DOTS: Democracy On The Streets

Democracy On The Streets

Democracy On The Streets (DOTS) is an imaginative and empowering response to modern conditions.

As emergent phenomenon DOTS is resistant to categorisation. It is game like, but more a form of serious play.

Operating at the intersection of the self, art, activism, community, graffiti, civic duty, civil disobedience, wellbeing and secular spirituality, DOTS offers a strategy for effective engagement with our current conditions – and the opportunity to transform those conditions.

It is freely available and provides a frame expansive enough to encapsulate all our most pressing concerns and our highest aspirations.

DOTS aims to catalyse and sustain a global pandemic of free chalking as means to realising a more satisfactory world and connecting a broad ‘movement of movements‘.

The method is a ‘connective tissue‘ of memes.

The medium is the ‘poetic technology‘ of pavement chalk.

While chalk already has a strong pedigree, DOTS provides a novel innovation: an all-encompassing frame, capable of connecting infinite chalk memes to form a compelling, coherent and evolving whole.

DOTS seeks neither $$$ nor data. Rather, it seeks imagination, dedication and engagement in the shared imperative to create a fairer, more satisfactory and freer world.

DOTS belongs those who chalk in its name.

Together we can reimagine, redefine and revitalise democracy – and the values we live by – from the ground up.

Join The DOTS.

Origins

DOTS first emerged in the opening days of COVID lockdown.

At that time, neoliberalism’s stranglehold on the public imagination temporarily relented.

In the fraught space thus created, change that had seemed impossible suddenly appeared inevitable.

The question became, what change? What new star might we raise from the flux to guide us?

Example: Elaborate dotZero with hotHouse earth in chalk

Two stark pathways presented.

The first, an acceleration of the ‘default’ stampede toward authoritarianism, total surveillance and malign denial.

The second, a renewed acceptance of our profound interdependence and an embrace of transformation.

In that moment, Milton Friedman’s icy observation that, in a crisis, “action depends on the ideas that are lying around’, echoed.

The problem was that the best ideas were not lying around.

The neoliberal regime had long perceived imagination as the enemy. Transformative ideas were systematically targeted, suppressed, delegitimised and scorned.

Those green shoots that had emerged – the climate strikers, for example – were cleared from the streets by COVID, along with everything else.

So, right at the moment when imagination, dialogue and fresh thinking were most urgently required, all that stood were soulless corporate billboards, blinkering our imaginations and foreclosing our futures.

This was the context in which DOTS began to appear.

The epiphany arrived with the acronym.

Democracy On The Streets!

Join The DOTS.

Example Long Game Meme 'Quick Chalking' Imagination DOTS

Authority

DOTS is generated by life’s longing for itself.

It is dialogue and collaboration.

When you engage with the idea, or chalk in it’s name, DOTS lives through you.

You become both author and authority.

Join the Democracy On The Streets.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you …
For their souls dwell in the house of tommorow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

Kahlil Gibran, 1923

The poet Kahlil Gibran's sketch titled 'The Triad'