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Poetry of an unkonw people (2)

There is a street artist who paints on the street of New York with color chalks and leaves a short poem--he was just know his handle name "De La Vega" that he leaves with the drawings and poems. If you live in New York, you might have seen his remains on the street.

A sidewalk is a public space, so drawing or leaving something on a street is taken as a vandalism or a littering. Doing so is restricted only to those who are allowed by officials for his/her public title as an established artists. They are permitted to alter or leave something in a public space for the sake of public.

20050718232123.jpg
In SOHO. By tearing down a building in front, a wall painted with graffitis is reveald in a daylight. The construction walls are covered by new posters--as soon as a new space to post them, the empty space is filled with new posters.

Graffiti artists jumps over such fixed notion of a public art by their action itself, and they leaves something ridiculing such establishment. It is the manifesto by an unknown, ordinally people based on the action of creativity rather than the art as a product. Therefore the remains are lively and ephemeral that embodies such principle.

20050718232418.jpg
A very stylized graffiti intended to decorate the open surface

Street art is a statement to blur the standard to distinguish what is art and what is not--the line to decide what is art and what is junk. Or in other words, such standard is hung in the air to ask how vague such standard is. New York, especially in Halem or East Village, graffiti as an action attracts many young generation and it even functions as an outfall for a frustrated and suppressed mind. Even if such act of deflation receive a negative reputation in general public, as long as the reason for pushing them such behavior exists in a society, denying and criticising only the results will not cut to the core of the problems.

20050718232152.jpg
An abandoned pannel on a SOHO street. It looks like a lyrics of some song. It was there as if the pannel was meant to ornament the street.

In fact, those kids in Harlem seems to take graffiti as a thrilling sports. They sneak into the rail track of a subway at night and leave graffiti on the sidewall of the track. This train budging is to test his courage, and they compete how complete and creditable his graffiti is. Sometimes those kids loose their lives for this--I remember my classmate in a drawing class presented a graffiti-like collage commemorating the three kids who were killed in a subway accident for painting graffiti. And those memorial graffitis at some commemorative spots in New York--(ex. a spot where a car accident killed someone) becomes even glorious and solemnly as people keep adding something to the drawing.

De La Vega that I mentioned above, also uses the anonimity to blend into the side of a general public, or to keep his position in a general public. By leaving something small--a short but smart poem or a keen drawing--over and over and here and there, the chance to be seen by many people will increase, and some may feel something and receive the message.

The short poem or the drawing written in a chalk by De La Vega is so ephemeral that it disappears soon under the feet of passing peopel without even noticing. It is also difficult to "find" when you try to--you encounter with them by chance, a chance that becomes precious as it wouldn't recur. Sometimes, someone replies to his poem and the exchange of the though are recorded on the ground. De la Vega might not be a specific person but a group of people made up of general public, which gives the sense that poem or the drawing are the voices of many ordinally people. Or it might be his intention.

20050718232309.jpg
Sometimes Graffiti is drawn on an amazing space to show off its presence, but normally graffiti is drawn near the ground--the sign telling it is the product of an ordinally people. Looking up the sky between those building walls, what was he thinkig as he drew

De la Vega appeared in a newspaper (Village Voice article) that he was arrested on the spot for vandalism. Prosecutors asked for three months sentence but he received a judgement for a public service (in a sense, it is ironic)
The public opinion that was used to define the meaning of public and general opinion is so vague and unclear, once we compare this case with Christo, who recently produced "The Gate" project in Central Park. Christ has a vast publicity and popularity (?) that he can use, and his private project is promoted and implemented as if it were well accepted by a general public without a doubt. Such "private" project is affirmed by a public authority--then, what is the reason for discriminating the creative activities by those unknown artists like De La Vega?

20050718232344.jpg
The point where the piles of memories spill out

Those artists such as Keith Herring or Basquiat who became well known as graffiti artists, were accepted as artists by shifting from a glaffiti, which requires to keep repetitive and stay on a street level with anonimity, to a commodification of their produce as a product (a different type of repetition) by inscribing their name. Basquiat gradually lost his true creativity, and Keith went back to the street even after he became famous ( he was arrested many times throughout his short life)
The process of modern art is such commodification to supply signage to be well recognized by a wide range of general public--thus it is the result of a marketing prepared and produced by someone for some reason. Within this consumer oriented society, this is not something to be rejected or denied, as an art is absorbed by mass production field such as a design industry.
But then, for those artists who try to keep anonymity for their creative foundation, only a guerilla activities like the ways that De La Vega does, are left untouched.

20050718232445.jpg
A truck covered entirely with graffiti, parked besides a stylish modern looking restaurant. But the scenery doesn't look odd, and it becomes very New York daily scenery

The social status of an art today is so complex and vague, that the marketing and promotion of art is operated under the skin only to show the comprehensible aspect. Nowadays, such comprehensibility is an added value. Those who see deception there, or who seek for more natural compathy of a street, they would intentionally choose to be anonymous and unknown.

The torn and worn posters and the traces of paints reminded me of the lyric of infamous song by Bob Dylan,Blowin' the wind--The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind--

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
20050718232221.jpg

Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.


The words of an unkown is blown in the wind and float in the air of New York street. 
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。