I was hoping to play music at the farmers market in Richmond Virgina but I instead found myself in a rough part of town. I felt better when I saw a mural on the side of a building and it got me thinking about how art indicates safety (and gentrification).
One of the reasons why a mural indicates that an area is safe is that it demonstrates that someone was willing to stand out for hours with their back turned to the public. People typically wouldn't do that unless the area was safe.
The presence of street performers can also indicate that an area is safe. Playing music on the street indicates safety because one has to walk around with an expensive instrument, often with additional expensive equipment. And they leave money out in the open in a tip receptacle. This isn't something that people like to do in dangerous areas.
But at a more fundamental and instinctual level art indicates safety because if the basic needs for safety aren't met (and other basic needs like finding food) then people would invest less time creating art and more time creating security and finding food. Relatedly, a building would be used for housing or food (e.g. grocery store) instead of art if housing and food storage weren't already taken care of.
It's interesting to think that art on the streets can indicate safety (and be subsequently psychologically appealing) in a similar way as birdsong. It can be said that birds sing when they are looking for mates, and they would likely only look for mates when their more fundamental needs like safety and food are satisfied.
So we almost innately find birdsong comforting because the bird is declaring that the surrounding area is safe from predators. If it wasn't safe then they wouldn't be announcing their presence through birdsong.
Just something for the street performer to think about.
Also, Ted talks suck.
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