The guggle initiative
(ˈgɜr gəl) v. -gled, -gling, n. v.i.
1. to flow in a broken, irregular, noisy current: water gurgling from a bottle.
2. to make a sound as of water doing this; babble.
3. to utter or express with a gurgling sound.
4. the act or noise of gurgling.
[1555–65; compare Dutch, Middle Low German gorgelen, German gurgeln to gargle; akin to Latin gurguliō throat]
Though the word carries a quite different meaning in urban slang, as used here and invented by some of my brightest and most creative students at Linfield College, guggle is a free-form, irreverent, fun and often collaborative guerrilla art initiative dedicated to challenging the usual mercantile aspects of the art world, including individual artistic identity construction resulting in celebrity, as well as the usual channels of distribution of art...all for the creative good of the community through the sometimes anonymous dissemination of art, often through outrageous and/or loving acts of creative excess and zeal including the saintly denial of authorship. (Of course I am not above sharing all of this...)
My involvement is independent though sometimes collaborative. As it is for all those involved, affiliation is informal. For me currently, guggling involves leaving small watercolors in public places—given without signature or cost. I also sometimes give pieces unexpectedly to near-strangers who have shown me some form of kindness, or just for the hell of it to someone I don't know in the slightest.
I recently guggled in Barcelona, Spain (2014-15). Some of the individuals I had been seeing almost daily, like the woman selling porras near the market, the guy asking for coins on the corner, the affable Arab grocer who always slipped a few extra chilies in my bag. I think of this aspect of guggle as as a form of paying it forward or as a random kindness of kindness.
People are mostly taken aback with a touch of bewilderment. I like that. I have also guggled by mounting the work of others in the streets of NYC. I plan to add to this series in the coming weeks and months in a variety of locations and to link this blog to the work of other gugglers.