I'm Andrew mac. I'm the director of city lights project. It's an arts project which focuses on art in public spaces. We're here in Hosier lane. It's right in the middle of Melbourne city. We devised this project to be in public so that we could reach a very wide audience. inside a gallery you might get 30 to 50 people a day but in the street and in this street in particular thousands of people come down here every day so it's primarily about reaching a big audience
In the mid-90s when I started the city Lights project Melbourne city was a lot quieter and actually people didn't use these laneways.
The city is on a grid structure which is state of the art city design in the 1850s. Over the years the laneways became misused and unused and so people didn't come down here.
There was no graffiti here there was no businesses here there was nothing but I knew that these streets would eventually become gentrified to some degree and people would start to use them.
The graffiti has grown with the light boxes and businesses have been attracted to this street and other streets because of the graffiti and because of the people that come to look at the graffiti. There are now apartments here as well. So all this development has come after the fact.
It's kind of the opposite people often talk about this broken windows effect that graffiti destroys areas but in this case graffiti has brought life to this area.
So you see a lot of really interesting uses of the street. Strangely enough people come to shoot weddings here on the weekends. Sometimes there will be up to 5 or 6 weddings. They line up for a particular spot.
It's important because there are so few avenues for free speech and increasingly we're clamped down on - there are so many rules and regulations about what you can and can't do in a city.
Melbourne has grown to really love the graffiti. I see people from every age, from little kids to people in their 70s some of whom are quite expert on the changes that they see happening in the streets - they really take not of it. So in Melbourne I think it's had a positive effect on the culture and it's meant that people can understand that art doesn't just have to exist inside an institution that it can be in the street.