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Smiley simulacrum: “Door chain” July 14, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Simulacra, Travel.
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Back in April of last year, my wife and I visited The Netherlands. On our second day, we toured the Amstelkring, a 17th-century Catholic Church hidden inside the attic of a narrow canal house during a bitterly anti-Catholic period in Amsterdam’s history. It was a fascinating tour, and sometimes a somber one, but I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I descended the steps to the basement of the house and found this unexpected smiley on the back door.

Door chain "smiley" in the basement of the Amstelkring, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Photo taken 7 April 2010.

If you want to read more about the tour, check out the website for Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (its official name; Our Lord In the Attic Museum, in English). Or, go to my personal blog and read my travel journal entry for the day. In the meantime, here’s a closer view of that happy door:

Close-up of the door chain "smiley" in the basement of the Amstelkring.

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Sidewalk graffito, Amsterdam January 13, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Public art, signs, & graffiti, Travel.
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Sidewalk graffiti. Photo taken in Amsterdam, April 2010.

We found this happy grouping on the sidewalk in the Jordaan, a quiet but trendy neighborhood in Western Amsterdam.  We see a lot of smiley faces on our travels, actually–graffiti is fairly common, and one of the most common and most universal graffiti is the smiley face, which never fails to amuse me.  This little cluster is unusual, though–so many smileys in one place!  And square smileys at that.

For the record, I prefer chalk graffiti.  I love good street art, and when graffiti is accepted as a kind of public mural, it doesn’t much matter what medium people create in.  But when painted or inked graffiti is uninvited, it can be destructive.  Chalk, however, is fun to draw with and easy to wash away, which makes it fun for everyone, so if you’re looking to decorate your world with public smileys, consider chalk first!

Construction smiley September 20, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Public art, signs, & graffiti, Smiley, Travel.
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Construction smiley. Photo taken in downtown Amsterdam, near Spui, April 2010.

I love when people try to make their work a little happier.  My wife and I found this mischievous  smirk painted on the bashed-in front end of a city construction trailer in downtown Amsterdam, near the Spui neighborhood.  We’d been on our feet all day, trekking all over the city, and we were nearing exhaustion, but this little guy perked us right up.

Backpack August 26, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Smiley, Travel.
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Backpack (someone else's). Photo taken on the rooftop of the NEMO museum in Amsterdam, April 2010.

Staying with the back-to-school theme:  Here’s a little something to put your smiley pencils in!