London Bananas

In our recent AIGA Gain article about noticing, we relate how the process of noticing once and then noticing again is a way to find patterns and uncover themes.

During my recent trip to the UK, I took this picture of a discarded banana peel.

I didn’t notice other bananas, but someone else did and they’ve started the London Bananas Project, a fantastic archive of banana peels in the London public space.

When I arrived I noticed something straight away: there’s a lot of banana skins around.

I see them everywhere. They’re languishing on doorsteps, hanging out in the middle of the road, dangling off street signs, peeking out of piles of garbage, reclining in the middle of the sidewalk, riding the bus for free. A great number of them are bright yellow as if they’re fresh and have just been dropped, although they appear in all states of decay. I don’t know how or why they caught my attention, but within a week of being in London I couldn’t get my mind off these banana skins. Where were they coming from? Who was eating all these bananas and leaving the skins around? Why was it always bananas I was seeing, and not, say, oranges? Was it a sign? Was there something sinister going on? Apparently these little hazards were a covert operation going completely unnoticed; everyone I asked about it said that they had never noticed anything of the sort and looked at me as if I was nuts.

That’s a great description of the power of noticing (even if it doesn’t go anywhere, it’s still a great set of muscles to keep flexing).

Here’s bananas in Bangalore:

See also: Street Mattress


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