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Archive for December, 2011

Lecture Notes on Film Theory 1

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Lecture Notes on Graffiti and Street Art

The first type of graffiti was paintings from the Palaeolithic era on cave walls, simply showing images of daily life, hunting etc. It developed from there to become a large part of city culture, whether you see it on subway walls or on shop windows, it covers the cities wherever you go.

But is it vandalism or is it a way for people to express themselves? Is it okay if it is used to put across a political statement or message?

There is a wide gap between the different types of graffiti seen on the streets today; from people tagging their name, to political messages, to artists taking to the street to display their work. But I think all reflect back to similar reasons for doing it: to have a voice, to announce a presence on the streets.

I found this image of Paul Curtis’ work interesting in that it is reverse graffiti – instead of defacing a wall with paint, it is done by power washing over a stencil and removing the dirt off the wall in to this shape. Surely this could not be seen as a form of vandalism as he is effectively cleaning the wall? What I also found interesting about this was the environmental statement that he makes through this, with the image of trees and the method of producing the image which cleans the environment.

When you say the word ‘graffiti’ to people, they automatically assume it’s vandalism, however Graffiti artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey’s work have appeared in galleries as well as across the walls of cities, this shows that some graffiti is clearly seen as artwork but where is the line drawn? And would the same pieces of graffiti art be seen as artwork when on the streets instead of the more official environment of a gallery?

I think that perhaps people distinguish between street art and vandalism through the aesthetics of the graffiti work, if it’s skilfully done, and with a clear message to show, then maybe it’s seen as acceptable? However with a person’s name scrawled across a wall with no thought to it maybe the act is vandalism, but the thought process for doing it could be similar to that of many artists, saying ‘we will not be ignored’.

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Postmodernism Lecture

Lecture Notes on Postmodernism

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Lecture Notes on Modernity and Modernism

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