When we are in an urban environment, our spaces are largely defined by walls, no matter whether they are the inside walls of our private dwellings or the outside walls that delimit and divide our public space. Prior to they are painted on by grafitti artists or claimed by commercial advertising, these walls are blank canvasses, generally white, prepared for images to be produced by people who dwell inside or about them.
As soon as marked with images as well as the meanings they suggest, these walls are 'consumed' by a population that interprets them. The craft of interior decorating, for instance, is practiced by all of us to an extent when we put posters, photographs, and paintings upon our bedroom and living room walls. We physical exercise our capacity to arrange images and generate meanings on the walls of our private dwellings.
We are prevented from individually decorating public walls as pleases us. Though we do live and function in public spaces as significantly as we do in our private houses, we're restricted from exercising the same artistic freedom in the public locations.
What is hindering us from participating in public games of meaning? Our public spaces are tightly controlled by the interests of capital along with the capitalist state. The stifling of our capability to adorn our surroundings is actually a prime example of the depravity of our widespread condition under late capitalism.
Unless a person has a whole lot of cash, access to public walls is blocked. And if by some opportunity an individual does have the cash needed, she or he is normally obligated to generate far more capital using the images that adorn those public walls by selling something. In other words, by advertising.
Those that rebel against the demands of a capitalism bent on selfreproduction face punishment in the hands of the capitalist state, no matter whether in the form of fines or imprisonment. Regardless of how vociferously the mainstream media trumpets its 'objectivity', it works in unison with this captialist state, serving to disseminate capitalist ideology. It wins public consent and compliance using the repressive laws that prohibit grafitti as well as other acts of meaning-creation that fail to conform with the overarching commercial logic that dominates our public space.
Evidence of this complicity on the component of the media is not difficult to find. A series of articles on the problem of grafitti that have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle with within the last two years are typical. The underlying assumptions which motivate these articles betray what I will call an exterminationist logic, very much like the 1 described by philsopherPhilipeLacoue-Labarthe in his recent book Heidegger, Art and Politics.
Labarthe claims that Auschwitz and the unspeakable exterminations that took location there revealed the deepest contradictions of the 'civilized' West, manifesting essentially the most brutal functionalism latent inside the desire to accomplish perfection by eliminating all traces of the undesirable Other. He writes that 'nowhere else in history has the will to clean, to completely eradicate a 'stain' been so compulsively enacted without the least ritual.' The rhetoric of the articles within the San Francisco Chronicle reveals this very same 'will-to-clean', although for ends that are admittedly not fairly so extreme!
Though graffiti and human beings aren't the same factor, the underlying desire to 'remove' them could be the same. You can not eradicate the 'unwanted' presence without having removing the unwanted itself. In other words, the want is not just to eradicate the graffiti, but the people who create the graffiti at the same time.
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