My own interest in graffiti dates back to my first teenage introduction to hip-hop culture in the mid-1980s, when the first images of New York subway art started to make their way over the pond in magazines and, much rarer, snippets of TV alongside those first rare glimpses of block parties, scratch DJs, rappers, and breakdancers. Apart from their raw visceral energy, both hip hop music and graffiti struck me as intensely science-fictional. Both are about the appropriation of technology to create something new?—?hip-hop taking samplers and turntables to generate new sounds they weren’t designed to make, and graf taking car repair paint and the very architecture of cities to create new visual spaces and canvases. They are, perhaps, the most literal expression of William Gibson’s famous cyberpunk-defining phrase ‘the street finds its own use for things’.
Gibson’s early works, and those of his many lesser imitators, would herald the hacker as the rebellious hero of the future; a trope that would immeasurably shape everything from political activism to venture capitalism in the decades to follow. Perhaps the stereotypical image of the hacker as lone digital warrior, skulking over keyboards in screen-glare lit rooms seems very far removed from the image of the spray can welding, shadow dwelling, trespassing graffiti writer, but the two subcultures share a startlingly similar set of goals, values, and approaches: both look to subvert existing infrastructures and systems, both value one-upmanship and bragging rights, and neither can resist the illegal thrill of breaking-and-entering?—?whether physical or virtual?—?even when the risk of being caught may well lead to ruthless, draconian punishment. Both also share, perhaps most importantly, an aesthetic obsession with the future?—?something apparent in the work of artist Leonard McGurr, better known as FUTURA 2000.
At the LA Zine Fest, V. Vale tells Henry Rolls about about his idea for an “Occupy Handbook” collecting posters and slogans from the movement worldwide. Rollins talks about his collection of George W. Bush graffiti from around the world.
The EyeWriter project is an ongoing collaborative research effort to empower people who are suffering from ALS with creative technologies.
It is a low-cost eye-tracking apparatus & custom software that allows graffiti writers and artists with paralysis resulting from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to draw using only their eyes.
Members of Free Art and Technology (FAT), OpenFrameworks, the Graffiti Research Lab, and The Ebeling Group communities have teamed-up with a legendary LA graffiti writer, publisher and activist, named Tony Quan, aka TEMPTONE. Tony was diagnosed with ALS in 2003, a disease which has left him almost completely physically paralyzed… except for his eyes. This international team is working together to create a low-cost, open source eye-tracking system that will allow ALS patients to draw using just their eyes. The long-term goal is to create a professional/social network of software developers, hardware hackers, urban projection artists and ALS patients from around the world who are using local materials and open source research to creatively connect and make eye art.
The guerrilla pseudo-documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” billed as “A Banksy Film” and narrated by Ifans, will have its world premiere Sunday night. [...]
According to a description, “L.A.-based filmmaker Terry Guetta set out to record this secretive world in thrilling detail. For more than eight years he traveled with a backpack through Europe and America. After he met a British street artist known only as Banksy, things took a bizarre turn.”
But whether the artist known as Banksy directed the film himself is still a mystery.
The project is called the Unaddressed and it focuses on the under-housed, giving voice to their personal opinions. Over the course of 3 months I met with 18 individuals who are currently or have recently been homeless. Through meeting, talking about their lives and discussing issues that were important to them, they developed their announcements and created a cardboard sign to reveal them. By photographing homeless and formerly homeless individuals holding cardboard signs that announce their concerns, the hope is challenge preconceived notions of homelessness and make the passers-by realize how serious the situation is and that everybody deserves the same basic necessities of life and to be treated the same way. Basically do unto others as you would have them do unto you.