Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Gum Wall Expands

Market Theater Entrance

Photo & Text Copyright 2007 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.

If you visited the gum wall at the Market Theater in Post Alley in the last year, you would notice that it has grown both thicker and expanded to include the wall past the theater entrance. This public work needs a curator, and I predict someone will publish a book of photos about the wall as it morphs over time, complete with lecture and book signing at Elliott Bay Books. ;^) The idea of the gum wall is even moving to other places. . .I've seen photos of something similar at Pier 39 in San Francisco. There are probably other locations. Lets hear about them. Is the gum wall phenom global yet? Please post what you know here in the comments section. Does your city have one?

This gum wall began with theater patrons waiting outside, placing a blob of chewing gum on the wall and sticking a penny or other coin in it. The coins would be picked off by other people, and the wall was cleaned of gum two or three times before the powers that be gave up and the wall became an interactive work of art. Now people chew wads of gum and shape letters and figures from it, as well as adding the conventional blobs. People seek out bright colored gums to chew and add. The older gum slowly crusts and cracks. I wonder how much DNA is represented on that wall? The first wall people started doing this on (to the left in this photo) has become so thick and crowded that people now regularly place blobs in the entryway and around the box office window and down the brick wall past the theater entryway. For more photos and close detail of how the work looks this week, see my More Seattle Stuff page.


Aaron Jensen said...

I went to school in San Luis obispo, CA and we had Bubble gum alley:
What's amazing is how high the gum goes

Kim said...

Aaron, thank you for this! Wow, the San Luis Obispo Bubblegum Alley has been there for at least 40 years, possibly longer! That's amazing. I've got family there and had never heard about it before. Sounds like it must be where the idea began, who knows how. Why the Market Theater patrons started sticking gum on the brick alleyway wall and then sticking coins in the blobs remains a mystery to me.
That's different than SLO, but maybe it was a Cal Poly alum who stuck the first blob of gum up in Seattle. . .I wonder if we will ever know. Thanks again,