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2d52 – Graffiti is vandalism!

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Is graffiti streetart, protest, acting out, vandalism, all of the above?

“What if someone paints a huge ugly graffiti on your wall?”
Sounds like an easy question to answer, right? Of course that is an act of violence against my property and as such vandalism. RIGHT?

Or would there be an alternative perspective where graffiti becomes politics, art, protest or a youth taking ownership of the public space? Our latest debate circles around these questions and we believe it is one of our best debates yet.

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Sebastian & Dirk

Picture: CC0, Pixabay

Christoph wrote: September 19, 2018 at 5:53 pm

first of all, this was a great episode.
In my opinion graffiti is not vandalism. It is, wether concious or not, a form of protest. Someone who tags or sprays a graffiti onto a wall protests against established art, ownership or rules.
For example take the Berlin Wall before it came down. It was art, it was a message board, it was protest against the seperation, there where political statements and so on. It became art the moment it collapsed. In todays view, the Berlin Wall was only preserved because of its graffiti. Otherwise it would have vanished even more than it has today.
Second reason is its origin in New York and the hiphop culture. Graffiti is a mayor part of black pop culture. I think, without graffiti there would not have been a outbreak of black culture from New York.

    Sebastian wrote: September 19, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you very much both for listening and for expressing your opinion, Christoph. You indeed make some great points.

    I do think though that the Berlin Wall was already a canvas, a piece of art, well before it came down. That wall is charged with so much history that painting/drawing on it, by definition, almost automatically becomes “art”. I’m not sure that applies to most other walls, or even the vast majority of graffiti for that matter (which boils down to writing one’s initials/name/gang name on walls that are someone or a community’s property).

    I’m not familiar with Black culture in NYC though, although I do wonder if that culture isn’t also defined by many other factors (music, activism, etc.) – I’m in effect saying that perhaps Black culture’s existence can’t be reduced to graffiti, I don’t know?

      Christoph wrote: September 20, 2018 at 6:05 am

      Hey Sebastian,
      thx for replying. In fact, you can find the first hall of fame of graffiti, a legal wall for graffiti, in NYC. So, there are a lot of walls, which became art because of graffiti. My main suggestion was though, that graffiti, wether concious or not, is always a form of protest. That doesn’t mean that this protest is legitimize by any means, but even a simple ugly tag could mean, that I’m a young male teen who is not recognized by society, I see no future and this has to change.

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