever changed for the better thanks to the good Mr. Dalek.

Dalek Spotted in Boulder

This just in from the Denver Egotist:

#ShitToHit: Saturday-Wednesday – Help Dalek Mural the Outside of Boulder’s Victors & Spoils

For the next several days, the artist Dalek (aka James Marshall) is painting a mural on the exterior wall of Victors & Spoils’ relatively new space in Boulder. Both the artist and V&S want to extend an invitation to art and design lovers to come by, watch, take pics and if you’d like — grab a paintbrush. In true crowdsourcing fashion, Dalek and V&S would like for it to be a community event as much as possible. It’s happening today (Saturday) through Wednesday. All are welcome to come and paint alongside him.

Agents are being dispatched.  Can’t wait to see the finished work.


Several Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society have been, for several years now, tracking a curious tag around the Denver Metropolitan Area:



The expertly formed tag was most compelling in concept: Fevers kept true to the name.  The tag popped up in many media, in many places: marker on electrical boxes, aerosol on retaining walls, bridges, road signs, billboards, on and on and on.  The tag itself was a fever, infecting the city.  The pace was frenetic, with a new manifestations of the Fevers disease popping up overnight.  Like the landscape itself was in the throws of the fever.  Or, perhaps, the tag itself was a symptom of some strange new social disease, a disease which compelled the poor patient to endlessly deface property all night: Turrets with spray cans.  It was disturbing and compelling.  Agents eagerly, yet with trepidation, sought out the next boil, the next rash, the next unusual locale for the obsessive Fevers tag to manifest.

And then… nothing.  Agents report that, though a few of Fevers tags remain, there have been no new cases to report in months.  The Poorly Kept Secret Society asks “what has happened to Fevers”?

Perhaps Fevers recovered, no longer compelled to scribble on lampposts and abandoned cars.  Perhaps Fevers has been arrested: sentenced to probation and community service.  Sobered by the experience, perhaps Fevers has given up the lifestyle.  Perhaps Fevers only tagged to keep the mind occupied through the Great Recession and now, gainfully employed in a cushy recovery job (I imagine building solar panels on a hefty government contract…) perhaps Fevers has no time, no energy to devote to the sickness.  Perhaps Fevers escaped the compulsive allure of Denver’s streets, and now fights the urge to infect some other town.

Whatever the reason, the fever has broken.

Some Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society are saddened.  Some hope for a relapse.

Secret Assignment Complete

Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society, working under cover, just completed the installation of artwork by Sam Flores, Dave Choe, and Highraff at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver. This clandestine graffiti installation brings three murals originally created at 2012’s Terminal Kings event back out on the streets.


Go see it.

Tell no one.

The Penguins of Taksim

Recently a profound social movement erupted in Istanbul. It quickly spread to a nation-wide protest. Some say it may rejuvenate the spirit of the Arab Spring, as Egyptians and Brazilians now fill the streets in their turn. With this heady world event unfolding, we in the Poorly Kept Secret Society cannot help but contemplate the Penguins.

The government decided that the public square in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, Taksim Square, could be privately developed.  Turn it into a shopping mall!  Make some cash!  Who needs a public square, anyway, when one can have a cheap venti double-shot latte with extra foam!  A venti double-shot latte with extra foam stands in for the public commons, right?  A full on social and political revolt resulted.  Feet in the streets.  Protests in Istanbul spread throughout the country.  And, the grievances spread as well: a general uneasiness about creeping fundamentalism (according to Western media sources…).  These developments have been the source of much discussion amongst Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society.  The fact that a public space could be so vital, so consequential to the people of Turkey is heartening.

Nothing new, of course.  We all remember the outcry over the crass closing and demolition of the South Central Farm in Los Angeles.  What?  You don’t remember?  Look: http://www.thegardenmovie.com/.

What do we learn about the built environment by examining those times in our past when we have taken to the streets, or taken to arms, over the Commons?  How does it relate to our Rights?  And, does this lead us to the Right to the City movement?  Some Agents in the Poorly Kept Secret Society think that is extreme.  Others think that might be inevitable.  Of course, some of our Agents also think that the third season of Downton Abby is a fine way to spend two solid days.  (And, for such actions they will be censured.)

The social and political movement in Turkey is all the more remarkable, and ironically charming, in just how it has developed  a cultural language.  As the protestors of Turkey were attacked by security forces, CNN Turk saw it fit to forgo the live footage of peaceful protestors being attacked, and instead chose to run a delightful documentary about penguins.  Those cute little tuxedo-ed fowl stood in for the uprising.  This abhorrent editorial gaff was quickly embraced by the leaders of the protest.  What better symbol for both the degenerate acquiescence of the world media and metaphor for the elite’s desires for our society: stand in line; act and look the same; be as we tell you to be; identify as identical so that we may profit from the industry of culture.













The Penguin began to appear in graffiti, on t-shirts, everywhere.  (This little diddy from The Guardian spells it out okay: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/09/turkey-mainstream-media-penguins-protests.)  We, the agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society, think it should be a world-wide meme.  Embrace the Penguin as a symbol for the new Horizontalismo!  Encourage the peaceful reinvigorated world-wide call for Democracy!  Raise the flipper instead of the fist!