Why good old graffiti thrives in the Internet age
In Los Angeles, it’s all about the real estate, whether that means a plot of land to be built on or a span of wall to be graffitied. The city found out again what a costly truth that can be when an off duty Los Angeles Police Department officer was shot to death last month, after he confronted an alleged gang loyalist tagging a wall in that particular gang’s “territory.”
But graffiti is older centuries older than either gang vandalism or sanctioned street art, and it shows up across the ancient world as well as the modern one; almost 2,000 years ago, someone wrote on a public wall in Pompeii cheap replica handbags , “Virgula cheap louis vuitton bags from china to her Teritus: you are a nasty boy.”
Susan A. Phillips is a professor of environmental analysis at Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags Pitzer College, and she’s spent years tracking down, photographing and chronicling the graffiti of Los Angeles. What is that impulse about?
Even before the advent of social media, I think people have always wondered what it is exactly about this that has made it such a durable part of human history, dating back literally thousands of years. It’s a very longstanding human tradition that you put your name and fuse 1:1 replica handbags it in a sense to public space in some way.
The internet is vast; it’s vast and it’s very, very segregated, self segregating. People can write all kinds of things on the Internet that I will never see because I never look for them. When you’re confronted with something on the walls, you have to see it. So it breaks down those boundaries of segregation in certain ways.
I think there’s always going to be room for [graffiti]. It’s such a democratic medium, and a medium of expression that that really doesn’t require technology. Anyone can do it. And the fact that it’s illegal also actually makes it open up even further because there can be almost no limitations based on that medium of expression.
We had the tragic incident of an LAPD officer shot and killed after he confronted a tagger in Lincoln Heights. Here’s someone whose life was lost because of people breaking the law but also violating public space, public places.
It’s always a tragedy when things like that happen, and that’s something that is very particular to the city of Los Angeles, in part because of our history with gangs and also in part because of the how many guns we have on the street. It points to how incredibly high quality designer replica handbags serious this battle over public space is, and why it is that graffiti is a front and center mode of understanding what that battle is about.
When things erupt in physical violence https://www.dolabuy.su/ , you take it to a point where suddenly this medium that seems like, oh, it’s kids playing, or not important, it suddenly shows just how tremendously important our struggles over space are in our society.
When you say it’s particular to Los Angeles, why are we singular? Is it space? replica louis vuitton handbags Is it sunshine? Is it the concrete?
It’s partly all those things, and it’s the sort of mythos of the sunshine as well, and cheap louis vuitton bags from china uk how that meets the harsh realities of people’s lives. We have such a successful economy and we’re not necessarily very good at sharing it across the ranks of people whose experiences are quite different.
And fake louis bag that comes from things like housing segregation, economic inequality, job loss just the way that we’ve done our city has really contributed quite dramatically I think to the formation of these really durable gang entities.
Over the years, we’ve had tragedies related to graffiti. We’ve had store keepers who have been shot and killed trying to stop people from painting on the walls of the stores. There was, I think, a tagger who fell to his death; people were cheering that because they thought he got what he deserved.
When I started my work with gangs and graffiti in the early ’90s, I remember going to a party at UCLA and there was a professor there who you would think would be thoughtful, and he just said, I wish I could line up all the taggers against the wall and shoot them. The sort of negative vitriol that comes out of people’s Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica mouths based on this medium is pretty incredible.
One of the things that’s interesting and different about graffiti is the way that it really is connected to people in a very direct way through the act of placing the signature in public space. The signature begins to represent the person or the group and that’s why people take it so very seriously when you’re either trying to interrupt that or erase that as if it were part of them.
I think that’s what’s so angering about it, about that violation of public space and private property. It makes people so angry. And also the concept of private property in the west and in the United States in particular is incredibly foundational. So when you have something like graffiti, it’s really violating one of the most sacred principles of our society.
On the other end, we see the medium of graffiti being appropriated by high end companies. Gucci and Louboutin are putting their products out there in graffiti fashion, perhaps to make them seem edgier?
There’s always, in any kind of fake designer bags subculture, resistance to commercialization, and feeling like the original values of the subculture are somewhat compromised by the commercial influence or corporate influence of it.
Graffiti is incredibly powerful. It is something that runs the gamut from a simple illegal writing of someone’s name somewhere to the replica louis vuitton production of these massive murals on the part of corporations like the ones that you’ve described.
Essentially, the advertisers and the corporations are taking advantage of that public, oftentimes producing what people don’t even realize are advertisements but that are used on social media platforms as a backdrop for selfies or whatever to further promote their products.
It’s a clever way that they’re doing it. And it can play its role in gentrifying neighborhoods and promoting goods and consumption in ways that you could argue are either healthy or unhealthy for society and for people, depending on what your perspective is.
In New York, someone just graffitied over a Louis Vuitton store logo and had somebody videotape him doing it.
I know people who are those angry people. I also know people who are producing corporate sponsored murals and who have honed their craft over a 20 year period and are now hoping to get paid.
I’m not a fan of gentrification. I’m not a fan of overconsumption and it does disturb me when I see people using graffiti to play a role in that.
Your book is almost a treasure hunt for these graffiti, like those left by hobos; you found evidence of them under the bridges of the Los Angeles River that has been high quality replica handbags china there for a century or so. You found evidence at San Pedro at Fort MacArthur best replica handbags , military people who left traces of themselves in World War II, and on surf shacks in Malibu, where Gidget used to surf there was a swastika painted on one of these. What is the story of graffiti in Los Angeles before the public became aware of it and identified it as a gang thing in say the ’70s or the ’80s?
I view them as just a way of telling a different history of the city of Los Angeles. It’s no accident that most of the people that I discuss in the book are quite marginalized and using the walls as a vehicle for expression and for camaraderie and to create community, because that was the role that that played.
Incredibly marginalized people you mentioned hoboes these are people who are itinerant. So you have these different ways that people had of communicating within the group, even if the group was separated by time, place. Maybe they were incarcerated, trying to reconnect. That feeling of being part of the same group when you’re a vilified person is incredibly important.