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Bringing Attention to Stray Dogs with a Buoyant Urban Intervention

Estoy Aquí
Still from “Estoy Aquí” (screencaps by the author)

To make the roaming population of thousands of dogs in Santiago, Chile, more visible, two students attached balloons to the scruffy necks of some of these overlooked canines.

Called “Estoy Aquí” (or “I Am Here”), the “urban intervention” as creators Violeta Caro Pinda and Felipe Carrasco Guzmán call it was documented last year in an adorable video showing the dogs with balloons around their necks with things like “Play With Me” and “Do Not Mistreat Me” written in sharpie. The dogs are then followed around a train station as people take notice and give the dogs long scratches under their necks or quick pats on the head.

Estoy Aquí
Still from “Estoy Aquí”
Estoy Aquí
Dogs in “Estoy Aquí”
Estoy Aquí
Still from “Estoy Aquí”

As a small intervention in everyday life, it’s not much, but the optimism and charm in it is engaging. These stray dogs are usually ignored, and it’s a simple action to raise awareness for these animals that are always around, but often forgotten. It reminds me of the Signs for the Homeless project by artists Kenji Nakayama and Christopher Hope that gives hand-painted signs to homeless people to draw attention. There’s also the Trash Project that uses pink polka dot trash bags to draw attention to the heaps of trash on the streets, while also bringing some whimsical beautification. All are modes for bringing eyes where they are usually averted to urban problems through visual interventions.

h/t Pop Up City

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