This Wired article about UX or Urban eXperiment, is fascinating and long. UX “is sort of like an artistâ€™s collective, but far from being avant-gardeâ€”confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the newâ€”its only audience is itself.”
So many nuggets and details, just go read the whole thing:
UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of â€œrestoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesnâ€™t have the means to maintain.â€ The group claims to have conducted 15 such covert restorations, often in centuries-old spaces, all over Paris.
UXâ€™s most sensational caper (to be revealed so far, at least) was completed in 2006. A cadre spent months infiltrating the Pantheon, the grand structure in Paris that houses the remains of Franceâ€™s most cherished citizens. Eight restorers built their own secret workshop in a storeroom, which they wired for electricity and Internet access and outfitted with armchairs, tools, a fridge, and a hot plate. During the course of a year, they painstakingly restored the Pantheonâ€™s 19th- century clock, which had not chimed since the 1960s. Those in the neighborhood must have been shocked to hear the clock sound for the first time in decades: the hour, the half hour, the quarter hour.