Street Art: A democratic or autocratic process

I was talking to RJ from Vandalog yesterday and we briefly got to talking about the nature of action in Street Art. He said that in another conversation that preceded ours, he had decided that Street Art was essentially a dictatorship.

In referring back to this notion that a democracy is a realm in which agonistic polemics and discourses can occur without suppression, I feel that Street Art and graffiti exist within this model. I feel that these illegal applications of communication (whether it is “art” or not is a different debate in relation to “Graffiti”) afford for a conversation of action that is inherently democratic. The counter argument is that these practices are precariously in danger of constantly being overcome by autocratic members within the community who decide what is good or acceptable means of putting up work. The most recent instance that comes to mind is the writer 10Foot who has summarily defaced and disrespected numerous pieces which have been relegated to “Street Art” or perpetrated by “Art Fags.”

This is the very delicacy of the conversation that we all have through our visual work. We assume that certain pieces have achieved a level of rarefaction where they are now exempt from the cycle and visual dialogue. But this unstable concept is always dismantled by simple actions and decisions as we have most recently witnessed on behalf of 10Foot. But it is precisely this fragile position that work, once on the street, is totally and utterly vulnerable, that keeps the artist and the dialogue fresh. It calls upon the constant responsibility of those engaged in this visual discourse or else their position in the streets is threatened.

It could be argued that policing and regulating forces resist equilibrium; that institutional laws perpetuate an inequality in any discourse because they deem which voices are appropriate subjects in the conversation. Because our work is illegal, because we are the genesis of our own communication that is not dictated by ulterior forces, the discourse on the street remains in the proximity of the democratic. Illegal applications of communication are fundamentally based in dissent, so any attempt to silence or resist dissenting opinions seems hypocritical; which, frankly is totally fine considering the interest that can be found in contradictions.

here is a case study of the work on the street from the 10foot incident

old news, but I thought I would give my two cents

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